The Sixth Form provides a different work environment from that of the Lower School. You most likely take at least three subjects in the Sixth Form rather than nine or ten GCSE courses, and time outside academic teaching is very much more your own responsibility. Considerable trust is vested in you to use these opportunities properly.
Whilst the Sixth Form occupies only a short period in your academic life, there are inevitably many distractions. The Lower Sixth year is therefore very important: in practice we have found over the last few years that the three terms in the Lower Sixth are the ones which make the most difference to your eventual results and university prospects
Your A-level results will determine your university choices and where you will eventually go. To keep your options as wide as possible you need to be working conscientiously from the September of your Lower Sixth year when opinions are formed about what might suit you and indeed about your aptitude for university
The Sixth Form also allows you to develop a mature and collaborative relationship with your tutor. His/her job will be to guide you into effective work habits, to advise you on Higher Education, to assist in revision schedules, and generally to monitor your progress in the Sixth Form.
Above all, we aim to make you an independent learner, as the skills and habits you learn now at Cranleigh will stand you in good stead for the rest of your working life.
Choosing Your Courses
You will have read and heard about the changes taking place with respect to the academic courses offered to Sixth Formers. A Level courses in all subjects are being substantially revised with new specifications (what used to be called “syllabuses”) introduced. The major change of approach is, whereas for the last ten years or more, A levels have been assessed on a modular basis, assessment of a pupil’s work will now be undertaken on a linear basis. This means that all assessment takes place at the end of the two-year course, rather than at different points during the course.
The revision of A level assessment has provided schools with the opportunity to reassess what academic courses are offered to Sixth Formers and at Cranleigh we have used this opportunity to adapt our curriculum so as more precisely to offer our pupils the best preparation we can for university, and for the world of work. Our provision therefore includes A level courses, but also Pre-U courses (essentially courses equivalent to A level but offering a different specification), and the Extended Project Qualification (the EPQ), to increase the variety and flexibility of what we have on offer.
So, from September 2016, we expect that most of you will study three subjects in the Lower Sixth, along with an Extended Project (EPQ). Some of you however may attempt four (all the way through to the end of the UV) and we do have some a few alternatives to the EPQ.
Given that most Sixth Formers will be taking three subjects at A-level, consulting carefully on your choice of subjects is even more important. Whatever your thought-process on this issue, it is important that there is a thought-process involved in making the selection, and that you are prepared to listen to the advice available from subject teachers, Heads of Academic Departments, Housemaster or Housemistress, and from the Director of Studies and his academic team. We are all concerned to find the choice of courses which is right for you individually and, since this choice is such an important one, it is as well not to rush into it, nor to choose simply on the basis of where you expect – or indeed achieved – your best GCSE results.
In fact, when choosing your courses, it goes without saying that you should select subjects which you think will maximise your potential with regard to final grades. Often these will be subjects you enjoy or subjects where you have shown a particular aptitude. If you can, you should also bear in mind the university and career options you may wish to pursue beyond school and you should check your proposed courses against these plans. Alternatively you may wish to keep open a variety of options, and so you may wish not to close off too many possibilities through the subjects you select.
Finally, remember that you are effectively working directly towards examinations and coursework from the very beginning of your Lower Sixth courses, so do hit the ground running.