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Sixth Form vs College
Schools & Sixth Form Colleges in general
Member Name: DixieChick101
Schools & Sixth Form Colleges in general
Schools and Colleges in general
Since last November 2006 I've had an illness that has completely baffled the doctors. None of them know what it is, maybe their just incompetent or it's just impossible to find. I've had every scan possible, but nothing will show up.
The only problem with the illness is the timing, last year I did my GCSE's and because of it, I didn't do very well.
In November of last year, I had to do my mocks and the school was great. They put me into a special room so I could go in and out of the toilets easily, and I didn't do to bad in those exams, but I slowly got worse.
Every day I was being sick and I would have mind-numbing pain in my stomach, it was made worse when I eat. The school kept on saying maybe its allergy's, but I took everything out of my diet that I have for about two weeks a time, and I was no different.
I had a terrible Christmas 2006, Christmas Eve I had two hours sleep, not because I was excited, because I was in the bathroom all night being sick. When it came to opening the presents in the morning, I was half asleep and wasn't excited as I was in previous years, when talking to family members later on; I was unable to remember what presents I had because I was still half asleep.
This carried on until I started back at school, but the day I went back I lasted 2 hours. The teachers didn't like me having to keep running out of lessons being sick, and then didn't like it when I wasn't in the lessons. I used to go to school and be sick all day, or be too tired to concentrate in the lessons, so I had time off because I couldn't cope anymore. It wasn't nice to be somewhere where you had to run across the playground, up some steps just to get to the nearest loos.
The doctors then put me in for an endoscopy; it was probably the most painful experience of my life. Luckily the sedated me, so I don't remember much I just remember being so sick afterwards, but again they didn't find anything.
I was still off sick from school, but kept on going in to retrieve work that wasn't there. The heads of years barely talked to the office staff, so when we said there was supposed to be work there for us, they'd look at us like we had two heads. Later that afternoon we'd get a phone call from the head saying there was work there, and we didn't pick it up.
Their was one teacher who was brilliant throughout, I had to do quite a lot of coursework for my history, she actually came over to my house on her own time and sat down with me and helped me, I think it was because of her that I got a good grade in history.
In April I went in for a couple of weeks and started to finish off and revise with the teachers a bit more, I went into my English lesson just a week before study leave and my teacher said she had taken me out of my 'English Literature' exam because she didn't think I could do it. I had read the book and sat down with my friends and had gone over the work that we had to learn, and when I told her that all she could say was 'It's done now'. I was so angry.
In year 10, there was this new course going called DIDA (can't remember what it stands for), which was worth 4 GCSE grades. I was told before I got sick that I was top of my class and I would walk the GCSE's, but he changed his mind towards the end. I was made to do CIDA which is only worth 2 GCSE grades, for this one I understand why he did it. It was an impossible course because the examination board kept on changing the criteria, which meant I had to keep changing my work. I was told that I'd probably get two B's in that subject but didn't.
The other subjects were a waste of space, Science & Maths I don't think my teachers sent any work home at all. I don't think my Science teacher even knew I had gone. In year 9 I was in set 2, but I didn't try hard enough on my SAT'S so was moved down to set 3. When talking to my new teacher at college, he told me that they get the most incompetent teachers to teach sets 3 & 4 because, they're not expected to get good grades, and I could understand this. My teacher spent most of his time telling off the bad kids and teaching us things that we have learnt year after year and not teaching us about things that are important. Again like Maths I started off in Set 2, but I did struggle slightly so I think I deserved to be in set 3, but the fact that my top grade on the GCSE paper would only be a C, was not reassuring.
Other subjects like Food Tech & Business Studies weren't great either. My food tech teacher is lovely, and she was always asking about me, but she didn't like the people I hung around with in my class. Food tech doesn't have sets, but I swear I was with the worst people in my school, they were trying to sound stupid all the time and when making something in the lesson, and it started to go wrong. I put my hand up and she never came. Luckily I managed to not burn the school down, no thanks to her.
I took Business Studies because I thought it would be great for life later on to know more about how businesses operate etc, I learnt nothing of the sort. All we did was watch stupid video's that our teacher had taped of Channel 4 and have to analyse them, I think all that I learnt in those classes was the difference between a Public Limited Company & a Private Limited Company, I think most people can do that anyway without two years of lessons. At the end of year 10, my teacher became sick so they brought in a teacher from another school. He was great, he was the sort of teacher you could walk all over, but he would start the lesson by asking what we wanted to learn about in that lesson. So if some of us didn't understand something from a previous lesson we could learn about that again, by the end of year 10 he had left and we had another substitute teacher in, he knew nothing about business.
Year 11 came around and our original teacher was back, he wasn't the world's best teacher but you did learn some stuff from him, most of the lesson the students just joked that he had gotten another toupee, he again got sick around the same time I did and we had another substitute teacher. To help myself learn stuff while I wasn't in the lessons I brought myself a business studies book, when it came around to the exams I went up to the teacher and asked for one, he said he'd leave in my form room for me. The next week it wasn't there. In the summer holidays however, I got a bill saying that I hadn't given the book back when I never received it in the first place.
Then my exams came around. My first exam was English Language, I was looking for my name on the board and noticed I wasn't behind the person I should have been behind and was surrounded by people from set 3, it turns out my teacher put me in for the Foundation paper and didn't tell me. I threw a paddy at the teachers and one lovely lady managed to put me into Higher at the last minute.
After that exam I had maths, I wasn't feeling too good because of my English exam mix-up and was so ill throughout. I think I spent 30 minutes inside of the hall to do my exam.
The other exams I think went okay, but apparently they didn't.
Throughout the summer holiday's we were all waiting for our results and the 23rd August arrived. I went in and got my results and looked at them in shock. I got a D in Maths, Science & Food Tech and E in French & Business Studies and B's in History & English.
For my school's sixth form you have to have 4 C's & 1 B, when I heard this I was just worried about getting that B.
The fact that I only had two B's on the sheet bothered me, but when I asked where my ICT exams were they told me my grades: 2 C's.
This didn't mean I was in, but the fact that I got 2 B's & 2 C's without being their for most of the year must have meant something and the fact it was in the two hardest lessons must mean that I can do it.
When we went in the next day to talk about it the woman was lovely, she said I did very well considering. I would have to retake my maths in November but I was okay with that. However she wasn't the main one, so she was going to tell The head of Sixth Form and she'd get back to me.
I was at my friends house when she called and said that there wasn't a good chance I would get in, she'd call me again when she's talked to all of the teachers.
I got that call a week later and she said NO for definite because they don't think I could do it.
Luckily I had already got a place at another college, when I explained my situation and said that I'm better now, they let me in, but that school was to up themselves to let me carry on my studies where I wanted to.
We wrote a letter into the school, the head teacher called my nan back and had a go at her, he talked to my mum later on and by what he was saying even if I did get the grades they wouldn't have wanted me anyway but they would have had to.
I finally ended up studying computing and e-media at a college close to me. I am close enough to my old mates, and am studying something that I enjoy. I finish year 1 in two weeks, and then next year will be going back for my year 2, before going off to university next year.
Sixth Form vs College?
I'm quite glad I didn't get into Sixth Form at my old school now because of the way I would have been treated. A lot of people have dropped out because of all the work and I know I wouldn't have done that.
The good thing I find with college is the flexibility you have there. You are treated like an adult, and actually have a say in things which I felt you weren't able to do at school.
I can't really do a very good comparison between sixth forms and colleges as I haven't got into sixth form, but here's a list of what I do know.
At college I go in everyday except Friday, and Wednesday afternoons, there isn't a written rule, but on these times off, I've never really heard anyone stay in and do extra work.
In sixth form however, my friends have 7 frees each week, most of these have to be spent in the common room studying for something or other.
On my course, it's just 25 assignments or so I have to complete from September to June. There's no added pressure of revision or exams, I turn up to college, get on with my work and still get good grades at the end of the year.
In sixth form however, you have exams in January and May. So your Christmas holidays are spent revising. The other annoying thing for the sixth form students, is after their exams, they have to go back in for another six weeks and start on their A2 year.
This is one part that gets on my nerves; the sixth formers have study leave for around three or four weeks. If they get EMA, they get paid for these four weeks. At college, if our teacher can't be bothered to turn up for a week, we don't get EMA. I am finishing in two weeks, and won't get any extra EMA because of it. This is one good thing about staying on at sixth form, more money for people that get EMA.
I'm on a course which is an equivalent of 3 A Levels. I can still get into university with them, but don't have the added pressure of exams. My mates in sixth form however will probably go into university with 5 A Levels, depending on if they pass them.
If you were never geared for school life, but still want extra qualifications, college is nothing like school. You are treated differently, I got told of a few times at the start of the year for calling my teachers sir and miss. You call your teacher by their first name or something else if you really wanted to.
The atmosphere is a lot more relaxed as well. The only thing, if you do want to go to Oxford or Cambridge I think you need to stay on at sixth form for that.
Hope this helped. Kirsty.
Summary: which is best, sixth form or college?