Types of Sixth Forms
UK Private Sixth Form Colleges
Sixth Form is the final years of secondary education in the UK, referred to as Year 12 and 13 or Lower and Upper Sixth. Pupils usually start in the sixth form in the September after their 16th birthday. Private sixth form colleges generally offer specialised tuition for 16 to 19 year olds, although some also offer GCSE subjects for 14 years plus (often on a one year intensive basis) and many take mature students over the age of 19. Sixth form study is usually in preparation for university entry. Completed courses, including A Levels, the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge Pre-U can be converted into UCAS points for university applications. Many Private Sixth forms offer A-Level retakes either as a summer school or as a one year course.
Private Sixth Forms are mostly found in London, Oxford, Cambridge and other larger UK cities. Some have boarding facilities and others can offer off-campus accommodation nearby, or accommodation with a host family. There are rarely entrance exams, although you may need to meet language requirements if English is not your first language. Most private sixth form colleges are co-educational and although some offer extra-curricular activities, there is generally not as much emphasis on this as there would be at an independent school. Usually a uniform is not required.
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Sixth Form within an Independent School
Many private schools in the UK have a sixth form department for students aged 16 to 19 years, usually called Lower and Upper Sixth (Year 12 & 13) although many schools will take mature students over the age of 19. Some are day schools but others offer full, weekly or flexi boarding accommodation within the school grounds. If you are looking for single sex education for sixth form private schools will be a better option than sixth form colleges which are mostly co-educational. Private schools will offer more in the way of sports, music and other extra-curricular activities than sixth form colleges. Entrance exams are often required and there may be minimum requirements for GCSE / IGCSE passes. Although some schools require students to wear uniform this is often relaxed in the sixth form often replaced by a business wear dress code.
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