Sixth Form - when to start looking

(30 Posts)
differenttoyou Tue 08-Jul-14 23:49:04

DTs are just finishing Y10. The school has mentioned nothing yet about 6th form. Our school has a 6th form and the DTs should get places based on their current grades but are considering applying elsewhere. At what point do you start looking at other schools? The ones that I've looked at so far only have information regarding applications for 2014.

differenttoyou Tue 08-Jul-14 23:55:14

I went back to have another look and found that for this year the admissions deadline was 31 January so I'm expecting the same for next year. Better get a move on and compile a list of schools to look at. It all seems so early when they haven't even finished their end of Y10 exams yet.

BackforGood Wed 09-Jul-14 00:07:02

Marking place in case anybody comes up with pearls of wisdom as my dd is in the same boat. Not at all keen to stay where she is for 6th form.

mummytime Wed 09-Jul-14 00:25:11

I am going to an open day at a local very popular Sixth from college tomorrow, by October we will have ad to apply if we choose to as we are not in their top priority category (don't live in the right area). DD is year 10.
She will also definitely apply to her current school and should get in no problem, she also has an alternative which will be a stretch (and luck) to get into. She was considering another alternative, which she would also have to apply quickly as their less academic places fill very quickly.

You can hold more than one offer for Sixth form.

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 09-Jul-14 07:39:55

We did open evenings in the autumn term.

beachyhead Wed 09-Jul-14 07:48:26

The sixth form that dd is at closes its books surprisingly early and parents are caught out every year. It's either October or November for that particular school so best to check....

Most sixth forms have Open Days/Evenings in the Autumn Term, typically at the beginning of October, which is also when their 6th form prospectuses are available. All the information about A level courses available, deadlines for applications etc will be included in these. Applications are typically expected by the end of the Autumn Term, or by the end of January. This will also include having to choose Level 3 subjects/ courses, so it is a good idea to research/get advice about this early in Year 11!

TeenAndTween Wed 09-Jul-14 10:17:07

In Hants the secondaries don't have 6th forms, we have 6th form colleges instead.

So I started looking at the start of y10. Back again to our favoured ones end y10 and will visit again probably start y11. These are all at pre-organised open evening events. Have to apply first term of y11.

differenttoyou Wed 09-Jul-14 12:17:17

Thanks all. This is quite frustrating. I know that as parents we need to be very proactive but I really do feel that many parents are going to be caught out. I would have been nice if the school had already given some guidance. They can't take the whole cohort in to their own 6th form.

I'm glad that I started to look in to this.

ElephantsNeverForgive Wed 09-Jul-14 12:23:50

Get on the web now, as others have said some collages have open days in Sept/October and forms in in Nov. some are far more relaxed. DDs school didn't worry until March. She'd had her collage offer long before.

mummytime Wed 09-Jul-14 12:50:47

My DCs school can take almost the whole cohort into its own sixth form, and application there doesn't have to be until January. They do also inform us of open days at local colleges. There will also be more careers guidance through year 11. However for local sixth form colleges it can be necessary to apply quite early.
(There is a lot of shuffling at Sixth form locally, as some students go private, others move from private to state both school sixth form's and colleges, and other look for more vocational courses at a range of colleges.)

Weirdly, the colleges around me have more competition for some courses than the Sixth Forms. Although they don't officially have application closing dates, with applications accepted right up to August with courses starting in September. Popular courses can be filled up VERY quickly - some by October for courses starting the following year. The courses to be aware that this might include are:
- BTEC L3 Animal Care & Management
- BTEC/CACHE L3 Childcare & Education
- Construction courses, especially plumbing & electrical installation
- BTEC L3 Sports, especially where combined with some sort of sporting academy.
There are probably others too that I can't think of just now...

differenttoyou Wed 09-Jul-14 14:54:14

If that's the case then surely the schools should be informing the parents that they need to get a move on.

Yes they should.

Quite often though, there is a conflict between what the school thinks may be best for pupils (sixth form?), and what they may want to do themselves, if they only knew such courses existed. That is the main rationale for having IMPARTIAL careers guidance, from an external source in schools. Unfortunately, the careers guidance services have been decimated in recent years, and it has been left to the schools to provide a guidance service,without having been given any extra funding to do it. The situation should improve in coming years, as it is being looked at, but in the meantime, I would advise all Year 10 pupils' parents to enquire what their DCs school is offering.

It is also possible to see a Careers Adviser privately. To ensure the Adviser is experienced and qualified, use the "Find a Registered Professional" list from the Career Development Institute (CDI):
bit.ly/19pxU9h

ElephantsNeverForgive Wed 09-Jul-14 15:26:54

Or keeping quiet, to boast their own sixform numbers (or am I being cynical again).

BackforGood Wed 09-Jul-14 18:23:01

That's what I was thinking Elephants - they want the 6th Formers to stay there, so don't do anything to let students know they need to be doing stuff by start of October to apply elsewhere.
I'm glad you started this thread different

I'm glad you read between my lines! Yes, keeping the numbers up in the Sixth Form can be one motivation & it is a powerful one when there are potentially teaching jobs at stake.
However, there are also school staff who genuinely believe that A levels are the be all & end all...They may not even know about the alternatives.
Who is to say whether an academically able pupil should do a plumbing apprenticeship if that is their inclination, rather than some A levels? There may be very good reasons why someone may choose to go to college or take an apprenticeship. So long as they have thought out their choice, and looked at the alternatives, including the long-term implications of their choice, then they should be helped to achieve their goal.
But then, as a Careers Adviser, I've heard some distinctly dodgy comments from school staff concerning careers & educational pathways!

differenttoyou Wed 09-Jul-14 19:02:17

I feel I ought to talk to someone at the school but don't know who? As far as I know, all of the relevant staff are accompanying an overseas trip until the end of term. I might try the year 10 tutors if I can get in touch with them.

BackforGood Wed 09-Jul-14 19:05:00

Just found this - don't know if it's any use?

LynetteScavo Wed 09-Jul-14 19:09:31

DS1 is finishing Y10...I have checked out entry requirements to the local schools, and already have it down to two schools.

Will be looking around both of them and applying to both. I don't think it's possible to miss out on application dates....I'm presuming current schools with send out info in Y11. DS1 is straight forward as he wants to do A'levels.

DS2 will be more tricky to place, I suspect.

You may find the blog I wrote last December about choosing A level subjects, including relevant links to places where you can get really detailed information (e.g. about A levels required for different degrees) useful:
bit.ly/1qKCfcX

differenttoyou Thu 10-Jul-14 13:26:16

Spoke to the head of 6th form this morning asking for advice. It was as Elephants said, they would like to encourage as many of their cohort to stay on with them as long as they meet the criteria. They said that if a specific child doesn't then they would discuss alternatives with them. They don't have a list of alternatives schools and suggested goggling for schools in the area. The majority of the schools around here are asking for very high GCSE passes, the majority want at least 6 Bs and a B in English and Maths. Our own school are asking for a C in English. Then of course there are the individual grades for specific subjects, most of which require an A. My kids will get in to our current school's 6th form with no problems but realistically would probably like a change of scene. We are not sure that they will get a B in English so we may not have an option.

It seems to me as though the problem is actually mainly for academic kids. But even for those who aren't academic there isn't a whole lot of choice. There are only a couple of colleges and one UTC in the area and one of the colleges doesn't offer A levels. They offer BTECS which I'm sure will fill up quickly as someone else pointed out.

I have a feeling that there are going to be some very shocked and stressed parents come October/November time.

I'm quite sad that although my boys will most likely fly in to their current school's 6th form they will have their options limited by their pass level in English.

differenttoyou Thu 10-Jul-14 13:28:59

Forgot to say that they told me that because of the upcoming changes in the A levels, many schools still don't actually know what courses they will be offering in 2015 and that's possibly why there is not much information on their websites.

The changes to A levels are not being applied to all subjects at the same time and as of now not all the information has been passed to the schools.

bigTillyMint Thu 10-Jul-14 13:45:56

Marking my place as DD will be looking for a sixth-form place for 2015 and she wants to move from her current school. There are not many sixth-form colleges here - mostly sixth-forms in schools, so I'm wondering how tricky it will be if they all encourage their own students to move up.

titchy Thu 10-Jul-14 14:06:41

Draft specifications for the new-style A Levels are available on the exam board websites by the way....

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