College vs. Sixth Form
Coming to New College from a school with a sixth form
Whilst staying on in 6th form may suit some, many others prefer the wider opportunities and independence that New College offers.
We provide an array of courses/levels that sixth forms cannot offer and our staff will provide the information, advice and guidance to put you on the right course. We’ve been awarded the matrix accreditation for impartial guidance – if we think study elsewhere may suit you better, we will say so! We want you to be able to access information on all available opportunities so you can make the choices that are right for you – we won’t insist you enrol with us just to hit numbers.
Our results are also similar and in some cases, better than other local 6th forms.
You should consider all options and visit all providers.
Here are some of the main questions that prospective students ask about the differences between College and 6th form:
1. School is familiar and teachers know me - will I feel happy in College?
You’ve matured significantly since the age of 11 and those Year 7 days – but the school environment won’t have kept pace and you may well want to move on from certain staff and the constraints of school. Attending New College opens up all sorts of opportunities, allowing you to spread your wings, gain more independence, meet new people and start afresh.
2. My 6th form seems to have good A Level results. What about New College?
Our A Level students make better progress than those at any other state school or College in the Swindon, Royal Wootton Bassett and Marlborough areas. With many more students than other providers, this is an even more significant achievement! (Jan 2019 school performance tables, progress between end of Key Stage 4 and end of A Level study).
In Summer 2018, our A Level pass rates were on a par with, or better than, most local 6th forms. Our A Level overall pass rate was 97%, with over 40% of grades at A*A or B - and we have many more A Level students and entries than schools! Our BTEC Extended Diploma results were also good; 58% students achieved Distinctions.
3. I'm predicted to get top grades in my GCSEs and I want to do well in A levels and go to a good university - how can New College help?
We offer a High Flyers programme for very academically able students - read more here. 63 students achieved at least three A Level grades in 2018 at A*to B, so you will be in very good company! 500+ students progressed to university in Autumn 2018; universities include Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Nottingham, Imperial College London, Bristol and Warwick.
4. College is larger than school and there's more people. Will I feel lost?
New College is contained on one site so you will soon find your way around. You’ll meet new people and take different classes, but you will still be able to meet up with old friends in our Restaurant and social spaces.
5. Will there be people to support me if I need it?
As we have more students (and therefore more funding), we can provide a far wider range of services than school. You’ll have a Personal Tutor and access to a large Student Services team including nurses, chaplain, and counsellors. We have invested in an Additional Learning Support team and have a fantastic reputation for providing this type of help.
6. Will I receive the same amount of teaching time that I would have done in school?
Definitely – you will get five hours per week per A Level in the first year. Many lecturers have postgraduate qualifications and industry experience and you will be taught by someone who has gained a degree (or an even higher qualification) in your subject; and not by someone with only a related degree.
7. Will I get enough feedback on how I am doing?
Yes! Our teachers set frequent assignments, give comprehensive feedback with subject reports, with target grades in place so you will always know how you are performing and what you need to do to improve. Unlike schools and other colleges, our students take the AS Level exam at the end of year one – you will have more exam practice, will have undertaken more revision and understand exactly how you are doing.
8. Will class sizes be too large for me to get individual attention?
Our average class size is 16-17 – small enough for individual teaching, but large enough to ensure that class discussion and group work – essential parts of the learning experience - are most effective.
9. Why is there a longer study day at College than school?
Our timetables allow teaching up to 5pm; this is far better preparation for university or working life and allows you to maximise study and course time.
10. My 6th form offers supervised study sessions - what about New College?
Studying at Level 3/A Levels and at university means that you have to be motivated and develop independent research and study skills. We do run regular supervised study sessions and offer study skills sessions, but we also offer quiet study spaces in College to help you develop these important skills yourself.