How long is the school day?
It starts at 8.20am and finishes at 5.30pm, unless you have extra clubs, which might go on until 8pm at the latest. On Saturdays, LVI Form lessons finish at 11:45am and there are no lessons for UVI Form. On Saturday afternoons there are matches for those who play team sports.
What are the main privileges given to Sixth Formers that differentiates them from the Fifth Form?
The main privilege of being a member of the Sixth Form is the increased freedom. You are given freedom over what you do during the weekends, when you want to go into the town and how you want to spend your free periods. You don't have to wear uniform but there is a dress code. Sixth Form girls are also given full kitchen facilities and can cook their own meal if they feel like testing out their culinary skills. The Helen Wright House enables UVI Form students to have more of a university-style experience, with communal kitchens on every floor and en-suite bathrooms, making the transition into university life smoother...although the university accommodation may not be quite as fab!
How much freedom do you get at weekends?
Although on Non-Exeat weekends you require special permission to go out, for the majority of weekends the Sixth Form have a lot of freedom to make their own plans and go out for the whole weekend or just for the day. Students can leave from midday on Saturday and should return by 9pm Sunday. In addition, you can organise your own travel or it can be organised through the Travel Office if you need help with it. Every weekend the House Staff will organise some activity; this is entirely optional and is usually something fun to do while relaxing during the evening in the common room.
What A level combinations have been successful in the past?
The success of a combination of subjects at A Level depends heavily on the person and their preferences. It is important to be aware that the workload is different for different subjects, for example subjects such as Art and History take up a lot of time, whereas in Economics the work is often concentrated in lesson time. Some people would say that it is preferable to group Humanities or Sciences, but a combination of the two can also be successful. It is also necessary to consider what career you would like in the future and choose subjects that would complement this. You can get lots of help in school and the teachers will go out of their way to advise you on the best options. The timetable is designed around the choices we make so you don't need to choose subjects from specifics blocks...as long as you get your subject choices in on time!
How do I balance the workload?
It is very important to stay on top of the workload and not leave it until last minute. Another important factor is to try and balance the amount of academic work with extra-curricular commitments and, if you are planning on taking five subjects at AS, it might be a good idea to only sign up for a couple of activities at first, while you learn how much free time you will have.
What is the situation for day girls in the boarding house?
In the Sixth Form, day girls often get their own room or sometimes they have a shared room. It is possible to stay overnight, provided you tell the House Staff beforehand. For evenings when a school commitment continues until after 9pm, day girls may stay over free of charge. Day girls also have full access to all the facilities available to boarders - such as the shower rooms and the kitchen - and therefore are treated just as any member of the boarding house by girls and staff.
How much help do you get with future careers/universities/higher education etc.?
At St Mary’s there are always people to give advice on your future. Your Director of Studies should be a teacher related to your subject choices and they will therefore be able to help you through the entire process. In addition, Saturday mornings are dedicated to researching university courses, and later writing personal statements, with teachers such as Mrs Socha and Dr Drape on hand to give invaluable advice. The Sixth Form Lecture Programme is also helpful as the lectures are sometimes by a university representative or successful businessmen or women who can offer valuable career advice.
What is there in place if I feel I need help?
At St Mary’s there are always people to support you. If a particular subject is worrying you for any reason, the relevant subject teacher can help you with this. In addition, your Director of Studies can help you to manage and balance your workload. The Housemistresses are also always around to talk to if you are feeling the pressures of a busy life at St Mary’s.