Our sixth form takes students from both the main school here and many others from outside. Every year the number of applicants seems to rise as more students have more access to information. Our admissions policy is designed to encourage students to follow appropriate pathways and ensure the continued success of students attending our sixth form. Finding an appropriate place for the next stage of their education is very important to Year 11 students and their families. Our policy aims to be a part of the clear communication and guidance which is vital to support this transition.
Joining Sixth Form
- The minimum general entry qualification at GCSE is at least five grades at 9-4 (A*-C) in five different subjects including at least three at grades at 9-6 (A*-B).
- Meet the course entry grades for the subjects applied for as specified in the courses guide (summarised in the table below).
- We expect mathematical and communication skills of at least GCSE grade 4. Whilst failing to meet these expectations is not always a barrier it is certainly an obstacle and an applicant would need to be interviewed with a parent/carer before admission.
- As members of our school community our sixth form students have to set high standards, not only in their academic behaviour and attendance but also in acting as role models to our younger pupils. All students must therefore accept the conditions of the Sixth Form Agreement as the contract for being here.
Applications start after our Open Evening in early October (Open Evening for 2020 admissions is Monday October 7th 2019 - 6pm). The date of application is important. Once offers are made places are marked as provisionally filled and later applicants may find themselves on waiting lists regardless of their qualifications. Most later applicants are successful but depending on subjects chosen, may need to be patient.
Internal applicants – Applications received by November 5th will be processed in the autumn term.
- Candidates with a good record, and who we confidently expect to secure the necessary grades, will receive a pre-interview offer. Their interviews will be later and will focus on course choice and future plans.
- Candidates about whom we are not so confident will be processed after the GCSE trial exams and Year 11 reports have been completed. Candidates about whom we have serious reservations will be seen promptly so that an alternative place is secured as necessary.
External applicants – applications and references/reports will be read before an offer is made. Offers will be made once we know we can offer a place. Applicants will be interviewed after offers are made, interviews are for guidance not selection.
Where we are oversubscribed and where grades and reports are similarly supportive priority will be given to students based on the following criteria.
1. Students who have attended the school in the previous academic year (during Year 11) and who satisfy the school's entry requirements for the course available and then,
2. All other students of the relevant age who satisfy the school's entry requirements for the course available.
Where the school is oversubscribed within category (1) the following will be applied, strictly in order of priority:
a) Children who are 'looked after' or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, residence, or special guardianship order**. A looked after child is a child who is, at the time of making an application to a school, (a) in the care of a LA, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a LA in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989).
b) Students who will have a sibling*** at the secondary school during the coming academic year.
c) All other students.
d) Distance from home to school measured by the shortest walking route****, with those living nearest the school receiving priority.
Where the school is oversubscribed within category (2) the above criteria will be applied, strictly in order of priority with the exception that, after b), the following will apply: all other students who previously attended in Year 11, a maintained school or academy with 11-16 provision only.
Applicants refused admission to a sixth form are entitled to appeal to an independent appeals panel.
** An adoption order is an order under Section 46 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. A 'residence order' is an order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom the child is to live under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. Section 14A of the Children Act 1989 defines a 'special guardianship order' as an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child's special guardian (or special guardians).
*** Sibling is defined as children who live as brother or sister in the same house, including natural brothers or sisters, half brothers or sisters, adopted brothers or sisters, step brothers or sisters and children of the parent/carer's partner.
**** In assessing home to school distance Durham LA measures by the shortest walking route. Routes are measured from the centre point of the pupil's house, or in the case of a flat from the centre point of the building, to the nearest school entrance. A geographic information system (GIS) is used to identify and measure the shortest walking route. The GIS identifies routes on the Ordnance Survey Integrated Transport Network and Urban Paths Network, which are national recognised datasets. The routes include all man-made paths, i.e. those that are metalled or surfaced.
Offers of places
Offers are specific to the courses applied for. Changing options may change the status of an applicant. Students may receive offers of two types.
- Conditional Offers mean that the students have places subject to meeting the entry grades for their chosen programme. Students wishing to change their courses after receiving an offer may do so providing that there are spaces in their new choice courses.
- Waiting List Offers may be made to students who are thought to be unlikely to meet the entry grades for their chosen courses, to those applying for oversubscribed courses or to those applying late when the sixth form is oversubscribed in general. Students on waiting lists are assigned places as they become available and once results are published.
The induction day at the end of the GCSE period is an important part of the transition from GCSE to A level and is particularly valuable in confirming students subject choices. Students who do not attend are far more likely to not take up places and if they do to change courses late. Consequently any student failing to attend without due cause may be transferred to waiting lists. Induction Day 2020 is Friday 26th June.
Confirmation and Registration
As soon as GCSE results are known we need students to confirm their intention to take up their place and we need to see evidence of their results. By lunchtime on the day after results we will remove reservations and begin assigning places to students from waiting lists. We rely on GCSE results to show that students have the potential to cope with the greater academic demand of A level study. The table below shows the expected levels for this. Inevitably some applicants' individual circumstances mean that they may not fit these and we will look at all the evidence available to ensure our admissions are fair and students secure places on the most appropriate courses.
General GCSE requirements for entry to Sixth Form
- 9 - 4 grades in 5 GCSE subjects (generally including Maths & English*)
- Including 9 - 6 in 3 GCSE subjects for Year 12
- Year 12 grades need to demonstrate potential for A level success in that course in Year 13. This will generally mean a grade D pass at AS standard or grade E at A level standard.
Course entry requirements
Specific subject grade(s)
See individual subject pages for full details
|Maths grade||English (Language) grade|
|Art||6 in Art or Photography or by portfolio|
|Biology||6, 6 in Combined Science or 6 in Biology||5||5|
|Business||5 in Business (if taken - see course details)||5||4|
|Chemistry||6, 6 in Combined Science or 6 in Chemistry||6|
|Computer Science||6 in Computer Science - See course details||6|
|Economics||6 in a humanity e.g. History or Geography||6||5|
|English Language||5 in English Language||5|
|English Literature||6 in English Literature||6|
|Ethics & Philosophy||6 in a humanity e.g. History, Geography or RE (full course)||5|
|French||6 in French||5|
|Geography||6 in Geography (if taken - see course details)||5||5|
|German||6 in German||5|
|History||6 in History (if taken - see course details)||5|
|Latin||6 in Latin||5|
|Mathematics||7 in Mathematics||7|
|Further Mathematics||8 in Mathematics (See course details)||8|
|Music||6 in Music or Grade 5 theory, plus at least Grade 5 ABRSM performance standard||5|
|Physical Education||6 in PE. In individual cases an alternative qualification may be considered||4|
|Physics||6, 6 in Combined Science or 6 in Physics||6|
|Politics||6 in a humanity e.g. History or Geography||5|
|Product Design||6 in Engineering or Design Technology||5||4|
|Sociology||5 in a humanity e.g. Geography or History||5|
|Spanish||6 in Spanish||5|
Subjects in bold are not available at AS.
* See detail on English and Maths in our admissions policy above.
The running of any course depends on level of demand in order that they can be timetabled.
Note that the minimum entry requirement is not a target. GCSE grades go on UCAS forms and job applications with higher grades often used as a filter for selection.
As we adjust to number grading at GCSE we anticipate some turbulence and will look closely at mark level detail and try to be flexible where possible.