Issues for Success in a Sixth Form

26th May 2017

During training sessions and conferences we are often asked about strategies that really make a difference in improving outcomes for students. Working with many successful schools and colleges gives Alps consultants a unique insight into strategies that consistently deliver outstanding progress. The following questions have been framed to help providers audit and compare their provision with some of the most successful Alps schools and colleges:

  • Is every teacher positive with students from day 1?
  • Do staff understand the Alps aspirational Minimum Target Grades?
  • Do students?
  • Does teaching get off to a brisk start at the start of term?
  • Do teachers set target grades with students in the first week?
  • Do teachers have one-to-one sessions termly with each of their students to discuss progress against targets and to set targets for the following term?
  • Do tutors have one-to-one interviews in the first few weeks to get to know students personally?
  • Does each student get three hours appropriate work to do per subject per week?
  • Does the department have a policy where students can freely call on teachers in non-contact time?
  • Are teachers selected to teach level 3 work because of their abilities to teach at this level?
  • Are extra sessions arranged especially in the spring term to (1) stretch the most able and (2) help the lesser able to understand concepts?
  • Do teachers have an adult-young adult relationship with their students rather than a parent-child relationship? a crucial question
  • Do teachers act in concert with personal tutors in a supportive way when things are not going well for a student?
  • Do all staff treat each and every student as an individual with dignity and value?
  • Do teachers in departments share good practice with each other and work together on resources for students and themselves?

Using these questions as a starting point for discussion can be a very positive activity on a staff training day focusing on post-16 provision. Many 11-18 schools have Post-16 Teaching and Learning groups and the questions posed above can be helpful in identifying what outstanding provision looks like in a particular school or college. Above all, these questions help us to reaffirm the fact that the sixth form matters and in the best schools and colleges teaching and learning in the sixth form is a critically important priority.


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