There is no great secret to achieving success at A Level. The key requirements are choosing the right course, being prepared to work hard and attending well. Students in the Sixth Form work in a more adult environment than is possible in the rest of the school. They are given more freedom, but within a structured framework, so that they learn how to handle it in readiness for the much greater responsibilities they will face when they leave school.
The Sixth Form is a stepping stone to employment or higher education and we try to engender an ethos of respect and responsibility. Sixth Formers are however part of the whole school community and as such we expect them to support staff and act as role models at all times. We don’t have a uniform as such, but require students to wear what is appropriate for a working environment. There is a dress code for formal occasions when Sixth Formers must wear a black skirt or trousers and a white shirt. Smoking, chewing gum, eating food or using mobiles in corridors or other public places in the school is not regarded as acceptable behaviour. We see our Sixth Formers as ambassadors for Woodford at all times, both in and out of school.
Full and punctual attendance is vital to ensure success on Sixth Form courses. Attendance is carefully monitored and it is essential for all students to achieve the maximum possible attendance level. All subject teachers take a register every lesson to monitor attendance. Students are expected to arrive punctually for the specified start of the school day and to attend briefings, assemblies and tutorials. Exit privileges will determine their end time on some days of the week.
Members of the Sixth Form are issued with unique key fobs, which must be used to ‘key-in’ and ‘key-out’ of the premises. The system registers the names of all Sixth Formers in the building, and is used in case of a fire or other emergency. The key fob is also necessary to provide access to school buildings and must be carried at all times.
If a Sixth Former is absent, they must telephone the 6th form administrator on the first day of absence to explain why they are not in school.
In addition to timetabled lessons, Sixth Form students have a varying number of study periods. Learning to manage this study time effectively is one of the ways in which the Sixth Form prepares students for university and employment.
In Year 12 there are limited opportunities for self study in school, as most periods are timetabled lessons. In Year 13 more study time is available in school hours.
In addition to self study in school, Sixth Form students are expected to undertake an average of at least fifteen hours of effective study per week outside timetabled school time. Only hard work can secure success on all courses. Whilst it is appreciated that many Sixth Formers want or need to earn money, they are not allowed to undertake paid work during school hours, and the recommended maximum number of hours worked is eight per week.
All students are allocated a personal tutor who will see them for a one-to-one tutorial every fortnight. The tutor team has specialist knowledge of pastoral and academic mentoring post-16 and tutors are responsible for monitoring academic progress and supporting progression. During the tutorial sessions students will have the opportunity to discuss their academic progress and extra-curricular activities, as well as any difficulties which might arise, be they academic, social, personal or financial. Sixth Form tutors will also assist students when it comes to making applications to university or employment.
We believe in close co-operation between home and school. Progress reports are sent home twice a year and there is an annual parents’ meeting for each year group. Contact by telephone or letter with tutors is welcomed by the school; similarly, if we think there is a problem, we will contact parents. Please note that details regarding public exams and all other important information are sent via email; a correct parental email address is therefore essential to ensure effective communication.
The last Ofsted report (2009) graded the Sixth Form as Outstanding. Inspectors noted that the students ‘receive outstanding guidance and support, with regular and frequent individual tutorials.’ The report also highlighted very positive feedback from parents of girls who were new to the Sixth Form:
'Teaching and pastoral care are excellent'
'Teachers and the school have been fantastic'.
Enrichment and extra-curricular responsibilities
Woodford is not just about academic achievement. We offer an enrichment programme which runs on 3 afternoons a week and gives our Year 12 students the opportunity to take part in activities such as dance, cooking, the creative arts, music, singing and computing.
Sixth Formers are expected to involve themselves in areas of extra-curricular responsibility throughout the school. Our Sixth Formers take the lead in a number of whole-school events and a wide range of activities:
- Running clubs for younger students: dance, art, drama, music, debating, singing.
- Running Societies for example: Afro-Caribbean Society.
- Sixth Form Social Committee (Year 12).
- Form Prefects and Senior Prefects/Silver Badges.
- Leading School Council
- House Captains and Vice Captains: Inter-House drama competition and charity fundraising.
- School Magazine.
- Peer Support.
- Literacy Mentors.
All our Year 12 students also undertake 22 hours of voluntary service in the local community. Amongst a wide range of placements, they support local charities and schools, care homes and nurseries. Feedback from these placements is always very positive:
‘Students demonstrated a very mature & professional attitude’ Fairlop Primary School
‘Exceeded all expectations. Her co-operation and general nature made her a valuable asset’ Harts Nursing Home
‘Always polite and friendly. A great support and a pleasure having her’ Joseph Clark School
‘Excellent student, wonderful attitude & very sensible’ Woodland Junior School
We believe strongly that our students need to give something back to the local community. Our voluntary service scheme is an important part of the enrichment programme for our students. It provides an opportunity for the students to demonstrate how they can contribute to society and develop themselves in doing so.