Target Grades for Sixth Form Entry
Many children now wish to advance to Sixth Form upon finished their GCSE’s in an attempt to gain further qualifications such as ‘A’ Levels and other vocational qualifications.
In order to do this however there are minimum requirements made of most sixth form colleges in order for your child to gain a place.
Sixth form colleges are now becoming increasingly popular and most towns and cities have at least one whilst the days of sixth forms in mainstream comprehensive and grammar schools are now seemingly numbered in line with the government’s educational reforms which stipulate that sixth form colleges and academies can offer more in the way of sixth form study.
To say that the criteria for gaining a place in sixth form education is standardised would be ill advised. Indeed it is now common for sixth form colleges to operate their admissions processes using varying criteria from college to college.
Again it is worth checking with the sixth form colleges themselves and also with the local education authorities to find out what these entry grades and requirements are but we can offer a general overview which will help you along the way.
Minimum RequirementsFirstly it is useful to know that most sixth form colleges have an admissions secretary who can answer any specific questions you have regarding the admissions process. He or she will be only too happy to provide you with a list of subjects and grades required as well as how to go about applying for a place.
Usually applications for entry into sixth form are required by the 6th of January in the year of entry. So if your child wishes to enter sixth form education in September of 2008 for example completed applications should be returned by 6th January 2008. Again check with the sixth form college of choice as this may vary and discretion may be allowed depending on the circumstances.
A large number of sixth form colleges look for a minimum of six GCSE examination results, the grades of which can vary from college to college and also depending on the subjects your child wishes to take: most however look for a minimum of five GCSE exam results varying in grade from A* to C.
Some schools and colleges set a minimum requirement for required subject grades for particular courses. These will differ from school to school or college and are meant to indicate the kind of performance at GCSE level which is required to be successful in the 16+ course that is being applied for.
Exceptional CircumstancesAs in all levels of education, certain exceptional circumstances have provisions made for them. Some local education authorities may exercise discretion in awarding places if the individual could benefit from the programme that is offered in a sixth form college but, because of his/her circumstances, has not met the entry criteria.
These circumstances incorporate students who require special needs education or who have a physical disability, which can only be met by a particular school or college. Also asylum seekers and/or pupils who do not speak English as their first language could benefit from a place in sixth form.
Again it is important to understand that these are exceptional circumstances and as such placements in lieu of these are offered only at the local education authority and Sixth Form College’s discretion. It is not to be taken as read that a place will be offered on the basis of any of these circumstances.
Priority of PlacementsThe allocation of places for pupils is again monitored closely and can only be permitted if the circumstances and criteria are met. As a result of this the normal rule of thumb applies whereby a pupil meeting the examination grades and living in the catchment area will be offered a place before a pupil who say meets the grades but lives outside the catchment area.
Likewise should places be available and a pupil wishes to attend but lives in another catchment area, a place will be granted once all places are filled by those people who have met the aforementioned criteria and admission rules.
If you are in doubt as to whether your child meets the criteria before applying then contact the sixth form college or the local education authority and ask them to advise you on what chance your child has and what steps to take to increase your child’s chances of success.