An engineering specialism within a grammar school
School Officers and Prefects 2013-2014
SSAT GCSE Article
School Calendar 2013-14
HADLAD Poster 27th June 2013
Boys' Uniform List
Uniform and Regulations
Girls' Uniform List
The Clocktower Issue 4 : Summer 2013
RGS Parents Association Fashion Event
Term Dates 2013/14
Post-Ofsted Action Plan
5 Year Strategic Plan
School Calendar 2012-13
School Officers and Prefects 2012-13
Term Dates 2012/2013
New 1st Form Welcome Evening, 6.30pm
New 1st Form Induction Day
Sports Day, 1.30pm
Junior Production of Peter Pan
French Exchange Arrive
Junior Production of Peter Pan
L6th Form Work Experience begins
Lower School Prizegiving, 2.00pm
Staff Training Day (school closed)
Summary notes from the presentation to parents of lower sixth form students Friday 28th September
16th October 2012
These notes are a summary from the presentation at the lower sixth tea on the 28th of September. We hope that they will prove useful in underlining the key elements of these crucial years for your son or daughter, as well as ensuring that parents who missed the presentation are kept informed.
Summary notes from the presentation to parents of lower sixth form students
Friday 28th September
The next two years will undoubtedly be the most critical in the education of our sixth form students. With a fluid post-18 educational landscape, and an uncertain employment market beyond that, it has never been more important that our students use this time well, realise the importance of every opportunity that comes their way, and aspire to be the very best that they can be.
Our sixth form establishes a firm ethos of high expectations – both in academic terms, and in the contribution of our sixth formers to the life of the school around them. We want them to be curious, passionate, wholehearted young men and women, who take responsibility for their progress. This is the point at which our students start to really stand on their own two feet – making decisions and choosing paths that will define their futures. These decisions and choices can only be made by them, but they are not alone, and as a school we will always give them the springboard they need to succeed, and the advice and support to make the decisions that are right for them.
It is a busy time – daunting but exciting too, and it is time that will fly past. Our mantra for the year is that at the end of it, each student should feel that they can look back upon their time in the sixth form with no regrets.
Alps target setting
To give our students a focus and direction, we use the ‘A level performance system’ of target grades. This is a process built upon a vast database of results, which provides a profile of what a student is capable of achieving at AS and A level, based upon their average GCSE score. The targets suggested are minimum projected targets, and many students will aim and achieve higher grades than those suggested by the Alps system.
Each subject area will negotiate a target grade with each student, informed by the Alps profile and by the student’s own aspirations. This is the grade which the student is then aiming towards in each piece of work during the year.
We have emphasised to the students that the Alps target grade is not a guarantee, and the data from our own school last year shows that students with the same GCSE points profile can have widely differing rates of success at the end of the course. How the student uses their time, the focus and commitment that they show, and their independent study skills and organisation are critical to their success. It is perhaps also worth pointing out that as a school we are unable to offer the opportunity to resit the lower sixth year, and that it is not practical for a student to continue to an A2 course with any grade lower than a D. With this in mind, it is crucial that each student makes the very most of their ability, and the opportunities that sixth form study offers them.
To achieve success:
- Aim high, and be totally committed to reaching your target.
- Be organised – with work, note-making and revision.
- Use your time wisely (you should be doing a minimum of 4 hours study per subject per week in addition to lesson time.)
- Don’t miss school time unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
- Ask for help whenever, and as soon as, you need it.
- Don’t compete with those around you – focus on your own goals.
- Make sure that you have a life beyond your studies!
The Alps data shows that often, paid work can be beneficial, giving students a break from school, a chance to learn and exercise a range of new skills, and some financial independence. Where students undertake paid employment for up to 10 hours a week, there is actually a statistical improvement in their grades. However when the working hours exceed 10 per week, the same data shows a massive and abrupt decline in grade scores.
It is beyond doubt that the next two years are going to prove stressful for students, especially at key points before modules and examinations, and when they are making post-18 choices.
Parents, students and school need to be aware of the potential for stress at these times, and to be able to respond as needed. There will also be a focus upon stress management and coping strategies as part of the sixth form pastoral programme in the coming weeks
For students, the key is to recognize that stress is not a weakness, nor something to be handled alone. Talk about how you are feeling, whether at home; with friends; or with tutors, teachers or the sixth form team at school. Organisation is important too – since feeling swamped by work, events or deadlines is a big factor in the build up of stress.
Careers and post-18 choices
Although it feels very early, post-18 choices will be made in the next 18 months, and the sheer range of options, as well as the financial ramifications of these choices makes it important to start thinking and planning early.
Our starting point is that:
- There is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution; every student will have a different set of priorities and aspirations, and will follow an individual route into the world of employment.
- Every student should aspire as highly as they can, and should take an open-minded approach to all the options available, before narrowing down their choices, and making the decisions that are right for them. (Concerns over student finance should not immediately rule-out an option, until the options have been explored and understood.)
- These life decisions cannot be made for the student by the school, but we will give them every support and help in discovering and considering all the options available, and in preparing them to make these decisions.
There is a huge range of different possibilities, from moving straight into employment via an apprenticeship or other employment-training scheme, to vocational training, foundation degrees, university courses in Ireland, Europe or America, to taking a gap year. Our careers programme will provide information on all of these areas over the coming months.
Careers Department – Mrs Wilson and Mrs Locke
Our careers advisors, Mrs Wilson and Mrs Locke (who starts in November), will be working with all students over the next two years to consider their options, and to the routes that are most suited to them.
They are also very happy to meet with parents and students to discuss advice and guidance if that is helpful. They can be contacted through the school switchboard, and details are also available on the careers section of the school website.
The careers website www.ripongrammar.co.uk/careers contains sections on higher education, job-hunting, gap years, studying abroad etc, as well as a range of useful links to other sources, including information on student finance through the new government website www.gov.uk/studentfinance, and a link to ‘Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert Guide to Student Finance.’ (Parents wanting to learn more about this subject may also find useful a youtube clip labelled: ‘Martin Lewis student finance 2012’.)
The careers notices, advertising many excellent external opportunities for students to add to their skills and experience, are circulated through form tutors and displayed upon the careers noticeboards. Examples include university taster days, industry insight days and leadership courses. These are also accessible to parents through the Portico system on the school website, using the student’s username and password.
The school’s programme for careers and post-18 choices is already underway, with work encouraging students to identify their current skill-sets, and to consider what they can do to add to these in the months ahead.
- After half term Mrs Locke will be introducing students to the process of career planning and encouraging them to make individual careers guidance appointments with Mrs Wilson.
- In December we will provide a session for the lower sixth where past students who have followed a variety of routes will be available to talk about their experience, and the practicalities they have encountered. There will also be presentations on university study, and on alternative routes beyond school.
- On 25th April 2013 there will be a higher education evening for parents and students starting at 7pm, which will include presentations from universities on student finance and university choices.
- Alongside this there will be further sessions on alternative routes into employment, and on gap-years.
- In the summer term 2012, all students will attend the UCAS convention in Leeds, and the Newcastle and Northumbria university open days.
- There will also be residential trips to Oxford and Cambridge for those interested in applying to these universities.
- In July there will be a presentation to the lower sixth form on writing good personal statements – and time set aside for all students to work on these.
- There will also be a week set aside for students to gain work-experience in July 2013 (8th-12th).
- In the upper sixth year there will be further guidance on applications to university and employers, mock interviews for all students, and a careers fair with representatives from a wide range of companies and other organizations.
If parents feel that they would be willing to be involved in our careers process – either through acting as mock interviewers, or through presentations to students on career areas, Mrs Wilson would be delighted to discuss this with them. She can be contacted on email@example.com.
Whether applying for university courses, or seeking alternative routes into employment, relevant work-experience is increasingly becoming a key factor in successful applications, and this is something which many universities state should be continuing right through the degree course.
Additionally, certain very competitive courses such as medicine and veterinary medicine place particular emphasis upon a range of such practical experience.
As part of our sixth form careers programme, we set aside a week in early July (8th-12th July 2013) when we expect all lower sixth formers to arrange work-experience placements for themselves.
Since we are in direct competition for placements with Harrogate schools, and given the need to ensure insurance and health and safety cover for all those taking part, it is critical that students start making these arrangements as early as possible, confirming the placement and passing details on to Mrs Southwell when agreed.
There are a wide range of members of staff available to offer support, advice and encouragement – from form tutors and the sixth form pastoral team, to subject teachers, Mrs Wilson and the Careers office, Heads of Department, and of course the Headmaster and senior leadership team.
All of these will play some part in the monitoring and support of every student, and all are very happy to speak with parents and students at any stage.
As a sixth-form, we value feedback and communication from our students and parents. There will be a series of surveys during the next two years where we will ask for observations on various aspects of sixth-form life, (starting with a transition questionnaire later this half-term). Please understand that we do take these extremely seriously, and that our planning is in significant part shaped by these views.
We will be in touch with parents regularly over the next two years to update them on the progress of their son or daughter.
- There are three reporting points during each year of the sixth form, each accompanied by a letter updating parents on the key areas of sixth-form focus at that stage.
- There is a review of each lower sixth former’s progress in December, involving discussion between tutors, subject teachers and sixth form team. Any concerns arising will be communicated to parents.
- A similar review for selected student takes place at the start of the Autumn term in the upper sixth, to reflect on AS level results.
- There is a parents’ evening on the 6th December 2012 to meet with subject teachers, and another such event in November for the upper sixth.
- There is a Higher Education evening on the 25th April at 7pm for parents and students, when speakers from universities will talk about the process of choosing a university, and about student finance arrangements. Mrs Wilson will also be available to meet with parents.
- Finally there will be a celebration evening at the very end of the upper sixth, to celebrate the success of the students, and to wish them farewell.
Overall then, there are 11 points of formal contact between school and home over the two years of sixth form, in addition to any other communications that may take place. Please rest assured that we will be monitoring the progress of each student very closely, and keeping parents informed at every stage, and do get in touch with the form tutor if you have any concerns.
For information, the lower sixth form tutors are as follows:
L6A – Mr Duckworth
L6B – Mr Demir
L6C – Mr Chamberlain
L6D – Mrs Ball
L6E – Miss Nicholson
L6F – Dr Grime
Mr T Fell
(Head of Sixth Form)