When students reach Year 12, they enter the ‘Eighth Form’, where life is markedly different for students, whilst they prepare for university and their future careers.
Greater responsibility, independence and freedom are given in these final two years of school as students make their transition to adulthood. We aim to enable the young people in our care to move confidently and happily from school to university and beyond. There is also expert guidance and support provided to help them prepare for exams and university entry.
Students in their later teenage years are often searching for values to underpin their lives and find their place and voice in society. We provide these young people with exciting academic stimulation, in an atmosphere akin to a university, and almost limitless opportunities to explore and develop their talents through extra-curricular activities.
School uniform gives way to smart office dress. Students study four or five subjects that they enjoy and are good at. All courses are taught by highly skilled subject specialists who ensure the provision is academically challenging and provides pupils with greater scope for independent research and work. Teaching takes place in small groups (average 8-10 students, maximum 15), affording great opportunities for high-quality teaching and learning in university-like seminar and research environments.
Each year, around fifteen students join the school at this level, bringing with them a range of different experiences and ideas. Boarding is a popular option for students joining at 16+ and we have many joining from overseas and across the UK that choose this supporting environment which allows them to concentrate on their studies during the week.
All students meet daily with their vertical tutor group. These meetings will help them form bonds with others across year groups and get valuable advice from fellow tutees in the Upper Eighth (Year 13), who will be undergoing the university application process and who have already experienced the transition to A Level/Pre U study. The Lower Eighth (Year 12) sees students beginning the university application process: by Easter, all will have seen a university advisor and have some idea about which type of course they would like to study.
Beyond the classroom, societies, clubs and school magazines flourish. The whole year are involved with service and academic enrichment through the Friday carousel programme. A quarter of the students take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme (Gold). Many Lower Eighth assume significant roles in the school’s sports teams or leading roles in clubs, societies, charities, drama and music.
The Lower Eighth closes with examinations and preparation of UCAS personal statements. When it comes to the latter, each student will probably have a good idea as to where his academic heart lies, but will also want to highlight the achievements and fun this year has brought him: most have too much to write.
A number of students drop a subject at the end of Year 12, resulting in greater specialisation, more in-depth study and the chance for wider reading. A larger number of free periods also results and each individual now has to take greater charge of how they uses this time. A sizeable common room is provided for the Upper Eighth form’s sole use and they have access to the many break-out spaces around the school as well as the computer rooms and the Library.
Eight students from each academic year are elected to be part of their Year Forum with two from each year meeting as a School Council. The Upper Eighth students are also able to form part of the Pupil Leadership Team supporting the Captain and Vice Captain of the school. These Pupil Voice mechanisms form the bridge between the whole student body and senior management with the support of the Master in charge of Pupil Voice.
The Prefects, numbering about 25, are chosen from this year group democratically – elected by their peers and staff. The High Master has the power of veto, but it is rarely used.
Not surprisingly, particularly with the school’s vertical tutor system, students at this level are expected to act as role-models to the younger pupils and they take this responsibility seriously. We’re proud of what they achieve and what they become.