Friday, 16 September 2016

Sixth form choices: State or Independent School?

In areas such as Buckinghamshire, which has state grammar schools as well as other ‘free’ sixth form options such as a Sixth Form College or UTC, parents might be faced with a more difficult dilemma when making school choice decisions at this stage of education. With GCSE and A Level, IB or Btec results being so important in the competitive environment of gaining a place at a top university, many parents are rightly very concerned about the need to get the school choice right at this particular stage.

If you are in the fortunate situation of having both State and Independent schooling as options, here are a few of our top points to take into consideration when making this decision. More can be found in our soon to be released e-book, 'Applying for Sixth Form' - more information at the bottom of this post!

  1. Grammar schools are very competitive in terms of entry criteria and the academic educational programme they deliver. Will such a competitive environment, which focuses mainly on academic achievement, suit your child? If your child is self-motivated, confident and bright, the answer is probably yes. If they lack confidence or motivation, this is not quite so easy a decision.

  2. Will your child benefit from a holistic approach to education, where there are sports teams for all who wish to participate, as well as a whole range of other extra-curricular opportunities? If the answer to this question is yes, then you would be advised to consider independent school, rather than state school options.

  3. With the variety of examination options at sixth form, it is important to consider if IB (International Baccalaureate) or Btec might be a more suitable qualification for your child at this stage of their education. State and Independent schools offer these as an option, but you need to be sure they have the teaching expertise to deliver this programme, before making your decision.

  4. Moving from state education to independent education is often an opportunity to gain a scholarship for study at an independent school at sixth form, especially if your child has done well at grammar school or other State schools for the preceding 5 years. This might be your opportunity to give your teenager access to a whole range of new opportunities.

  5. Some parents believe that moving from independent into state education for sixth from may make gaining a place at a top university easier, although this theory is to date unproven. Care must be taken to ensure that your teenager will cope with such a transition into a different learning environment with different teaching styles, as they need to hit the ground running with only 2 years to gain top grades at this stage of education.


We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education.

Email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.

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