Our next Sixth Form Open Evening is on Wednesday 29 January 2014 at 7.00pm
Moving from the Fifth Form into the Sixth Form is very different from the other changes which you will have experienced as you have moved from academic year to year. You will remember the changes which you experienced in moving from a primary school to a secondary school, when your whole routine changed – you were suddenly taught by a range of teachers rather than by one teacher and you were faced with a timetable filled with unfamiliar subjects. Moving into the Sixth Form, you are likely to experience similar feelings and it will take you a little time to get used to the new routine.
The most obvious difference, of course, is that instead of studying up to ten subjects you will now be studying only a few, probably four. The clear consequence of this is that you will find some gaps in your timetable, even when you have included General Studies and Games. There is a tendency for students to refer to these as ‘free periods’, but this is to misunderstand the nature of A level work - the wise student will quickly learn that these study periods are a necessary part of any A level course. At Ackworth you are encouraged to make good use of these times, but it is you who must find the self-discipline needed to study effectively during the working day and, indeed, beyond it.
Other differences will become apparent as you begin your courses. Class sizes will be smaller and you will find that there is more discussion in lessons and, probably, a more informal atmosphere than you have been used to. The work will, of course, be more difficult and you may need to study hard to understand some of the ideas you will encounter. More will be expected of you outside the classroom in terms of preparation and you will be expected to be interested enough in your chosen subjects to be ‘reading around’ them.
Sixth Form life will, then, be a new and often challenging experience for you. Throughout, you will be supported by highly skilled teachers and by your tutor. He or she will oversee your general academic progress and will be responsible (in conjunction with appropriate House staff) for your pastoral welfare. Your tutor will be monitoring your progress through reports and by discussion with those who teach you, and will be closely involved in the writing of your reference for higher education applications.
The Sixth Form is very much a community in itself, but it is an integral part of the wider School community. We expect members of our Sixth Form to be good role models for our younger pupils and there will be opportunities to play a significant part in their pastoral care, as they themselves develop self-awareness and prepare for social and global mobility. An example of this is the way in which our Sixth Formers act as ‘table ends’ at lunch. In this role they can help to maintain good order in the dining room but also provide a sympathetic ear to members of the Lower School.
Sixth Formers at Ackworth enjoy very good facilities. Academic departments are well resourced, provision for games and activities is excellent, there is access to a truly magnificent library and, throughout their time here, Sixth Formers have the use of a study which is usually shared with one other person. Within the study blocks there are also a number of common areas, where students can socialise outside the formal hours of the school day.
Of course, the academic, social, sporting and pastoral provision of which we are so proud is not an end in itself. Life in any Sixth Form is a time of transition. Once you have left school you are most likely to experience another huge change as you move into an institution of higher education. It is our hope that the lessons learned at Ackworth will help you to make this transition successfully. Judging by the performance of our old scholars at degree level, we are effective in what we aim to do.
Head of Sixth Form