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2 Year Stint
Schools & Sixth Form Colleges in general
Member Name: Lea09
Schools & Sixth Form Colleges in general
Advantages: Pushing atmosphere, very encouraging, a lot of freedom all the same
Disadvantages: None in general
Sorry about the length, but after a two year experience of a sixth form I had a lot to share. Hope it's useful as I know the choice of education is a tough one where any advice is very helpful.
I knew I'd progress with my education after 16 and I knew it would take the form of A-levels so I could go onto another accademic course at university, and because I just wanted to continue my education in the same I'd done with GCSEs etc. But the choice came as my secondry school doesn't have a Sixth form attached to continue onto, I then had to choose where I was going to go, and the main choice I had to make first is college or Sixth form.
Traditionally the view of a college is that there is far more freedom than you get with a sixth form attached to a school. You far less likely to get hounded for work and the choice to do a lot of your work is your own. I'm not sure if many people have the same opinion of colleges but those thoughts definitely made me think that a college was not the place for me.
As a student I may excel accademically but I definitely need to be pushed as I procrastinate loads and can be incredibly lazy, so an atmosphere where I am still pushed to do work and do well was definitely what I needed, so a Sixth form definitely seemed like the right choice for me.
I knew the Sixth form was going to be an environment very much like a school, and it really was, with just some exceptions to the rules that gave students freedom and really made it a more 'grown up' place to be, as you're certainly treated much more like adults than at Secondary school. The set up and timetable is like you have at school but with brilliant free period where you can do anything, which is especially good if your sixth form is situated within a town centre, as you can go shopping, eating out, play pool at a pub (though not drink) or play football in the park. And you get the glory of not having to go to lessons if you're teachers aren't in, giving you more free periods. If these are at the start or end of the day, you then get to go home early or sleep in. I knew one girl in her AS year who had a timetable which meant she didn't have to come in at all on Wednesdays. And at Sixth forms, very much like colleges, you always get your Wednesday afternoons off for sports.
The Sixth form that I went to at 16 was already attached to a different school so as well as meeting loads of people like me who had come from different schools, there was also about a third who had continued up to Sixth form from the secondary school. This may not seem like the best thing but the student body really did get integrated quite easily and people mingled and it certainly wasn't a case of them against us.
The best thing about joining this Sixth form and not my local college was that there wasn't a lot of people from my secondary school going there. It's not like I wanted to get away from my old friends, but I was massively looking forward to meeting hundreds of new people, and that is exactly the opportunity I got. Being at Sixth form was great for meeting a whole lot of new people that I wouldn't normally interact with. Sure, a lot of them I don't like, but it was certainly great in the first few weeks being really social and getting to meet so many new, great people. It certainly wasn't high school all over again with so called popular groups
But I also met a lot of snobby people at secondary school who thought they were better than everyone else and were just really stuck up. It came to light in one of my classes when one girl (who irritates me to a huge degree) said that poor people are poor always because they don't work hard enough and because they don't work long enough hours and doing so is the solution to poverty, and others in the class agreed, one saying that everyone has equal opportunities in education and therefore poverty is some sort of personal choice. It may not be usual within my sixth form to find people that stupid but there certainly is a lot of people that naive and sheltered about the real world, it's certainly full to the rafters with middle class kids, probably more so than what you get with a college. Having to go to school with a lot of people like that is certainly my biggest problem with my sixth form.
One annoying thing I experience at Sixth form as it was so higher education orientated was this huge push towards university which I really didn't appreciate. As much as I wanted to progress to university anyway they gave me no real choice or alternate options which would have really benefited me. Maybe a college would have seen the options for a students future a lot more like options. Though there are benefits to going to such a university driven place, they were incredibly helpful when it came to applications. There was a huge system in place to help with applications and personal statements and what choice of university you wanted to apply to, not just getting help from the careers office but seemingly every one of my techers. And they have an Oxbridge program too, which I'm sure you find at more Sixth forms than you do colleges.
I'm not sure if I regret that choice now, Sixth form was definitely not everything I expected or hoped for and it fell down a lot in certain areas, especially in regards to the people I ended up going to school with. But I can't say a college would have been better either, I've never been to one, and it certainly wasn't the best option for my siblings. But the choice is yours, all you people who've just finished GCSEs, are coming to the end of high school or are just young and looking to go back into education. Make the right one, it will shape your entire future.
Summary: Make the right choice, it's very important