We recognise that the step up from GCSE to A-Level study is a significant one. In addition to the challenges of increasingly independent and demanding levels of work, around half of our Year 12 students will have joined us from other schools and will face the additional challenges of adapting to a new school environment and making new friends. For this reason we offer a full and multi-faceted transition programme which runs through the opening weeks of Year 12 and which includes social, collaborative activities run in form groups and by house and which also includes study skills workshops to better equip our students to thrive in their courses. Students are placed in one of ten tutor groups in which relatively small form sizes ensure that tutors get to know each of their students very well. Each form has additional support from a designated Year 13 Prefect who works with the tutor to ensure that all students are fully supported through transition. Year 12 students benefit from regular one-to-one mentoring meetings timetabled with their Form Tutors. Strong working relationships and a high standard of pastoral care are rooted in a detailed awareness of the needs of each individual student. Tutors also take an active role in reviewing their students' academic progress across the curriculum, meeting with the Head of Year and Assistant Head of Year when reports are issued who, in conjunction with the Director of Sixth Form, work closely with subject teachers to ensure that support and intervention appropriate to any given student's need are in place throughout the year.
In Year 12, each student will study 4 A-Level subjects for ten lessons per fortnight, will have a fortnightly PSHE lesson with their tutor, will have a weekly Games afternoon and a weekly elective study option to ensure curricular breadth and enrichment. One of the subjects selected will only be studied to AS-Level and students will confirm which subject they will be sitting AS and which three they will be continuing to A-Level in the first half of Year 12. Opportunities for co-curricular enrichment abound through a vibrant culture of student-run clubs and societies, and leadership opportunities arise halfway through the year when students can apply for several different types of prefecture. Our senior students very much set the highest standards of aspiration, courtesy and diligence for our younger students and our prefects are exemplary role models. As personal responsibilities develop, students must also start to make other important choices regarding their future, and Year 12 sees the start of a thorough programme of support and advice to take students through the UCAS process. The vast majority of our students do go on to higher education, but support and advice to suit all aspirations is on offer for every student. UCAS references are always written by a member of staff who knows and understands the needs of the student; all students will meet with their referee in the summer term to discuss their options and the development of their personal statement. Students enter the summer of Year 12 with a strong sense of what their priorities will be at the start of Year 13.