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The Sixth Form Years

Head of Sixth Form James Ralphs explains what life at Bryanston is like for those in their final two years of school and why the School’s approach to sixth form is so accomplished in developing purposeful, curious and well-rounded individuals ready for higher education or the working world. We also hear from A2 pupil Amelia S about her experience as a Bryanston sixth former…

The sixth form is a time in your academic life where individuality is at the core of everything you do. You’ve narrowed down your subjects to those that suit your strengths and interests, and you learn outside of the classroom as well as inside.

Bryanston in particular is a special place to be for the final two years of school. We educate our sixth formers in the broadest sense with our distinctive academic method. With pupils at the centre of the focus, our academic programme is tailored to each pupil’s individual needs and abilities.

We offer a wide academic provision with three different routes: A level, IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the IB Careers-Related Programme (IBCP). Choosing a programme which plays to the individual’s strengths and allows them to progress onto their desired university course or employment is important. There’s more on this topic in a previous blog post of mine here.

The A3 year at Bryanston (Year 12) presents the perfect opportunity for pupils to enhance their academic experience and they can choose from a variety of enrichment options. Last year, our Extended Project Qualification was a popular choice, with 80% of candidates achieving an A or A*. 

Our one-to-one feedback sessions, known at Bryanston as ‘correction periods’, and assignment rooms are unique elements of sixth form life at Bryanston. Alongside lessons, correction periods with our dedicated teaching body, allow pupils to develop a real passion for their subjects, which effectively prepares them for life at university or the working world. When they don’t have a lesson, the subject-specific assignment rooms provide them with another opportunity to seek help from a specialist in their field. This one-to-one care is fundamental to a Bryanston education and something that you would be hard placed to find elsewhere.

Finding a direction after Bryanston is a crucial part of a pupil’s final two years at the School. The Sixth Form and Careers Department helps open up individuals’ horizons to the wealth of opportunities in higher education and alternative options. With Old Bryanstonians (our former pupils) in every industry imaginable, our pupils are able to establish a network before they have even left us.

​​​​​​​Our outstanding facilities really do reflect our distinctive nature and the sixth form provides freedom to make the most of the opportunities available. Art, drama, music and sport all have their own mini empires, and pupils are given all the help needed to excel in their chosen field. Whether that is recording their debut album or using the Performance Sport Programme to improve on those fine margins, we are able to help sixth formers reach their goal. 

The pastoral care at Bryanston is second to none. Pupils are matched with a tutor that the School feels will enable them to make the most of their sixth form journey. Like the correction periods, tutorials are done on an individual and weekly basis, and provide an extra level of support at what is such an important time in pupils’ academic lives.  

The Bryanston method is an authentic one that nurtures purposeful, curious and well-rounded individuals. A2 pupil Amelia S demonstrated this perfectly in a speech she prepared for this year’s Sixth Form Information Afternoon, and I’m delighted to be able to share her perspective with you…

Life at Bryanston from the perspective of one of our sixth formers

You may be nervous, excited, apprehensive or unsure about joining the sixth form at a boarding school, but I can tell you one thing, you will not regret it. Even though it was a year ago, I still remember my first day. I had been at the school since D (Year 9), so it wasn’t a new environment, but sixth form still felt like a huge step up from GCSEs. The whole idea of university, UCAS, choosing a course, balancing lessons whilst also trying to carry on my sports and drama seemed like some sort of overwhelming myth that I would never have to do, which I’ve now learned is not a myth but a reality.

Bryanston goes above and beyond in making the process of applying, but also studying and learning for sixth form, as easy as possible. The support from your personal tutor who you meet with every week, is amazing. You talk about everything from sports to education, alongside the support of your house parent, head of department (assigned to you based on your area of interest for university), your teachers (who you have one-to-one time with in a correction period every week) to go over work, revision or anything you need help with, and Mr Ralphs as Head of Sixth Form. All of the guidance and support allows your last two years at the School to be as stress-free as possible but still with an element of individuality and challenge.

I never thought that I would end up looking to study English at university, let alone at A level. I never took an interest in English lessons before GCSE. but the teachers at Bryanston pushed me and challenged me, and nurtured my love of English to the point where I am today; looking to further that passion at university. I would say that the majority of people have found their ‘thing’ at Bryanston or enhanced a passion, whether it be skateboarding, rugby or astronomy. 

I have experienced so much at Bryanston and I will treasure these memories for the rest of my life. The School has taught me a lot about myself; it has taught me to use my voice and push myself out of my comfort zone. It has taught me organisation, motivation and enhanced my determination.

By A2 pupil Amelia S