Sixth Form Information
Sixth Form Dress Code
The dress code within the school’s Sixth Form seeks to maintain formality whilst allowing students some licence and flexibility. It can be summarised as ‘smart business wear’. Details of the dress code are in the document below
Primarily Essex County Council manages school transport and school buses may be available to Sixth Form students on payment of an annual fee. Other bus services on public transport are also available but fares are payable.
Students are not permitted to drive to school until they have passed their driving test, are in Year 13 and have permission from the Head of Sixth Form. Once students satisfy this condition they may be permitted to drive themselves to school. The school will ask for details of any motor vehicle regularly parked within the school site as parking spaces may be limited. A parking permit will be issued once all criteria are met and Mrs Howells (Head of Sixth Form) has signed the required paperwork.
Attendance & Punctuality
Research shows that students who have good attendance records throughout their course are the most successful. For students in the Sixth Form at St Martin’s School study should be their first priority.
The school day begins at 8.25 a.m. and all Year 12 students are required to remain in school, working, until their last lesson of the school day. Daily attendance is required but as students become more responsible for managing their own work it may become possible to negotiate periods of “Home Study” when students will be able the leave school early, or arrive later, in order to manage their own learning at home.
Students are expected to attend all timetabled lessons punctually and be well prepared.
Requests for ‘holiday leave’ during the school term are not authorised. All absences will affect the student's learning, and their reference from the school which is requested by employers and universities.
Smoking & Substance Abuse
Smoking is not allowed on school premises nor is it expected that students will go off premises to smoke during school hours.
The school has a clear policy concerning substance abuse e.g. the possession/consumption of illegal drugs and alcohol.
Any student found under the influence of, or trying to pass on to others, illegal drugs will be reported to the police immediately and suspended from school pending further investigation. Any student under the influence of alcohol will be asked to leave the site, parents will be informed and his/her future at the school will be reconsidered.
After Sixth Form
Towards the end of the Autumn Term of Year 12 students are encouraged to begin thinking about their plans for “life after school”. Mrs Howells (Head of Sixth Form) is pro active in providing information, guidance and support to assist with progression into employment or Higher Education. As with other aspects of Sixth Form life it remains important to involve parents in these discussions and decisions. However, the school recognises that this is an important time and that it is the student who has the central role.
During Year 12 there are a number of opportunities for students, and parents, to obtain information and to research opportunities beyond school. It is usually in early June that the formal support provided to help with progression at 18+ begins with a series of Higher Education and employment conferences and workshops.
The Sixth Form holds two higher education activity days where opportunities are discussed and students begin the process of selecting university courses or planning for work. Students considering making applications for Oxford or Cambridge Universities or for courses in Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry should make staff aware as soon as possible as these students need particular advice.
During the Autumn Term of Year 13 students wishing to proceed to Higher Education will make on-line applications with the support and guidance of their Form Tutors and Mrs Howells. Students preparing for employment will normally begin making applications early in the Spring Term and again staff are available to provide advice and guidance.
During Year 13 further sessions are available which focus on Higher Education Finance and how to proceed following A-Level results, especially if these do not go as planned. Staff are available in school following the publication of results in August to help with any problems that may arise.
Students with high target grades and those that are aspirational become part of a Higher Achievers cohort to encourage and prepare them for applying to competitive universities, such as Cambridge and Oxford, and also courses.
Special Educational Needs
The Sixth Form at St Martin’s school is open to all students who attain the necessary results at GCSE to satisfy both the general entry requirements and the subject requirements for the A-Level subjects to be studied. Students with Special Educational Needs will continue to receive appropriate support throughout the Sixth Form but it is important that the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is fully aware of the individual circumstances.
For students who attended St Martin’s School in Year 11 the relevant records will already exist but for student expecting to join the Sixth form from other schools and colleges it would be helpful it they could contact the school’s SEND department at the earliest opportunity. Contact can be made through the Main School Reception: (01277) 238300.
In many cases the circumstances that lead to additional support in public examinations needs to be re-assessed every two years. Therefore please do not assume that any special arrangement that was available for GCSE examinations will automatically be available for A-Level exams.
The opinion of students is important to the Sixth Form at St Martin’s School and every endeavour will be made to address any reasonable request, or complaint, students may raise if they are consistent with the aims and aspirations of the Sixth Form and of the School to provide individual care, academic excellence and the opportunity for personal development.
Sixth Form Council
The Sixth Form Council represents the views of Sixth Form students. Working with the Sixth Form Managers it seeks to question and advise upon life in the Sixth Form and to make constructive suggestions as to how it could be improved.
Members of the Sixth Form Council also represent the year groups on the School Council where their views and advice on the school are valued and appreciated.
Approximately twenty student councillors make up the sixth form council. The council are separated into committees to ensure all aspects of school and sixth form life are represented.
At the end of the Summer Term in Year 12 the school appoints a Head Boy and Head Girl, and their deputies, to represent the student body on formal occasions and to take on a leading role within the Sixth Form. The Head Boy, Head Girl and deputies are automatically members of both the Sixth Form Council and the School Council.
Clubs and Societies
There are many opportunities for students to become involved in the life of the Sixth Form and of the school in general. Indeed, their engagement is a major element of their Personal Development and of the vast Enrichment Programme. There are many opportunities for students to be actively involved in Sport and in the Arts through clubs, fixtures and productions. Students are also encouraged to take a leadership role working in a structured way with younger pupils with these areas but also more widely through the support of tutorial activities and in-class learning support. Resources exist within the Sixth Form to support students wishing to lead and organise clubs or societies, covering any reasonable area of interest, such as debating societies, public speaking, computer gaming and chess.
Once students join the Sixth Form they are given, and expect, an increased amount of freedom and responsibility. It is appropriate that young people in the 16-18 age group work more in partnership with their teachers, take increasing personal responsibility for their work and behaviour and accept that they are accountable for these. Similarly the school accepts that it has a responsibility to communicate and, if necessary, negotiate directly and personally with students. In many cases these interactions will take place without parental involvement.
However, the Sixth Form at St Martin’s School also believes that parents retain a key role and that the partnership between school, student and home is an important element in supporting young people to achieve at their highest level.
The Sixth Form will continue to keep parents informed about all aspects of Sixth Form life and especially student progress and attainment for the full duration of Sixth Form courses.
There will be many opportunities for parents to meet informally with staff and contact can be made at any time should a particular concern arise. There are also many formal, or semi-formal, ways in which the progress of students is monitored and where information is communicated directly with parents.
Early in Year 12 parents are invited to an Information Evening that focuses upon supporting students during their time in the Sixth Form. The consistency of the message students receive from school and home is important in motivating and supporting them. It provides a more secure framework within which they can develop and, though some students will seek to confuse the home/school relationship, most appreciate this level of support.
There are a number of opportunities during the Sixth Form when parents, usually accompanied by their sons/daughters, can meet with staff to assess progress and to discuss issues of concern. Some of these meetings will be with the students Personal Tutor whilst others provide the chance to discuss detailed academic issues with subject staff. At other times, parents who have a query or concern about their son/daughter should contact the Subject Co-ordinator or Personal Tutor, as appropriate, in the first instance. This can either be done directly, via e-mail, or through the Sixth Form Office.
As a traditional school, continuing the Pastoral Care is an important feature of the Sixth Form.
For a student transferring into the Sixth Form from Year 11 at St Martin’s, there is the advantage that individual students will already be well known and their strengths, and weaknesses, are already identified. Appropriate guidance and support can therefore be offered from the beginning of Sixth Form life and students can focus upon their work and other activities in a secure and well-understood environment.
For students joining the Sixth Form from other schools or colleges the induction process and pastoral system is designed to ease the ‘settling in’ period and support is available from the Sixth Form Team throughout the transfer process and on into the academic year. The vast majority have settled quickly to the learning, the new environment and high expectations that form part of being at St Martin's. Pupils joining the Sixth Form are invited in for an induction session to ease transition, and the first day of term is spent becoming familiar with your tutor and fellow form members.
The Personal Tutor is a central figure for students in the Sixth Form at St Martin’s School. Tutors have pastoral oversight of about twenty young people and will meet regularly with tutees either individually or in groups.
It is the tutor’s role to have an overview of each individual within their Tutor Group and to be the first point of contact between the student, or parent, and the Sixth Form. The tutor will:
- Monitor progress and provide initial support and guidance.
- Assist in the monitoring of the Extended Project Qualification.
- Encourage engagement in Sixth Form life and Enrichment activities.
- Act as a conduit for student concerns with subject teachers and other staff.
- Monitor attendance and behaviour.
- Draft references for university places and for employment.
Supporting the Personal Tutor are Mrs Howells (Head of Sixth Form), and the Head of Years 12 and 13 and Director of Key Stage 5, who take an active role in the lives of students and will personally monitor the academic progress being made by every student as they progress through the Sixth Form. They liaise closely with Personal Tutors, other staff and parents as necessary. The Sixth Form works closely with other agencies and extra professional support and guidance can be provided through these should this become necessary.
With nearly 400 students in the Sixth Form, St Martin’s School has made a considerable investment to provide facilities appropriate for the use of this age group and to support student achievement.
The Sixth Form Centre is a separate building on the edge of the school site and is the hub for Sixth Form activity. It is available for the use of Sixth Form students and seeks to provide an atmosphere where students can focus upon their work and other activities without undue disturbance.
Not all lessons can be scheduled in the Centre and students may find they are taught in the neighbouring classrooms, in specialist rooms such as laboratories and workshops, or in other classrooms throughout the school.
Whilst the Sixth Form has separate facilities, it is important that students in the Sixth Form are active in supporting the work of the Main School and students are encouraged, through an extensive Enrichment Programme, to offer structured support, guidance and opportunities to the younger pupils in the school.
The Sixth Form Centre has excellent facilities containing:
- 11 Sixth Form seminar rooms
- A dedicated Photography Studio
- A Sixth Form Library - for silent study
- A Quiet Study Room with ICT Facilities
- Three Administrative Offices
- A large Common Room
- A ‘bistro’ serving hot and cold snacks and drinks.
- Sixth Form Toilet facilities
- An outdoor patio with seating and a secluded grass area
- Access to student wifi
The facilities are available throughout the school day between about 8:00am and 6:00pm. Students wishing to make use of the facilities outside the normal school day, perhaps whilst waiting for transport, are usually free to do so.
The Sixth Form Centre is also usually available on school closure days (by prior arrangement) and immediately following the publication of A-Level results to support the university ‘clearing’ process.
At St Martin’s, for most students transferring, it is a natural progression from Year 11 and GCSE courses. These students are fully aware of the procedures and expectations of the school and will want to continue their education within an environment that is familiar and where they are known as individuals by the staff who will teach them. For other students joining the school for the first time, it is an exciting period of change and opportunity.
Students joining St Martin’s from alternative schools bring with them new experiences and perspectives that enrich the Sixth Form for all, staff and students alike; they are very welcome.
The school’s most successful students have achieved 5 or more ‘A’ grades and many subjects have a 100% pass rate at the end of Year 13. A high percentage of students progress to university, either immediately following their A Levels or after a “gap year”.
Students benefit from working with caring and highly effective teachers, and our exceptional facilities have significantly contributed to the students’ academic success. It is, however, hard work by the students themselves that makes the largest contribution and we believe that this ethos of hard work amongst so many students is a very important ingredient in their success.
Another important factor in the success of our students is the wide range of courses that we offer. There are approximately thirty courses on offer, and this means that many students get their first choice of subjects, which motivates them and consequently they work even harder. This raises standards still further and as a result more of the students get their first choice university courses.
Aims & Aspirations
Students are expected to satisfy high expectations in terms of their work, attendance and behaviour. They are expected to engage with their teachers in the learning process, developing knowledge and skills and managing their time with increasing independence and self-motivation. The Sixth Form staff continuously monitor student progress and attainment and provide support and guidance where this is deemed necessary to maintain learning.
The Sixth Form at St Martin’s School aims to:
- Support students in the attainment of their best academic achievement in their chosen examination options.
- Support the personal development of students as they enter adulthood.
- Provide opportunities for breadth and specialisation within the curriculum.
- Provide core-learning opportunities that encourage students to develop an awareness of issues beyond the confines of their examination options and to gain a broad overview across a variety of areas of knowledge.
- To provide a moral and ethical framework within which a student can develop and express their own beliefs, political views and values. Can listen to and respect alternative positions and can assimilate and accommodate changes in their understanding of other points of view as the “broader picture” increases.
- Provide the opportunity for personal reflection and communal worship.
- Provide additional opportunities, beyond the formal curriculum, for students to benefit from group learning activities and other experiences that will encourage them to grow as independent, self-supporting, and active members of the wider community.
As a result of these aims the Sixth Form aspires to support its students as they progress from compulsory education towards Higher Education and employment and to ensure that all students, having regard for their own circumstances and prior attainment, attain academic success and develop as people in a challenging, enjoyable and personally rewarding environment.