Sixth form provison(24 Posts)
Our LA proposes to close all of the 6th forms currently running within schools, making them 11-16 only and replace them with a single college on one site. It doesn't seem right to me. Grateful for any views pros or cons.....
Sixth form funding has been cut to the bone, if all the kids are in one place they will be able to offer a wider provision than each school offering their own thing.
Presumably that's why. It's crap not to have a choice though.
In Hampshire we have 6th form colleges with no 6th forms at state schools.
+ pupils make an active choice as to where and what they want to study, rather than falling into something because it is offered at their current location
+ you can do pretty much whatever combination of A levels you want, no issue with timetabling
+ a good half way house between school and university
- changing schools/systems can be disrupting for more needy students, the teachers & pastoral support don't know them
- massive colleges can be overwhelming
- not as well funded as schools so things like pastoral care limited
From our house DD has access to
- 3 A level focussed colleges (also offer a few BTECs)
- 1 'BTEC' college
- 1 mixed A level and/or BTEC college
- 1 'outdoory' BTEC college (animals, outdoor pursuits etc)
Which is a fantastic choice I think.
They did this in my home town while I was at school. It was great, as it meant A-level choices were much broader, and it equipped me to be a much more independent learner in preparation for Uni, and offered a much bigger circle of people to mix with. After 5 years in the same place a change of environment was very refreshing.
It's happening here too OP, inevitable I think in more thinly populated areas. DD won't have any choice - just the one 6th form centre at the local tertiary college. TBH I think it's probably better than a 6th form with only 60 or 70 pupils - and a price that we pay for living in a (very lovely!) rural area as opposed to a big city.
Thanks Teen. I like the pros and hope the'll apply to the new college which will be pretty much our only option unless we want to do the 2 or 3 buses thing.
Yes the funding pressure thing means that the new college is perhaps inevitable. But to have no fall back position is definitely crap.
Thanks merlot. I hope my son sees it that way. The range of subjects offered is rumoured to be the same as the school but I agree that low numbers mean subjects are not always run.
In Hampshire we have 6th form colleges with no 6th forms at state schools.
Has my alma mater St Anne's in So'ton lost its 6th form then? That is a state school.
S'oton doesn't count as Hampshire when it comes to schools
(Just checked, it has a mixed 6th form college).
Thought of another negative.
There are no 6th forms in our town, so to get to even the closest ones costs around £600-700 pa. I've just paid £399 for next term's travel!
St Annes always had its own 6th because it is Catholic.
There are also a couple of Hampshire schools with 6th form - because they are flipping remote !
Having been at schools with 6th form I was VERY dubious that it would work, but with my 2nd kid going through the 6th form college system, I'm a convert
Thanks eatyourveg we are trying to resist the change but feel it may be inevitable.
Another problem can be that some excellent teachers are lost to the schools because they want to teach A level. The schools that are 11-16 can end up with recruitment problems. The advantage would be more subjects at a 6th form college but cost of travel may be a negative factor too.
It's being introduced to save money. And in the long run it will be more efficient.
My son chose to go to a college like that in a town just over the border in another county. It suits him perfectly as they are treated like young adults rather than little kids and obviously there's a wide choice of courses and activities. I don't know why anyone would choose to stay on tbh.
Our area has had this for many years. It's dreadful. About four local (CofE, Catholic ,Christian ethos) schools have sixth forms, otherwise kids have to go to either the sixth form college or, for vocational courses, the one local fe college that offers them.
The sixth form college is dreadful - teachers often don't turn up so kids sign a register to show they've attended then can go home, standards are poor, quality of teaching, when it happens, is variable, pastoral care seems almost non existent. In both the years one DC was there, particular teacher was never available for consultation evening and we were asked to sign a list for a phone call home to discuss dcs progress. Despite several follow up calls and emails from me, I'm still waiting for those calls and DC is now 25! My experience is very similar to friends and colleagues experiences of the college over many years, so not a 'one off' . Other DC got a place in one of the local school sixth forms and the experience couldn't have been more different. Certainly in this area, I would definitely avoid the sixth form college if at all possible.
I live in France where state secondaries are often split into collège (11-14 middle school) and lycée (15-18 high school). Most private Catholic schools are all through secondaries (11-18).
Teacher recruitment in standalone middle schools is a serious problem. This isn't confined to France: all over the world, standalone middle schools have recruitment issues and are unattractive to the best teachers.
My school has a sixth form and there's a large college down the road so there's lots of discussion in Y11 at the moment about where to go. A lot of students choose to stay on because a) we get better results, b) we have better pastoral care, c) students want to stay where they know and with teachers who know them, and with their friends, d) the college is big, intimating and anonymous and they don't feel ready for that yet.
you can do pretty much whatever combination of A levels you want, no issue with timetabling
On the other hand, this encourages students to take weird combinations which don't leave open very many university options.
And the sixth form doesn't know the pupils. Pupils can typically do what they want, provided they have the required GCSE grades, whereas in a school sixth form the teachers know the pupils much more, can advise better on what subjects will suit them at A level.
Separating 11-16 and 16-18 education means that neither is very familiar with what is taught in the other. If you teach both year 11 and year 12 classes, you know where you could usefully go beyond the year 11 GCSE material to support year 12 learning. This doesn't happen if you don't teach year 12.
user721 And the sixth form doesn't know the pupils. Pupils can typically do what they want, provided they have the required GCSE grades, whereas in a school sixth form the teachers know the pupils much more, can advise better on what subjects will suit them at A level.
This is true. When DD was looking at A levels we found the school couldn't advise as they didn't teach them, and the college only looked at her predicted grades, rather than understanding her strengths and weaknesses . Had I been a less involved parent, DD could easily have ended up doing courses she had no chance of success in.
My DD's sixth form college has been far more supportive and flexible than her old school sixth form would have been (it allowed her to change her subjects pretty late). The school sixth form from past experience isn't as good pastorally as further down the school, as they seem to think the young people need less support and they don't listen as well to parents.
But as in all things it depends on the leadership.
One other thing is Sixth forms colleges are not as well funded and have to pay VAT.
I think having all on one site and set up for the purpose can give an excellent intermediate step between school and college. Eldest DD attended such a school.
- the school had excellent reasonably modern facilities
- specialist A level teachers
- a fresh start after 5 years in a very poor school
- college was large which meant choice but not university small town large IYSWIM
- coming in from a different school DD didnt get the transition which 'home' students got so DD started on the back foot and lost a fair bit of time just catching up
- distance to travel on a very overcrowded bus service
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