Sixth Form at St Helen’s is divided into Lower Sixth (Year 12) and Upper Sixth (Year 13). Life in Sixth Form is such an exciting time, academically and personally. It is the time when students take control of their learning, pursue the subjects they enjoy and feel passionate about, and are given the freedom and independence to manage their own experiences. It forms a bridge between the necessary constraints of school life and the freedom of university – students can take on new challenges within a caring and supportive environment. Our aim is to encourage students to be open-minded, have an intellectual curiosity and to be balanced, knowledgeable and principled thinkers who will confidently go on to contribute positively to society in all they do.
Joining Sixth Form represents a fresh start for students whether they come from our own Year 11 or join us from other schools. Students are in tutor groups of around 10-12 students and the same tutor stays with the form for both years, enabling a good rapport to be established both within the group and with the tutor. Form tutors are the first port of call and are responsible for a student’s academic and social welfare and will be a key figure in helping to guide each individual through the application processes for higher education.
Students in all year groups are organised into one of four Houses (Benedict, Duffield, Hayward and Paterson) for inter-House competitions and social activities. Named after women who have played a key role in the School’s history, they are led by staff Heads of House and offer leadership roles to the House Prefects. The House system offers opportunities for students from different years to spend more time together, develop skills such as teamwork and leadership and foster a sense of competition throughout the school.
Sixth Form has its own facilities, guidelines, privileges and responsibilities. One privilege is that there is no uniform in Sixth Form, while responsibilities vary from being part of the elected prefect team to helping with younger students in their forms or in clubs. The impressive array of extracurricular activities available enables students to maintain a good balance between work, rest and play. The prefect team of around 20 students lead the group and have a key role within the school.
“My time in Sixth Form was an unforgettable experience that has given me the confidence to move to university and study what I love. The respect from teachers made me more independent with my work and I still had the motivation to do well. I’ve made friends I will keep for life and I know the teachers will still want to know how I’m doing in years to come.”
The Sixth Form Centre is the focus of Sixth Form life, providing a sense of greater independence and autonomy from the rest of the School. It is a hive of activity and a natural meeting point for students to share their challenges, joys and achievements. It houses a substantial common room equipped with comfortable chairs, notice boards and kitchen facilities, as well as a number of group study areas. Students are encouraged to bring in their own laptops from home to facilitate their independent learning. When they want a change of environment or need access to a wider collection of reference materials, the Library is the perfect place to go as it has a separate silent study area just for Sixth Form, alongside the science breakout study areas and a Sixth Form study room off Old School Hall.
New Sixth Form Centre
To provide the best possible space for our Sixth Form students to flourish, we have applied for planning to build a new Sixth Form Centre with outstanding learning and social spaces, positioned to the rear of the Library. With a guiding principle to create a space which anticipates the feel of a university, this will be a beautiful building with classrooms, a lecture/performance theatre, a café, and study and social spaces.
Four subject-specific bursaries are available for candidates currently in a state funded school applying to join St Helen's Sixth Form. These bursaries cover 100% of school fees as well as additional costs such as school bus transport and any Sixth Form/subject-related enrichment activities. For more information, visit the webpage.
Sixth Form prospectus
Study options booklet