Expectations high for Sixth Form as students rise to the challenge of a busy term

Current Sixth-Formers at QE are well placed to emulate the exceptional academic success of last year’s leavers. The School’s A Level results announced in August 2008 were outstanding, with 84% at A grade. A School record total of 37 boys secured places at Oxbridge colleges.

Now there are high expectations for the 2008-09 Year 13, of whom 50 boys have applied to Oxford or Cambridge. In addition, 31 boys have applied to medicine and dentistry courses. In support of these applicants, teachers have been running interview training and counselling sessions, with valuable assistance from Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, of University College London, and Maureen Hooley, of the Prospects service. Similarly, lawyer Mark Wagner provided advice and training for boys applying to read law.

At QE, work to help boys identify the best career path and university course for them begins before they enter the Sixth Form. Every one of the record total of 150 pupils who joined Year 12 in September 2008 had undertaken work experience over the summer, with some taking up placements as far afield as Greece, South Africa, India and Australia.

Feedback from their work experience hosts was highly impressive, and the following comments were not untypical:

  • “He made an excellent impression on everyone here and made contributions at one meeting which two year qualified solicitors did not make.” (Richard Evans, Beachcroft LLP) 
  • “Probably the best school placement I have worked with here at CG.” (Mick Harvey, CG)

QE Assistant Headteacher David Ryan said: "Developing and refining one’s career pathway is so important, so it was most pleasing to read such feedback. The School places considerable emphasis on the importance of personal development and involvement to augment academic achievement.”

All students in Years 12 and 13 are, for example, expected to complete at least 40 hours of voluntary service through the academic year, which equates to one hour per week. Following a series of presentations by speakers to Year 12 assembly during the 2008 Autumn Term, virtually all students have now secured a voluntary service placement. Placements include local schools, hospitals, care homes, charity shops and coaching sport to younger students, while an increased number of senior students are highly involved in the academic clinics run in School for younger students.

Year 13 assemblies have benefited from speakers from within the School – Ashok Vijaykumar on road safety and Stephen Demetriou on issues for contemporary Christianity. Outside speakers have included Joe Sheffer OE on gap year challenges, Jay Lakhani on Hindusim, Ahmad Thomson on Islam and Rabbi Steven Gaffin on Judaism.

An Elections Team has been set up to organise a number of mock elections throughout the academic year. Other Sixth-Formers have been very effective in delivering publicity around the School for the elections and in helping to create vibrant classroom displays. The first mock election saw over 500 QE students vote in the mock American presidential election in November, 89% of whom voted for Barack Obama.

After a highly successful year, the outgoing India Appeal team handed over to their Year 12 successors. “The appeal has gone from strength to strength in recent years and we are raising a fantastic amount of money to help our partner school in Kerala. Over 60 students applied to be part of the new team – an excellent response,” said Mr Ryan. Some who were not successful in their application have set up a separate Special Causes Committee, which will aim to run two activity weeks a year to educate students about those causes and, where appropriate, make a contribution to them.

Mr Ryan also paid tribute to around 80 boys in the current Year 13 who have worked over the past year as Senior Prefects, School and House Officers. “As the Autumn Term ends, their time in office concludes and they hand over to a new cohort. The debt that the School owes to the Senior Prefects is enormous; they have major responsibility for the day-to-day running of the School and manage a number of major events over the year – the School Fete, prize draws and entrance examinations are examples that come to mind. Our thanks go to the retiring Senior Prefects, with good wishes for their career progression,” he concluded.