Sixth Form Update - Autumn 2
I hope this update finds you well and also well-prepared for the imminent festive season!
It has been an excellent term once more here at NLS. We are delighted to have had official confirmation of the phenomenal outcomes had by our outgoing Year 13 (Top 7% nationally for attainment, for example) as well as some other truly tremendous whole-school headlines that I am sure Mr Lowdell will share with you elsewhere.
Our existing Sixth Form cohort is a wonderful one and we are confident that they will be likewise very successful in their endeavours. What is so pleasing is that all of their achievements are done so in the wider context of their being safe, happy and confident young adults who so clearly care for their wider community.
They are a credit to themselves, the school and you, their parents and carers.
In terms of whole-school events, below is an illustrative summary of some of the many things which serve as highlights of the past half-term…
Odd Socks Day – November
In support of Anti-Bullying Week, Sixth Form students sported odd socks. In line with Main School, this was a show of solidarity with peers across all year groups. A dedicated assembly, information, advice and guidance (IAG) and other active promotion put this firmly on the radar for our terrific students. In these images, “odd” was creatively interpreted as un-matching or just unusual!
D.of.E. Gold - November
We were delighted that so many of our Sixth Form students have taken the opportunity to be involved in the D.of.E. Gold Award. Combining a range of experiences including volunteering, expeditions, physical fitness and more, the D.of.E. Gold requires students to demonstrate and enhance a range of skills and knowledge which are about them as individuals but also, crucially, the wider community of which they are a part. In this representative image, the students were involved in a series of presentations to their peers as part of their general skills development. There was a great mix of good humour, purpose and presentational dynamism evident throughout.
E.P.Q. Certification – November
We were delighted that, as part of our diverse Enrichment Offer in Sixth Form, 13 of our terrific Year 12 students successfully completed an E.P.Q. (Extended Project Qualification) last year.
The E.P.Q. is designed to encourage students to develop skills relevant to Higher Education as well as the workplace. Working largely independently but also with support from a supervisor, the students had a remit to research an area of personal interest – which might be connected to their studies but which also might be on a topic completely different to what they ordinarily explore in class. Students then wrote a 5000 word essay, delivered a presentation on research findings but also reflections on the learning process which are recorded in their Production Logs – a log which charts the overall process and experience.
- The impact of the 2006 tsunami on the tourist industry of Phuket
- The impact of government policy in mitigating the health risks of London Underground travel
- How far psychopathy in serial killers is a result of nature or nurture
- The extent to which gender impacts autism diagnosis rates
We were so pleased that all students passed at the top grades – with six of the students securing the very top grades of A*-A! Irrespective of results, it was a terrific experience to be a part of as either a student or as staff.
Our Assistant Senior Student Leaders for Diversity & Equality recently delivered their inaugural Culture Day: an opportunity to celebrate culture in general but also the specific cultural heritages of the students in our terrific Sixth Form. A key highlight was the representative dress on show and the sharing of foods from various cultural backgrounds. We are delighted to say that through the selling of food created by the students and from various heritages a tremendous £162.20 was raised for the BLAM UK charity – BLAM UK being an organisation supporting achievement and mental health and which was identified by the student body.
Oxbridge Mock Interviews - December
We work closely with our Sixth Formers to help them pursue their future pathway of choice, be that university, apprenticeships or employment. We recently were very busy working with our students to submit their UCAS applications before the December deadline, and are thrilled to see so many offers already coming through.
This year we had even more students electing to apply to Oxford and Cambridge and to support them in their interviews we ran a number of mock interviews to ensure they felt as prepared as possible. This support was equally relevant for their interviews at other universities, such as Imperial and Manchester.
We lined up Oxbridge Graduates, from PR execs to PHD research scientists, to conduct the interviews via Teams, spanning subjects such as Physics, Computer Science, Maths, English, History and Geography.
We are of course very proud of all our students (Oxbridge applications or otherwise), and look forward to seeing them fulfil their true potential and realise their post 18 plans.
Christmas Charity and Community
In addition to our regular Christmas Cards for Care Homes initiative – which is very well-received by elderly residents in the locality, we have joined with the main school in the Christmas Hamper initiative: with students identifying who they wish to support, each tutor group collects materials to go in to a hamper which is then distributed to good causes. For example, the Carriers of Hope initiative working out of Coventry to support recent immigrants in to the country and especially those with new-born children.
It is great to see students so readily embracing the true meaning and spirit of Christmas in the way that commit to supporting others.
A positive affirmation of what we do here at NLS was reflected back to us in the recent Year 12 Parent and Student Transition Survey – with the corresponding ‘exit point’ survey towards the end of Year 13.
These headlines hopefully are self-explanatory but we are always happy for contact to be made for further explanation or for parents to raise any queries.
Despite such great feedback, we’re never complacent and will seek to address any areas for development identified in order to enhance existing provision.
In terms of the tutor time curriculum, recent coverage has been on the aforementioned build-up to Christmas – identifying which charities to support, for example. In Year 13, we have also focused on completing UCAS on either a personal basis or in terms of supporting others who are less ahead in the process. We are delighted – as we note above – that so many students have submitted and that there is so much aspiration and diversity in our Sixth Form. Meanwhile, Year 12 have started the process of researching and applying for work experience placements – placements which are vital to a strong application to UCAS, employment or apprenticeships.
For efforts in tutor time, across lessons and in school in general, Students are accruing many reward points in Sixth Form – which is great to see. With their College affiliation noted, here are the Top 10 in each year:
Well done to these Top Ten students but to all of those who are so committed to their studies and to school life here at NLS.
After Christmas, all this hard work, commitment and success will come to fruition as we move in to a focused phase of study and revision as the Year 12 and Year 13 Mocks loom large in February. Please recall what was suggested at the outset of this letter: that we do aspire to the very best academic outcomes (and we get them, too!) but that we seek to achieve this in a student-centred way which supports individuals pastorally and academically as well as in a way which makes them feel an important part of a wider community. While mocks will be a key part of next term, there will no doubt be many other positive stories to share like the ones described above.
If you have any queries at any point, please do make contact via the usual communication sources.
On behalf of myself, the Sixth Form Team and the school, have a terrific festive period and a happy new year.
S A Taylor
Senior Assistant-Head-teacher (inc. Head of Sixth Form)