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When to start looking at colleges/sixth form

(27 Posts)
JustLooking2019 Fri 17-May-19 19:52:32

Hi, just wondered when we should be thinking about this. Year 10 ds doesn’t really know what he wants to do but will probably be A levels.
Any advice on how he should decide and what to look for in a provider, would be great. His school hasn’t mentioned it yet

OP’s posts: |
Th1me Fri 17-May-19 19:56:29

My daughter is year 10 and has been to open evenings at the ones she is interested in and has decided on the local sixth form - which I’m happy about.
Her school have been talking about it all year.
Perhaps you could phone some up and enquire if they have already had their open evenings?

TheFirstOHN Fri 17-May-19 19:57:19

The open days are often in the autumn term of Y11. Maybe start researching the places that are closest. What courses do they offer? What were the entry requirements last year?

shatteredandstressed Fri 17-May-19 19:57:42

After Christmas in Year 11. Lots of schools and 6th form colleges have their open evenings then.
Quite of few of the sixth forms here then have "guidance interviews" after application submission.

ChippyMinton Fri 17-May-19 20:03:47

You need to research now so that you don’t miss any open days or deadlines.

One local 6th form college has a single open day in the summer term of Y10 and certain categories of applicants have a short window in Sept/Oct of Y11 to apply. If you miss that you’ve missed the boat.

Others have open days in autumn and November deadlines.

Please don’t leave it until after Christmas in Y11 unless you are sure that will get you into your preferred setting!

titchy Fri 17-May-19 20:36:43

You must be near me chippy! A certain former Brexit secretary's patch?

clary Fri 17-May-19 20:38:07

Yes I agree. start researching now. Most sixth forms round my way ha open days in the autumn term. We had t apply for most before Christmas.

shatteredandstressed Fri 17-May-19 20:41:54

Obviously you would check the individual 6th form open evenings dates 🙄

However, my daughter Yr11 (currently doing her GCSES) has just completed this process.
All our local sought after 6th forms had their open evenings in either January or February 2019. Applications went in end of Feb & interviews were late March/early April; conditional offers made just before Easter.
This is a big city by the way, we are not in the sticks, with little choice.

JustLooking2019 Fri 17-May-19 20:55:38

Thank you very much everyone, lots to think about and I will look at open evening dates over this weekend in case some are summer term

OP’s posts: |
TheRedBarrows Fri 17-May-19 21:17:25

The school would normally start talking them through 6th form options at the start of next year.

Look on the websites, their online prospectuses, and their entry requirements for the A levels / BTecs your Dc might be interested in.

Pipandmum Fri 17-May-19 21:21:18

I’m going to start going to open houses autumn term of y10. I noticed a couple have applications summer term of year 10. If you wait til y11 you may miss the deadlines (a lot are end of October of y11) so you want to have already narrowed it down by then.

BringOnTheScience Fri 17-May-19 22:32:29

6th form open days are starting in July in my area, then get busy Oct/Nov. The local application deadline is in Jan.

At the very least, he needs to look hard at exactly which qualifications he's interested in. There is a huge choice out there - A level, IB, BTECs of various levels, etc, etc.

ExpletiveDelighted Fri 17-May-19 22:38:25

We started going to Open days/eves a couple of months ago, some have them every term, some just once in the summer term. Also started sending for prospectuses. We have quite a lot of colleges to choose from so wanted to start early.

TeenTimesTwo Fri 17-May-19 22:47:08

Here in Hants 95% of schools don't have 6th forms so nearly everyone heads off to college. We started vaguely looking at the start of year 10, with return visits summer term y10 and autumn y11. Applications had to be in by December y11. We started early as DD was borderline A levels / BTEC , and didn't have a clue what she wanted to do.

What to look for:
a) what subjects catch the eye, including entry requirements, and syllabus (eg History at one place may cover different time frames from History somewhere else)
b) general approach of the place, support for uni applications, extra curricular, pastoral etc

The interviews for DD were to check that her chosen options fitted with future aspirations and likely grades, rather than being 'academic' interviews.

BackforGood Fri 17-May-19 23:30:35

Here all the open evenings were in a 2 week period around October 1/2 term.

Really poorly organised though - no 'whole authority' information like when you are looking at secondaries. Every school and college works independently of the others, and if you happen to be new to the area or not know (or talk to) families with older children, then there isn't any methodical way of finding out what your options are.

IME, if your current school has a 6th form then you get very little information from them, as they want the best students to come to them, so aren't 'advertising the opposition'. You have to be fairly proactive in finding out what options you might have and when their open evenings are.

TheFirstOHN Fri 17-May-19 23:34:42

BackforGood it's the same here. The onus is on the young person (or their parents) to find out the dates of the open days and application deadlines. Some 15 year olds will have the maturity and initiative to do this. Others less so.

stucknoue Fri 17-May-19 23:49:23

Open days are in the autumn but now is a good time to work out what's available course wise, a levels or something else?

TeenTimesTwo Sat 18-May-19 09:45:06

As our school doesn't have a 6th form (like almost everyone near us), they helpfully provide a sheet collating all the info. They help with personal statements, and each y11 has an interview with SLT to check they have plans.

MollyButton Sat 18-May-19 17:31:43

Around here there are Summer open evenings as well as autumn ones. It's a great chance to get a feel for the place, and an idea of the subjects on offer.

fairweathercyclist Sat 18-May-19 17:43:06

In our area the open days started in the autumn term and you needed to have applied by Christmas - at the latest. DS had done it by October half term.

DS school had an open evening where the various colleges came to give presentations and give out prospectuses etc. And before that there was a year 11 evening where they gave out key dates so they gave parents plenty of information and it would have been difficult to miss deadlines. But I don't know if all schools are so well organised.

JustLooking2019 Sat 18-May-19 17:49:53

A pp said that if a school has a sixth form they are less likely to give so much information out about other providers, I think that rings true here especially as ours is a new school with ds being the first year group so it makes sense that the school will want them to stay for sixth form but at the moment we don’t even know for definite which subjects will be available

OP’s posts: |
TheFirstOHN Sat 18-May-19 18:02:06

at the moment we don’t even know for definite which subjects will be available

This can be true even in established schools, although I appreciate that it's even more of an uncertainty in a new school.

For less popular subjects: are enough students going to sign up that it's financially viable to run it?

Can they find and retain specialised staff who can teach it to A-level? (in our area this seems to be an issue for Computer Science)

ChippyMinton Sun 19-May-19 15:22:56

@titchy yes wink which has reminded me to check the dates for 2020 entry. Not to hijack the thread but do you know the setting well?

Hotterthanahotthing Sun 19-May-19 21:35:54

We have just been to 2college open days for this September start.DD had an interview and was accepted in one college,we went to the open day and were both disappointed.
So,the other colleges have been greatl and understanding.She has interviews for both and knows which she wants

titchy Mon 20-May-19 07:47:45

@ChippyMinton yes both mine went there and enjoyed it. Encourages them to be independent, teaching quality seems good, class sizes around 15-20. Only niggle is 4 hours per subject per week rather than 5 - but I suspect that's how they balance the books and provide decent out of class support. Parents reasonably involved.

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