My first half term in Sixth Form - a student perspective by Toby
Before I started at AKS sixth form I was feeling both excited and nervous. However, I soon realised there was no need to be nervous. Within the first week all my most pressing questions were answered. Without naming them all, my biggest concern was to do with the volume of homework I would receive and whether this would be manageable with all the extracurricular activities I was looking forward to doing.
I am currently studying four subjects, maths, further maths, history and English. Even though my GCSEs were cancelled AKS completed all the subject syllabuses and also provided a four-week pre-A level programme so we could all understand what was expected of us in the sixth form. As a result, I expected a heavy workload, however, whilst this is the case, I have really appreciated the amount of support I receive from my teachers. Every teacher has provided ample time to complete all homework set and ensured that I have as many resources as possible to help me complete my work to the highest standard.
One of my favourite things about my academic study has been the freedom to explore around each subject. Every teacher actively encourages independent learning, allowing me to explore the subject to gain a greater understanding and interest. For me, this is a huge bonus compared to the GCSE course. I often felt that I did not fully understand the context of a subject at GCSE due to the fast pace required to complete the course. This extra level of depth required to do well at A-level has really inspired me to become more pro-active in my learning, helping me keep an open mind to new ideas and concepts.
As we have grown into our new roles in sixth form, there has been definite changes from the staff in their expectation of us. We are expected to be mature enough to meet our deadlines without being supervised. At the same time, we are allowed off-site during our free periods which provides us with more freedom, but we have the responsibility to complete our set work in the time permitted. This is a privilege I appreciate as I think the school trusts us to behave appropriately. I have found this a challenge as I am having to learn to find a balance between schoolwork and all my extra-curricular interests. I feel a sense of responsibility to repay this trust placed in me. Although I am definitely getting better, I am sure some of my teachers would like me to do more!
Whilst I am not a world beater, I enjoy playing sport. The school has managed to keep providing provision of all sport, while still following government guidelines. I am allowed to go to the gym in my free time on certain days of the week, as well as having rugby practice at least three times a week. This gives me an outlet from the pressures of academic work, even for a short time, so I can return refreshed and ready to learn.
Unfortunately, I have started sixth form in the most unprecedented of times. The whole world is having to cope with Covid-19. While what happens at AKS is insignificant in the scheme of things, for me it is very important. The school has created an environment where I feel safe, socially distanced but connected to my peers, teachers and the rest of the school without any compromise to the provision of learning and, within reason, extra-curricular activities.
I know I have made the right choice to stay at AKS as I feel fully supported in every aspect of my new sixth form life. From here, I want to develop further and build on the RoundSquare opportunity that I started at the end of Year 11. I think RoundSquare provides a super ethos, which the school endorses, and this will allow me to hopefully extend myself as I approach the end of my journey as a pupil at AKS.