Sixth Form – a time to be bold

Posted on 3rd Jan 2020 in School News, Which School?, Single-sex education, Sixth Form

Bill O’Brien-Blake, Head of Sixth Form at Burgess Hill Girls, explains a programme to prepare students for future demands...

‘A Levels’, ‘A Levels’, ‘A Levels’. Ask most parents of teenagers or the teenagers themselves about what happens in Years 12 and 13 and ‘A Levels’ will be the likely response. Now I don’t want to demean A Levels and their results – they are the essential means of developing knowledge in distinct and valuable subject disciplines, future employers do consider them and university admissions are largely dependent on them – but a Sixth Form education should offer so much more.

Schools and colleges should be preparing students for the future of work as well as building strong platforms for their psychological and emotional wellbeing for the years and decades that follow. Adherence to academic demands, and ensuring the highest possible academic performance is a necessity, but it is no longer sufficient.

At Burgess Hill Girls we have created a unique programme, called the BOLD programme, to prepare our Sixth Formers for the evolving ever-changing demands of the world. It empowers our students with the skills necessary for them to thrive in their professional and personal lives. It ensures they leave Burgess Hill Girls equipped with not only exceptional academic qualifications, but with the social, interpersonal and leadership skills required to excel in every capacity in their future.

Our core academic offer ensures that girls can study three of the most valuable A levels to ensure they meet the demands of the most competitive academic degrees. Through the Extended Project, girls have the time and space to think innovatively and independently.

Around this, through tutorial sessions, assemblies, classroom-based training and real world experiences, we deliver The BOLD Programme.

Four key themes

The BOLD Programme is focused around four key themes; Beyond, Opportunities, Leadership and Development.

Going Beyond

Burgess Hill Girls Sixth Formers engage in informed and evidenced super-curricular activities, from reading and research to work experience and immersive opportunities. Tutors will advise and guide students through this additional engagement, ensuring that students take the lead in their own learning, developing their initiative and exploring their own interests to the fullest.

Exploring Opportunities

This is the necessary research and engagement that gives the girls the best understanding of the world beyond school, and how they will take their place in it. From thorough and comprehensive training on UCAS, to time given over for university visits and course research, our students are fully informed on all options that follow their A levels.

Taking Leadership

Students are supported in taking on opportunities to develop and practise leadership skills in preparation for life beyond school. It also includes a dedicated Leadership Training residential trip to Scotland in the weeks after GCSE exams.

Personal Development

Students enhance their personal attributes through community service, extra-curricular activities, and Sixth Form VIVAs, which allow for regular student evaluation against professionally and academically informed criteria.

Key features

The BOLD programme offers unique opportunities for all students at Burgess Hill Girls.

Leadership Training Scotland: A trip teaching the essential skills students need to take on the mantel of leadership within their school life and beyond.

BOLD VIVAs: These are a series of one-to-one interviews with Sixth Formers evaluated against professionally and academically informed criteria.

London Induction Day: Year 12 students fulfil an array of challenges, engaging with historical, social and cultural aspects of this global city, and further cementing the bonds between the girls.

Washington DC Residential: To ensure Sixth Formers are informed about the world and their place in it, this trip to the US capital allows for engagement with social, political, cultural, artistic and scientific institutions of international value.

Higher Education Research and Application: This process is embedded in the programme under the ‘Exploring Opportunities’ element, so every Sixth Former is well-supported in taking command of their own research.

Life Skills and Visiting Speaker Programme: Outside speakers enliven students’ understanding, with a plethora of valid and valuable perspectives, and life skills classes cover topics essential for later success.

From the BOLD programme to Bold Girls

When students leave Burgess Hill Girls our unique curriculum ensures they have all the self-belief, determination, and life skills they need to fulfil their ambitions. They don’t become Old Girls. They become Bold Girls.

This article first appeared in the 2020 edition of Which School. You can read the e-guide here: