Why Choose us?

The Sixth Form Bolton is the only specialist sixth form in the town. Our state-of-the-art town centre campus provides students with the very best facilities to support their chosen programme of study.

The Sixth Form Bolton has a culture of high aspirations and expectations. We are very proud of our students and their exceptional levels of achievement and progression.

We support and guide students to achieve the best qualifications and experiences possible, to ensure that our young people are well prepared to move on to university, apprenticeships or employment. Students benefit from high quality teaching and outstanding student support.

The Sixth Form Ethos

Supportive Inclusive Caring Aspirational

We firmly believe in ‘excellence in everything.’ This means we set very high expectations for ourselves and our learners:

• 100% attendance and punctuality

• A ‘high grade habit’

• Hours owed must be repaid

• Commitment to work hard

• Prepared to learn

• Good manners, politeness and respect

• Participate in the wider Sixth Form experience

• Parental engagement

• Having high aspirations

• Seeking out support in order to achieve academic success

• Employability and life skills well developed

• Development of the wider student character

• Personal development and growth is a key focus

At The Sixth Form, we believe in developing the whole person, not just academic skills. All two-year study programmes also include:

Post 16 Options

Sixth Form College, FE College or School Sixth Form?

Sixth Form College
  • Sixth Form Colleges are much smaller in size than FE Colleges, with an average size of 1,700 students

  • High quality pastoral care

  • Excellent parental engagement • Sixth Form Colleges are half-way between school and university

  • They only focus on students aged 16-19 years old

  • Teachers are specialist A Level and Vocational A Level academic teachers

  • Sixth Form Colleges are more relaxed than school but still have a structured timetable with a more adult environment • Wide breadth of course choice

  • Specialist university advice and guidance

  • Specialist career advice and guidance

  • Sixth Form Colleges are the highest performing sector of Post 16 education

  • Greater opportunity to undertake a mixed programme of study (A Levels and BTEC combined)

FE College
  • FE Colleges are very large and are similar to a university campus, with an average size of 3,400 students

  • They offer a vast array of courses at various levels including adult courses

  • There will be a wide age range of students on campus

  • FE Colleges may offer more Vocational Courses such as Construction, Hairdressing and Agriculture

School Sixth Form College
  • A familiar environment, surrounded by teachers and students you already know • Smaller intake of students, with an average size of 209 students

  • Smaller choice of courses which may restrict pathways and opportunities

  • Fewer specialist teachers

Our Courses: Who do they Suit?

A Levels or Vocational A Levels?

The main difference between these courses is that A Levels are assessed mostly through examinations, with coursework modules in some subjects, whilst Vocationits. Deciding whether to study an A Level or a Vocational A Level course can be a difficult decision.

All students follow a two-year full-time study programme, consisting of their chosen course(s), tutorial, skills development, work experience and enrichment.

To maximise options, we offer students the opportunity to mix Vocational A Levels with A Levels to create a broader combination of qualifications, skills and experience. Universities welcome applications from students with both Vocational A Levels and A Level qualifications.

Whichever pathway a student takes, the skills development that we undertake with all of our learners prepares them fully for exams, completion of coursework and becoming an independent learner in preparation for their ‘next steps’, whatever route this may be.

Ultimately, we consider all our students simply as Advanced Level 3 learners. Teaching and learning is the same on both courses, it is the assessment method that differs

Pathway One

A Level Programme
  • Choose 3 (or occasionally 4) A Level subjects

  • Study a combination of academic subjects where assessment is predominantly by examination

Pathway Two

Mixed Programme
  • Choose 3 subjects - mix of A Level and Single Vocational Advanced Levels

  • Creates a broader combination of qualification, skills and assessment

Pathway Three

Vocational Programme
  • Choose 1 Triple Vocational Advanced Level

  • Study one career focused qualification where assessment is predominantly coursework

Careers Tips for Parents

Deciding what and where to study after high school is a big decision for students, parents and carers play a key role in their child’s decision making. If you are unsure of how to support your child with their post-16 options, the following tips might help:

• Encourage your child to focus on what they enjoy and what they are good at. If students choose their subjects based on their interests and skills, they are more likely to succeed.

• They don’t have to have a fixed career goal at the age of 15 or 16. This can be an overwhelming prospect for someone at such a young age.

• Encourage them to be open minded and curious. They still have ample opportunity to explore the many career options that relate to their chosen subjects. They may well uncover careers that they hadn’t even heard of before!

• If your child does have a set career in mind, encourage them to seek advice from their school careers adviser, or contact careers@bolton-sfc.ac.uk, to ensure they are picking subjects that will keep this as a viable option.

• It’s important to bear in mind that whatever they choose to study, they will always have lots of options in terms of their future career. The careers programme provided by The Sixth Form Bolton, is designed to help students explore a wide range of opportunities and develop key employability skills.

Useful websites to help you support your child with their post-16 options and future career plans:

The Sixth Form Bolton - Career Pathways (bolton-sfc.ac.uk)

Youth Employment UK - Careers Advice for Parents

Careermap - Careermag for Parents & Guardians

Post 16 Options - Advice For Parents & Carers | UCAS Progress

Careerpilot : Parent zone : Choices at 16

Supporting Your Child’s Progression

Year Nine

Ensure they choose subjects that support their career aspirations. For some careers, a young person will need to choose the right courses now e.g. Science for Medicine, Dentistry and so on. Be aware, even this early, what the grade and course requirements are for competitive courses at university. For example, to study Nursing a student will need a grade 5 at GCSE in Science and Maths. To be considered for Medicine, a student will need five to seven grade 8/9s at GCSE. Encourage them to choose GCSE options that they enjoy, not what their friends are choosing.

Year Ten

Students have made their option choices so their focus should be on acquiring and practising the skills they need to pass their GCSE courses: varied and practical revision techniques, tackling past paper questions on their own and studying with a partner to stretch and challenge themselves. Depending on their chosen career path, they should be undertaking work experience or voluntary work. This is a must for Teaching, Social Work, Medicine and Medical related disciplines such as Optometry. Duke of Edinburgh and sport or hobbies broaden their general development. Encourage them to research potential Sixth Forms carefully and review the types of course on offer and their preferred learning styles. Do not choose exam-based subjects for Advanced Level study if your child struggles with examinations. Look at programmes that are mainly assessed through coursework or practical activities. Your child is likely to be more successful in this pathway, which will lead to progression to good universities, higher level apprenticeships or employment. A further consideration might be travel time when considering which Sixth Form to attend. Additionally, review which wider opportunities for enrichment, work experience and the development of personal skills are available.

Year Eleven

Anxiety may well be something to be anticipated in the final year. Encourage your son/daughter not to worry if they make mistakes: they learn from them. Mastery of a subject does not simply happen, they need to keep working at it. When they say they ‘can’t do something’ tell them they ‘can’t yet’! With some effort and practice, it will improve. Encourage them to talk to their teachers and seek support and reassurance. Help them to reflect on their course choices for Post 16 to ensure they have clear reasons for the choices they are making. Make sure they have opted for the right kind of course or subjects. Have they chosen subjects because of peer pressure or parent pressure? If you are unsure, talk to The Sixth Form Bolton. We are happy to help students make the right choice. Encourage them all the time and listen when they are worried

BTEC Myth Busting

There is a lot of confusion around the different academic qualifications and pathways that students can take, and where certain qualifications can lead.

Myth: You have to do A Levels if you want to go to university.

Fact: You can progress to university whether you study Vocational courses or A Levels. The Triple Vocational A Level (Level 3 National Extended Diploma), is completed over two years at the Sixth Form and carries UCAS points just like A Levels. Depending on the subject you want to study, a BTEC may be preferred to A Levels as it shows that you can intensively study one subject over a period of time and that you are passionate about and interested in that subject. *

Myth: A BTEC is the easy option. A Levels show you are much more clever than if you are just doing a BTEC.

Fact: The concept of BTECs as an ‘easy option’ is based on the fact that they have more coursework and fewer exams than A Levels. In reality the level and content is just as difficult. Vocational courses all require students to sit some examinations and controlled assessments as well as completing coursework.

Myth: You should always choose A Levels over a BTEC if you have the choice.

Fact: A Levels are often academic subjects such as History or English, whereas BTECs are often more career-related courses, like Public Services, Business or ICT. So, choosing whether to take A Levels or a BTEC depends a lot on what the student wants to pursue after Sixth Form. A BTEC course is much more practical, with a more hands-on approach to learning. It should involve plenty of work experience and practical opportunities as part of the course, giving students direct experience of the industry they want to work in.

 *There are a small minority of degree courses such as Medicine or Veterinary Science that don’t accept BTECs. It is advised to research university entry requirements if there are courses that your young person is particularly interested in progressing onto


Financial Support at The Sixth Form

One of our main priorities at The Sixth Form is the welfare of our students. As part of this we work to enable our students to overcome any financial barriers to education in pursuit of their learning.  We run a very successful Bursary and Travel scheme that helps financially support a large proportion of our students every year.

Find more information here

Parent Portal

The Parent Portal is available through the website and in addition to the information on attendance and progress, provides regular news updates and reviews for the year. A Parents’ Welcome Evening takes place in September where help is provided to register and log on to the Parent Portal.

On the Parent Portal you can:

  • Check if your son/daughter is attending lessons

  • Access online trackers that show grades achieved for all subject areas

  • Get priority access to Parents' Evening appointments

  • Report an absence

  • Update any medical conditions that The Sixth Form needs to be aware of

  • Check the progress of your son/daughter

  • See your son/daughter’s timetable including their exam timetable

  • Track any payments made to your son/daughter including Bursary/Travel Payments or payments received by The Sixth Form Bolton

  • Update your contact phone numbers

  • Access electronic copies of the Parent and Student handbook

  • Access important exam information

  • View subject specific homework for certain subjects

The Role of Parent Governor

The Sixth Form needs enthusiastic and committed people to become governors. The Governing body of The Sixth Form include people drawn from a range of backgrounds reflecting the community we serve. Parent Governors play an important role in the development of The Sixth Form. Governors help us to drive forward and meet strategic objectives with their understanding, skills, perspective and experience. Becoming a governor provides many opportunities to contribute to your local community and is a highly rewarding voluntary role. Governors have the opportunity to express their own views, listen to the views of others representing The Sixth Form and its community and to influence our students’ education for the better.

What does it involve?

• To become a Parent Governor you must be a parent/ carer of a current student

• Commitment to improving education

• Ability to work as part of a team and take collective responsibility for decisions

• Commitment to The Sixth Form’s core values

• You must attend Full Corporation meetings (four per year) and three other committee meetings

• All Governors must complete satisfactory safeguarding checks (DBS) How to apply In order to apply to be a Parent Governor at The Sixth Form Bolton or to discuss the role of governor in further detail please email: Governance@Bolton-sfc.ac.uk in the first instance. We hope you will consider taking up this important and worthwhile role

Parent & Carer Event 2004 Presentation Slides

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