Last week Mrs Tasker blogged about the great GCSE and A Level successes at High Storrs. In my role as the new Director of Sixth Form, I have also seen success on a wide scale this summer. On GCSE results day I congratulated many, many young people with fantastic GCSE results who have joined the Sixth Form from across the city. In our first Year 13 assembly I commended the large numbers of students with impressive results in last year’s internal mock examinations and externally assessed AS Levels.
Since term started, I have certainly talked a lot about success. I have presented my goals for success in assemblies to Year 12 and Year 13 and discussed success at the Y12 Welcome Evening for parents. I hope that my message has been clear: success doesn’t just happen; success is the result of resilience, commitment, and determination. To help students to succeed, we have implemented a new initiative in the sixth form this year. The new A Level regime means that students’ learning habits need to be different to those of students in previous years, and we want to support our students’ study skills when learning and retaining large bodies of knowledge for assessment at the end of two years. To facilitate this, along with helping students learn how to manage their own study schedules, we are expecting Year 12 to be in school full time whilst they are learning the demands of A Level study. In their ‘free’ (study!) periods, students have selected to work in either silent classrooms or in more flexible spaces that allow group discussion of work. Once teachers are confident that students are successfully managing the demands of A Level study (as shown by their Attitude to Learning grades), they can opt to take some home study periods.
We also encourage Year 13 students to study in school as much as possible and I have been impressed by the number of students already utilising the superb study spaces from early morning to 6.00pm when they close. But, of course, success comes in many forms. It will be evident from the A Level results that reflect students’ resilience, commitment and determination to succeed, but it should also be seen in students’ developing wider skill sets and experiences.
I am excited that the sixth form this year are undertaking a wide-scale social action project. Every Year 12 and 13 form group is discussing how they would like to collectively support the local community and are making social action pledges: from volunteering in the local area, to fundraising for a Sheffield based charity, to working with younger High Storrs pupils. I look forward to writing a future blog post sharing our sixth form social action successes!