I feel very privileged to lead a large group of young adults in such an excellent school. Your experiences in Years 12 and 13 will undoubtedly be some of the most exciting, interesting, yet challenging in your life. You will certainly notice a ‘big step up’ in September.
The demands placed upon you in terms of quantity of work and the skills required will test all students, but this should be made easier by the fact that you have chosen a few subjects in which you have a particular interest. There will be ‘pressure’ times, particularly in the first two terms. Learning to manage stress and ‘bouncing back’ from a disappointment is an essential part of maturing.
Our main objective is to ensure that every student leaves Kingdown prepared and ready to face a very dynamic, competitive and constantly changing world. Grasping opportunities, taking risks, being proactive, working hard, being resilient, getting balance in your lives and having a clear plan for your future is at the heart of everything we do.
I am very lucky to have such a strong and dedicated team around me, but it will not be possible to achieve what we want to without the support and commitment of the students in the Sixth Form. There are opportunities to get involved in many things and all Sixth Form students will be expected to contribute to the life of the school. I do not expect the majority of the work to be done by a few students. Lead by example and get involved.
I would like to see our Sixth Form students taking a lead for their learning. We encourage them to take responsibility for their progress and strive to achieve their potential. Excellent attendance, being punctual, dressing appropriately and showing a good work ethic will be necessary and expected if we are going to achieve this goal.
Head of Sixth Form
We believe that a well-structured and well-resourced environment is the foundation for our students to build their education upon.
The day at Kingdown School starts at 8.30am and ends at 2.50pm with two half hour breaks during the day and includes five one hour sessions for lessons or study periods. Students can make use of a well-stocked library and two dedicated study rooms that contain Sixth Form resources and a suite of laptops and PCs. The Sixth Form common room is well equipped, has its own kitchen, open wireless for iPods / iPhones /students’ laptops and includes vending machines and a football table. A healthy range of food and drink is available to purchase in the common room and in the school dining hall. Students have access to their own garden and patio furniture where BBQs are held in the summer.
Students are placed in a vertical tutor group system. The role of the Sixth Former in the tutor group is crucial and being the most senior students in a school carries a responsibility to influence younger members of the school in a constructive way. Each tutor group belongs to one of five houses. Each house holds a weekly meeting where Sixth Formers have the chance to engage with fellow students and raise any general issues they have within the school. They follow a set programme of work including mentoring a student from KS3 or KS4 and working towards their UCAS application or CVs.
We believe that the Sixth Form are role models and leaders in a uniformed school, so they should be setting an example to the younger students. The way they dress makes a statement about them and their attitude to work. If they look smart, it sends a positive message and shows respect for their school, their fellow students and the staff. The dress code can be found on the school website. There is a Sixth Form Student Union whose role it is to organise fund raising events throughout the year to support the Sixth Form Summer Ball and be used as a voice to discuss issues arising in sixth form life. The Student Union will take responsibility for organising social events, including dress-up days, charity events, quiz nights and band nights. We believe that skills gained form these roles greatly improve UCAS applications and employability.
Part of the success of our Sixth Form is due to the constant monitoring of performance and targets. All students get together with their tutor at several points in the year to discuss academic progress and anything else relating to study and future plans. Additionally, students may want to approach one of the Sixth Form team to discuss academic issues. At regular points throughout the year, Data Collections are sent home which provide students and parents with details of academic progress and attitude to learning. We also provide parents with access to live data on a web-based site called Go4Schools which provides information on grades achieved in homeworks and tests in each subject.
We expect our students to attend school regularly and this is carefully monitored because there is a direct correlation between attendance and progress on courses. Attendance at all timetabled lessons, including tutor time, forum, assemblies and all special study days is compulsory. We will contact parents if a student’s attendance is of concern.
We pride ourselves on the extensive programmes we put into place to prepare our Sixth Formers for their futures. We run Futures Days throughout both Year 12 and 13 where we focus on both UCAS (University) and EA (Education and Apprenticeship). These days provide valuable information on writing personal statements and CVs whilst also having keynotes on other aspects of life such as finance and budgeting.
Students are guided through the UCAS process by Mr Humphrey and Mrs Hooper. Students have regular fortnightly UCAS Forums from later in Year 12. During this time students are able to research potential courses and write their personal statements.
Mr Marlow (School Careers Advisor) and the Sixth Form team also offer information, advice and guidance to those students considering non-university Post 18 routes, such as employment, apprenticeships or a gap year. This support includes raising students’ awareness of the full range of available options, helping them to access opportunities at the appropriate time throughout the year and developing their broader employability skills, such as CV writing, job application and interview technique.
Kingdown provides an extensive academic programme which allows all students to achieve.
Most students taking Level 3 (A Level, BTEC and Cambridge TEC) courses will take three subjects over the two years; a small number of students opt to take four A Levels. Please note that most A Level courses are now ‘linear’ meaning the course is taken over two years, with terminal examinations at the end of the course. We no longer offer AS Levels in the majority of subjects.
Staff are very approachable and keen to assist students outside the lesson times and the system of target setting and regular tracking not only motivates students but also helps the sixth form team of staff to monitor progress and identify potential problems as well as particular talents. Academic work is enhanced by a range of co-curricular activities which broaden the educational experience: including outside speakers for Futures days, University Fairs and the Extended Project Qualification for those with aspirations of Oxbridge or Russell Group Universities.
Academic standards are high throughout all subject areas and we feel it is important to get “the right student on the right course”. Because of this we set out appropriate entry requirements for each individual course. Please refer to the Course Handbook for these details.
The transition from Level 2 to Level 3 is supported by induction activities at the beginning of Yr 12 and House Forums throughout the year. Level 3 subjects are allocated 10 hours per subject with Level 2 courses being allocated 15hrs per subject. Students will also be registered for 60% of their study periods in the Sixth Form Study Room. This percentage may go up or down depending on their attendance and their attitude to learning. Home study will only be granted to those who show an excellent work ethic and are in line with their target grades. Kingdown students move on to a wide range of Higher Education institutions and apprenticeship or employment opportunities.
Mr Evans – Head of Sixth Form
Mr Evans is responsible for monitoring student progress and liaising with parents. He works closely with the Heads of House to ensure that Sixth Formers retain a significant role within the vertical tutoring system.
Mr Humphrey – Head of Year 12
Mr Humphrey oversees students in Year 12 for the 2015/16 academic year.
Mrs Hooper – Head of Year 13
Mrs Hooper oversees students in Year 13 for the 2015/16 academic year. This involves the UCAS process for students continuing their studies on to university.
Miss Wilkins is the teacher in charge of the Extended Project, a qualification taken by some students that is equivalent to half an A level.
Mr Marlow – Careers Officer
Mr Marlow supports students throughout the school, but is an essential resources for students in the sixth form, advising on all aspects from university/college courses, employment and apprenticeships.
Heads of House
The Heads of House also have a key role to play. They work closely with their tutor teams to monitor the progress of the Sixth Form and deal with any pastoral issues that might arise.
Mrs Colliss – Post 16 Support Officer
Mrs Colliss provides support to the sixth form team and is involved with monitoring attendance, organising events and supporting students with academic and pastoral issues.