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Should your child change schools for Sixth Form?

Thinking of shaking things up for your child when it comes to A Levels? Here's everything you should consider about making the Sixth Form swap.

Back when your child headed off to secondary school you probably thought you were done with starting new schools and all the admin that comes with it. It’s so easy to imagine them continuing on to their school’s Sixth Form before the big upheaval of going to uni or starting a job begins. However, as weary parents the country over know all too well – the easy route is very rarely the best one when it comes to parenting!

While some kids will thrive in the comfort of the same school environment for their A Levels, others will definitely benefit from a change, and there’s a lot to be said for the Sixth Form swap. By the end of Year 11 a lot of kids will be yearning for a new setting to explore, their friendship groups might be breaking up as students branch off on different paths or they might simply need a change of teaching pace to reinvigorate their love of learning.

We spoke to Stoke College in Suffolk (who interestingly have tripled their Sixth Form cohort since 2020, so know a thing or two about welcoming new joiners in Year 12) about why a change of scene for A Levels might just be the best parenting decision you make all year. Over to you, Stoke College.

Let’s start with what all parents want to know… what are the benefits of moving schools for Sixth Form?

stoke college sixth form

“Aside from a change of scenery, it’s an opportunity to focus on your child – have they had any gripes or niggles with their current school or teachers? Perhaps their friends are also moving on? It may seem like a big leap but changing school can also be an enormous opportunity for personal growth, a chance to build a student’s confidence and resilience, experience a new location, new people, a new environment. For students who have been at their current school for 5 years or more, its also a chance to shake off any site fatigue and spread their wings.”

What types of personality would suit a change at this point?

sixth form boy

“Adventurous souls equipped with enate curiosity, a desire to push themselves, particularly out of their comfort zone, and make new friends. Those who have a strong desire to succeed, are academically ambitious and yet would also relish opportunities for leadership and mentoring. Also, students who have struggled with really large schools (some year groups at large schools are larger than the whole of Stoke College), who feel more individual attention will help them to flourish, or who have felt, perhaps, overlooked by their teachers and want their chance to shine and have their moment in the limelight.”

Is swapping schools at Sixth Form becoming more popular?

“The pandemic affected everyone in lots of different ways. Young people had to learn to adapt very quickly to online learning, and the chance to join a Sixth Form where individual attention is at it’s heart has strong appeal – a new and different, more personal learning experience. This ability to adapt, and confidence in being able to do it successfully, has enabled some young people to make that leap and change schools for Sixth Form. Others have expressed a desire to get out of the city and into the countryside for a more rural location better suited to supporting mental health and wellbeing.”

What are the benefits of a move from state to an independent Sixth Form at this age?

Sixth form common room

“Smaller classes, absolutely! At Stoke College the minimum number in a class (A Level subject) is 3. Stoke 6 and the Dovecote offers students a space for Sixth Form only – a large leisure/community room with a kitchen and purpose-built study rooms where each student has their own desk and storage for books and files etc. Boarding is also often an option at independent schools and one that many of our Sixth Form opt for – it’s a strong, supportive community who work hard and play hard together. We also have a team of staff, including Principal, Dr Lloyd, who individually support students in their university and course applications, as well as offering career advice.” 

Can you find a better choice of A levels by moving schools?

Sixth form subjects

“Yes! Besides the usual English, Maths and Sciences, French and Spanish, Stoke is also able to offer Design & Technology, Music, Computer Science and Sociology. Overall there are 18 subjects to choose from. In addition to this, all of our Sixth Form students complete the Diploma in Global competencies, a multidisciplinary programme of languages, life and study skills, which leaves our learners better equipped to deal with the world.” 

There are still a few places available in Stoke 6 for September 2022. Applications can be made through the Stoke Admissions Portal here

Stoke College, Ashen Lane, Stoke by Clare, Sudbury CO10 8JE, Suffolk, UK. Tel: 01787 278141

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