A great deal of careful planning has gone into developing our inclusive Sixth Form since its opening in September 2008. We are confident that everyone associated with the Academy will be proud of the Sixth Form and that being a member of the Sixth Form will be an aspiration and an inspiration for all students.
Our Journey and Results
Over the last seven years, the Sixth Form has grown and developed in both its size and offer, catering for students who have progressed through the main school at NOA, as well as an increasing number of external applicants. In 2020/21 the Sixth form offers a range of programmes comprising of over 30 different individual courses, ranging from A’ levels in the arts, sciences and humanities to vocational courses in engineering, sport and youth work. Our results have continued to improve every year and we celebrated our best results yet in August 2020 with 100% pass rate (A*-B at 43%, A*-C at 81%, VA score +0.37). With these fantastic outcomes for our students, all those who applied to university got their place (21% top Russell Group; 34% top 50 universities). We also celebrate three of our students securing places at Oxford and Cambridge to study Veterinary Medicine, Chemistry and English.
This year over 140 students are enrolled on full time year 12 and 13 courses. Despite the steady increase in student numbers, class sizes are relatively small (15 students on average), and this is central to our commitment to a relentless focus on high quality student learning. We welcome students from neighbouring schools and are delighted to be first choice for students from local providers; this year we welcome 7 external students to our school.
Another integral part of the Sixth Form ethos is the understanding that all young people have different skills, abilities and aspirations; with this in mind, whilst one of our clear goals is securing our students places at the UK’s top universities, we also work hard to support and develop those who are pursuing more vocational pathways and careers. Last year, 32 of our year 13 students gained places on university courses, while another 25 successfully progressed into full time employment or apprenticeships. All of these students benefitted from our career support programme which offers a range of services including training and guidance from our full time UCAS Co-ordinator, one to one career guidance with our Business, Enterprise and Careers Development Co-ordinator, access to our well established academic mentoring programme and participation in the nationally recognised Career Academy scheme.
We have high expectations of our students and look to develop their independent learning skills whilst also supporting their mental well-being through a tailored pastoral care system. We have a small and inclusive sixth form which allows us to support students and parents with students’ transition into further education. In both our curriculum and the support we give our students around their learning, our main concern has been, and always will be, to create a stimulating, supportive and challenging environment giving young people the opportunity to pursue qualifications, skills and life changing experiences.
Both year groups have a designated tutor who will support them pastorally and academically throughout their time at NOA. The tutor programme is designed to develop students’ skills and provide opportunity for learning about the world around them. We encourage debating, discussion and reflection through workshops which are led by tutors and the sixth form team. Students meet with their tutor and have a one-to-one meeting every term to discuss progress, attendance and welfare. It is expected that students engage with the tutor programme to ensure they get the best out of their experience in sixth form.
We successfully launched our Oxbridge mentoring programme in 2018 which prepares students who meet the criteria for Oxford or Cambridge. In 2018 we secured 1 interview; in 2019 we secured three interviews and 3 offers. We are currently working with three applicants for 2021 entry and hope to continue the success of the programme. It is led by the Head of Sixth Form and the UCAS Coordinator, plus external support from Oxbridge admissions and Surbiton School. Our students complete interview prep, admission testing and get one to one support with their personal statement plus join debates and discussions in a group environment.