Sixth Form

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Sixth Form

Read School is a good place to study, especially as preparation for higher education as the Sixth Form brings many challenges

The Sixth Form is an important time for academic study, often as a preparation for and requirement of university entrance. Many boys and girls will have been at Read for some time prior to entering the Sixth Form. It is important that the Sixth Form is able to provide a different and altogether more adult experience, not just an extension of school.

September 2008 saw the York Sixth Form Centre created from an area of former boarding accommodation on the first floor. A much bigger and brighter area than the previous Centre, York is an airy, modern and open area for working and leisure during non-teaching time. Computer workstations, large worktables, access to careers and university information and a small area for relaxing and socialising are all included here, giving our most senior students the facilities they need and deserve.  Independent study is encouraged.  A small kitchen has also been created for them to make hot drinks and prepare snacks throughout the day.  The Centre was updated again over the summer of 2014.

Sixth Formers wear smart business clothes (rather than school uniform); and relationships with teachers are inevitably less formal. Teaching groups are very small and the standard of teaching support high.

Teachers are always ready to assist and advise students on the choice of subjects. The time-table is constructed to meet students’ wishes as much as is possible each year.

Read School Sixth Form Academic

Sixth Form studies at Read are centred on AS and A-levels. These qualifications are well-known and widely accepted by universities and employers.

University and careers guidance is provided in house by the Head of Sixth Form and other experienced members of staff. Students have the opportunity to attend open days and fairs at universities and a number of subject visits may be made to universities in the North for support seminars and revision days.

Additionally, being a senior student at Read brings its responsibilities and challenges. The involvement of Sixth Formers in the school does much to lead and to determine the atmosphere, and the example set by Sixth Formers has an important influence on those younger than themselves. We encourage Sixth Formers to be involved in the school, as captains of sports, providing assistance to staff and younger pupils in the Prep School and in subject areas in the Senior School, as officers in the CCF and as senior prefects.

Whilst we are keen to encourage our Year 11 pupils to continue their Sixth Form studies at Read, we welcome equally applications from local day students and boarding students from the UK and overseas. Some scholarships may be available to assist with Sixth Form studies.

These are years of significant maturity of personality as well as development of ability. Studies should be enjoyable, rigorous and disciplined. The Read Sixth Form is a good place to spend these years.

The Sixth Form is small with around thirty students, most of whom take four subjects to AS level in the Lower Sixth and a combination of AS and A-level studies in the Upper Sixth.

Study is centred on AS and A-Level courses. Optional subjects available for study during the A level years include:

Art & Design, biology, business studies, chemistry, design technology, English language, English literature, French, geography, history, ICT, mathematics, music, physics, psychology, sport & PE

Read School Sixth Form Learning Support and EAL

Many parents, grandparents and guardians choose The Read School because of our commitment to helping all the children in our care to fulfil their potential.

We believe that well targeted support can go a long way towards meeting this wide ranging objective.  Each child is respected and valued as important in the school, and for the contribution they can make now and in the future within the wider community.  Our pupils have a wide range of abilities and skills; we aim to develop the particular gifts they possess, whilst providing a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum to aid them in their future career and life.

The Inclusive Learning Department (ILD) exists to enable all children in the school achieve the above objectives.  We understand that many children require a little extra input for a wide variety of reasons; often for a short period of time to deal with specific issues and sometimes for an extended period to help children access the wider curriculum successfully.  Pupils we support include those with:

• developmental delay
• specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia & Asperger’s syndrome)
• general learning difficulties
• communication problems
• emotional and social difficulties
• speech and language difficulties
• physical disabilities
• gifted and talented requirements
• sensory, physical or medical conditions
• LEA statement identifying special needs
• gaps in knowledge for various reasons
The school educates all pupils alongside their peers within the normal curriculum wherever possible, as we strongly believe in an inclusive approach.  We recognise, however, that some specialist provision outside the classroom will raise self-esteem, help our children succeed in the classroom, and improve results in their final examinations.  The following support is put in place after due process according to need and agreement:

• classroom support to increase curriculum access and pupil achievement
• differentiated work according to need
• small group tuition to raise attainment in any area required
• individual tuition to raise attainment in important areas
• counselling as part of our pastoral responsibilities
Mrs Kathryn Patrick, as Director of Inclusive Learning, is responsible for coordinating the above provision.  In order to provide timely support, Mrs Patrick screens all pupils in the school at appropriate intervals, and assesses pupils with identified needs as promptly and thoroughly as is possible.  Specific professionals and agencies are used where appropriate, so that we can provide the best possible support for our children.  We use provision mapping to provide all pupils on the ILD register with appropriate support, to help maximise access to the school curriculum, and we provide individual action plans to use with pupils in need of more intensive help.

We believe successful education and pastoral care is dependent on active and positive dialogue between parents, pupils and teachers.  Mrs Patrick is happy to discuss any educational or pastoral issue with parents or guardians of pupils at the school and welcomes the opportunity to talk to prospective parents about what our school can offer your child.

EAL

We currently have around 20 pupils working towards GCSE and A Level qualifications in their ‘additional language’, which is English.  Some of our pupils join us when still quite young however the majority of pupils join us much later, in Years 9 or 10, and several go straight into the Sixth Form.  In recent years we have had pupils come to us from Hong Kong, mainland China, Vietnam, Germany, Thailand, Macau, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Ukraine, Spain, Portugal and Russia.

The EAL (English as an Additional Language) department supports our overseas pupils by providing lessons in the English Language and support in other subjects.

Younger pupils adapt very well and will have extra EAL lessons wherever possible.

Year 10 EAL pupils are entered for the PET (Preliminary English Test) Cambridge examination, and Year 11 pupils work towards the Cambridge First Certificate exam.
Both these examinations test pupils’ speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Upper Sixth Form students generally take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test, which is needed for entrance not only into British universities, but into overseas universities also.
The EAL department offers support socially as well as academically.  Outings are arranged, the highlight of which is a meal at a local restaurant to celebrate the Chinese New Year!

Every overseas pupil is welcomed and the added dimension they bring to the life of the school is much appreciated.

Read School Sixth Form Enrichment

Sixth Formers at Read are able to particpate in a wide variety of events and experiences aimed at providing an enrichment to life as a student. Being a Sixth Former at Read is about so much more than study and offers opportunities not always available in other Sixth Form colleges and schools.

Opportunities on offer to our students include:

  • Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme – with the opportunity to achieve success at all levels; bronze, silver and gold.  The Award shows no sign of losing its place in the minds of employers and universities as one of the most sought after qualifications in any prospective student or employee
  • CSA (Classroom Support Assistant) programme. This is a system of allowing Sixth Formers into the classroom for a subject they are proficient in to assist the learning of younger pupils, often allowing them to work alongside a team of teachers and teaching assistants
  • Students are encouraged to be part of one of the first team squads and to participate in sport at a competitive level.   The first teams and their members are setting the standards and providing the role models for aspiring sports stars lower down the school.  Sport in the Sixth Form is also about passing on skills to the younger pupils of the school and those with an aptitude for sport are encouraged to be Assistant Coaches with the junior teams
  • Evening Lectures – in addition to the examination subjects offered, there are a number of evening lectures and social events scheduled over the year. These Wider Knowledge and Skills Evenings are designed to promote a greater awareness of the world at large. A diverse range of topics is covered, the ethos being that they should be useful and fun! They take place in various venues around the school and utilise expertise from speakers both external and internal to engage the students. Topics from the last two years have included:
  • • How to succeed as a prefect
    • In-house “Cook Off” competitions
    • Crime Investigations –Forensic Science for the 21st Century
    • Their finances at University
    • Drugs and Alcohol – their effect on the body
    • Making an Oxbridge application
    • Blood and organ donation
Read School Costa Rica Expedition 2013
Students about to set off on the expedition to Costa Rica – July 2013

Building on skills learnt, the school has offered Sixth Formers (and Year 11 pupils) the opportunity to participate in expeditions overseas.  Since 2007, we have had expeditions to Malawi, Thailand and Laos and Morocco. A further trip to Costa Rica took place in the summer of 2013 and another is planned to the Indian Himalayas in the summer of 2018.  These trips are perfect for Sixth Form students who want to experience first-hand a completely different culture, akin to the type of activity that many students would get involved in as a Gap Year, prior to going to university.

Our Sixth Formers also involve themselves in school life:  as officers in the CCF (Combined Cadet Force); taking part in musical performances or drama productions; being senior prefects; important guides to visitors to the school on Open Days and at other public events.

Read School Sixth Form UCAS and University Applications

It is current government policy to work towards a university student population of 50% of 18 year-old school leavers. It follows that virtually every pupil at Read, who wishes to have a university place can have one – provided that sensible applications to the right universities are made at the right time.

The Sixth Form tutor team aims to provide tutorial support, but also to assist in maximising the potential for that all-important university application, with a great deal of time spent on developing personal statements (Upper Sixth students); the resumé of achievements and input into society thus far. It is in this part of the university application or CV that celebrates all of the achievements and responsibilities gained from enrichment.  In addition to monitoring the work and progress of individual students, tutors will also discuss with students their career and university plans and help them to find the appropriate information at the right time.

Many new Sixth Formers have little idea of what they would like to do in their career, or what they might study at university. Therefore, investigating possibilities as soon as possible is the best way to ensure the right choice is made.  Recent Lower Sixth Formers have completed the Progression Module in partnership with Leeds Beckett University.  This has given added structure to individual research into appropriate careers, courses and universities.  Completing the Progression Module has enabled many pupils to make more efficient applications in the future.

Visits to open days at local universities are also encouraged and documented, so that students quickly get a feel for what kind of university they want to study at: campus or city centre based. These tend to happen during the summer term of the Lower Sixth and the autumn term of the Upper.  It is also a good idea to take a little time to visit likely universities during the Easter holidays during the Lower Sixth year.   Here at Read, we aim to have most UCAS forms completed before Christmas, prior to the January deadline.  Many degree subjects do not lead directly into a career; medicine, engineering and law (though not always) are exceptions.  Most degrees are simply a starting point for careers for ‘graduates in any discipline’: i.e. non-vocational. With a degree qualification, many more career opportunities are available.  It is, therefore, important to choose a subject that particularly interests you and that you enjoy.

Applications to Oxford or Cambridge

These universities have extremely high admissions requirements and are very selective.  Applications have to be received by 15 October of the Upper Sixth year, and should have been well researched beforehand.  Applicants should have a GCSE profile with a considerable number of A*/A grades in it and have the potential to achieve three A grades or better at A Level.  Any student interested should discuss this with tutors or with the Head of Sixth Form early in the Lower Sixth year.  Visits to the universities and the individual colleges are recommended.

UCAS points system

Universities make conditional offers to A Level students – conditional on certain achievements at A Level.  These may be in the form of certain grades in specified subjects or a total number of points achieved from Sixth Form examination successes. A new UCAS tariff will be in place for courses starting in September 2017.
Check the small print in many university prospectuses: they can sometimes expect a certain combination of A2 and AS Levels; or have a bolted on requirement qualification from elsewhere (such as an IELTS language qualification). They have been known to ask for higher grades at a later date than their prospectuses originally stated.
Virtually all students who apply to university are placed in one of their final two choices.  It is unusual for anyone to be left without a placement. Such students are usually identified before results are released and are given the appropriate support and advice to find a suitable alternative.