How much free time do we get?

It depends on how many subjects you do. An average student will have between 7-10 non-contact periods a week. The best way to balance your time is to think of 9am-3pm as study time, whether it's spent in lessons, the library or the study room. Successful students will always use their study time to study!

What can I wear?

From Monday to Thursday Sixth Form at Blessed Hugh Faringdon means wearing formal business wear. Students need to think "Would a teacher wear it?" For boys it means wearing a jacket, shirt, tie, formal trousers and shoes. For girls it means jacket, formal tops, knee length skirts/dresses and sensible shoes. Anyone dressed inappropriately will be sent home to change in according with our policy. For more information, please see the Dress Code section of the Sixth Form Handbook.

Like many workplaces, however, on Fridays, we have ‘dress down’ or casual Friday, which means students can wear jeans (not ripped), trainers and appropriate casual clothes.

What if I haven't studied it before?

A lot of pupils think that if they did not study something at GCSE they cannot take it at A-Level/BTEC. This is often not the case. Discuss with teachers whether you would be suitable for the course, often the answer is yes!

What courses shall I study?

The best advice here is to forget your friends. For two years of your life you're going to be studying the subjects you pick, so doing it because someone else is will only end in disaster. You should consider:

  • How well did I do it at GCSE?
  • How similar/different is the course to GCSE level?
  • Can I work with the teacher for two years?
  • What will I use this course for in life?
  • Does it relate to the career I might want? Remember to keep your options open though!
  • Does the teacher think I could do it?
  • Can I get the grades needed to get on it?
  • Would I be interested in reading about it outside of the classroom?

What happens if I don't like a course?

There is a small window of about four weeks at the start of the year to switch courses. It is complicated however, so getting it right first time is better. Remember, if you switch courses you'll be asked to catch up on everything you missed until the point you join, which is very hard work!

Can I go home in my study periods?

Attendance and punctuality are of key importance in the Sixth Form. Every student is expected at school between 8:40am until the end of the school day (3pm, or 3:50pm if you have a Period 7 lesson). However, students can earn an attendance privilege by maintaining a 97% average over two terms. This means permission to leave early if you do not have a period 6 lesson and study at home.

Are we allowed out of school?

You may leave the school premises at break and lunch once we have received a signed permission slip. All other occasions require students to sign in and out with a permission slip from the Head of Sixth Form or Study Supervisor.

Should I go to University or Work?

The truth is that you can't decide right now. Too many pupils think they want to work and then discover what life is actually like and want to come back to school! Others want to go to University and then don't get the grades they need! Some people don't want to go to University and then end up there anyway... having the best time of their life! Throughout Year 12 and Year 13 you'll get University advice, gap year information, careers help and subject guidance so don't worry about it too much before you complete your GCSEs.

I want to be a...

You may already have a career in mind. If this is the case then seek advice before choosing your A2 or BTEC subjects. Speak to the Head of Sixth Form and subject teachers before choosing your courses because you might have certain subjects that are needed for the profession you are interested in!

Can I study whatever I want?

No, you have to meet entry requirements to get on the courses you want to. You will find details of this on the pages for every subject on our website and in our courses booklet! Once on them you'll have a probation period where the teachers will also review your suitability for the course. This lasts about a month, and if you get through it you will become fully enrolled on the course.

Why have entry requirements?

We don't want you to fail, and GCSE performance can always be linked to A2 performance. In the same way you wouldn't want a builder to perform a medical operation on you; teachers don't want to have students that will not be able to complete a course to start it!

When are my exams?

External exams usually take place in January and May-June. There can be some exceptions to this so it is better to check with your teacher when you are looking at taking on a course.
Year 12 sit internal mock examinations in July of Year 12. Year 13 then have two sets of mock examinations, in December and March.

What if I don't get 5 Grade 4 and above at GCSE?

Don't worry, there are still options open to you, but fewer of them. Take a look at the entry requirements for the courses you want, and if you can't do them then chat to the Head of Sixth form about your situation.

What if I get a 3 or below in English or Maths?

Maths and English GCSE are the bridge to better jobs, higher level courses and will impact greatly on the opportunities available to you. If you don’t get a Grade 4 you will need to re-sit that subject in Year 12. If you fail the exams for a second time you will be responsible for the cost of exam entry for all future re-sits you wish to take. Achieving a grade 3 or lower will also impact on the courses available to study in Sixth Form. For more details look at the entry requirements for the courses you want... you'll see how many include English and Maths!

What is UCAS?

UCAS stands for the University and College Admissions System. If you want to go to University you must apply through UCAS, which is available online. Over the course of your time at Sixth Form you will have many sessions that explain UCAS in detail, how to write a brilliant personal statement, what your predicted grades are and how to collect subject references. You don't need to worry about it now, but if you want to visit www.ucas.ac.uk you'll find a very helpful video that explain the basics of University Admissions!

When should I look at Universities?

A lot earlier than you might think! The ideal time to start looking at University prospectuses (which are like guides to each University and their courses) will be from November in Year 12! This is because choosing from Universities requires a lot of thought and students are encouraged to think through where they want to study, what they want to study and what they want to do after University... tough choices!

Can I get a job and study?

You can, but you are advised to work part time for no more than 10 hours per week. If your part-time work is affecting your school work the school is entitled to contact your employer and make any changes we see necessary to see you improve your performance at school.

What about learning to drive?

You can learn to drive whilst at Sixth Form, but you should not took lessons during the school day. Some students are quite clever and start their driving lesson at school at 3pm and finish them at home... saving a bus fare on the way! The Theory test should be arranged outside of the school day, but time out will be allowed for the test itself.

How do I apply?

You can apply through the site or by sending a completed application form to:

Head of Sixth Form
Blessed Hugh Faringdon Sixth Form
Fawley Road
Reading
RG30 3EP