6th Form Open Evenings....

(28 Posts)
BaconAndAvocado Fri 11-Oct-13 17:20:02

DS1 is in Year 11 and will be doing the rounds of local 6th forms.

What questions should we be asking?

He's currently at a comprehensive school but we will be looking at grammar 6th Forms.

One local grammar runs the Ibac course too. DS wants to take A levels in Maths, Chemistry and Physics with a view to a degree in Chemical Engineering. Would the Ibac be relevant to this?

Talkinpeace Fri 11-Oct-13 18:07:03

International Baccalaureate is not good for science / engineering as its too humanities based - it is instead of A levels, not as well as

if he's moving schools, the 'feel' will be the most important
round here its colleges and the 'mood' is the main difference between the top three ....

TheWave Fri 11-Oct-13 22:46:43

How many new students come and how will he fit in? Any trips/extra-curricular stuff and how might he get involved? How much support for career paths and uni choices? Where do they spend free periods/lunchtime?

BaconAndAvocado Sat 12-Oct-13 10:48:28

Thanks, am putting all these questions in my handy notebook!

Any more?

TheWave Sat 12-Oct-13 12:25:09

If he is considering moving from coed to single sex then I would ask very closely about any shared activities with local girls' grammar.

Some are very close and share some lessons, drama, external trips, others very separate (in which case he may need to be the type of child who is meeting/socialising with girls through other activities/parties etc if you want him to have this).

Some single sex grammars were very cagey about this and in fact there weren't really any links to speak of.

noblegiraffe Sat 12-Oct-13 12:30:55

What are the applied modules studied as part of A-level Maths? Mechanics, statistics and decision maths are available, but students only do two out of three (or rarely one out of three but to a greater depth) and schools usually don't offer a choice. If he is doing chemical engineering, make sure the maths includes mechanics.

circular Sat 12-Oct-13 14:44:19

We did the rounds last year for DD1, now yr12 and very happy with her move.
We did come across some quite vast differences between the Physics Syllabus that were on offer, so it may be worth questioning if you have a preference as some more mathematical than others.

Also what Noblegiraffe says re the maths modules. Of 8 schools we considered, only 2 offered a choice (between M1 and S1 ) at the outset. The others all did S1 in yr12, then a choice of S2, M1 or D1 in yr13.
Possibly less of an issue if your DS is intending to take further maths too, as that will include the M modules.

If he isn't taking further maths, dies he have a 4th subject choice yet?
Important to check fir likely clashes if option blocks used. and if they are not used, when time tabling decided to ensure options fit, relevant if 4th subject something less usually combined with sciences.

Also, don't forget, you can apply to as many as you like, and hold on to all the provisional places until results day. Most will have induction day(s) after GCSEs over too, so more of an insight before having to make final decision.

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 12-Oct-13 15:50:04

How do they integrate the newcomers?

What size are the classes?

What sort of enrichment activities are on offer?

BaconAndAvocado Sat 12-Oct-13 16:01:31

wave the grammar he's particularly interested is co-ed in the 6th form but will ask about this.

Thanks for that crucial piece of advice noble I do remember you on another of my threads re Chem Eng. smile

circular he hasn't chosen a 4th yet but is currently studying GCSE Further Maths so perhaps that will be his choice?

Good questions there Atia

Thanks all, there seems to be a lot more involved than when I went to 6th form!

I have one in 6th form and DS2 in year 11 so we are also just starting to look.
I agree the IB is unlikely to suit your DS if he is very science / Maths orientated.
DS1 is doing Maths Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. He did Biology to AS in year 12.
Some schools do a combined Maths and Further Maths course where they cover all the Maths modules the first year and then the FM in the second year.
Regarding enrichments. These are subjects they can choose as tasters, so not leading to exams. Good for balance. Also ask whether the school insists on EPQ, General Studies, Critical Thinking or Duke of Ed. Your DS may be happy to do them, on the other hand he may not want them to be compulsory.
One of the schools DS2 is looking at insists on General Studies which I think is a waste of time.

mumslife Sun 13-Oct-13 16:08:59

Def apply for as many as you want to. We ended up applying for four grammars and two mixed comps to cover all eventualities. We found some grammars easier to vet into than others. Some are also pusher than others as well insisting you godown the oxbridge route if you get handfuls of a stars we are not in that position lol. also def get your child to talk on open evening to current year twelve students can get a big insight that way

Talkinpeace Sun 13-Oct-13 16:14:04

insisting you go down the oxbridge route if you get handfuls of a stars we are not in that position lol
could you explain that comment ?
various kids of friends have gone to Oxford and Cambridge and found that the maintenance grant stretches further due to the college policies
and that the tuition fee/tax is the same as elsewhere.
Why would you not be in a position to let your child have that opportunity ?

TeenAndTween Mon 14-Oct-13 13:19:01

TalkIn - I read if you get handfuls of a stars we are not in that position lol to mean their child is not getting those grades, not that they cannot financially afford it. May be wrong of course.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 14-Oct-13 13:22:22

teen think you're right.

Have just had a lovely chat with 2 boys from the local 6th form grammar. Very polite, mature. A really good advert smile

Talkinpeace Mon 14-Oct-13 13:55:57

fairy nuff
Oxbridge is by no means the be all and end all : its about the right course for the child

mummytime Mon 14-Oct-13 14:34:50

The good thing about Oxbridge is - if a sixth form regularly get some students in, then they are up to date with the entry criteria (same for Medicine).
But I also wouldn't want a Sixth form that didn't send to a range of Universities. Do they know about Art Foundation? Do they send people to Nursing degrees? Do any go straight into employment based routes?
If the sixth form sends people to a range of Universities and courses, and other options; then even if they haven't just sent several to study Chemical Engineering, hopefully, they have a good careers advisor available to give advise.

ontheallotment Mon 14-Oct-13 18:18:28

particularly at grammar school sixth forms it's worth asking what happens to those who don't do so well at AS level. Are any refused admission to year 13? How many? Do they leave or can they resit year 12 and what criteria are used to determine who leaves resits year etc.

Hopefully it won't be an issue, but if your ds does wobble in year 12 it's nice to know where you stand and some schools do seem to put their league table position above individual students interests imo.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 14-Oct-13 20:53:11

ontheallotment that sounds scary!

Because DS has been at a comp which has had good pastoral carei can't help worrying that a grammar would be a less "fluffy" environment??

mumslife Tue 15-Oct-13 13:51:54

what I meant is my dd is not clever enough to go down the oxbridge route and the school wouldnt advice this for her. its those students that got loads of A stars at gcse level and then are perhaps doing five A levels - so not my DD Some grammars are pushier than others on this my daughters one thsy suggest it to you if they think you are capabale others are more insistant from what i have heard
Our gramar works like this not sure if they are all the same. You have to get in the mocks ( jan of year 12) at least D in three or more of your a level subjects to continue on. This can include GENERAL studies as well as two of your others or three of your A levels. At as level again you have to get at least d OR ABOVE AT end of year 12 so AS level to continue into year 13 Again this has to be in a minimum of three A levels and again can include General studies YOu can then drop the remaining one as you can after options provided all the other three are a D or above.
I think it is tougher still at some grammars with some insisiting you get a C or above. The mocks are quite early on as well but they stop in about May for AS study leave.

So yes technicallly you could be asked to leave after mocks if you dont get a d or above in three of your as levels and again after the as levels in May same applies. Its tough sad

mumslife Tue 15-Oct-13 13:53:59

To add most students probably about 99 percent go onto unis to study degrees at my dd grammar some go to oxbridge other to russell group unis and others to other unis. Very few from what I can tell do something other tham this. Hope this helps smile

mumslife Tue 15-Oct-13 13:55:33


DD grammar co ed most of them seem to be but have to say there is only about 15 to 20 boys there and a couple of hundred girls lol!

BackforGood Tue 15-Oct-13 18:58:47

I was going to post exactly what ontheallotment said.
The grammar school near here does not let you carry on into Upper 6th if you don't get high enough in their opinion grades at AS. It is quite common for dc to move there, then be thrown out after the first year.
Hopefully that doesn't happen in many places, but it's worth asking the question.

ontheallotment Tue 15-Oct-13 19:39:14

I didn't mean to imply all grammars were like that, but a few do seem to be. There can be a huge range of reasons for doing badly in year 12 and some dc can turn things around with the right support. Having to change school (and quite probably exam syllabuses too) is often not in their best interests.

ohnoimnot Tue 15-Oct-13 20:40:18

If all children applying are predicted A* how does the school choose?

circular Wed 16-Oct-13 08:07:51

BaconAndAvocado We're not in a grammar area, although close to a super-selective in neighbouring LA.
When we did the rounds with DD1 last year, many of the comps become very selection fit 6th form entry, and only offer A levels. Hence get results not far behind the grammars, without quite as much pressure.

Also the added bonus that these 6th forms can be quite large, so more choices on subject combinations.
DD1 is at a school now that get around 60% A* to B at A level, They are also very heavy on enrichment activities, offering fat more choice thanDCs we know at private and grammar schools.

I think all schools we saw wanted D or C grades at AS to continue a subject for A2. As they are expected to start with 4 or sometimes 5, and usually continue with 3, I guess that would mean 3Ds minimum. Not heard anything from DDs school about being asked to leave or rven drop subjects if lower in mocks. Although they are having maths tests before half term to determine whether they are in the right sets.

I wonder if with next yr12 being the first cohort where education to 18 compulsory, whether schools will be a bit more accommodating.
Also wondering what happens to those at grammars that are asked to leave in yr12. Do they start again elsewhere or try something different.
DD1 has 2 students in one if her lessons that are repeating
yr12. Sounds like from what others are saying, that wouldn't happen at grammar.

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