Moving to another school for 6th form pros and cons.(18 Posts)
well where ds1 goes there is no attached 6th form so we don't have a choice!
Most people who move do so for one of two reasons
A. They don't like where they are
B. the school they are at doesn't do the subject choice they want.
My DS changed schools for sixth form ,he went from a boys grammar to a girls grammar (all mixed sixth forms) . He has always got on better with girls , hated the school he was at and as an added bonus the uniform policy at the girls school was much more relaxed. It worked wonderfully for him ( now at uni) and there were plenty of boys there .
There are a few 6th form colleges where I live, some students chose these over 6th forms attached to their schools because they offer a greater range of A levels etc.
They also have a more grown up atmosphere.
I think that grown up atmosphere was something that appealed to my DS and at the girls grammar they aimed for more of a university type atmosphere than that of a school
Hmm i suppose they get to feel that they are moving onwards and upwards
I hated my secondary school so left and did 6th form at a specialist college, best decision ever, I had a better choice of A levels and became more independent etc. I also believe it helped when I went to Uni as college was 20miles away in a big city so I had to get myself there and back and take more responsibility for my learning, which those who stayed at 'school' didn't. Best decision ever
My DS1 stayed at his comprehensive school for 6th form rather than going to the local 6th form college where most of his friends went. It helped that he wanted to do subjects that his school could offer. It was the best decision we could have made, and he got 3As and a B in his AS Levels this year. It was definitely valuable that the teachers already knew him, and he was familiar with the place.
One thing to bear in mind is that they do their first exams in January of Year 12, which gives them very little time to get settled in at a new place. My DS was able to hit the ground running so to speak, whereas at the 6th Form college it would have taken him a few weeks to get the hang of it, and the teachers would have had no idea who he was and what he was capable of.
The idea of being more independent and self-reliant is great if that is the sort of child you have. My DS needed more supervision at the beginning from people he already knew.
My yr 12 DS stayed on at his secondary school partly because he had teachers who knew him and he could hit the ground running. He is very independent anyway and his other option for 6th form was two stops further on the same train he has been taking since yr7.
One of his reasons for moving was it would take him out of his comfort zone and provide a bit of challenge.
The deciding factor for him staying in the end was because he got a small scholarship and it would have been complicated trying to transfer it.
Son school is going to be opening a sixth form from Sept'13. Undecided what to do. As his sister's did not have the choice and gone to a sixth form college. Think it would make him more independent going to a sixth form college. As he lives 5 minutes walk away at moment. Wont be an easy decision to decide. Will depend on what he wants to do subject wise.
For us one benefit of our DC changing at sixth form was it saved us a fortune! They were both at private senior schools and so swapping was advantageous in that respect.
At 15/16 children ate becoming adults and it was important that they were able to decide on their own destiny for sixth form. Fortunately we have an outstanding sixth form college on our doorstep, another two not so far away and a couple of excellent technical colleges. DC both chose the outstanding sixth form, however DD moved to the technical college.
I guess it depends on your circumstances and what options you have around you. I know my DC felt they chose the right schools for them and DD even says making the wrong choice was ultimately the right choice!
A real tough one for DD1 as she is at a comp with an OK sixth form where she is reasonably happy, BUT has two option block clashes in her likely subject choices.
Other schools the same or higher standard are very competitve to get into. Her first choice has compulsory 5 AS.
The local college is not good and does not do one of her subjjects.
So it looks like travellign further afield, or compromising.
School say they may be able to do something about one clash, but unlikely to accommodate two.
And this is all before any open days.
Sorry, I meant are they at a disadvantage by moving to a school where they are not known by the head or teachers? Is it hard to make new friends at that age?
At such an important time is it better to stay with the "devil you know" if you are happy?
DD wants a school with a better Oxbridge/ RG uni intake, I would prefer her to stay at her currant school where the teachers and head like her, instead of moving and being an unknown.
DCs large sixth form take an extra 20-25 a year, mainly from privates. They settle in quite quickly, DS has a new good friend from one of the Newbies.
Around here a number from all schools also go to a Sixth form college in the next town.
In school sixth forms, even for new students there is much closer pastoral involvement, and the teachers try to get to know them quickly. Actually most students will have some new teachers in sixth form, and some teachers only teach sixth form (DS has 3 new teachers out of 6 subject teachers).
At sixth form college everyone is new, and lots of students feel a bit lost in the first term. Also the more adult atmosphere suits some students more than others (it wouldn't have suited my DS).
At the sixth form mine went to it didn't seem to matter where they had been before , the teachers treated them all equally and the schools HT had less to do with them as there is a head of sixth form . Because the class sizes are generally smaller at A level the teachers get to know them really quickly anyhow.
Is it hard to make new friends at that age?
Obviously it depends on the child, but also the school set-up. Our school takes in loads of new students at sixth form (there are as many newbies as there are existing pupils) so it is easy to form new friendships and it is not so cliquey.
What does the school do on the extra-curricular / pastoral side? Ours has lots of sport, music, volunteering etc which (a) helps with friendships and (b) helps with 'standing out from the crowd' so that HT / teachers can notice you. Also, what about work experience and contacts outside school? (thinking ahead to Personal Statement)
Don't go on the general rep for the school. Look at the A Level results for your specific subjects.
I would prefer her to stay at her current school where the teachers and head like her, instead of moving and being an unknown.
If she is thinking of Oxbridge then she is going to have to do an interview where she will have even less time to make an impression! Might as well start practising now.
I went to a 6th form college and my daughter has too. Often choice is the major reason, but my daughter had no choice.
Visiting lots of sixth forms and colleges, it was obvious that they differ very much in pastoral care and parental feedback. One seemed very geared to the students being independant (this is the one she has gone too - no parents evenings, all student one to ones for feedback) but others handheld a bit more, which would suit some students better.
By moving they offered change and they offered a huge choice of courses, which is obviously good for those who need it. Being able to reinvent oneself is no bad thing after five secondary school years.
Travel and adjustment are usually the disadvantages.
In my daughters case, another disadvantage is the lack of extra curricular, but some sixth firm colleges excel at this. To make a firm decision, you really need to visit them all, read their prospectuses so your teenager can make an informed, tailored decision.
DD has changed school for 6th form. Something I discovered was that catchment doesnt exist in the same way at 6th form as it does in earlier years. This meant that DD was able to apply and get into a school which was not available earlier.
One big advantage IMO is that you dont need to worry what the school is like at the earlier years. You just need to focus on what your DC needs for those two crucial years. The 6th form is often a separate organisation within the school.
Something to consider though is that there will be more of a transition for the new students coming in. They may well not have studied the same syllabus as the 'resident' students. Also, the resident students may be starting their new courses immediately after they finish GCSEs.
These are not insurmountable but the student does need to be fairly robust and also a self-starter. We got DD a number of Head Start books for the subjects she is studying. She worked through these over the summer.
Join the discussion
Please login first.