A Move at Sixth Form - Key Facts and Dates
For students considering a change of school for sixth form, now is the time to finalise your plans.
A change of school at sixth form can be beneficial if you have been at the same school for a long time; would like to move to a different system - day or boarding, single sex or co-educational - or to a school that has subjects at sixth form that your current school does not offer. Maybe you just need a new start.
You may well have been considering a move for a while and been to see some schools already but the next few months are crucial.
Overseas students usually need to register for the UKiset test, which should be taken by the end of September. The test includes assessments of academic potential and English language skills in reading, listening and writing, using verbal, non-verbal and mathematical reasoning. The results compare candidates against British students of the same age in the independent school system. A student is able to register for up to five schools and can take the test in centres around the world.
Dates vary but the majority of schools have registration deadlines in September/ October but do be aware that a few are earlier in August. If you have not already made a shortlist of schools and been to visit, you need to check registration deadlines. Most schools who offer a 16+ intake will be holding a specific Open Day geared to their sixth form offer during September or October. These are the perfect way to see the school, meet key staff, ask about the subject choice and the extra-curricular offer and just generally get a feel for a school. Talk to pupils, particularly those who came in at Year 12 themselves. Ask as many questions as you like and have a really good look around. I would recommend making some notes after each visit so that you can refresh your memory before assessment day.
Once you are registered you will be asked for assessment, usually early in November. Some schools ask potential students for a written personal statement in advance of assessment. Schools vary, some assessing knowledge in subjects to be studied in sixth form, some concentrating on Maths and English, others looking at reasoning skills. All will want to interview you - what do you have to offer them, what are you hoping to get out of the school and what can you contribute, as well as why you want to take the subjects you have chosen? Do your research online and add this to your thoughts from your first visit to have a really clear idea of the school. Have some questions ready to ask.
Schools will make their decisions quickly and you should have heard back from them by December. Most will expect a top grade at GCSE for a subject you want to study in the sixth form and offers at the most academic schools are often made based on a certain number of top grade GCSEs.