I have been studying at a major Manchester College now in its sixth form department for nearly two years (this is my second year). It has been an experience some good some not so good. I am doing an AVCE double award in ICT. The good things about the college is that is flexible, they treat like adults (except from a few bad tutors) and it has a wide range of courses. They also do some good units, which interest me on the course although you have no choice in this matter. I have met some good friends on the course. The downsides of this college are numerous though it has improved this year. Firstly some tutors don?t know the first thing about what they are teaching, in some cases I was teaching them! They mixed up the assignments last year so that they all had to handed at the same time thus giving me a lot of stress. The support is only average they have ridiculously out of date computers.
The choice between college and sixth form can be big for a lot of people. For me it was relatively simple. My nearest college is only a short distance away, about 3 miles, and my school is about 3 miles in the opposite direction. The school is very good for A-levels, considering it's a lads school and so i stayed there in familiar surroundings. Now i've only been in year 12 for 4 days at the time of writing, but already the differences become apparent. We get a lot more respect from the teachers, most of whom we can call by their first name. The sixth form common room is very new and big and is a welcome change from having to blag a way into a classroom at break and dinner. I know who all the teachers are and who all the other pupils are, which makes the transmission to AS levels easier. Some of my friends have opted to go to college, but it is mainly the ones who didn't get the grades that they required to stay on - 5 C's at my school. The atmosphere is more relaxed, i am told, and the teachers don't seem to be as harsh. Still, in the sixth form we don't get detentions or anything and the teachers are more laid back. We have to wear a uniform, which is a major let down, as it just isn't cool, doesn't improve behaviour etc. and the girls across the road who i share a bus with can wear what they like, as is the case with college. Some people feel they have more freedom at college, especially with them not having to go in all the time. We are supposed to be in school all the time and should work during free periods, of which i have 6, totalling just 3 and a half hours a week, compared to over 8 hours a week of maths - normal AS maths, further maths and key skills application of number. That is another downside to sixth form. Key skills in IT, maths and communication takes up a couple of hours a week and really don't seem too special to me. All in all, i must say i'm happy with my decision to stay at school. I know the surroundings, the people and probably most important of all, the school is very successful for results at A-level. Had the school not been up to scratch i would have left for college. There i would have met lots of new people, not had to wear uniform and probably ended up like a typical uni student i.e. slob. As it is, i could take the courses that i wanted, we got the school to timetable further maths, which a college wouldn't have done. It all depends where you live, what the local sixth form/college is like, what you want to do later in life and which establishment suits your needs the greatest. Each individual has different requirements and so the choice between sixth form and college is a big one. Choose wisely and good luck. (The ratings below are for Sandbach School Sixth Form in Cheshire.)
Sixth Form, in my opinion, is better than college and I will explain why. Sixth forms are usually the further part of education at a school, so you remain in school after you finish the GCSE's. Entry to most sixth form places I have found is 5 GCSE's, grades A to C. For GNVQ's, the entry requirement is 4 GCSE's. This is a lot more higher requirement than college, as on some courses you don't even need any grades to get in. I go to Cockermouth Sixth Form in North West Cumbria. This is a good place to go. It doesn't actually offer too many subjects, basically all the GCSE's but to an advanced level. The common room is large, and there is a tea and coffee making area which includes a toastie maker and a microwave. Superb for all of us student bums! The huge difference I have noticed since graduating from GCSE level is the respect you get off teachers. You do actually get treated like an adult, but you do have to earn that respect by working hard, which you will have to do. The courses are not easy, and I have done an A-level and a GNVQ. The GNVQ is the harder option, beleive me, though I think the syllabus is changing or has changed to make it easier. I GNVQ is definitely worth doing as you will get plenty of experience in work, customer service and researching information which could prove vital depending on what kind of job you want. Though an A-level is not easy, it is the easier option and would be best done if you had a specific job in mind that you wanted to do, or if you simply are good at the subjects and want to get through to university. The main thing I like about sixth form though is the kick up the backside you get, which you don't get at college, and I think that is what makes sixth form better than college. I can't actually remember what I was told, but school's receive more money than colleges I think so they push you harder to get the good g rades. I have friends at college and they say that its the total opposite - they get 1 day a week to bum about, and only have to go to their classes on 1 of the other 4 days. This is an opinion though, and it is best for you decide what to do. I would choose sixth form if you have slacked a bit in your GCSE's, because a good kick in the butt might do you good. You could choose: 1)Sixth form 2)College 3)Bumming about Like they say on Blind Date (though that is completely irrelevent), the decision is YOURS.
My School Sixth Form (no names in case a teacher reads it) has been in place for many years now and the system they have in place seems to be working. The sixth formers are entitled to the 'Common Room', which is basically a big room with comfy chairs and a stereo. Now this might sound all nice and cosy but don't be fooled. The sixth form is a harsh place to be. The common room is over run by year 12 who have little or no respect for their elders, and the 'moshers' always put crappy morbid music on the stereo, causing violent clashes between the townies and the moshers. The common room is split between the different friendship groups. On the heater theres the moshers, down from them the country bumpkins, then accross the back wall, the popular 'pretty' boys and girls, then the real townies with hardcore rave tunes pumping out, the sporting people with their adidas pants and then in the other half of the common room the y12's are split between the in crowd and the goons, no in between people just sweet or swot. When you first enter the hallowed sixth form block you are greeted with, 'your all adults now and we will treat you so', which lasts for about 5 minutes when you are told, 'no smoking, no music during lesson time, stay in school all day regardless of free lessons' and it soon becomes aparrent that you are actually treated worse than you were in the lower school. The teachers (mainly mine) don't seem to understand the terms 'stress' and 'high blood pressure', fair enough we're in sixth form and A levels and GNVQ's involve a lot of work but just cos we've moved up a year doesn't mean that we can work every hour that god sends. My teacher for Leisure and Tourism may as well be the grim reaper, i told her in the start that i only wanted a pass, not a distinction as i couldn't handle the stress and workload with my dodg y ticker, but she just keeps handing work back saying to improve it even more, even though my two other teachers say that it is finished and needs signed off, but that isn't good enough for the RED DRAGON as we've come to call her. Lack of understanding is rife with the teachers in sixth form, they all say to go to them with any problems you might have, i go and tell my teacher to ease up a bit, give me breathing room so i stay well and she's like, 'heres some more work for you, put in this part of your work, have you finished this for me?' NO leave me alone. So my advice to many students considering to go to sixth form is DON'T, go to college, at least the tutors there know when to lay off a bit.
This was my Secondary school, and did me fairly proud with both my GCSE`s and A-levels - getting 7 A`s, 1 B, 1 C and an E for my GCSE`s and 2 B`s and 2 C`s for my A levels. The atmosphere is quite good, and the teachers asa whole seem to care about doing their job properly. The school has the same problems as almost every other school in the UK - they need more funding to buy equipment and books, but what they do have they certainly make the most of. There are a couple of good computer rooms, all on a network and connected to the internet. It isn`t the fastest connection on the planet but it certainly does well enough for simple browsing. If you are in Halewood and are looking for a secnodary school, you could do a lot worse than send your children to halewood Comprehensive. They do the job with the accademic learning, and they also make sure you know enough about the real world before they let you out to try ad find jobs, survive at university etc.