Introduction by Mr. G. Marshall, Head of Sixth Form
The Sixth Form at Sutton Grammar School still operates within the formal structures of the main school, but it is nonetheless a different experience from school life in Years 7 to 11.
Our basic philosophy is that the Sixth Form should provide for a period of transition between the wholly directed study of the Lower and Upper Schools and the more independent methods of study in Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE). We aim to provide a clear structure for students, together with the flexibility to allow students to develop their own learning methods. We believe that it is an advantage of the Sixth Form here that students are not simply left to find their own way, but are guided clearly and firmly by staff.
The main focus of Sixth Form life is, of course, academic A-Level study, but it would be a poor-spirited institution that was not able to offer more, in the interests of a broad and stimulating education, going over and beyond the pressures of exam study. Thus, Sixth Formers have the opportunity to exercise responsibilities and leadership within the school community through the prefect system, and through the clubs and societies which are so often dependent on Sixth Form commitment: the House System and the CCF, for example, rely heavily on Sixth Form leadership.
In addition to being at the leading edge of the school community, students in the Sixth Form should also come to realise that the relationship between them and their subject teachers is perceptibly different from previous years. Whilst respect for the teacher as an instructor should always be maintained, much of the stimulus of A-Level study comes from approaching it as more of a partnership between teacher and student. A more informal relationship, built upon mutual respect, is thus developed over the two years, to the benefit of all.
In short, there is much to look forward to in the Sixth Form. Within the familiar structures, we hope that there is the opportunity to reach for new and exciting personal goals, both academic and social - the opportunity to 'seize the day'!
Sixth Form Aims
- To provide academic studies leading to A-Level qualifications
- To provide a transition from the directed study of compulsory schooling to the predominantly independent study undertaken at Higher Education level
- To inculcate, therefore, a sense of discipline within a structured educational environment
- To provide advice and preparation for students entering university
- To develop a sense of personal responsibility and service to others within a community, and to instill a respect for other people, including fellow students, younger pupils and teaching and ancillary staff
- To encourage students to look beyond the horizons of their A-Level studies, to develop other interests and to question accepted 'mores' with intelligence
- To prepare students to play a full, active and constructive role in society
Sixth Form Structure
As a general rule, those intending to enter the Sixth Form should be aiming for at least eight GCSEs of which at least four should be at grade A and two at grade B. English and Mathematics GCSEs should be at least a grade B. It has been our experience that students who do not have at least a grade B in a subject they intent to take to A-Level find the course a struggle.
In addition, students wishing to take an A-Level Science subject, who are pursuing the combined science option at GCSE, must have achieved the minimum of a grade B in their chosen science.
Number of A-Levels Studied
Students study four AS-Level subjects in the Lower Sixth; three of these are then studied in the Upper Sixth to the full A-Level (or A2) standard.
Occasionally students study additional subjects, although these must be studied privately as additional space cannot be allocated on the school timetable.
Where practicable, subject teachers and Form Tutors stay with their groups for the full two-year Sixth Form cycle. Form Tutors provide the first port of call for Sixth Formers on any issue, ranging from discipline to academic and pastoral advice, and also provide the references for students' University Applications, together with the Head of Sixth Form.
Registration and Exeats
When Sixth Formers are not timetabled for lessons they are expected to be engaged in Private Study, which takes place in the School Library or Sixth Form Centre. Both areas provide a quiet atmosphere for study. Additionally, at break, lunchtimes and after school, Sixth Form students may use the computer facilities in the School Library and Main I.T. Room (Room 44).
Sixth Formers are expected to be on site for most of the school day, but exeats can be granted during the afternoon, allowing students to 'sign-out' of school for the duration of the afternoon lessons for which they are not timetabled. Students must obtain permission for exeats from their Form Tutors, and are required to sign-out on the relevant record sheets.
Towards the end of the Lower Sixth year, students are encouraged to apply to become prefects. They will submit CVs and covering letters. From the applications, a group of Senior Prefects and a Head Boy and Deputies will be appointed. Most applicants can expect to be given prefect responsibilities as well. The role of the prefects is very important within the school as they cover a range of supervision duties as well as assisting at out-of-school events.
For many Sixth Formers, their goal after A-Levels is entrance to a University, and to that end we invest a lot of time in the university application process. Students are encouraged to think about how to build up a profile for their reference and 'personal statement' from the very start of their Lower Sixth year. Then, in the Summer Term, they will be taken through the details of the university application process, producing drafts of their 'personal statements' and talking through their academic progress with their subject teachers, form tutors and the Head of Sixth Form. Finally, in the Autumn Term, students apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to the universities of their choice. Sutton Grammar School maintains a supporting and advisory role right up to the receipt of students' final examination results in the summer after their A-Levels, making sure they have the best opportunity to find the university course that suits them.
Sixth Form Dress Code
Sixth Formers are expected to follow a formal dress code of suit or jacket/blazer and tie, according to the following specifications:
- Jacket and trousers should be smart and conform to generally accepted standards
- Shirts should be plain or striped
- Standard shoes should be worn - boots and trainers are unacceptable
- Pullovers, if worn, should be of the standard V-neck variety
- No part of the dress may be in denim or leather;
However, overcoats may be in the form of smart leather jackets, as long as these are not a substitute for a suit jacket or blazer
- No jewellery is permitted, with the exception of single signet rings of discreet design
- Hair length is to be short at the back and the sides, in accordance with the general school practice, and students should be clean shaven
Students are expected to be smartly turned out at all times.
Students are encouraged to participate in a wide range of activities, including sports, the CCF, and the performing arts. Many of these activities can be read about in more detail under the Activities section of this website. In addition, there are several schemes run by staff at the school aimed especially at Sixth Form students; these are outlined below.
Curriculum Enrichment Programme (C.E.P.)
In the Lower Sixth, students can pursue a Curriculum Enrichment Programme. This is a voluntary undertaking where students work in a team for a period of thirteen weeks, carrying out a specified task or producing a specified product. Upon completion of the task/product, the team delivers a presentation to an invited audience. The project aims to develop the team-work and presentation skills so increasingly important in the world of business and business management, and helps develop confidence in public speaking and presentation.
Young Enterprise Scheme
This scheme, taking place over the longer period of several months, is a challenge to a group of students to come up with an innovative idea for a product, produce it and successfully market it.
The group of students involved must emulate the various functions of an enterprising business, from management, finance and human resources to production and marketing. Supported by local businesses, the scheme is run at local, national and international levels, and students must compete with other Young Enterprise Teams at these various levels to prove that they are the most innovative, competent and well-managed.
The Young Enterprise scheme is extremely popular with the students who choose to represent the school, and offers an excellent opportunity for developing team-work, management and presentation skills in an enjoyable and rewarding situation.
Sutton Grammar School's Sixth Formers achieve much for the school and for themselves in out-of-school schemes and activities. Recent achievements by our students include:
- First Prize in the Middlesex University Marketing Challenge
This involved completing an internet-based challenge, and spending an afternoon at the university developing a marketing strategy for a company.
The prize money won an Interactive Whiteboard for the school!
- Quarter-Finalists in the Financial Times Share Challenge
This involved accurately predicting the share price of 10 companies over a period of three months, and spending a portfolio of £100,000 on shares.
- South London Champions two years running in the Young Enterprise Competition