We understand that you may have questions when you are thinking of joining a sixth form; therefore, we have put together a list of questions below, and we hope that we have answered them for you.
If you have any questions that haven't been answered, please contact our team on 01204 333266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I apply to Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form?
If you wish to apply, please click here to use the online application form
What will happen after I submit my application?
On receipt of your application, you and your parents will be invited to an appointment to discuss your admission, your admission requirements and course choices.
Will I have an interview, and what will it be like?
The interview is the first step in ensuring a successful experience in the Sixth Form. It is an opportunity to find out your longer-term plans, broader aspirations, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and likely GCSE grades.
We then check that your A level and BTEC choices match these. It is also a chance for you to ask us questions about Rivington & Blackrod Sixth Form.
How will I know if I have chosen the right course?
Everyone coming to Sixth Form to start a course in September will be invited to an event before starting, which will give you a chance to meet students and teachers on your course. Your admissions interview will also give you an opportunity to find out more about the course, and you will be able to ask your interviewer lots of questions about it.
If you are still unsure, you can make an appointment with a member of our Sixth Form team to discuss your options to help you make the right course choice.
If you start your course but don't feel it's right for you and not what you expected, talk to your tutor. Do this quickly, as you may not be able to change courses after the first few weeks of term. You can also ask for a careers interview to help you make the right decision.
Can students mix A-Level and BTEC courses?
Yes, students are completely free to mix BTEC and A level subjects.
Are BTEC qualifications recognised by all universities?
Yes, Universities are very happy to accept students with BTEC qualifications.
When will my course start?
Please check the term dates web page. We will write to you beforehand to confirm the arrangements, including where to go and what to bring with you.
What is Enrolment?
Enrolment is an essential and compulsory part of becoming a registered student with Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form. When you enrol on your programme of study, your qualifications will be checked, and you will be issued your Sixth Form ID card.
Enrolment takes place in the summer holidays either just before the start of your course. However, most students enrol on the day they get their GCSE results or very soon afterwards.
You will need:
- Proof of your qualifications
- A relevant form of ID
What is an induction?
During your first few weeks, you will be welcomed to Rivington & Blackrod Sixth Form and introduced to your fellow students and the staff. This is called induction and may include some or all of the following activities:
- Introductory sessions with your tutor - you will be given your course timetable and meet your fellow students
- A welcome talk from the Head of Sixth Form
- Finding your way around the Sixth Form and getting to know other staff and students
- ICT induction – introducing you to our ICT facilities and systems
- Learning Resources Centre induction – introducing you to all the Learning Resources you will need for your course
- Student Services induction – you will meet your personal tutor and learn about all the help on offer. They will also make sure you know about any financial support you may be eligible for.
There is a big leap between GCSE study in Year 11 and A level or BTEC study in Year 12. Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form has an excellent system of support in place to help you make this leap. Year 12 begins with two days of induction that includes a session on study skills with your form tutor and a research session at Liverpool Hope University. Each subject will run an induction period.
You will have a study skills book for the first two weeks to work through in both form and free periods. At first, you will be expected to spend all or most of your free periods in E1 or a POD.
What do I need to bring with me on my first day?
We will write to you to tell you what you need to bring, but it will include the following as a minimum:
- Pen and Paper
- Any other stationary, equipment or clothing specified in your letter
Getting to College
There are a number of buses that you can use to travel to Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form. They are:
- 125 Bolton via Chorley Old Road
- 516/517 Westhoughton
- 505 Brazley and Markland Hill
Unfortunately, there are no spaces available for Sixth Form Students due to the lack of car parking spaces. You can park on the main road.
Do I need to pay tuition fees?
If you are aged 16-18, most of our courses are free for you to study, although you may have to buy course equipment such as a uniform or books.
Do I need to buy any kit or equipment for my course?
Some courses require you to have essential kit or equipment such as a uniform, overalls, safety equipment, books or tools. Your tutor will tell you all about this at your interview, and/or we will confirm it in your induction letter.
What if I cannot afford to pay for the course essentials?
Students can apply for financial support, known as the post 16 Bursary. If you qualify, based on household income, you will receive a free bus pass, help with any financial costs related to your courses, and a cash payment at the end of each term.
Can I get any support with childcare costs?
Not via our sixth form – you will need to get support from the Department of Work And Pensions. Please visit: www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator
Do I get a student discount when I shop in Bolton?
Some places offer student discounts. Your ID badge is used as evidence that you are a student.
If I have a problem that is worrying me, who can I talk to?
If the problem is related to your work, such as workload, deadlines, or time management, your tutor will offer practical help. Your tutor may refer you to Mrs Hartley or Mrs Stephens.
If the problem is of a subject specific nature, lack of understanding of a particular topic or a feeling that you are being overloaded with conflicting work deadlines, then talk to your subject teachers and then, if necessary, to either your form tutor or Mrs Stephens.
Do you have a Support Service at Sixth Form?
We do have a support service at sixth form. For appointments, please contact Mrs Stephens. Details are advertised in the Sixth Form common area.
What will the Sixth Form do to support my general health and well-being?
Over the next two years, there may be times when you feel under pressure and stressed. In such situations, you are encouraged to talk to your Form Tutor, your Head of Year or the Head of Sixth Form.
If you would prefer not to discuss your problems in a school environment, you should consider making an appointment with your GP or using one of the helplines advertised in the Sixth Form area.
Who can I talk to if I have a problem with my academic work?
If the problem is subject specific nature, lack of understanding of a particular topic or a feeling that you are being overloaded with conflicting work deadlines, then talk to your subject teachers and then if necessary to either your form tutor, Mrs Stephens.
If I am unhappy with my course, what can I do?
If you consider changing courses, you should discuss your plans with your tutor and then with Mr Canning. You need to complete a subject change form.
Once we are satisfied that you have thought through all the issues surrounding a change of subject and discussed them with your parents, you will be allowed to make a subject change. All such changes need to be authorised by the Head of Sixth Form and are subject to a supportive parental agreement and sufficient space available in the relevant sets. However, course changes will not usually be possible after the 30th September in any year.
What facilities are available to help me study independently?
The ability to work independently is essential to success in Sixth Form. Independent learning is what distinguishes Sixth Form study to study in school. You will find that the more efficiently you use this time, the better your eventual level of success will be, and you will take less work home.
There are several areas set aside specifically for independent work, either as an individual or in a group. These are the E1 study resource area, the PODs and the POD IT room. Practical subjects such as IT, Music, and Art also allow students to continue with their own work or practise outside lesson times.
The main Library is also an area for silent private study. Its facilities are for all students' use and benefit, so we ask you to observe "the rules" so that all everyone can study in peace. This is an excellent opportunity to train yourself in good study habits!
The Common Room can also be used as an area to study, although this area is not maintained as a quiet area and is not, therefore, suitable for all types of study.
When your timetable has all your lessons entered onto it, there will be a number of non-taught periods. Some will require you to study in E1, in others (the majority) will be available for you to choose how you use them.
If either or both of these periods come at the end of the day and you have no further school commitments, you may go home early. If you have a free first thing in the morning, you cannot come in late - you must always be here for registration at 8.45am.
The Library is far too big to find anything in, so I won't be able to cope.
No one is born knowing about information retrieval, and we understand that it takes time to get used to such a large collection. Mrs Wilson, Our Librarian and Learning Resources staff, are happy to help you learn how to find information quickly and efficiently, a skill which will stand you in good stead throughout your time at Sixth Form and beyond.
Is there a dress code for Sixth Form Students?
The dress code for Sixth Form students was introduced after extensive consultation with students, staff, parents and governors. Students appreciate the code, and the Sixth Form expects students to adhere to its agreed provisos. The underlying principle is that dress must be appropriate in an 11 – 18 school environment and a workplace.
- Hats must not be worn in lessons
- Students must not display any visible body piercing, with the exception of ear piercing
- Slogans or logos which cause offence must not be worn
- Low cut tops should not be worn
- Very short skirts or revealing low slung trousers must not be worn
Are there any rules at Sixth Form?
You will find Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form has a modern, friendly and 'adult' environment in which you are encouraged to develop a sense of independence and to take responsibility for your studies.
The prime reason for being a member of the Sixth Form is to achieve a good set of A level or BTEC results, in line with or above what might be expected based on the student's GCSE results. We expect:
- Students should keep all work in an appropriate and well organised form, e.g. in a file that is available for checking if required
- Students are expected to manage their study time. This means making appropriate use of study facilities such as E1, the PODS and the Library
- Homework will be set weekly in most subjects, with longer deadlines in certain areas, e.g. for coursework
- Each student will need to spend at least five hours per week per subject studying outside of lesson time
- Students have a target grade for each subject. Any assignments that are graded by staff as being below target will need to be re-submitted. Students who appear to be heading for a below target grade will be put on an additional study support program. This may involve more regular mentoring appointments, closer scrutiny of work, some or all study periods becoming supervised sessions in E1, alerting parents to the situation and a meeting with parents
We don't have lots of rules and regulations, however, we expect high standards of behaviour, including attendance and punctuality, and these are set out clearly in our student code of conduct.
As we prepare you for your future employment, we try to make our code of conduct as close as possible to what will be found in the workplace.
We are a Sixth Form with students of different nationalities and abilities. Therefore we must operate in an environment of tolerance and respect. We don't accept any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination and have appropriate procedures in place.
There is no accommodation at Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form.
Will I make friends at Sixth Form?
Before your course starts and once you have been offered a place, you will be invited to a 'Welcome Day' event where you will meet your tutors and fellow students to experience a short taste of what your course will be like. Once your course starts, you will have an induction programme, and your tutor will arrange classes and activities to help you get to know the other students in your tutor group.
What if I haven't made any friends by this point?
There are many opportunities to make new friends through the Enrichment program, the student Common Room, and your new courses.
Are there any social activities?
Yes, lots. You are expected to aim for one hundred hours of enrichment during Year 12. There will be enrichment information sessions when you start Year 12, where you can sign up to one or more of these opportunities:
- Competitive sports fixtures against other sixth forms in the North West Colleges
- League – two football teams and a netball team
- Badminton, swimming, five a side, gym
- Form Buddy/Subject support
- Duke of Edinburgh (direct entry Gold - you don't need to have done D of E before)
- Young Enterprise
- Drama productions
- Reading programme working with students in main school
- Primary school classroom support
- Work experience in Residential Care Homes
- International residential trips
- Charity and community work
Will I be able to progress at the end of my course?
We aim to provide guidance and support whether you choose a higher education or vocational path. The careers section of the E1 resource area is well stocked with university prospectuses and books advising on every relevant aspect of the subject. There is also an IT provision to allow greater access to information on colleges and courses. Careers interviews can be arranged at any time for any member of the Sixth Form.
What about my next steps after Sixth Form?
If you plan to progress into work or apprenticeship at the end of your course, the student services website has lots of live vacancies to help you find the best opportunities. The careers team can also help you make a great application, with advice on interview skills and CVs.
How small are the class sizes?
Class sizes range, but the norm is usually between 10-20 students.
Can students go off site for lunch?
The Sixth Form Bistro is open from 10am until 2pm, serving a wide range of hot and cold meals.
The Bistro operates a fingerprint recognition cashless payments system, which means that you will need to keep your account topped up. There is a paying machine outside E1, and payments can be made online via SIMS Learning Gateway.
There are also two vending machines for hot and cold drinks in the Common Room. But if this is not enough and students can get there, there are several shops in Horwich.