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A Choice of Two Very Different Sixth Form Colleges in Southampton .......

(18 Posts)
doglover Sat 11-Jul-15 20:15:38

My dd has been accepted at two very different Southampton sixth forms ..... and loves them both! One is tiny - attached to her current school offering a small selection of academic subjects - and the other is larger with a more varied course portfolio. The first is very quiet and friendly: the second, more of a 'vibrant' feel but doesn't have such good results.

At sixth form A, her AS courses would be: Eng Lit, music, RE and sociology

At sixth form B, her AS courses would be: Eng Lit, music, media and critical and contextual art

Dd is utterly torn - both taster days were " ..simply brilliant.... ".

I have suggested that it might be worth phoning a range of universities to see how they would view the two different subject lists. List A is more academic but she really prefers list B. She is predicted A* /A in her strong subjects but really struggles with maths and sciences and would be hoping to study Eng/Media at university.

We would really appreciate some MN words of wisdom ......

TeenAndTween Sat 11-Jul-15 20:57:16

RT and somewhere else?

RE and sociology sound more 'academic' to me, but not my area of knowledge.

Have you heard of the Russell group preferred subjects list (or whatever it is called). Can you go onto UCAS website and explore requirements?

At B could she do her A options if she wanted to, they sound pretty mainstream?

'Doesn't have such good results', is that because it is not being fed direct from your school and as such has a much more varied intake? If your DD is expecting As then you need to know how they manage with that level of intake, not the B/Cs.

(Did you rule out BP for a reason? Or is that option B?)

eatyourveg Sat 11-Jul-15 21:02:58

I would go along with investigating different degree courses but also consider how resilient your dd is. 6th form B being bigger may well offer better preparation for university in terms of independence and a wider social mix of students. If your dd however is a more reserved/fragile type she may well be better off staying on at school where she knows the teachers and her peers

Is B also attached to a school? if so, will she mind being the newbie? if its a 6th form college everyone will be new so it won't make a difference.

If all things really are equal then look at other factors such as how easy is it to get to, does she know people at 6th form B. Are most of Y11 staying on at 6th form A, what extra curricular things are available at each? (dc's school offer driving lessons!)

I remember looking at Hill and Richard Taunton back in the early 80s, ended up at a small 6th form attached to a local school gave it up after a year as it was just an extension of school albeit there were a few extra concessions so transferred to PSC in Winchester

Wherever she goes she will have to carry on with maths until she gets a C and even then, there is talk about making all students carry on with some form of maths until 18 but I'm not sure when that kicks in.

doglover Sat 11-Jul-15 21:20:25

Thanks for the comments - food for thought .....

TeenandTween - yes, it's RT (choice B) and St A (Choice A).

We have indeed looked at Informed Choices / facilitating subjects but she is adamant that she aims to study the previously-mentioned courses.

Of her group of close friends, some are going to PSC, two remaining at St A and none going to RT, however this isn't a real issue for her - she knows lots of people at RT.

RT offers a wider range of extra-curricular activities and would, socially, be a better preparation for university.

There is a RT college bus from our village whereas St A's would be public transport.

TeenAndTween Sat 11-Jul-15 21:29:49

Personally, I'd go with RT unless you have a real concern about results. She prefers the subjects, better social mix, better chance to spread her wings and a half way house to university.

However, we didn't look at RT, and I didn't even know St A had a 6th form. (DD off to Brock).

However, definitely check out whether her A levels would be acceptable for her possible uni courses.

She's got until around the 24th August to decide.

doglover Sat 11-Jul-15 21:36:51

Thanks, TandT.

Will definitely do the university checking smile

eatyourveg Sat 11-Jul-15 21:43:29

I was at A!

eatyourveg Sat 11-Jul-15 21:44:41

Would she not consider PSC?

doglover Sat 11-Jul-15 21:51:05

We live in the forest (Waterside area) with very limited public transport! She would have to spend a huge amount of time travelling everyday so PSC is a non-starter for us. She didn't like the feel of Brock College at all.

She's loved her time at St A but is, I think, wanting to try somewhere new for A levels.

nameshifter Sun 12-Jul-15 09:41:05

dont be blinded by "good results" as what you really want to know is what school will get the best results from your daughter, which is not always the same thing. Try comparing only the results for English Lit and Music - still the same picture?

RE will keep open more options than media and probably be regarded more highly for Eng Lit courses.

basildonbond Sun 12-Jul-15 10:29:19

The combination of A-levels at her preferred college is ringing alarm bells for me ... She is going to be shutting doors to a lot of options with music, media and art

What is she interested in career-wise? IMO the only thing a media studies degree prepares you for is lecturing in media studies. It will be no help at all in getting a career in the media...

TalkinPeace Sun 12-Jul-15 11:32:11

I used to live in Milton Road grin

From the Waterside your options are very limited.

StA is great and gets stellar results but it is quite narrow.
RT is still coming up - a couple of years ago it was in the "bargepole" category
but DS went there for an event and really liked it
however the word is that they do not push you nearly as hard as somewhere like PSC

If your DD is outgoing and motivated, she'll have a blast at RT
if she is not motivated, she may be better staying at StA

but I agree with the others - avoid fluffy subjects at A level that might narrow her later options

TalkinPeace Sun 12-Jul-15 11:33:21

BP and PSC have both just changed their bus timetables and routes for next year
if any posters are on the outliers of their patches CHECK

DulcetMoans Sun 12-Jul-15 11:39:06

What does she want to go on to do? The course lists of both are very different so I would look to base it on the next step rather than this one.

Both are good colleges and A*/A will be viewed relatively similarly from both so it's down to the mix and what she wants to do - some A Levels will not be accepted by some admissions teams for some courses so need to be sure what she wants.

(Also, completely disagree with basildon about a media degree. It's an easy one to knock but absolutely not only good for teaching.)

doglover Sun 12-Jul-15 12:14:51

Dd is very motivated and achieves excellently at the subjects she cares about. She's not an extrovert but seems to be genuinely liked by all sorts of her peers. She's a bit quirky and is very happy in her own skin - quite enviable for a sixteen year old!

She genuinely doesn't know what she wants to do career-wise so I agree that keeping her options open is sensible. She loves independent research and analysing media and art and is gifted musically. (Unfortunately, the link with maths/music has bypassed our family!!)

We'll definitely contact universities - a whole range - and collect their views.

TawnyPippit Sun 12-Jul-15 14:48:53

I will caveat all this by saying it was a very long time ago.

I went to A and went to a Very Good University Indeed from there (and to do a v traditional/hard subject). But I was in quite a small minority who did very well academically and I personally felt the school was quite narrow at 6th form: it was very definitely a school type atmosphere, with a touch of 6th form and nothing like a 6th form college. Incidentally, that is exactly why me parents wanted me to stay there as they had some sort of view that I would go off the rails at a sixth form college (ha!)

If I had left at the end of GCSE's I suspect I would have quite fond memories of the school. As it is I'm a bit meh as 6th form was not a horizon opening experience for me at all, much more like marking time.

doglover Sun 12-Jul-15 20:46:58

Thanks TP.

I think you've probably summed up what I feel very succinctly! It will be her decision but I feel it would be better for her to experience a more varied environment.

doglover Fri 31-Jul-15 22:57:42

Just a quick update fro anyone who's interested ............

My dd contacted a range of universities this week and explained her dilemma. All the universities said that either option A OR B would be considered absolutely fine for an English (or English/media) degree.

She can now base her decision on other factors.

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