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Moving from an 11-16 to an 11-18 for sixth form

(22 Posts)
reddolphin Sat 12-Jan-19 16:58:44

Hi! My daughter is in year 11, and her school doesn't have a sixth form. There is one sixth form and one college available in the local area. My daughter has applied for a school that's around a 45 minute train journey away, as there is a subject that she is absolutely adamant on doing, and it isn't offered anywhere close.

I was speaking to a friend and she said that a Catholic academy in the area did the subject in their sixth form. I hadn't even realised that school had a sixth form! We went to look around and she absolutely loves the atmosphere, she has anxiety so the smaller class sizes are great for her.

Is moving to an 11-18 a good idea for sixth form? She's worried about the fact people moving up would've known each other for 5 years, and only 10% of the sixth form students are external (Around 10-15 per year). It would save her the journey, and it has an amazing support system.

OP’s posts: |
clary Sat 12-Jan-19 18:26:36

There are quite a few schools round here that are 11-16 only, so a fair few people move to an 11-18 school for Alevels.

DD is in yr 13 at one such and there are a few people who started in yr 12, but I think they are fine. In fact some of them are in her close friendship group, which also includes people she gas known since yr 7 and some she has known since yr 1!

I would go on the subjects offered (what is yr DD's crucial one btw?) and the feel of the school above the fact that is 11-18. in addition I would always go for a school for A levels rather than college, but that's mainly based on my own experience of schools vs the college in my town.

reddolphin Sat 12-Jan-19 18:46:16

Thank you Clary

The subject is politics, which she's told me she isn't even going to consider giving up. The school that does it doesn't do law, which is another one that she really wanted to do, but she said she doesn't mind giving it up in order to do politics, which is a subject she's wanted to do since year 8.

It's so tough choosing! We're going to go look around all the schools for a second time, but she's just applying to them all and saying she's literally going to choose on the day.

OP’s posts: |
clary Sat 12-Jan-19 19:03:50

Ah ok, I wouldn't advise law AND gov-pol as neither is a facilitating subject. What else is she planning to do? What is her plan post -18?

reddolphin Sat 12-Jan-19 19:09:17

She wants to do law. Her other subject that she wants to do is English lit, and she isn't sure on the fourth since you choose four at that school. Neither of us really care about the facilitating subjects, I want her to do what she wants to do and not do subjects she doesn't care about just because.

OP’s posts: |
reddolphin Sat 12-Jan-19 19:10:22

She also doesn't know if she wants to become a lawyer or a primary teacher, so she's not even certain if she wants to do law.

OP’s posts: |
Petalflowers Sat 12-Jan-19 19:15:02

It’s common for people to move schools for six form where I live. The newbies soon settle,in and integrate.

My son moved and flourished from moving schools.

Soursprout Sat 12-Jan-19 20:00:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhatALearningCurve Sat 12-Jan-19 20:07:01

I went to a 4-18 school, by 6th Form there were 80 people in my year, over half had been there before 11 years old so we all pretty much known each other for an average of 10 years. We only had 1 girl join us at 16. She fit right in and to be honest was probably given automatic "cool points" because she was a newbie and therefore we assumed her life before our school must have been exciting ha. I can understand the fear of being so obviously new but i wouldn't worry as much as you think.

clary Sat 12-Jan-19 20:11:30

Facilitating subjects are a good idea if you want to go on to a well-regarded university. To be a solicitor or barrister or teacher you need a degree.

But there's no need to do law A level to do law at university, because so many schools don't offer it anyway.

ShalomJackie Sat 12-Jan-19 21:34:43

As a solicitor I would actually say not to bother with law A level at all and do Eng Lit, Politics and then another 2.

Even if she does not do a law degree this does not preclude her from becoming a solicitor as she can do a GDL as a post grad course.

My son's school has a number of pupils join their 11-18 school for 6th Form and after about a term you don't even realise who the new ones are!

BackforGood Sat 12-Jan-19 22:24:36

In terms of the 'moving to an 11 - 18 school', it really depends on the school.
Where there are a lot of pupils moving to the 6th form, it shouldn't be an issue, but it potentially can be more so when there are only a small number. That said, friendship groups tend to change a lot in 6th form anyway as people tend to buddy up with people who do the same subjects as themselves.
Is there a way she can chat to someone / some people who moved to the school as newcomers who are in the 6th form now ?

Another thing it might depend on is how much she relies on school for her friendships. If she has a good circle of friends from Guides / Scouts / Cadets / sports Team / dance / orchestra / or whatever she does, then the friendship angle at school becomes less of an issue.

45mins isn't really that long a journey to school in the 6th form though, either.

NicolaStart Sun 13-Jan-19 10:19:07

Sorry OP but supporting her to study what she loves means making sure she has the foundation that enables her to go on and study what she loves at Uni. And facilitating subjects are important.

And 4 A levels can be a lot if work especially in esssay subjects. You get no extra credit for 4 A levels over 3 in Uni entrance so the top 3 need to be at her best grades possible and include at least 2 facilitating subjects.

Joining the Debating Club could be a good extra curricular activity if she is interested in law.

The Catholic school nearby sounds a good bet in terms of saving travel time.

My Dc changed schools from one 11-18 school to another for Yr 12 and did find it quite hard settling into friendship groups, but tne tutor groups have been totally reshuffled from Yr 11, and taking part in a significant extra-curricular activity really helped.

How many pupils from non Catholic schools does the Catholic school take? Is it very religiously orientated? Would your Dd be left out of a significant social circle if lots of students see each others’ families through church?

reddolphin Sun 13-Jan-19 11:11:02

Nicola she was off school for a while with mental health issues. I know for a fact that if I told her she had to do certain subjects, she’d never go in to sixth form. After having a look at the list of facilitating subjects, there’s honestly not a chance that she’d do more than one of them, and I’ll support her in that.

Everyone takes four, and then drops one for Year 13. It’s not very religious oriented, they only hold mass once a year. They accept pretty much all entries in Year 12 since not many come from external schools anyway.

She’s already saying she’s not going, so I’m stuck again now confused

OP’s posts: |
NicolaStart Sun 13-Jan-19 12:05:36

OK, her MH is important.

Would she consider History? So much of that is linked to law and politics.

So is she saying no to the Catholic school or no to Sixth form altogether?

Would any of her friends go to the school 45 mins away?

cantkeepawayforever Sun 13-Jan-19 17:58:58

DS does Politics, and tbh the overlap / support from the History course that he does as well is very significant. The history course does British and American history and the politics course does British and American politics, and the overlap is significant, so I think he'd be at a disadvantage if he wasn't doing history as well.

If she has to start 4 in any case (DS's school has the same structure), then if law isn't available, English, History, Politics + AN Other would be a good combination.

[The 4 thing may be flexible given her previous MH issues, btw - I do know of several students at DS's school who, despite most doing 4, have dropped to 3 almost immediately, buying themselves a bit more study time and reducing stress considerably]

reddolphin Sun 13-Jan-19 19:07:36

cantkeep Thank you for the insight! She does history at GCSE and enjoys history but doesn't enjoy the subjects they cover, so we'd have to ask which topics they cover in the course.

She's not overly worried about the 4 subjects minus the fact she has no idea what she'd do. She's thinking of doing graphics to add a bit more of a 'stress relief' subject, and accepting from the beginning that she'd be dropping that subject at the end of first year. It's a shame they don't do law, but I think politics, law and English lit would be too stressful for her anyway.

OP’s posts: |
cantkeepawayforever Sun 13-Jan-19 19:15:40

I agree that topics really matter. DS is a 'modern history' buff and would quietly die inside if he had to do e.g. medieval history in depth as part of the course. Might be worth asking?

reddolphin Sun 13-Jan-19 20:59:19

cantkeep My daughter is the opposite! I think after four years of doing modern history she's ready to move onto something new, she's very interested in ancient history, so fingers crossed that's available for her!

OP’s posts: |
NicolaStart Sun 13-Jan-19 21:12:26

She is at a v stressful juncture atm, with GCSEs looming. Nothing beats GCSEs for dress load, IMO and IME.

With that over, a summer hol to relax and de-compress and hopefully decent GCSE results to boost her confidence, she might be gaining increased mental health by September.

Most sixth forms seem to alllow some swapping of courses in tne first week or so, so there is flexibility.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 14-Jan-19 08:09:11

DS1 has moved to a large sixth form and had no problems at all settling in. The size means a lot more subjects are available than at his old school. Two of them are subjects started from scratch - philosophy and psychology. He absolutely loves philosophy and may carry on with it.
I would say English, Ancient History and Politics is a great combination - or Classical Civilisation. History has loads of options and a large sixth form will offer more than one pathway.

mumtobabygilrl Mon 14-Jan-19 15:01:46

Our school had new kids join into 6th form there were never net problems as the classes are all mixed up so lots were in groups with new classmates

By week two or three it was all forgotten who was new.

I wouldn't let it put her off

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