Here in 6th Form, we strive to offer all our students as many additional opportunities to their standard educational package as possible. The primary objective of this is to enable students to broaden their skill-set, so they can develop further key attributes that will not only prove useful in later life, but also help them to ‘stand out from the crowd’ in ever growing competitive markets.
Here at South Dartmoor, we are proud of the variety of extra-curricular opportunities we offer. These include Sport, Drama, Music and Dance, with all our Sixth Form students able to access these. Details of these are published termly, with additional events resulting from this. Notable examples include weekly football and hockey training sessions, which also involve regular local and national fixtures; music, dance and drama clubs and rehearsals, culminating in events such as this year’s school production of ‘Bugsy’ and the annual ‘Body Language’ dance production; health & fitness classes run through the affiliated Ashmoor Sports Centre (including free access of the Ashmoor facilities, such as the Fitness Suite, during school operating hours).
The Employability Award is a unique scheme that all of our 6th Form students have the opportunity to achieve. It is endorsed by the Devon & Cornwall Business Council, who appreciate its value in enabling our students to prove their employability to potential employers or indeed, higher education institutions. In order to successfully obtain this award, students have to complete a variety of criteria. This includes attendance at or above the college minimum requirements of 95%; receipt of commendation from teaching staff through the use of the college’s ‘Praise System’; completion of a minimum of 2 extra or super-curricular experiences; completion of a minimum of 2 voluntary opportunities. This can be completed in either Y12 or Y13, allowing students plenty of time to hit all of the criteria. At this point, a certificate will be presented, which can form part of student Records of Achievement and be referred to as part of Personal Statements and Curriculum Vitae.
Sixth Form Ambassadors
This initiative allows our 6th Form students formal experience in working with a lower-school tutor and tutor group. Successful students are positive role models for their younger counterparts, with prospects of working with tutors to deliver tutorial sessions, be involved in House Assemblies and most importantly, support the tutees in their respective groups. Our students commit one morning registration session each week to their lower school tutor groups, but have full reign over any additional involvement they wish to indulge in, such as running of House Assemblies, involvement in Sports Day and Interhouse activities, etc. This opportunity truly enables our 6th Form students to enhance and demonstrate several positive personal traits, which would be particularly beneficial in future careers which involve working with others, particularly youngsters – again, helping our students ‘stand out from the crowd’ in competitive application processes.
Throughout our students’ time in 6th Form, there are always opportunities to support fellow students, both 6th Form and lower school. This can range from subject-specific mentoring in areas such as GCSE English, Science & Maths, to pastoral support, working with particular youngsters one to one in a role model capacity. This enables our 6th Form students to develop key attributes such as communication skills and empathy, plus when working with fellow 6th Form students, to continue to enhance their own understanding of subject matter which can boost personal performances.
We actively encourage our students to immerse themselves in voluntary roles, both within the college, but also out in our local community. Previous and current examples include the running of the A Level Business Christmas Fair, to charity work such as Cake Sales for Comic Relief, to helping out the Ashburton Carnival with marshalling, or offering to complete readings as part of festive services in Ashburton Community Church. We and our local community value the contributions of our students; in return, these experiences enable students to develop personal traits and prove to prospective employers and higher education providers that they have several strengths to their skill-set.
We are fortunate that as part of our 6th Form team, we have a designated Careers Advisor working in conjunction with our lower school, on hand to support students when considering potential work experience and career prospects. Students are encouraged to partake in work experience in addition to their studies if feasible, and we have worked hard in order to build up a number of potential contacts in a range of areas, such as teaching, medicine and engineering. Work experience for some career/educational progression routes will be mandatory, whereas for others it might only be a recommendation. Regardless, the fact that we have members of staff on hand to support students in these areas is a further positive element of our 6th Form. We can also initiate opportunities such as mock interviews for students applying for higher education courses or employment that require this aspect, which has proven particularly useful for students in the past.
Each week we have an assembly timetable, during which either members of staff or external agencies, discuss a particular subject or opportunity available. This ranges from current affairs, such as politics and elections, when members of respective parties have come in to speak about their policies, to future enrichment/employment opportunities involving links such as the Prince’s Trust and the Armed Forces, to useful skills, such as learning how to perform CPR on an unconscious casualty. Generally there is a whole 6th Form assembly at the end of each week, but we also hold fortnightly, year group specific assemblies. This allows each year group to be supported more specifically, based on the time of the year. For example, in the first term, a representative from Student Finance has come in to discuss how to apply for financial support when applying for university for the Year 13 students who are going through the UCAS application process.
Our assembly programme ensures that our students have every opportunity to be made aware of any current affairs or potential options that might be available to them.