Support and Care
Pastoral support is an area we pride ourselves on and the Sixth Form Team plays a crucial role in this aspect of our students’ life. Tutor groups are usually 10/11 in size and this allows tutors to really get to know their tutees. An important part of our induction programme is building and developing this relationship.
Tutors meet on a regular basis with each tutee for a 1:1 chat and to discuss and help the student with his or her school life and others challenges or opportunities that may present themselves.
The Sixth Form Tutor Team have regular weekly meetings to discuss issues as well as identifying students who deserve praising. The tutors bring and disseminate information from a student’s subject teachers who use the Tutor as the primary link between the Academic and Pastoral aspects of the school.
Tutors are also the link between home and school and will take time to contact parents to update them on progress and if there are any issues.
The Sixth Form Tutorial Programme is diverse and evolves as the challenges that face our students change. These can be classroom based activities, presentations by visiting speakers or trips out to events.
Students also have to lead sessions and assemblies as part of this and each tutor group will host debates initially for their tutor group but then it will be opened up to other tutor groups to attend.
Within this programme, core issues are addressed which affect the students: personal finance, CV writing, interview practice, Careers planning, time management and the development of self-evaluation skills.
There are a number of strategies in place to help students through the transition from GCSE to the freedom and independence of A levels. All strategies are discussed with students in reviews to establish the most effective and engaging way forward. These range from:
Supervised Private Study – where students are registered and study in a specific location free from the potential distractions of the Sixth Form Centre. Students often volunteer for this during times of peak work loading. This is reviewed regularly and students negotiate when in their week it is most productive.
Sixth Form Evening Clinic – one night a week the Head of Sixth Form runs an evening clinic which is open to all students. This can focus on a particular issue that a number of students want to explore. For example, a regular slot on exam question and essay writing happens at 6:45 to 7:30pm.
This is also a time for the Head of Sixth Form to see students – in particular boarders. These 1:1 or small group sessions allow the Sixth Form Team to see all our students without disrupting their busy curriculum. Often Upper Sixth students applying to University or considering their career choices will use this drop in time to explore their options.
Friday Work Clinic – A support session that happens between 4 and 5pm on a Friday for students who struggle to get work in on time. The Sixth Form Team will supervise them as they complete outstanding work and then spend time with them reviewing their current position and challenges. This does not carry any sanction and is a positive step to help students keep on track. This can be activated by staff at short notice and the Head of Sixth Form will contact parents and house parents to discuss the most convenient time for this to occur.
University and Careers Guidance
From the February of a student’s Lower Sixth we begin a programme which supports students and their families in the planning of their ‘next move’. Students are faced with a choice of continuing their education at university or entering full time employment. With changes in the economy and university funding this is more important than ever and we dedicate a lot of time to help students make the right choice for them. One size does not fit all.
During the latter part of the Lower Sixth students are exposed to a number of Career sessions including online careers assessments (Centigrade Questionnaire), attending the UCAS conference at Westpoint in Exeter or undertaking induction sessions on using the UCAS online, writing personal statements/CVs.
In the Upper Sixth we introduce more individually focussed student support as students are making key decisions. By September of the Upper Sixth students will have decided whether they are going to University or straight into work. In each case the student will be allocated a UCAS Tutor or Careers Tutor. This senior and experienced member of staff will support them in their decision making and help them prepare for the challenges that face them. The ratio of staff to students will be in the region of 1:4 (for a non-Sixth Form tutor). The UCAS Tutor will be a specialist in the subject area that the student is considering applying to at University. Likewise a Careers Tutor will work with the student and their family to explore opportunities, try and use the contacts and knowledge in the School to help find the student the right career choice. The goal of the Career Tutor is to help the student make the first steps in their chosen career.
Tutors invest a considerable amount of time with their tutee to make sure they achieve the goal they have set out and to advise and encourage them.