EDUCATION: Preparing Sixth Formers for life beyond school at Hurst College

Hurst College explains to Horsham Living magazine why it is important to encourage Sixth Formers to step outside their comfort zones from day one…

The Sixth Form at Hurst College is focused on preparing students for the next step after school. The last two years of a student’s educational journey are key to providing a plethora of opportunities and experiences to complete their passage of self-discovery. By the time they complete their A-levels, they will have developed a keen sense of self and have made the right decision about their true purpose in life.

The journey begins with Sixth Formers stepping outside their comfort zones from day one when they are taken off-site for adventure training. They take part in a whole host of challenging activities where they swiftly need to form working relationships to succeed as part of a team. By the end of the day, they have truly bonded as a year group.

The fun continues with a Lower Sixth dinner and quiz, swiftly followed by the first Mystery Bus Tour of the year. Students sign up for a trip to an unknown location with the focus on taking part and taking a risk. They are rewarded with trips to go-carting tracks, curling and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, amongst others.

The Lower Sixth year is a careful balancing act, when students are assisted and monitored by their tutors to ensure they get it right. The priority is for each student to complete their core academic responsibilities to the best of their ability and to make time for wider intellectual enrichment as they engage fully with what’s on offer beyond the classroom.

When they enter the Upper Sixth students move into St John’s, the co-ed hall of residence, to begin the transition to post-school life and start their journey as undergraduates. The year kicks off with an Icebreaker Disco and by the end of the night, they have settled into their new house and are ready for the academic challenges that lie ahead.

Hurst prides itself on a unique system of Upper Sixth academic tutoring. Each student is allocated a subject specialist depending on their desired post-school path. They have access to, and support from, someone who knows the specific subject demands, who can help ensure UCAS applications are the best they can be. This is also the one teacher they will have most contact with in and outside normal lesson time. Upper Sixth Formers often see their tutors daily, to discuss subject-specific matter for A-levels and are also encouraged to deepen and widen their knowledge base beyond the syllabus.

All students recognise membership of the Hurst Sixth Form is a privilege. They are given multiple opportunities within the school week to make a wider contribution to the wellbeing of their community and the wider world. Many work towards the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, with its emphasis on leadership, community service and personal development. Others take command roles in the largest school Combined Cadet Force in the southern counties or lead the school’s own community service programme.

The Lower Sixth Young Enterprise Programme provides an opportunity for students to create and run their own business from scratch. They can also contribute to the school’s student-run magazine or lead the many intellectual clubs and societies. Charitable action is highly valued, with the student body raising around £30,000 a year for worthy causes, and Sixth Formers are expected to take the lead.

The Sixth Form is a time when significant decisions are made and Hurst is unashamedly ambitious for all its students. The priority is to ensure the next step after school is perfectly suited to individuals’ aspirations and aptitudes. Sixth Form tutors are trained executive life coaches, investing time and expertise to draw out an individual’s values and motivations. Most students choose to apply for a place at a leading British university, but the college also embraces the alternatives, from professional sport and the performing arts to entrepreneurship and aid work.

Pastoral care is second to none, with a huge focus on wellbeing. Should they need to speak to someone, students have easy access to their housemaster/mistress, school counsellors and student guardians. Sixth Formers play an important role in school leadership, with a varied assembly programme when they are encouraged to discuss relevant topics. The focus is to ensure that they leave Hurst as happy, well-rounded young adults, ready for the challenges and excitement of life beyond school.

For further information please call 01273 836937

Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio