Private sixth forms, also known as independent sixth form or college, often have a reputation for achieving higher academic results compared to state sixth forms. The two critical years of sixth form can prove pivotal to a student’s future, both academically and developmentally.
Here at Brighton Girls, we have a thriving girls sixth form.
Let’s discuss the benefits of a private sixth form…
An independent sixth form will often have smaller class sizes, which allows for more individual attention and a personalised learning experience. This can result in a higher quality of education, and better academic results research according to research by UCL. At Brighton Girls, this means tutorial-style teaching, an average class size of 5 or less students and the flexibility of a tailored timetable.
Specialised & Enhancement Opportunities
Students are more likely to have opportunities that enhance and extend their learning, such as the BrightFutures programme that GDST Sixth Forms offer. In addition to the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), this includes the LEAD course in association with the London School of Economics, an entrepreneurial course that Year 12 students across GDST schools do. Students at Brighton Girls may also have the option to do the Space Technology Diploma or DELE or DELF Languages Diploma, in addition to their A Level subjects. These can be powerful opportunities to pursue an interest and gain a competitive edge in a student’s chosen field.
Focus on Individual Development
Holistic development, focusing not only on academic achievement but also on the personal and social growth of students, is more likely at a fee-paying sixth form. There may also be more leadership opportunities, access to careers advice, and extracurricular activities to foster well-rounded individuals.
Students at Brighton Girls Sixth Form have access to leadership opportunities as part of the Head Student team and the LEAD programme, and a wide range co-curricular clubs and activities, from sea swimming and skateboarding to power tools, debating and more.
Enhanced Facilities & Resources
Private sixth forms tend to have better facilities, including well-equipped classrooms, libraries, science laboratories, and sports facilities. They often also have access to better technology and materials.
Experienced and Dedicated Staff: Independent sixth forms often have highly qualified and experienced teachers who are specialists in their subject areas. These teachers can provide expert guidance, support, and personalised attention, helping A level students to achieve their academic goals.
There is a strong focus on preparing and supporting students in their university applications. This may include one-to-one mentoring in choosing university and UCAS options, support for admissions tests, such as the BMAT (Biomedical Association Test) and LNAT (The Law National Aptitude Test), and organising mock interviews.
Potential Oxbridge and Medicine candidates at Brighton Girls can, for example, be placed on the GDST Oxbridge on Track Programme or GDST Medics on Track programme. This is a unique programme that involves developing research skills, independent learning skills, interview skills and much more, to support a student’s application. There is MedSoc for aspiring medical students, and extension classes for a range of other subjects.
Empowerment & Confidence-Building
An all-girls environment fosters an atmosphere where girls feel empowered and confident to express themselves. At the Sixth Form stage, it provides a safe space for students to explore their potential, take on leadership roles, and develop their voices in various academic and extracurricular activities without the fear of judgement or gender stereotypes that can be in force in a co-educational environment at this age.
Networking & Alumni Connections
Private sixth forms often have well-established networks and connections with universities, employers, and alumni. This can provide students with valuable networking opportunities, internships, and connections in their future careers.
The GDST alumnae network gives students access to over 70,000 professionals who can offer help, advice and work experience opportunities. Today’s students can connect with alumnae via the GDST Rungway app which is great for asking questions and making useful connections with those already at university or in the working world.
Private sixth forms often maintain a focused yet nurturing learning environment which helps foster a sense of responsibility, self-discipline, and professionalism among students.
Private sixth forms offer various benefits, and it’s crucial for students and their families to weigh these advantages against their individual needs, aspirations and circumstances.
Here at Brighton Girls School we are an all-through independent school for girls aged 4 to 18 located in Brighton, East Sussex. To read and learn more about our school, see more posts and news on our blog.