Success in the Sixth Form
Our varied curriculum enables students to continue their studies at A level in subjects they have studied at GCSE, alongside a variety of ‘new’ subjects including Psychology, Sociology, Economics and Politics, in addition to BTEC Level 3 diploma in Health and Social Care.
Students have the opportunity to complete the Level 3 Extended Qualification Project and/or the Level 3 Core Maths qualification.
We recognise that extensive support and guidance is needed to ensure a successful transition from GCSE to A-level studies. All of our students benefit from a dedicated tutor who engages students with tutorial activities on a daily basis, is available to support with study skills advice, current and future planning and to discuss any queries or concerns. Our students are continuously supported with excellent pastoral guidance and leave Ashlyns equipped with the benefits of a high quality education. This enables them to meet the demands of a changing world.
Academic excellence is at the heart of everything we do, but it is not the sole focus of Ashlyns Sixth Form: we are equally committed to the development of the whole person, ensuring that our students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed either in higher education, an apprenticeship or the world of work.
Outside of their studies, Sixth Form students enjoy substantial freedom and opportunities to participate in many extra-curricular activities.
Community Service: We encourage all our students to take an active role in the school community and the wider local community. This is a great way to learn new skills, develop confidence, meet more people and have a rewarding experience. Within the school community, during Year 12, all students spend one term supporting a chosen subject area. As part of this students can mentor students from other year groups, run lunchtime clubs, support at sporting events, support individual students in lessons and/or help to produce subject specific learning resources. Sixth Form students also have the opportunity to apply to be Senior Prefects and to support staff through undertaking duties at lunchtime and by supporting at key whole school events. In addition many of our students volunteer within the wider local community and we can schedule this in their study sessions during school time if it is appropriate.
Leadership: The breadth of leadership opportunities in the Sixth Form at Ashlyns enable our students to further develop their communication, relationship-building, influencing and decision-making skills. In Year 12, students can apply to be a senior prefect and, if successful at an interview, they take a learning role supporting students and the wider school community. In Year 13 students apply for positions on the Sixth Form Executive including the role of Head Student. The Executive team then takes a proactive role in organising fundraising events for the WAMBA Community Trust, supports at events run for the younger years, organises social events for Sixth Form students to enjoy and work with staff at key events. Year 13 students are also able to apply for House Captain positions and run whole school events for our four competing houses.
Academic Enrichment : We actively encourage all students to supplement their knowledge acquisition with additional research and academic writing. In Year 12 all students complete an Independent Research Project on a topic that they find particularly interesting. As part of this process many students complete a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). In addition, all subjects encourage subject enrichment to enable students to develop their passion for their chosen areas. This can include extra reading recommendations, journals, lectures, trips, visits as well as MOOCs. (Details of which can be found on the Independent Study Sheet). In addition, during the academic year, students can attend a variety of talks both in person or virtually through the Speakers for Schools Programme, for example Phil Parker, Screenwriter and Co-Founder, BCre8ive, Karen Blackett OBE, President, WPP and Chairwoman, MediaCom UK and Alice Rawsthorn OBE, Design Critic and Author, New York Times.
PSHE/ Enrichment: Our PSHE programme is delivered through tutor time and weekly one hour Enrichment programme. Topics covered include: physical health and wellbeing, healthy eating, managing stress and anxiety, relationships, body image, sexual harassment, LGBTQ+, drugs, safe driving, online safety and sexting, personal finance, leading and managing, testicular, breast and cervical cancer. The Enrichment programme is also an opportunity for students to widen their understanding of the world around them by attending talks from a range of speakers such as Manfred Goldberg from the Holocaust Educational Trust and the former Lord Chancellor, David Gauke, Chris Rawson from the Bank of England, Nelson Mandela’s goddaughter, Tanya Von Ahlefeldt and the Anthony Nolan Trust for example.
Future Prep: All students in Year 12 have a Future Prep session once every two weeks. This is dedicated to building skills for life beyond school. This year the Future Prep programme includes sessions on food and nutrition, first aid, British Sign Language, touch typing, self defence and mindfulness.
PE: Recognising the important link between mental health/ wellbeing and physical activity PE is compulsory in the Sixth Form at Ashlyns. All students attend one PE session a week. The PE department tailor the activities on offer to support the needs and interests of students, including yoga, meditation, dancing and use of the gym, alongside more traditional team activities.
Duke of Edinburgh & Dragons Apprentice Scheme: Each year, a number of students take their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Ashlyns School was one of the first to run the award when it was introduced by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956 and Prince Philip visited the school in 1959 to present the award.
In addition, students have the opportunity to take part in the Dragons Apprentice Scheme run by Hertfordshire county council. The Ashlyns Team has achieved significant success over the last few years raising over £5500 for local charities including, Dacorum action first, Waterways experiences and Gaddesden Place RDA. Students are challenged to turn £100 into £1000 with the support of teachers, business advisers from the local community.
Both of these opportunities are highly successful in developing critical skills in leadership, teamwork and initiative and are invaluable in building confidence and experience for life after school.
Trips: At Ashlyns we offer a summer expedition every 2 years for students of Year 11 and Year 12 – a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop leadership, teamwork, resilience and empathy, whilst getting to explore the world and fully immerse themselves in new cultures and experiences. We have a strong relationship with the World Challenge organisation – they lead the way in quality, safety, ethical community engagement and learning outcomes.
Global citizenship is one of the key aims of the World Challenge programme. Students will experience cultures and environments a world away from their home country. Recent destinations for our school expeditions have been Nepal, Cambodia and Laos and Nicaragua: in 2021 they successfully completed an expedition to Ecuador.
Although guided by an adult leadership team, expeditions have a student lead focus; students will start planning and preparing 18 months before the expedition. They will experience a world of challenges – from venturing out into barren landscapes, tackling tropical treks, handling budgets, booking accommodation and contributing to local community projects
Success at A Level and BTEC depends on the habits, routines, attitudes and approaches to study that students develop. It is their behaviours, not their intelligence, that determine so much of their results. With this in mind we have worked with Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin to deliver the VESPA Mindset programme through tutor time, PSHE, Enrichment and subject lessons. This is supplemented throughout the year by sessions run by a team of young presenters from ELEVATE, who engage the students in study skills techniques and systems.
VESPA (which stands for Vision, Effort, Systems, Practice and Attitude) is a mind-set that will help improve success.
Students who are successful:
- Know what they want to achieve (VISION)
- Complete many hours of independent study (EFFORT)
- Organise their learning resources and their time (SYSTEMS)
- Practice and develop their skills (PRACTICE)
- Respond constructively to challenge (ATTITUDE)