Why stay on in full-time education?
If you are considering the Sixth Form this may be because you need to obtain certain grades to enable you to move on to a particular path you wish to follow, be that academic or vocational. It may be that you simply want to continue with some of the subjects you enjoy at the moment, or perhaps you just feel that further study will help you to become a more mature person and get to know yourself better before moving on. Whatever your reasons, it is likely that you will be able to come into the Sixth Form at Uplands and that we will be able to offer you a suitable range of courses to meet your needs.
For those considering entering the Sixth Form from our own Year 11 we can offer real continuity of learning. Each year up to 80% of our Year 11 students enter Uplands Sixth Form, meaning we have one of the highest staying on rates in the County. In addition, the staff at Uplands will already be aware of the needs of each of our present Year 11 students and will therefore be in a position to offer fully informed advice about course selection and give all the learning support necessary from the very start of a course.
New to Uplands?
For those entering Uplands Sixth Form from other schools there is the reassurance of knowing that they will not be alone (last year 13 new students joined Year 12), but are small enough in number to enable us to provide the special attention required for students at a new school.
Whilst we are large enough to offer a wide range of courses, we are small enough to be able to treat students as individuals. Regular contact with a personal tutor underpins this. The availability of subject staff when additional support and advice are necessary further secures this.
A wide range of courses
The courses on offer to students in Uplands Sixth Form are updated each year to provide the most appropriate experience for their future lives. Within the National Qualifications Framework, 5 ‘C’ grades or better at GCSE is completion of Level 2 and thus allows progression to Level 3 courses, the most well known Level 3 courses being AS and A2.
In addition there are opportunities to re-take GCSE Maths and English for students who have failed to achieve a ‘C’ grade or higher. Any student who enters the Sixth Form without these is strongly advised to re-sit them as they are the fundamental basis of most Higher Education courses and employment routes. In a similar vein we also offer GCSE in Human Biology and GCSE in Environmental Science to those students who have yet to achieve a ‘C’ grade or higher in GCSE Science.
As well as these GCSE re-sits, for students who have not achieved 5 or more GCSE grades C and above we offer an alternative provision to achieve Level 2. This is based around BTEC Firsts in either Sport, Business or ICT. The BTEC is equivalent to 4 GCSEs at C and above, and is wholly assessed by completion of coursework units. Since its introduction two years ago this has proved successful in enabling students to achieve Level 2 and progress on to Level 3 courses.
The Curriculum is constantly under review as we look to build for each year to reflect the interests, ambitions and aspirations of each year group coming through. This means that the actual curriculum being run can vary quite significantly from year to year. As a result, the range of courses outlined in the information booklet you receive tonight is likely to be broader than that which will ultimately run next September – though the courses which actually run will reflect the interests and applications of the students who will begin studying them in September 2007.
Application Forms should be completed and returned to Uplands, marked ‘Attention Head of Sixth Form’ by Thursday 8th February. Choices as expressed on these forms will then be entered into a computer programme to try to accommodate as many students’ wishes as possible. If there is a clash we will let students know by the start of Term 5. If due to insufficient numbers a course is at risk of not running then students who have expressed an interest in this will also be informed at an early stage to allow alternative options to be considered.
Students have the use of a common room in the Youth Centre at lunch times for relaxation and a Sixth Form Study Centre fully equipped with PCs with internet access and traditional desking. In addition there are facilities for private study in the Independent Learning Centre.
A wide range of extra-curricular opportunities
To younger pupils the absence of formal uniform is the biggest difference of being in the Sixth Form but this really is the tip of the iceberg. Through their own committee the students run the social events, charity fund-raising activities and the annual Revue. They also produce the College Yearbook, run the School Council, have a representative at Governors’ meetings and provide a huge range of services for both the wider school and local community. They arrange regular sporting fixtures with other colleges and staff, and take part in a large number of visits and trips.
Regular contact with home
For parents there is the reassuring knowledge that frequent communication between themselves and the college will keep them informed of progress throughout the duration of the Sixth Form, in the form of assessments and Profiles. In addition staff are encouraged to contact parents if they have concerns and we would similarly hope that parents would readily feel able to get in touch with staff with any worries they may have.
When it is time to consider the next move we are able to offer our students the benefits of expert on-site careers and Higher Education advice from both college staff and the County Careers Adviser, who is situated at the college.
And … excellent results
The 2006 A2 and AS Level results were excellent with overall pass rates of 99% and 84% respectively. At AS 24% of all entries achieved grades A and B, whilst at A2 this figure was over 42%. Our record over recent years compares very favourably with both National and County figures and expectations achieving on or above the minimum expected grades.
However, just as significant in our view has been the development of the one year BTEC courses over the last 3 years and the progression of these students. This is an area of our provision we are looking to continue to develop over coming years.