Choosing what to study

Pupils receive expert help to gain the reading and writing skills they need to do well in all subjects. As a result, pupils make good progress

There is much joy in this school. Pupils value their teachers, and the rich and diverse community in which they learn

Teachers take account of individual pupils’ needs in their good lesson planning. They make sure that pupils, even those who arrive at unusual points in the school year, are quickly assimilated and make good progress

Teaching is strong in the sixth form. Teachers are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects. They show great commitment. Students are fulsome in their praise of the impact their teachers have had on their future education

Lessons are characterised by strong and positive relationships between pupils and teachers. Teachers know pupils well. Often teachers target the learning that individual pupils need because they know them so well

In key stages 1 and 2 teachers plan many opportunities for pupils to deepen their knowledge, understanding and skills.

Think about your skills and interests…

Do you have the motivation to put in the amount of work needed to succeed at this level?

  • Why are you thinking of joining the 6th Form?
  • Which subjects do you currently enjoy?
  • What are you good at?

Think about the future…

  • If you have a particular career in mind make sure your subject choices are suitable.
  • Have a look at the careers your subjects could lead to – do any of them sound interesting?
  • Are you considering studying a particular subject at university? Does it have any specific entry requirements? – Find out now!
  • Be aware of the courses and careers that your subject choices could lead to.

Think about studying…

  • Are you expecting to achieve a higher grade (C or above) in this subject or a similar subject at GCSE?
  • Check with your teacher or the head of department that they are happy with you taking this subject.
  • Are you prepared to start carrying out a lot of your work independently?

Other things to consider…

  • Don’t forget to apply for your Bussary if you are eligible. (Application Forms available from 6th form office)
  • Some subjects have a large overlap of content (e.g. Health & Social Care). If you are considering two very similar subjects check to make sure you can count them both for entry to university.
  • Most universities will consider all A Level and BTEC subjects as being equivalent to one another – newer subjects are just as acceptable as more traditional subjects for entry to most degree courses. If you are concerned (e.g. if you are considering becoming a doctor or going to Oxford or Cambridge) check to make sure your subject choices are suitable.
  • You will usually take more subjects in Y12 than in Y13. You could use this as an opportunity to try something new that interests you at AS Level.
  • Bursary: Mr M Denison will help you complete this forms.

If you are not sure about any aspect of studying in the Sixth form or the suitability of your chosen subjects ask questions NOW. Don’t leave it until you are half way through the course!

Where to get information and ideas…

  • Talk to teachers, parents and friends – be prepared to listen to their advice.
  • Check the UCAS website for University entry requirements.
  • Look at for information about aspects of life as a student in Higher Education.
  • Look at the “Jobs for People interested in…” lists available in departments and the library.
  • Search the Jobs4U website for information about qualifications needed for particular jobs and careers.

Need more information?

Speak to:-

  • Mr M Wesley
  • Miss C Pavitt
  • Sixth Form Tutors
  • Connexions Advisor

Use the resources in the careers library in the main library – “How to Choose your ‘A’ Levels”, “Which ‘A’ Level” and books about specific careers can be borrowed over a weekend – ask in the Library.

Don’t Forget…

  • Choose subjects that you expect to enjoy and find interesting! This will help to keep you motivated.

What to consider…

The higher education you choose can have a large impact on the career you follow and your success in obtaining fulfilling or well paid work. More immediately you will have to live with your choice for the next few years. Make sure you think carefully about what you want from your higher education experience so that you are choosing what will suit you and give you the qualifications and experience you are looking for.

Make sure you think about…

  • Why you want to go to university and what you want from the experience
  • How much direct teaching you want
  • How much it will cost

Why do you want to go to university?

  • To study a subject further because you are interested in it?

You may wish to look for courses where the staff are experts and the department has high research ratings. Beware: these staff may not always be available to you, particularly in your first and second year, as they will be busy with research and more advanced students. Look also at teaching quality assessments. These will let you know how your course is taught.

  • To gain advanced vocational qualifications?

Check the destinations of previous students on the course. Did the majority of them go into employment in the area you are considering? If you are considering a career where particular qualifications are required check that your course is acceptable. Beware: Degrees in subjects linked to the name of a career do not always provide a good route into that career. Try to find out how employers view the course.

  • To make yourself more employable?

Look for courses with access to work experience or sandwich placements. Try to find out the attitude of the university towards students arranging their own paid or unpaid work experience. Look for part time or voluntary work in an area that will provide the skills you need for a future career.

  • To have fun?

Look at what students say about the university. Find out what clubs or societies are available. Look at where the university is located. Do you want to be on a campus meeting only other students, or do you want to be in the middle of a big city with access to a range of amenities.

How much direct teaching do you want? – Can you learn independently?

  • Try to find out how many hours of tuition you can expect in your subject.

The less tuition you receive the more organised and self-motivating you need to be.

Be realistic about yourself. If you need external motivation to make you work, or you would like regular contact with staff to check your work is going in the right direction do not choose a course with a low amount of contact time.

You will normally be looking for at least 12 hours a week. Less than this and you are likely to be expected to produce a high level of work independently with minimal direction.

How much will it cost?

  • Look at where the university is.
  • Try to find out the costs of accommodation and the general cost of living…
  • Are there any grants / scholarships / sponsorship programmes available?
  • Does the university provide help with finding part time work?
  • Do you currently have a job you want to keep?
    This will limit the universities you can apply to. Check that you are being realistic about whether you can fit your work in around the course.
  • If financial considerations are putting you off studying, have you considered part time study, or taking a job where the employer offers the chance to study for a degree alongside your work?

Finding more information…

For more information take a look at the following websites:-


The PUSH Guide to Which University, The Virgin Alternative Guide to British Universities The Student Book From Learning to Earning Students’ Money Matters The Virgin Guide to Courses for Careers

There are other books available so come and have a look (all available in sixth form common room library)

Confused? Ask for advice from…

  • Mr Denison
  • Jo Greenway
  • Your tutors and subject teachers
  • Connexions PA – Julie Consterdine, Joanne Wright-Symonds and Jill Chapman

Post 16 opportunities are available within Colleges, Sixth Forms, Training Providers and Apprenticeship Schemes. Please use the links below to research opportunities that are on offer to you.

Which Colleges are in and around Derby?

Which School 6th forms are there in Derby?