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Open events ‘vital’ to choosing right Sixth Form

Open events ‘vital’ to choosing right Sixth Form

The Director of a Harrogate school Sixth Form has emphasised the importance of attending open events before applying.

Ben Twitchin, from The Sixth Form at Harrogate Grammar School, said attending open events gives students the chance to make informed decisions.

“This is the first-time students have a really free choice in what they study, and this decision will help to determine their future. In order to do this in the most informed manner it is really important they engage in open events. This is the best way for students to develop an understanding of the culture of a Sixth Form, and to find out crucial information about courses and facilities on offer, in order to support them in making the right decision about their next steps” he said.

Whether you are a parent or a student applying to Sixth Form there are several ways you can make the most of open events.

Here are some of our top tips on what to ask and what to look out for.

1. Do your research

Before attending open events, do your research and make a list of any questions you have, as well as a list of priorities that you are looking for in a Sixth Form. This will be useful if you talk with staff about your course.

While it is important to keep an open mind, being prepared will help to ensure you make the most of the open event.

2. Don’t be afraid to move

This year The Sixth Form at Harrogate Grammar School welcomed over 120 students who had previously attended different schools. 

“It is really common that students join us in the Sixth Form, they add to the vibrancy and diversity of the school. The Sixth Form provides a fresh start for all of our students, and students quickly feel settled within our community.” said Mr Twitchin.

Transport doesn’t have to be a barrier either – The Sixth Form at Harrogate Grammar School is well serviced by public bus services and also offer bespoke bus services to help students travel to and from the school from the surrounding area.

3. Check the results

When considering your post-16 options look for consistently excellent results rather than just one year. Harrogate Grammar School has achieved record breaking exam success with an average of 60% of A Level grades being A*-B over eight consecutive years.

4. Look at the subjects on offer

As noted, Sixth Form is the first-time students have a true choice in what they are studying so it is important to look at the range on offer.

Mr Twitchin has these three pieces of advice for future students: “Select a subject that you genuinely really enjoy.”

“Select a subject that you are also good at because then you can make significant progress and develop at the higher level of study expected at A Level.”

Thirdly, “Make sure you select a subject that allows you to progress after Sixth Form to the next stage in your life.”

5. Look beyond the subjects

It is also important to consider what other opportunities a Sixth Form offers to help students develop and prepare for the next stage of their lives.

Are there active, student-led societies, leadership opportunities and a wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer?

No matter where your passion lies, whether it be in sport, art, drama, music or the academic side of school life, there is always something extra to take part in at Harrogate Grammar School.

6. Think about progression

What happens after Sixth Form is crucial, so check that there is a clear route to university, further education or apprenticeships. Find out if successful alumni visit to inspire current students and whether there is an active work-experience programme. 

Mr Twitchin said, “a key thing to also look out for is whether the Sixth Form has a Quality in Careers Standard Award which recognises excellence in careers education, information and guidance. The Sixth Form at Harrogate Grammar School has this careers award and encourages excellence for all its students across 40 subjects, taught in first-class facilities”.

7. Look for strong pastoral and academic support

The step from GCSEs to A Levels can sometimes be challenging. It is important to find out how students are supported in developing the strong independent study skills that are crucial to success in the Sixth Form.

A strong pastoral team and a clear commitment to student wellbeing are also essential elements to look out for when selecting your destination of study, especially for students who have had a disrupted school experience over the last 2 years.

Head Student, Ollie Black, commented: “At Harrogate Grammar School, the staff really help to create a nurturing environment not only academically, but they also have a real care for the pastoral wellbeing of students and provide great guidance.”

Harrogate Grammar School holds the Carnegie School Mental Health Award, and the Sixth Form has an experienced and specialised team of staff in place to support students throughout their Sixth Form journey. 

The open afternoon on Saturday 29 January will give potential students and parent/carers the opportunity to experience a tour of the Sixth Form and it’s first class facilities as well as meet members of the Sixth Form team who will be on hand to answer any queries. You can also watch a welcome video from Mr Twitchin and Headteacher, Mr Renton, on the school’s website. To attend the open afternoon, bookings must be made in advance via: www.harrogategrammar.co.uk 

For more information visit call 01423 535235 or email: hgs.sixthform@hgs.rklt.co.uk . We look forward to welcoming prospective students to our open event.

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

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