Sixth Form at OLA – Taking charge
The Sixth Form at OLA is a vibrant community within a community. Whether students come to OLA from other schools or continue on from our own Year 11, the Sixth Form is a new stage on their educational journey. It marks the transition from guided study to independent learning, from teenager to adult, from school to university life. The two years of Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth offer a supported independence that leaves students prepared not only for their A levels but for life beyond the classroom.
Symbolic of the new freedom and responsibility in the Sixth is the simple, office-smart dress code that replaces uniform and prepares our young people for appropriate responses to social situations, interviews and professional life. Sixth formers are expected to take responsibility not only for themselves but others in the school community, acting as role models and school leaders. The Prefect system, House Captaincy, School Ambassador and Peer Mentoring schemes give the chance for any sixth former to develop leadership, self-esteem and self-confidence.
How Sixth form works – Fitting right in
The Sixth Form at OLA is large enough to be dynamic yet small enough for every individual to find their feet quickly and flourish academically and personally. Time is of the essence with only five terms before exams. The experience of joining a large anonymous Sixth Form can be a bewildering experience; at OLA we believe that integration and knowledge each individual is key to academic success. Sixth formers are assigned in small groups to tutors, who stay with them for both years of their course. Along with the Head of Sixth Form, tutors act as both academic and pastoral mentors. Academic progress and individual attainment is rigorously monitored against baseline data of a student’s potential.
Students are encouraged to see learning in the Sixth Form as a partnership with teachers. Study comes easier to some than others and the transition to independent learning is supported with study skills sessions and supervised study periods. Work in study periods takes place in a dedicated sixth-form section of the well-stocked library, at one of the many computers in our spacious sixth form study or in one of the individual study carrels.
Facilities – hanging out and standing out
The study areas are essential elements of the modern Sixth Form Centre which is situated in a wing of the 19th century convent. The heart of this self-contained area is the large student Common Room with its separate kitchen. This space has been stylishly designed and decorated by our talented art students. Here students from both Upper and Lower Sixth mingle, getting tips on school life and coming together to organise charity and social events such as our Christmas jumper day. Students take complete responsibility for cleaning and maintaining their own environment.
In addition Sixth Formers are entitled to their own swipe card to eat lunch or sip a cappucino at break in the Café Mall in the main school foyer.
What else does OLA Sixth Form offer?
The Sixth Form thus has has a privileged and separate status. Students are also expected to integrate with the rest of the school in their leadership roles and through involvement in a multitude of sports, clubs and societies. Integration with the wider world is achieved through a wide-ranging Enrichment programme that offers courses and talks from Art History to Politics. There is also the opportunity to take part in the Active Service volunteering programme working in the comunity at schools, charities and care homes.
A turning point in the sixth form calendar is UCAS. From summer in the Lower Sixth students are supported in their university applications by the Head of Sixth Form and a dedicated team who help students find the right future for themselves, craft personal statements, and write references based on in-depth knowledge of our students. Particular help is given to those applying early for Oxbridge, Law, Medicine and Veterinary Science where specialist examinations, and interview practice is required. Close links with Trinity College, Oxford and Peterhouse College, Cambridge assist this process.
Don’t take our word for it
We are proud of our Sixth Form. Parents consistently comment on the maturity, articulacy and self-possession of our sixth formers. They are also kind and inclusive. Newcomers to the school are welcomed and integrated into the social fabric. So, for the best introduction to our Sixth Form, come and talk to them or spend a day alongside them.