What is Sixth Form all about?
Sixth Form at St Helen’s is the final two years of school. It is divided into Lower Sixth (Year 12) and Upper Sixth (Year 13) and is seen as a bridge between the necessary constraints of school life and the exciting freedoms of life at university. Joining Sixth Form represents a fresh start for students whether they come from our own Year 11 or have joined us from other schools.
Sixth Form has its own facilities, guidelines, privileges and responsibilities. One privilege is that there is no uniform in Sixth Form, while responsibilities vary from being part of the elected prefect team to helping with younger students in their forms or in clubs. The impressive array of extracurricular activities available enables students to maintain a good balance between work, rest and play.
Where does it all happen?
The Sixth Form Centre is a separate building in which the two year groups share a substantial common room equipped with comfortable chairs, notice boards and kitchen facilities. In addition to this there are a number of group study areas and students are allowed to bring in their own laptops from home to facilitate their independent learning. Students are encouraged to take ownership of the Sixth Form Centre, managing a cleaning rota for the common room and maintaining quiet conditions in the study room. When they want a change of environment or need access to a wider collection of reference materials, then the Library is the perfect place to go as it has a separate silent study area just for Sixth Form.
How is it structured?
Each Sixth Form year group is divided into small tutor groups of 10-12 students. Form Tutors are the first port of call and are responsible for a student’s academic and social welfare and will be a key figure in helping to guide each individual through the application processes for higher education. This system makes it easy for all students, but particularly those new to the School, to make new friends and get to know a wide cross-section of other students quickly. Being based in a common room with both year groups also allows all Sixth Form students to get to know each other and to share the benefits of their experiences of UCAS applications, managing study periods and so on. This is enhanced by pairing up Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth tutor groups at key points in the year so that older students are able to advise younger ones. In addition to the form tutor the Deputy Head and the Head of Sixth Form oversee the whole section. It is an extensive and valuable support network.
Students in all year groups are organised into one of four Houses (Benedict, Duffield, Hayward and Paterson) for inter-House competitions and social activities. Named after women who have played a key role in the school’s history, they are led by staff Heads of House and offer leadership roles to the House Prefects. The House system offers opportunities for students from different years to spend more time together, develop skills such as teamwork and leadership and foster a sense of competition throughout the school.
Why is this a great place to study for your A levels?
Sixth Form provides a supportive and caring environment and access to excellent A-level teaching. As well as promoting high academic achievement, St Helen’s encourages you to take on a range of tasks and responsibilities and gain independence – all important preparation for life beyond school. In short, meeting our sixth formers is the best advert for Sixth Form at St Helen’s; they are caring, well-rounded individuals who take with them a strong sense of community when they leave to embark on the next stages of their lives.
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