Our Sixth Form has doubled in size over the last decade to its current total of 150 students. Not only are more and more of our own Year 11 students deciding to apply for entry but large numbers of students from other schools in Bristol, the rest of the UK and even from abroad are applying to join us. This increase in interest is due to many factors: our rapidly improving academic success; our modern curriculum; the ever-improving provision of facilities for music, sport, drama; the many other extra-curricular activities we offer. We have every intention of building on these successes and expanding both the numbers in the Sixth Form and the breadth and quality of the whole curriculum.
What subjects are on offer?
We began our programme of modernising the curriculum by introducing Theatre Studies, to take advantage of the opening of the Harry Crook Theatre. It is now perhaps the most popular subject on the curriculum and achieves outstanding results at A level.
Then came Sports Studies, a natural progression given our prowess in many sporting areas. This is also heavily subscribed and, unsurprisingly, many of its students excel at the practical aspects of the course. Next we added Business Studies, soon became highly popular and runs two classes.
The subsequent introduction of Psychology was an immediate success and it now runs two sets at both AS and A2 levels next year.
Our latest addition is Philosophy, which is already proving to be a significant addition to the curriculum.
We believe that, together with the more traditional subjects on offer, the curriculum at Colston’s is an attractive and modern one, well suited to the needs and skills of our pupils.
As well as the academic curriculum we offer a growing number of enrichment activities: a lecture programme of visiting speakers; regular academic and cultural outings; field study courses; theatre visits and musical events; and a wide choice of extra-curricular sporting activities.
We now have a full-time Careers Advisor, Mrs Gill Dann, who is always happy to help students decide about the many opportunities they have after the Sixth Form – whether choice of course, University, gap year or career. Individual interviews are always available and Mrs Dann will help arrange work experience and visits, as well as inviting in a range of guest speakers.
All of these courses, extra-curricular opportunities and facilities are constantly under review and no doubt further additions will be made. Watch this space!
What other opportunities are there?
We give our sixth-formers many opportunities to learn how to work independently and to take personal responsibility for their progress. Each student will have a personal tutor who will see tutees twice a day, when he/ she will offer support and guidance as well as set clear academic targets and make regular assessments of a student’s progress and achievements.
Every member of the Lower Sixth is also a member of one of the Houses and is immediately appointed a house prefect: as such, students are expected to share in the pastoral care of younger pupils and organise teams for competitions etc. Lower Sixth students also mentor Year 11 students through their GCSE year, passing on the benefits of their wisdom- and mistakes! Depending on how well these tasks are carried out, Lower Sixth formers may well be selected, towards the end of their first year, to be School Prefects and help in the administration of the daily routines of the whole school. We firmly believe that these responsibilities enable our students to gain the maturity and self-confidence which future employers will value just as highly as any academic abilities.
It’s not all work of course.
We begin the Lower Sixth by inviting (actually sending- it’s compulsory) all students on a two-day induction course, where students carry out a variety of activities and tasks which, as well as breaking the ice, stress the importance of teamwork and mutual support. All participants receive impressive certificates and, what probably impresses them even more, an invitation to the Induction Dinner.
Sixth Formers have many other opportunities to display and develop extra-curricular skills: they run the Chatterton Society, which arranges entertaining and stimulating events involving students and staff; and they can become members of the Sixth Form Council, discussing burning issues of the day.
Finally, when all the exams are over, comes the Sixth Form Ball, an opportunity to get out that best frock or DJ and dance the night away.
Great. How do I apply?
First of all, an applicant has to meet the entrance requirements set out in the “Guide to Courses 2007-8”: essentially this entails achieving a grade B at GCSE in the target subject, as the jump from GCSE standard to AS is a very considerable one.
Once accepted, the vast majority of our Lower Sixth students will follow four AS courses. A few may follow five and it may be appropriate for some to follow only three, especially if their GCSE results suggest that is as many as they could manage successfully.
An application form is available on the website and one is also included with the prospectus and “Guide for Courses 2007-8”, all available from the school. For further information, and a taste of some of the features of life in the Sixth Form at Colston’s, open the Sixth Form Handbook on this site.
We look forward to you joining us at Colston’s.
Head of Sixth Form
Mr Mark Eyles
“I have been teaching at Colston’s for seven happy years, having made the move from King Edward’s School in Bath. During my time here I have been a Sixth Form tutor for Aldington House and enjoyed guiding some eighty students through the ordeals of A level study.
As well as this important pastoral role I hold the position of Head of Geography and lead a successful department with thriving GCSE and A level numbers. The running of geography field trips allows me to see students in a different light as they get to grips with ‘hands on’ learning. During residential trips, it is also interesting and valuable to associate with the students on a more social level.
Being a Sixth Form tutor is a great privilege, and I have made many good friends during my time at Colston’s. Helping with UCAS applications and providing that vital learning environment for individuals can sometimes be difficult, but it is almost always rewarding.”
Mr Nigel Aspden
“I joined Colston’s in September 2005, teaching Maths to pupils ranging from Year 7 to the Upper Sixth. Originally, I was a Year 8 tutor but soon became a Sixth Form tutor.
I have almost 30 years experience teaching Maths and in that time I have tutored mainly Sixth Form groups (are there any other staff who can remember PCAS forms?).
I am also in charge of the Sixth Form Centre, a role that enables me to observe the many different aspects of sixth form interaction!”
Mr Tom Arrand
“Since joining Colston’s in 2004 I have really enjoyed teaching Sixth Form groups and believe that the Sixth Form at Colston’s is a vibrant and lively place to study. Two years as Housemaster of Upper Mortlake was enough to give me a meaningful insight into the ways of the ‘Lake and I enjoy watching the boys going into battle on the rugby pitch; it’s just when it continues in the TV room that my normal calm and composed self implodes.
I taught before at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford and then at the King’s School, Ely. Both were pretty different from Colston’s and indeed from each other, but Colston’s is a very friendly and happy place and you really can’t complain about the food here, trust me.
I teach philosophy, a subject which I introduced in 2005 and which has enjoyed a healthy uptake. From September I will tutor the Upper Sixth in Dolphin House, most of whom I teach already. I‘m really looking forward to the experience of Sixth Form tutoring and the rewards that such a role will bring.”
Mr Keith Dawson
“I have been teaching at Colston's School since 1996. Teaching geography is my main focus but over the years I have been in the school I have been greatly involved in the CCF and outdoor education, as I believe that this is an area in which pupils can really show their true mettle.
This will be my first year as a Sixth Form tutor; I have always been involved with KS3 tutor groups as well as being Head of Year 7. At present I am Head of KS3 and am looking forward to the new challenge of the Sixth Form.
I am hopeful that looking for lost bags will now become a thing of the past.”
Mr Stephen Pritchard
“I have worked with the Sixth Form in various roles for the majority of my time at Colston’s: I will have been at the school for twenty years in September 2007!
Before my capture I gained an MA in English at Oxford, did research on William Blake, helped to start a record label and a magazine as a music journalist, founded the WOMAD world music festival with Peter Gabriel, worked with a national Afro-Caribbean dance troupe, and wrote, directed and acted with a touring theatre company based in the St Paul’s community.
I hope that this breadth of experience has helped me to be more useful to Sixth Form students; it has certainly helped me to dance in a funny way.”
Dr Andrew Martin
“I have a PhD in Plant Physiology, everyone’s favourite topic area, and a research background in mycology – that’s looking at fungi for anyone in Year 10 reading this. I have taught from Year 7 to degree level and have been Head of Sixth Form at City of Bristol College, before arriving at Colston’s eight years ago. How time flies when you’re enjoying yourself!
I have been a King’s House tutor from Year 9 to Year 11, before moving on to become a Sixth Form tutor some years ago. This is where I believe I have most to offer, as much of my experiences as a teacher seem to have been at Sixth Form level. I have a large input into Sixth Form life, not only as a tutor but also as head of the General Studies programme, where I have worked to enrich and develop Sixth Formers before they leave us for the real world.”
Mrs Joanne Poppy
“I joined Colston’s in the autumn of 1997, after completing a BA Hons degree in English at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and a PGCE at the University of Bath. I teach English to students in Years 7 to 13 and I am also involved in teaching Public Speaking, preparing candidates for internal and external competitions.
Previously, I was a tutor to Year 10 and 11 students, but I was delighted to be made a Sixth Form tutor in 2003. I thoroughly enjoy the role and receive a great amount of satisfaction helping young people prepare for university and the big wide world.”
Mr Nick Drew
“This is my sixteenth year at Colston’s, and I have been a Sixth Form tutor for nine of them. In that time I’ve run the Sixth Form Balls, Model United Nations and a Sixth Form newspaper. I have also been involved with (but not gone on) a World Challenge expedition to Mongolia, and was in charge of General Studies for 4 years.
The Chatterton Society is my major remit. We try to organise fun and stimulating events for General Studies, ranging from ‘Any Questions’ to ‘A Question of Sport’. My real love is the First XI cricket, which means the Summer Term is a fraught one and I begin to lose my hair…
I love the role of Sixth Form tutor, and the rewards are great when students get into universities which they have worked really hard for. It is certainly an easier job than my previous one: tutoring Major Generals in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.”
Mrs Alison Chisnall
“Having obtained a degree in English and Drama, I went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and thereafter toured with several theatre companies to gain valuable experience.
I then chose to follow a career in teaching and have been teaching drama at Colston’s since 1996. I was Head of Dolphin House for five very successful and enjoyable years, and now look forward to enjoying my new role as a sixth form tutor just as much.”
Colston’s Sixth Form: entry procedure
Sixth Form numbers have steadily increased over the last 10 years to the current total of around 150. There are two sources of students: our own Year 11 pupils and entrants from other schools.
The Sixth Form Open Evening, held in early October a few days after the whole school Open Morning, is our major recruiting set-piece and is aimed at both constituencies.
Our own Year 11 pupils
All Year 11 students at Colston’s receive a copy of "A Guide to Courses in the Sixth Form”, which details the subjects offered at A level and a brief synopsis of each syllabus etc. Later on in the year, I write again to the parents of our Year 11s pointing out the GCSE grades necessary to be accepted onto a course. At the end of the academic year, those Year 11 students who are returning into the Sixth Form receive a copy of the "Sixth Form Handbook"and are allocated to tutor groups.
Entrants from other schools
When the school receives an enquiry from parents of a student not already attending Colston's, I contact the parents by phone. They are then sent copies of the school prospectus and the "Guide to Courses in the Sixth Form", and are invited to visit the school, where they are shown around by a Year 12 student, and then meet the Headmaster. If an application for a place is then made, we write to the student’s current school for a reference.
A recent development is for potential entrants to have a day of lessons in the school, often involving an overnight stay in the boarding house, Mortlake. This is for many a first taste of boarding and has proved to be a very positive experience.
If the student subsequently joins the school, I send the parents information about the school's uniform requirements and a form asking for notification of GCSE results and final AS subject choices.
Over recent years such recruiting has been very successful, and students have joined Colston's from a wide range of schools and areas.