Giving pupils the best chance of successful entry into higher education
The Sixth Form offers a wide range of A levels, taught by subject specialists in smaller groups than those experienced in the Middle School. Typically there are between ten and fifteen students in classes in the Lower Sixth, usually slightly less than this in the Upper Sixth. Students usually choose four subjects (some may take more), from all those available in the Middle School, but with the addition of Business Studies, Economics, PE and Psychology.
We try hard to ensure that students can take the subjects they want and our timetable has the flexibility to fit most combinations. Prior to entry into the Sixth Form, we spend time with students to discuss their choice of subjects to ensure that the combination works for them. Students should select subjects that they enjoy, they will be successful in and which will match their career/further education aspirations. See our guide to choosing A levels for more details about making the best choice of subjects.
Teachers of A level subjects are highly dedicated specialists in their field. Our teaching in the Sixth Form is aimed at students across the ability range. We provide much support for those who find the transition to A Level difficult; we also try to extend the learning of the more able and run an academic excellence programme for gifted students. Last year:
- once again over 50% of A level exams were graded A* or A
- 93% of exams were graded A* - C grade
- 38 students obtained at least three A grades
The Independent Schools Inspectorate Report of 2014 commented on A level results being above the national average for maintained selective schools and also stated: "Girls' results at A level have been well above the national average for maintained selective schools."
Our Enrichment programme in Years 12 and 13 offers students the opportunity to study new subjects such as Politics and Film Studies and acquire new skills.
Providing students with pastoral support
Sixth Form students are placed in House based tutor groups. These contain both Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth students, fostering integration between the year groups. The tutor groups typically have around twelve to fourteen students. The role of the Sixth Form tutor is to be very involved in the day-to-day life of their tutees, assisting with subject choices, study skills, time management, co-curricular commitments and university applications. The Housemaster/mistress oversees three tutor groups in their House and pastoral support is also given by the Head of Sixth Form, Zos Austin and the Deputy Head of Sixth Form, Andrew Calver.
“The Sixth Form at Ipswich School has a real buzz about it, with students being offered a plethora of opportunities to further their development as independent, confident and responsible individuals. At the same time they have the comfort of having a strong and committed team of tutors, careers experts, teachers, housemasters and mistresses among many others, allowing students to realise their full potential,” Zos Austin, Head of Sixth Form.
Weekly assemblies are held both by House and for the Sixth Form. The Sixth Form engage in a number of events held for them, these include their own play, concert, Christmas party, leavers’ lunch, leavers’ ball, graduation day, prefects’ dinner and other social events through the year. For the first time, towards the end of the summer term 2016, we are introducing a residential week where Year 12 students will spend time at an activity centre in South Wales where they will not only enjoy the many outdoor events on offer, but work with teachers to develop their university applications. This makes for a very supportive and caring community.
Our Sixth Form students also play a major role in assisting in the running of the school (prefects), the pastoral life of younger students (peer tutors) and the integration of houses (Heads of House).
Every six weeks students and parents receive an update on their effort and attainment and their likely grade at the end of the course. This update is a central part of our monitoring system and tutors spend time with students on a one-to-one basis to develop plans to improve or maintain their performance.
Extended Project Qualification
The Extended Project Qualification – often referred to as the EPQ – provides students with the opportunity to research a topic that interests them and is related to - but not specifically on - the syllabus of one of their A Level subjects. Students learn the skills needed to produce a 5000 word research paper. They are supported by a teacher who guides them through the research process and helps them put together a presentation about their EPQ which they deliver to a public audience at the end of the course. These skills are essentially a foundation for university-style learning and universities acknowledge the value of the EPQ, offering successful EPQ students places on the strength of their performance. The qualification is equal to an AS Level qualification that students record on their UCAS form when applying to university.
University and College Application Service (UCAS) Preparation
The Sixth Form team in conjunction with the Careers Department provide thorough preparation and advice for students applying to universities in the UK and abroad. The process begins with discussions with tutors and Housemasters/mistresses, followed by a whole day devoted to UCAS preparation, when students attend lectures given by visiting speakers from universities such as Cambridge, University of East Anglia and University College Suffolk. The process continues with ‘Apply’ sessions, when members of the Sixth Form team assist students in the completion of their online applications. For those students who are applying to the most challenging courses (Oxbridge, medicine, veterinary sciences) there is a parallel process whereby their applications are closely monitored and mentored by Zos Austin or Andrew Calver.
Throughout the process, heads of departments are on hand to give subject specific advice, each department having a designated member who has knowledge and expertise relating to their subject. The reference writing process is extremely thorough and references are produced in discussion with subject teachers, form tutors, housemasters/mistresses, the Sixth Form team and the students themselves. This leads to highly successful outcomes for all of our students. This year,
- 60% of students secured places at a Russell Group university
- five students obtained places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities
- nearly two thirds of students secured a place at their first choice university
Every Sixth Form student takes part in Thursday afternoon activities and they can choose from a wide-range of opportunities. These include community service, through helping in Primary and Special schools and working with the elderly in Anglesea Heights as well as the CCF. Other opportunities available only to the Sixth Form include the Leadership Programme and Young Enterprise Scheme as well as the Model United Nations and the City-recognised Financial Management. Sixth Form students also run several clubs for younger members of the school and in this way can extend their communication, organisational and leadership skills whilst engaging in activities they enjoy.
All Sixth Form students are required to participate in sport one afternoon a week. There is a wide variety of options from which they can choose from Yoga and aerobics to Sailing. All the major sports are played to a very high standard and many of our Sixth Form students play at Country level and above.
Among many successes were our Under 18 Girls' Indoor Hockey team who became national champions two years ago.
Sixth Form Leavers Film 2016