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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:32 pm
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I want to analyse options for Sixth Form, very academic non-fee paying only. What should I look for apart from the commute?

How can I best find the information I need?

What is the timetable to apply? When they have predicted GCSE grades? What if the predictions turn out to be wrong?

Experiences please!!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:52 am 
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they tend to do open evenings / applications somewhere between Nov and Feb though suspect some are outside that range. Many people apply to several and hang on to assorted offers. There will be an offer made depending on predictions / reports etc.
Make sure that they do the combination of subjects you want.
Also do you want a sixth form college ie stand alone or the 6th form of a GS?

Not sure that GS 6th forms are "very academic" they simply wouldn't get the movement of people. They have to set an entry level for their own kids and then offer similar to those who apply. Most have an overall GCSE grading and then specific ones for the desired A levels.

Some kids find it hard to move into a place where everyone else has been for sometime - they have to hit the ground running so need to be sure that DC is happy with it.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:58 am 
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Sixth forms usually advertise their Open Days and, in our experience, will do so in the September time onwards of the year prior to entry (ie, when pupils are in year 11).

Each school is different in how they make offers, but as you are looking at very academic schools they will most likely take these into account. They may advertise their criteria on their website or you may be told during 'the talk' on the open day itself. The schools will make their offers around Jan/Feb time on predicted grades. It's safest to have one or two offers just in case!

Schools may also interview :D

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:03 pm 
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Actually, thinking about it, schools can and do make differing offers according to how much they want the pupil. I know my dd got offered entry at a lower grade than someone else even though her predicted grades are higher - they really liked her :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:30 am
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Location: Warwickshire
If it's a state school I didn't think they were allowed to make different offers to different pupils - unless it's specified in their published admissions criteria. They have to follow their policy to the letter in the same way that schools do for Year 7 entry. If a school is suspected of 'choosing' specific pupils (by interview or otherwise) in a way that's not in accord with the strict admissions policy then they could be taken to task.

DD's school is planning to introduce entrance tests for prospective sixth formers - based on the subjects they want to study at AS level - as it is finding the 'predicted GCSE grades' policy isn't working as well as it should and they are finding it difficult to differentiate between applicants.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:09 pm 
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I was a bit confused about the different offer thing too - my dd2 applied for a 6th form college and was told she has an unconditional offer, whereas other people were told it was conditional on grades. I don't know what would happen if she screwed up this summer!

Things we asked about or learnt about -
languages - are the teachers native speaker(s)? [the 6th form colleges seemed to be, her school aren't]
history - there are loads of different options - is what they offer what your dc is interested in?
the range of subjects - will your dc's combination be likely to be ok?
enrichment
size of classes
travel expenses/discounts [the 6th form colleges we were looking at were further away]

Dd2 has pretty much decided on staying at her school 6th form - she'll be able to finish off her maths AS (although this is NOT a particular plus point for her, lol), but more importantly she loves all her teachers/potential teachers, they get her and she feels well supported there. She was nervous about the whole starting-afresh bit, although we were both really really impressed with the college she's applied to (and I will certainly take the younger two to have a look when their time comes). And having seen dd1 doing her AS year and how little time it is, I think the dc definitely has to be very prepared to hit the ground running in September, which my dd2 might not have managed.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:21 pm 
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I'm not going to say anymore than I already have as it's a very small town and I think we're easily identifiable from previous postings, but I can assure you 100% that, given the right circumstances, then different offers are made.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
From the 2012 School Admissions Code - my bolding:

2.6 Applying for places at Sixth Form - Children and their parents applying for sixth form places may use the CAF, although if they are already on the roll they are not required to do so in order to transfer into year 12. Admission authorities can, however, set academic entry criteria for their sixth forms, which must be the same for both external and internal places. As with other points of entry to schools, highest priority in oversubscription criteria for sixth form places must be given to looked after children and previously looked after children who meet the academic entry criteria. As stated in paragraph 1.9 m) above, any meetings held to discuss options and courses must not form part of the decision process on whether to offer a place.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:19 pm 
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We've just been through/are going through this right now. DD has been to look at 3 schools in addition to her current one and I would echo much of what Hermann and aliportico say.

DD has offers based on predicted grades – she is required to get both general grades and subject-specific ones (NB we had to query one of her subject-specific ones as her predicted grade wasn't high enough to be considered. Don't be afraid to challenge the current school under these circumstances).

Definitely check the syllabuses if your DC is looking at subjects such as English Literature or History to make sure the books/countries studied are of interest.

Check the combination of subjects too – some schools still use a system whereby you have to choose from option blocks and this may preclude doing an odd combination at AS level.

Check whether the schools insist upon or encourage subjects such as Critical Thinking, General Studies or the EPQ. This can be good or bad depending on your view of such things.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:32 pm 
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So maybe that means that they can't set different criteria for different students, but given that those criteria are reached (e.g. 6 B grade predictions), then different students could be given different offers?


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