Sixth Form and College FAQ

ACCESS TO POST-16 EDUCATION 2017-18

Dear Year 11 Students and Parents

Having had various discussions with some girls and parents over the past few days, I have been reminded of the pressures attached to the whole process of applying for sixth form and post-16 education in general.

I thought it might be useful to provide you with some further information and hopefully dispel some myths about the process, given that in some cases there is some fairly energetic marketing activity undertaken by our local post-16 institutions. Of course, our excellent Careers, PSHE and flexible learning day courses provide girls with the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed choices, but sometimes we need to hear information in different formats. Having thought about this in some depth, I have decided to present the information to you as a series of frequently asked questions with answers. I hope you find the attached sheet helpful.

Do please contact me should you wish to ask further questions or seek additional clarification. An emailed message is always welcome and my email address is sbusby@st-edmunds.eu.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Busby

Headteacher


SIXTH FORM FAQ

I am uncertain about which sixth form I should apply to. What should I do?
If you are not yet sure, apply to more than one sixth form provider. Many students submit applications for two or three institutions and make their minds up in the summer.
I have been told that I may not get in to my first choice of sixth form as they may be over-subscribed. Is this true?
This may be true for certain students. However, a good St Edmund’s girl will have a first class CV and personal statement, will have made use of opportunities for interview experience and will present herself as exceptionally well prepared. This, in addition to good GCSE grades, will always secure a place. Do remember that as a post-16 student you are worth about £5,000 to any institution.
I have to choose four A subjects. I am reasonably certain about three, but I don’t know what else to choose. When do I have to make up my mind?
Schools and colleges will want to know what you think you want to study next September at this stage, so that they can plan their staffing for courses in advance. However, you will not be held to the choices you make now. There are plenty of opportunities to change your mind:

  • at any point later in the year, post-application, just contact the school or college and alter your subject request
  • in the summer at post-16 induction days it is possible to change courses
  • after your GCSE results are published in August you may decide that you want to change one or more of your subjects, based on your exam performance
  • during the first fortnight of your A level or equivalent study in September it is almost always possible to make a change if you realise you have made the wrong choice

NB: In the first few weeks of the Autumn term it is also possible to change school or college – one or two students do this every year.

What happens if I don’t get the grades in August?
Contact your chosen sixth form provider and ask about entry. It may still be possible for you to take up your place. Of course, if you don’t achieve a C grade in English or Maths, you are likely to be asked to re-sit as a condition of entry to A level courses.
I have put in my application for sixth form. What happens now?
Schools and colleges operate in slightly different ways, but in general the following will occur:

  • you will be invited to attend an interview at the school or college. You will be expected to discuss your predicted academic performance, the reasons for your choice of course(s) and other areas of achievement
  • you will be given a conditional offer of a place at the school or college, pending your GCSE results
  • you may be invited to a taster or induction day at the school or college in June (after the end of GCSE exams). At this point, it is a good opportunity to try out different subjects and hopefully firm up your choices for September
  • you may be invited for a final interview after your GCSE results have been published (usually at the start of the September term) so that you can make a firm decision about the course(s) you will begin in September
I’m really struggling to decide on which is the best choice for me. My friends are mainly going to one school but I favour another college. What should I do?
It really must be your choice. Remember that this is a stepping stone to the next stage, whether that is to university, further training or employment. The really important thing is that you decide which institution is going to provide what you need in in order to achieve your goal in the future. Ask to see a list of destinations of leavers and do look at Ofsted reports for schools and colleges, as both can be helpful. Remember to find out:

  • If it is a top university you’re aiming for, how many students get into the best universities?
  • If it is a pathway to a vocational apprenticeship or a specific career route you seek, what help will you receive from the institution to help you achieve your goal?

ABOVE ALL, PLEASE:

1. Ensure that you look at all the institutions you are interested in before Christmas. Remember to investigate fully, including reading their most recent Ofsted report.

2. Make your application(s) by the end of February and be ready to attend interviews before Easter.

3. Focus on your GCSE attainment; in only two years from now you may be applying to university and universities want to take students with good GCSE grades.

4. Remember that sixth form and post-16 education is a buyer’s market. You are in control!