Pastoral care in the Sixth Form is the responsibility of Head of Sixth Form, who leads a team of eight tutors. Each tutor group consists of about twelve students and the tutor stays with the same group throughout the Sixth Form. During the two years of their A level courses, the tutor will get to know the student very well. They will be able to offer good advice on a range of matters, from how to write a personal statement for university application through to everyday personal and academic advice. Basically, if the student has a problem, then the first person to speak to is their tutor.
The tutor will also be monitoring the academic progress of their tutees through the target setting system which is in place here. On entry to the Sixth Form each student is given a target grade based on their GCSE results or, if these are not available, on their performance in a test administered as they come into the Sixth Form. Students who fall short of their targets will be interviewed by their tutor in an attempt to encourage better progress, and special measures may be put in place to encourage better study patterns. Besides the tutor, subject staff are also aware of target grades based on Durham University’s ALIS system. This is a second strand of target setting representing a “belt and braces” approach to monitoring progress. The aim is be supportive and positive without overburdening students with an unwieldy and intrusive pastoral system. Indeed, the student who is progressing normally and meeting targets will probably be unaware of much of the monitoring which takes place.
Starting a new school or even a new stage within the same school can be a daunting experience. Nevertheless we do try hard to make sure that everyone settles quickly to the new routine. New students are placed in a study with someone coming from our own Year 11, so immediately there will be someone who can help with advice on expectations and how to get around. Social events in the first few weeks also help to bring the new year group together and to help the Lower Sixth to mix with the Upper Sixth. It is almost always the case that students new to Ackworth are soon part of a well integrated Sixth Form, able to settle quickly to the new way of studying and to progress and reach their academic potential.