A Level Options and Sixth Form College - What Matters Most?
If you're in Year 11 you’ve probably been waiting for Thursday 12th August to come around for what feels like an eternity - GCSE results day. So, once you've got your all-important results, what next? Here are our top tips on what’s important to consider if you’re moving on to study A Levels…
A Level Options
Having the option to choose from a wide range of A Level subjects is key. If your passion is Classical Greek, Photography or Physics (or even all three!) be sure you can pursue a curriculum that is as varied or as niche as you need. Of the independent Sixth Forms in the area, Queen Margaret’s School for Girls has the widest range of A Level subjects to choose from; 29 different A Level courses are on offer, around which the School’s timetable is created. This approach allows students to fully align their subject choices with their abilities, interests and future aspirations.
The Right Support
If your GCSE results were not what you’d expected, or if you’re really ready to push yourself and think that you would benefit from an extra helping hand, you’ll need the right support network around you. At Queen Margaret’s, girls have their own Personal Tutor with whom they meet weekly to discuss not only their academic progress, but their overall wellbeing too. Student relationships with staff are based on trust and mutual respect as Sixth Formers are treated as adults. In this short video, Nancy talks about the support she receives as a Sixth Former.
The School is fortunate in having its own Specialist PASS (Progress, Achievement and Student Support) Assessor who sees the examination process through from start to finish for each individual girl, carrying out the appropriate assessments for examination access arrangements, implementing arrangements in the classroom for girls and ensuring the appropriate paperwork is completed and applications made to the examination boards.
Progress Achievement and Student Support embraces a ‘can do’ attitude and encourages girls that a special educational need is not a barrier to achievement. From the girl now reading English at Cambridge to the girl who has set up her own underwear business, anything is possible.
Extracurricular Activities and Opportunities
You might have your A Level subject choices all sewn up and you might even know what you’d like to study at university, but it's also important that your academic journey is complemented with extracurricular activities which will give you other types of experiences, such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, LVI Advanced Cookery Skills, The Prince’s Trust business enterprise challenge, or being on the Sports Teams or in the School Dance and Drama Productions. Choose a place which opens up opportunities and possibilities and gets you ready for life, whatever your calling. Sixth Former Connie tells us why it was so important to her to find a Sixth Form college which gave her lots of extracurricular opportunities:
Whether you attend Sixth Form as a Day pupil, a Flexi-Boarder or as a Full-Boarder, one thing is for certain and that is you’ll be seeking an amazing Sixth Form experience! Find somewhere you’ll feel like part of a nurturing community but that gives you the independence you’re going to need at university. The Sixth Form girls at Queen Margaret’s live firstly in ‘Cloisters’ which offers trendy loft-style living before moving on to ‘The Cottages’, which each have single bedrooms and their own kitchen and laundry facilities. Pamper afternoons and shopping trips to York are often on the weekend agenda before everyone gathers in ‘Cellars’, the Sixth Form Hub, on a Saturday evening to celebrate the end of a busy week. Watch Gabriella’s short video as she shares what has made her Sixth Form experience so unique and offers reassuring words for students moving to a new Sixth Form:
Family life is busy so your study arrangements need to fit well alongside other priorities such as parents’ work commitments and siblings. Smaller details, like a dedicated bus service, being able to get dropped off as early as 7:30am or picked up as late as 7:30pm, and having breakfast, lunch and supper included can make life that much easier for the whole family. QM parents know that their daughters are well taken care of, but should they need it, there is an onsite Health and Wellbeing Centre with nursing support available throughout the day.
Friends for Life
Perhaps your decision on what to do next has been influenced by your friends' choices. Rest assured that if you decide to spread your wings a little further, you’ll still make friends for life during your Sixth Form journey. One former QM girl says “Sixth Form at QM is a wonderful place to be. The level of independence and fantastic friendships I have forged will make this a time I will never forget.”
The ‘Old Margaretian’ alumnae network is a vibrant and successful community. With events throughout the year in different corners of the world, there is never a shortage of opportunities to reminisce and reconnect.
Excellent Results and University Destinations
Of course, at the end of your two years of Sixth Form, you’ll want to know you’ve realised your potential, and that you’ve been given the very best chance of securing excellent A Level results. Queen Margaret’s 100% A Level pass rate is testament to the individual approach each girl receives and gives the best possible stepping stone to life beyond School. In the recent 2021 A Level results, 95% of all Queen Margaret’s A Level entries gained A*-B grade (77% of entries were the highly sought after A*-A grades). Girls go on to a wide range of exemplary universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Durham, Bristol, Stern Business School (USA) and The Royal Drawing School (London). They study a myriad of exciting degree courses including Engineering, Art Foundation, History, Music Management, Medicine, Law and Business Management, to name but a few. Flo, who just secured three A* grades and will go on to study Behavioural Science at Durham University, credits the support she received; “The teachers and staff at QM have been absolutely amazing and the support they’ve given us academically, and in terms of our wider wellbeing, has been unparalleled”.
There's Still Time!
If you’d like to know more about starting Sixth Form at Queen Margaret’s, our friendly Admissions Team (Alison and Alice) are on hand to talk you through everything you need to know. Complete the short ‘Book A Visit’ form on our website and we'll be in touch shortly to arrange a personal visit as soon as possible, or you can send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org / call 01904 727630.