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Sixth Form Prospectus 2021 - 2022 Bishop Vaughan Catholic School

WELCOME TO BISHOP VAUGHAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL SIXTH FORM

Thank you for your interest in Bishop Vaughan Sixth Form. We hope that you will be excited by what is available as outlined in this prospectus. As you will see, we have a well-developed curriculum with a wide range of academic and vocational subjects.

With a Sixth Form of over 200 we are able to organise learning in average class sizes of 15 students, which allows for greater individual guidance and direction. At Bishop Vaughan, we have high expectations of all of our learners and aim for the highest standards possible. We are convinced that this is best achieved in an environment where students feel confident, secure and happy.

Most of our Sixth Form students are not new to our school, having chosen to continue their studies in an environment in which they are well known and valued. Students who come from other schools experience a warm welcome and quickly find themselves at home here. All students are expected to work hard and to take full advantage of the expertise and commitment of our staff. They are encouraged to make the most of the many and varied extracurricular activities we are proud to offer.

The pastoral and academic support provided for all learners is excellent. This combined with an Enrichment Program and a wide range of extra-curricular and social events makes Bishop Vaughan an exciting and rewarding environment in which to continue your studies. Our aim is to encourage and support every learner to achieve their full potential. We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Bishop Vaughan Sixth Form.

Mrs E Pole, Headteacher

Our Ethos

The very foundation of Bishop Vaughan Catholic School is based upon Gospel Values. The Gospel values themselves represent the guiding principles by which we strive to live our lives. As a school we ensure an understanding of these by providing all pupils with the beautiful passage of scripture known as ‘The Beatitudes’, from the Gospel of Matthew, along with an explanation of the values that we draw from this passage.

The eight beatitudes feature in different ways in and around the school, in each pupil’s workbooks and files and also centrally within the Main Hall’s ‘Beatitudes Gallery’. In the gallery each of the eight beatitudes are depicted creatively by our students, based on each of the promises or statements made in Christ’s ‘Sermon on the Mount’.

From this gospel, we draw the gospel values of faith, sacrifice and service, courage, truth and justice, peace, hope, love, community, tolerance and reconciliation. Striving to exhibit these values in our daily lives we can develop the ‘virtues’ of living out the values in all that we do.

Bishop Vaughan Catholic Pupil Profile

The Catholic pupil profile is an approach taken by many Catholic schools to celebrating and encouraging these virtues, or character traits. Essentially, the virtues are the ‘habits’ or characteristics that are evident when the values are embedded in day-to-day practice. The virtues are generally represented in pairs and are often depicted in the diagram below:

Image reproduced with the permission of The Jesuit Institute

We aim, then, that our pupils will lead more fulfilling lives by being:

  • Grateful for their own gifts, for the gift of other people, and for the blessings of each day; and generous with their gifts, becoming men and women for others.
  • Attentive to their experience and to their vocation; and discerning about the choices they make and the effects of those choices.
  • Compassionate towards others, near and far, especially the less fortunate; and loving by their just actions and forgiving words.
  • Faith-filled in their beliefs and hopeful for the future.
  • Eloquent and truthful in what they say of themselves, the relations between people, and the world.
  • Learned, finding God in all things; and wise in the ways they use their learning for the common good.
  • Curious about everything; and active in their engagement with the world, changing what they can for the better.
  • Intentional in the way they live and use the resources of the earth, guided by conscience; and prophetic in the example they set to others.

Throughout the school year, we will be looking at each of these pairs in more detail.

The purpose of the Sixth Form at Bishop Vaughan

At Bishop Vaughan School we are committed to the provision of an inclusive, Christian education for all our pupils in accordance with the principles and teachings of the Catholic faith. The learning experiences of students are intended to embrace the various aspects of a broad education: academic, emotional, aesthetic, physical, social, moral and spiritual. In the Sixth Form we are dedicated to helping learners develop personally and socially as young adults; to deepen knowledge of themselves and their relationships with others and to allowing them to recognise and appreciate meaning in their own lives and in the community around them.

In essence we set ourselves the task of helping our young people to get the most out of their lives and to be the best that they can be.

At our Sixth Form we do our utmost to channel students’ best skills and develop weaker ones in order to help them gain the best qualifications for the next stage in their careers, whether in Higher Education or the working environment. Much of this is achieved through structured programmes of Careers and Curriculum Enrichment as well as through a wide range of sporting and extra-curricular activities on offer

Characteristics of Sixth Form learning

In many respects, studying in the Sixth Form is rather different from studying lower down the school. There are several privileges and benefits:

At Sixth Form level the teacher is much more of a ‘guide’ rather than a provider of all the information. Pupils learn to become students and the teacher does not always provide all the answers. Instead the teacher often points students in the right direction and explains where or how the information can be found. This is a big step and it takes time to get used to, but it is worthwhile and there is always plenty of help.

Classes are usually much smaller and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. Students are expected to join in discussions about problem-solving and their own opinions and ideas take on a much greater importance. Students are expected to behave in a more mature and reasonable way and in turn are treated more like adults.

Students are allocated independent study time. This is used by many students to get much of their work done and to even get ahead with reading and other research. It’s not all work though - every student has an average of at least one free period per day which can be spent relaxing in the Sixth Form Common Room, working out in the Gym or sometimes helping out in their favourite subject areas. Sixth Form students are also free to leave the premises when they do not have timetabled lessons or study periods.

Students have open access to the Sixth Form Study Centre and Library where they may work in peace and quiet or where they may make use of the computers. Sixth Formers can also make use of unoccupied classrooms for study and other areas of the school such as the Main Hall.

All of our students are encouraged to widen their interests by taking minority subjects by becoming involved in the community service programme (in local special schools, hospitals, old peoples’ homes etc.), or in assisting the ALN department or in lower school games, drama etc.

There are opportunities for work experience in a wide variety of jobs and encouragement to join in public speaking, debates and participate in other programmes. There is a wide selection of curricular enrichment activities such as first aid, sports leadership and work related activities. There are also unique opportunities to join in with overseas trips and projects not open to students lower down the school.

Responsibilities in the Sixth Form

As well as privileges and benefits there are, as you might expect, certain responsibilities. These come as a natural and practical part of being a young adult learner.

Sixth Form students are expected to set a good example to the rest of the school. They are also expected to respond to requests for assistance from teachers, senior management or any member of the support staff.

Sixth Form students represent the school. They are expected to show visitors around, attend some evening functions and act as guides to new pupils.

Students appointed to the Sixth Form Committee must attend meetings regularly and frequently.

The Sixth Form Committee is appointed by a panel of governors and staff. The Committee consist of: Head Boy and Head Girl; Deputy Head Boy (Social) and Deputy Head Girl (Social); Deputy Head Boy (Finance) and Deputy Head Girl (Finance) and many other Deputy posts, providing leadership opportunities for many students.

Sixth Form students have the responsibility to see that discipline and order are kept by younger pupils and must report any inappropriate behaviour.

Will I be able to cope in the Sixth Form?

Put simply, ‘YES’, but it does depend on two main things - the right course and the right approach. Choosing your subjects is an important task and you need to make sure that you choose the right courses for you. At Bishop Vaughan Sixth Form, we allow students to ‘try out’ courses for the first couple of weeks just in case anyone is unsure. By the end of September, students are really well settled and getting on industriously with their chosen subjects. The right approach means being prepared to work. Joining the Sixth Form is most definitely an exciting time but it is not a holiday or youth club. Obviously reaching the standards required in the Sixth Form takes time and no one expects overnight success. The teachers and tutors are always ready to give help, advice and constructive support as well as a sympathetic ear.

Students are assigned to a personal tutor who is available for discussions.

In addition, students have regular and frequent interviews with their tutor, Head of Year and the Senior Leadership Team.

Three times per year formal monitoring takes place and the findings are sent out to parents and discussed with individual students. This monitoring is designed to make sure that anyone who is falling behind can be identified and helped to get back on track.

Ultimately, we believe that all of our students can achieve success. Providing the effort is made, all students can enjoy and progress in their learning. We have an ‘Open Entry Sixth Form’ which means that any Year 11 pupil may apply to enter, regardless of academic ability.

Whatever your previous learning successes, we will do all we can to help you move on.

Applied Science (Forensics) - BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma

  • Examination board: Pearson Edexcel
  • Contact: Mr J Davies

Art and Design

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mrs H Gwilliam

Biology

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mrs S Morgan

Chemistry

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Dr K Page

Computer Science

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mrs M Morgan

Engineering - BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma

  • Examination board: Pearson Edexcel
  • Contact: Mr A Smith

English Language and Literature

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Miss M Foulkes

French

  • Examination Board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mrs L Richards

Further Mathematics

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Dr A Freemantle

Geography

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mrs L Davies

Government and Politics

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Miss K Siddika

Health and Social Care

  • Examination board: Pearson Edexcel
  • Contact: Mrs J Cook

Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma

Level 3 Diploma

History

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Miss K Siddika

Mathematics

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Dr A Freemantle

Performing Arts - BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate

  • Examination board: Pearson Edexcel
  • Contact: Mr A Eynon-Davies

Physical Education

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Miss K Mainwaring

Physics

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mr H Davies

Psychology

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mr L McKay and Mrs R Pinch

Religious Studies

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mrs H Hansen

Sociology

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Miss D Davies

Sport - BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Sport and Fitness

  • Examination board: Pearson Edexcel
  • Contact: Miss K Mainwaring

Uniformed Public Services - BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma

  • Examination board: Pearson Edexcel
  • Contact: Mr J Davies and Mrs R Pinch

Welsh

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Mrs L Northey

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate

  • Examination board: WJEC
  • Contact: Ms F Mainwaring

Full-time Skills Passport (one year course)

  • Examination board: Pearson Edexcel
  • Contact: Mr J Davies and Mrs R Pinch

English and Mathematics GCSE Resits

  • Examination board: WJEC

Option Choices

For the most part the subjects on offer at Bishop Vaughan Sixth Form are Level 3 courses, designed to build on the successes that students achieve at GCSE and to prepare them for further study at university or for the world of work. Most subjects on offer are traditional AS and A levels. Some will have coursework elements but all involve formal examinations in Years 12 and 13.

There are, however, a number of courses on offer with alternative means of assessment. These include Applied Science: Forensics, Business, Creative Media, Engineering, Health and Social Care and Uniformed Public Services (Level 3). Often known as ‘vocational’ subjects, they are equivalent to full A levels but involve continuous assessment rather than formal examinations. The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate also involves continuous assessment rather than formal examinations.

You are most welcome to choose a combination of AS levels and Vocational courses but you should note that the vocational courses and the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification are usually two-year courses.

The full time skills passport is available at Level 2. This will be studied alongside English and Mathematics GCSE resits where applicable.

Notes

  • Level 3 subjects are grouped into five different blocks: Options 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. You can choose one subject from each option block. To permit different combinations some subjects appear in more than one block.
  • Bishop Vaughan Sixth Form operates a ‘pathways’ approach to the post-16 curriculum where the number and variety of option is restricted by the number of GCSEs a pupil achieves at Key Stage 4. Please refer to the application form for further information.
  • Most students will study no more than four subjects in Year 12 although a few students choose to study five subjects. To do this you must achieve A or A* grades at GCSE. If you are confident of reaching this standard, if you wish, you can select five subjects, one from each block. It is wise to seek the advice of teachers if you are thinking of choosing to study five subjects.
  • For some subjects at AS level it is not necessary to have studied them at GCSE previously. Discuss this with the relevant teachers.
  • You cannot choose to study AS Further Mathematics without also studying AS Mathematics. This will count as two choices. Furthermore, you cannot choose to do Mathematics unless you have gained a GCSE in the higher tier, at grade B or higher.
  • If you are interested in studying Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy or Veterinary Science at university, it is essential that you choose Chemistry. In some cases you will also need to choose Biology. Speak to the relevant teachers.
  • If you wish to study a Science subject at A level, you can do so providing you are confident of achieving grade B standard in the specific Science subject at GCSE, preferably at higher tier. Please contact any member of Science staff for further details.
  • If you wish to study AS level in Psychology, you must ordinarily have achieved at least a grade C in GCSE Mathematics and English.
  • If you think it is likely that you will not achieve five GCSEs at Grade C or if you are particularly interested in the course, you may choose the Level 2 skills passport suite of qualifications.
  • In 2021 the school expects to run with the blocks of subjects presented in the Options Booklet (available separately).
  • If there is something not included that you would like to study or a combination of subjects that does not seem to be possible, please write the details in the comments box of the application form.
  • Please note that some of the subjects on offer will be taught at Morriston Comprehensive School. Transport is provided for any students who move between schools for their studies.
  • If the number of applicants for a particular course are insufficient we may be forced to withdraw the offer of that provision. In these circumstances we will do our best to arrange alternative provision for that course through one of our partners.

Enrichment

At Bishop Vaughan, we make every effort to help you develop your skills, passions and interests.

As demonstrated in this prospectus, that means offering you a very broad range of academic courses. We also ensure, however, that you have access to enrichment opportunities and we pride ourselves on the variety of these: there is truly ‘something for everyone’ amongst the numerous groups, societies, clubs, teams and challenges on offer.

The following represent just some of these, and we welcome and encourage students’ requests to set up further activities according to their interests:

  • Active Sixth Form Committee arranging social events throughout the year.
  • Debating Society: our teams have had excellent levels of success in national and international competitions!
  • Music Groups ranging from choral and orchestral to ensemble and digital music groups.
  • Eco-Committee and Fair-trade groups, arranging many events for pupils throughout the school.
  • Links with workplaces: there are many established links allowing you to gain experience before submitting University applications.
  • Annual productions, including a Christmas Drama production and a musical each summer!
  • The opportunity to be involved in the highly prestigious Gold Award Duke of Edinburgh's scheme.
  • HE + and Russell groups: not just for Oxford or Cambridge applicants, but for all those applying to courses with competitive entry.

UCAS Support

We recognise that for most students, Sixth Form is a stepping-stone towards University, and the vast majority of our students make applications to Higher Education.

We ensure that all students have an exceptional level of support in making these applications. There are excellent success rates for applicants in all fields, including Medicine, Dentistry, Law and Veterinary Medicine, largely due to the support structures in place throughout Sixth Form education.

Sixth Form education begins with an Induction Day - with lots of group work activities - and an Enrichment Fair, designed to show all students the vast range of opportunities available to them. We believe that this enables students to make informed choices about the extra-curricular choices available to them and thus to present themselves, later on, to University Admissions Tutors as well-rounded, engaged and competent young people.

Students are assigned to tutors and meet with their tutors regularly in small groups for focused Progress Meetings tailored towards the needs of individuals. These meetings play a key role in helping students to make decisions about their future and allow their tutors to provide them with excellent references, both for University and for employment.

We are fortunate in being able to offer students the support of Study Mentors in both Years 12 and 13. These members of staff work within the well-equipped Sixth Form Study Centre, adjoining the school Library, assisting with queries, study skills, UCAS applications, etc. They also support the Head of Sixth Form at our UCAS Fair, our UCAS Registration Day and in offering Applications Workshops, all of these contributing to the excellent success rates for applicants, with over 90% of students gaining their first choice of course and University.

Further preparation is available to those applying to competitive courses and institutions, through the Oxbridge Prep Group and the mock-interview system, led by the Head of Sixth Form and the Headteacher. We are also fortunate in that our school-based Careers Adviser, from Careers Wales West, has an office in the Sixth Form area and is readily available to all students. Fortnightly, students are visited by speakers from a range of universities, career backgrounds and organisations, these carefully selected talks again being aimed at providing students with information about the many degree and career paths open to them.

We are delighted to now offer the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award to our Sixth Form pupils. The award exposes the students to a range of demanding activities, which really challenge them to explore their full potential. The DoE Gold Award is highly prestigious and sought after by many top universities.

We aim to keep parents fully informed about progress and, in addition to the annual reports, send home ‘monitoring information’ at three key points in the academic year. Further communication is made as necessary by subject teachers and following interviews with tutors or the Head of Sixth Form. Parents are most welcome to meet with staff should they feel it necessary.

Students are kept up-to-date about forthcoming events by means of assemblies, the Sixth Form Bulletin Board, Twitter and our blog. Through these, we are able to ensure that the UCAS application information reaches every student. All of this support has proved invaluable in enabling all students to fulfil their potential and to pursue the courses and careers of their choice. Our aim is to ensure that all of our pupils become ‘the best that they can be’.

Making Choices

If a decision has already been made on a career (or even narrowed down to an area) then there are often particular A levels which are required by each profession - e.g. Medicine requires Chemistry and Engineering requires Mathematics. If in any doubt, check with the Careers Adviser and talk with your teachers.

If you have no specific ambitions career-wise but would like to continue with further education, you must choose courses carefully. Here are some questions to think about:

  • Which subjects give you the best results?
  • Which subjects do you enjoy most?
  • What will give you most choice when you finish?

Everyone is different but a mixture is often the best idea - while you must be prepared to work, it is unlikely that you will work well if you don’t enjoy your subjects. It is said, for example, that Science subjects should always be chosen if possible because there is an acute shortage of well-qualified scientists. There is indeed a shortage, yet over 60% of all advertisements for jobs do not specify either the A level subjects required, nor the degree specialism. So any choice should be made only after careful checking and consultation.

If a student enjoys Arts subjects now and is likely to get better results by choosing them, then it would be very foolish indeed to pick only Science A levels.

Better results are always earned in a subject that is enjoyed.

It is, however, important to be are aware that there are serious shortages of highly skilled people in some areas and this may affect your choice of subjects. These areas are Engineering, Computing and Science. There are also high demands for well qualified personnel in the caring professions. Clearly, final job prospects will be improved if subjects are chosen in these areas.

Please discuss such issues with Sixth Form staff and with the Careers Adviser.

This prospectus is designed to provide you with some useful information about Bishop Vaughan Sixth Form. However, it probably will not answer ALL of your questions. So please do speak to the staff and students. They will be more than willing to help you.

Working in Partnership

Bishop Vaughan School has an established tradition of working with other schools in Swansea through the Sixth Form Consortium, which has enabled students to access a wide range of courses.

At present, we enjoy a flourishing partnership with Morriston Comprehensive School, which has gone from strength to strength.

This partnership working has enabled students from Bishop Vaughan to access courses at Morriston and vice versa. This has resulted in students having a much wider choice of subjects available to them and reflects the Welsh Government’s 14-19 agenda.

Both schools are confident that there will be increased opportunities available to students in the coming academic year.

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M Jones
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