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Highdown School
and Sixth Form Centre

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How to be a successful Sixth Form student:

  1. Attitude: Simply put ‘You get out what you put in’. Approach your learning with enthusiasm and a desire to learn without having the need to be pushed. Demonstrate intellectual curiosity – go beyond what your teachers ask you to do. Never leave a lesson not knowing, not having asked your teacher to explain a concept or idea that you didn’t quite understand. If you are struggling, don’t bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away. Ask! Act on all advice and feedback from your teachers. View learning as a two-way process and engage positively in class. Beyond lessons, take advantage of the other opportunities you will have for wider personal and social development.
  2. Organisation: Sixth form life is about independence and taking responsibility for your own development and progress. Get organised from the start and keep your work in folders and in order as you go along your courses. This will save you huge amounts of time when it comes to revision in the future. Find a space that stimulates your mind, a corner in the library, a quiet space, a local coffee shop, a space in the park (in the summer!). Sometimes a change of scenery is just the thing your need to get your brain working.
  3. Time Management: Keep a regular routine about when you work and for how long. Work regularly with short breaks. You should spend 4-5 hours per subject per week outside of lessons completing work, reading around the subject, reviewing and organising your notes, etc. Utilise your unallocated time in the school day wisely – resist the urge to sit around with friends and chat. Don’t leave things until the last minute. Plan work well ahead and complete all home learning. There are no excuses.
  4. Balance competing demands: And you will have these… wanting to meet up with your friends, wanting to work in a part-time job, wanting to watch TV, and needing to study. It’s really important you get this balancing act right. Do not put part-time work ahead of your studies, do not compromise your studies for the sake of work. Too much paid work will have a serious impact on your performance in the Sixth Form. Part-time work should definitely not be undertaken during school hours.
  5. Study skills: Don’t just read. Be active in your studies, e.g. mind maps, transforming information into diagrams, venn diagrams, visual organisers (e.g. Fish bone diagrams or tables), colour-coding, etc. Do read though… a lot. Examiners like seeing contemporary knowledge and wider knowledge beyond the endorsed textbooks. Keep abreast of developments in your subjects by watching the news, reading quality newspapers and appropriate magazines.

 

Attendance and punctuality expectations:

Rationale

High levels of attendance and excellent punctuality are both characteristics of students who meet and indeed exceed their target grades, achieve success and progress to higher education and/or employment.  We expect all students to aim for 100% attendance.  Attendance falling below 95% has been shown to result in an average reduction of one grade at A Level per student and this increases to two grades when attendance falls below 90%. 

Expectations

  • Students are expected to maintain a cumulative attendance rate of at least 95%.
  • All students are expected to attend school every day from 8.40am until 12.40pm. If they have non-allocated time after 12.40 pm they are permitted to sign out at Student Reception. If their cumulative attendance drops below 95%, then actions will be taken as outlined below.
  • We wish to treat students as adults at work. Therefore if students are unable to come in for any reason, they must contact the Sixth Form administration assistant by phone on 0118 9015823, or by e-mail at hama@highdown.reading.sch.uk, no later than 8.15pm. The Sixth Form Administration assistant will update our attendance records.
  • If for any authorised reason, a student arrives late, they are to sign in at Student Reception.
  • For any Leave of Absence requests, the student must submit an LOA Request Form to Deputy Head [Curriculum and Learning] at least 48 hours in advance. (See list of authorised circumstances)
  • If a student needs to go home for medical reasons, they need to alert the Sixth Form Administration assistant who will sign them out and update our records.

 

´╗┐Actions for poor attendance

Stage 1

  • Verbal warning from mentor – based on weekly reports and information from teaching staff
  • Mentor informs Sixth Form administration assistant to log centrally
  • Monitored by mentor

IF NO IMPROVEMENT AFTER 1 WEEK THEN

Stage 2

  • Written warning from mentor
  • Mentor informs Sixth Form administration assistant, letter sent from mentor, logged centrally
  • Letter contains summary, concerns and expectation of improved attendance
  • Student on attendance report to mentor
  • Monitored by mentor

IF NO IMPROVEMENT AFTER 1 WEEK THEN

Stage 3

  • Letter sent from Head of Achievement to parents and student
  • Head of Achievement informs Sixth Form administration assistant to send details, logged centrally
  • Meeting arranged with student (time specified on letter)
  • Specific targets discussed
  • Student on first day phone call list
  • Letter to include possible further sanctions if no improvement
    • Payment for exam entries
    • Discussion of Sixth Form place

IF NO IMPROVEMENT ACCORDING TO AGREED TIMESCALE THEN

Stage 4

  • Meeting with parents and student to discuss withdrawal of Sixth Form place

NO FURTHER IMPROVEMENT

Stage 5

  • Sixth Form place withdrawn

 

Authorised and unauthorised absence

Examples of authorised absences

  • Illness
  • Emergency medical or dental appointment
  • A medical appointment which cannot be arranged after school or during holiday time
  • A religious holiday compatible with the faith of the student (must be authorised prior to date)
  • Exceptional weather conditions
  • A careers interview or career related interview
  • A University Open Day – to a maximum of 3
  • Family bereavement
  • Official carer duties for a member of the family
  • Court appearance
  • Official exam season timetable
  • Post-Highdown job interview (not part-time)
  • Work experience which is part of your Study Programme

 

Examples of unauthorised absences

  • Holidays during term time
  • Driving lessons and driving tests (theory and practical)
  • Birthdays or similar celebrations
  • Babysitting
  • Waiting for the post, plumber, decorator etc. to arrive
  • Routine medical and dental appointments
  • Unofficial examination study leave
  • Missing a lesson in order to complete unfinished work
  • Part-time work which does not constitute part of a student’s course
 

Behaviour expectations:

There is not a long list of rules but we expect all students to behave in a way which supports the ethos of the school.  You are not required to wear a uniform in the Sixth Form and there are no restrictions on what is worn provided it is appropriate for a learning environment.

Students are not allowed to smoke on, or close to, school premises.  Any student that smokes should do so well away from the school buildings and site.  Anyone failing to comply with these instructions will face sanctions.

We have a policy that we will suspend, normally followed by exclusion, any student who is involved with illegal substances or the consumption of alcohol.

Students who are under performing academically may go “on report” and you will be contacted if we have cause for concern.