At Larkmead we are particularly proud of the all-round education that our students enjoy. Our aim is that all students will leave Larkmead sixth form with excellent academic outcomes, emotional intelligence and the skills needed for them to be successful in the next stage of their life, whether that be in higher education, further study, apprenticeships or employment. The basis of this success is built on not just high expectations of both teaching staff and students, but in a belief in a strong home – school – student partnership; there is a relentless expectation of high standards of effort and conduct and any slippage is addressed quickly and effectively. Above all the Larkmead sixth form is a caring community in which each individual is valued, and the pastoral care is second to none.
The range of courses that we offer is constantly improving and developing and this is done in partnership with the other Abingdon schools, including St Helen’s & St Katherine’s, Abingdon School and Abingdon and Witney College, to ensure that students are offered as rich and broad a curriculum as possible. We also offer opportunities for students to exercise responsibility in the school community and to participate in extracurricular activities that will aid personal growth and development. A high percentage of our sixth form students progress to university with large numbers being the first members of their families to do so. Many other students take up higher level apprenticeships in well-known organisations such as BMW, Microsoft, National Grid and the Civil Service.
Our students are encouraged to support younger students through the KS3 Reading programme, by supporting younger students in lessons, working with more vulnerable students as peer mentors as well as organising social events such as discos. Students also involve themselves in other activities such as the Young Enterprise Scheme, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Investor Challenge, Maths and Science Olympiads, sports fixtures, academic talks as well as a wide range of trips and excursions. All of which provides our students with a sense of community, responsibility as well as developing their self-confidence and leadership skills.
Much of 6th form life beyond the classroom is managed by the 6th form itself, the students vote for a Senior Team from which a Head and Deputy Head student are chosen. The Senior Team are responsible for the managements of the common room, servery and their own social programme. They also organise sporting fixtures, the annual pantomime, a Christmas and Summer Ball, as well as raising monies for charities. Additionally there are also key events in the year when the Head and Deputy Head student are called upon to support the work of the school.
Miss Jo Dering – Head of Sixth Form
The current entry criteria for Larkmead 6th form is at least 5 GCSE’s or their equivalent, at grades 9 to 4, together with excellent records of attendance and behaviour.
The majority of students will be offered a 2 year, 3 subject ‘A’ level option package. However some students will be allowed to take 4 (or 5) subjects, where it is felt to be appropriate and where there is an already viable subject with capacity available. Likewise some students will be encouraged to follow a combination of A Level subjects and Level 3 BTec courses that will be offered in partnership with Abingdon and Witney College. Before making any final decisions about choice of courses, students are offered an induction programme, face to face discussions with subject specialists and if required 1:1 discussions with the Director of Learning
The AS programme will no longer be offered to most students. The exception to this will be where a student indicates, by the end of term 2, that they either intend to leave school at the end of year 12 or drop a course. These students will be offered the AS exam option but students will need to undertake a reasonable amount of independent study if they are to be successful.
For students joining the sixth form without a grade 5 in either GCSE Maths or English, lessons will be put on to help students improve their grades. For students who already have achieved a grade 4, they will be strongly advised to retake the exams, but for students without a grade 4 in either subject, this will be a compulsory part of their academic programme.
Running alongside the academic programme that students will follow are other elements of our curriculum. All students will follow a Complementary Studies programme as well as a Personal Development Curriculum. Within these programmes students will cover topics that fit under the following headings:
Physical and mental wellbeing; Keeping myself and my friends safe; Careers; Study skills; Developing my values and my character; Current affairs
All year 12 students undertake a week of work experience during the academic year with other opportunities for work experience being offered to students who have either reduced timetables or who need particular experiences in order to progress in a chosen field once they leave school.
Details of the subjects offered can be found below. Visit the Abingdon Consortium website by clicking the button below for more details about each subject.
|Science, Technology & Maths||Modern Foreign Languages||English and Media||Business and Economics||Humanities||Arts|
|Maths||French||English Language||Business Studies||History||Performing Arts|
|Further Maths||German||English Literature||Economics||Geography||Art & Design|
|Computer Science||Health & Social Care*|
|Sport & Exercise*|
* BTEC course
Where there are insufficient students to make a course viable, it may not run.
All students are part of a tutor group made up of students from both year 12 and year 13. Students register with their tutor twice a day and in this time, they foster strong relationships with their tutor. Support is also available from the Director of Learning, the School Nurse and the school’s Pastoral Support Department as and when it is needed. Additionally the school has access to counselling support and works closely with The Abingdon Bridge.
In terms of academic support, all students have at least 4 fixed assessment and monitoring points in each academic year, which provides parents and students with up to date information on progress and attitude to learning. In addition to this there are 2 Parents’ Evenings and a target setting day. Where a student falls below the expected standard additional support and monitoring will be provided either by the tutor or the Director of Learning, which may take the form of extra study periods, mentoring or parental meetings.
At Larkmead we are rightly proud of all of our students’ academic achievements both as a school and as part of the Abingdon16:19 Consortium. Our examination results are always at least in line with national expectations and very often above, demonstrating progress above expectation. Our more able students produce outstanding results leading to them securing places at both Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.
Virtually all students leaving school do so with a clear career path, with a majority of students progressing to university and many others taking up higher level apprenticeships. Careers support is offered to all students regardless of their intended destination. All students applying to university will have at least two, but often many more, one-to-one sessions with the Director of Learning who will support them in their application. Students not applying to university will all have at least one appointment with an independent careers advisor, currently one of the Adviza team. Additional support also comes from the school’s own careers specialist Mrs Christiansen who works with students on a regular basis to help them find opportunities as well as helping them complete Cv’s and application forms.
Year 13 Destinations 2017
We are very proud of the range of subjects and courses that last year’s year 13 students have gone on to study at university.
84% of students have places at university with a further 7% having applied for a 2018 university place. All other students are currently in local employment.
Of the students who have either started university this autumn or who have confirmed places for a deferred start in 2018, 25% of students have places at Russell Group universities.
Some of the areas of study that have proved to most popular with Larkmead students are in the fields of Business, Finance and Economics (12), Humanities based subjects (9), Maths and other STEM subjects (16), Media, Film and other creative areas such as Dance, Acting and musical Theatre (14).
Most lessons are classroom based and for most subjects students will receive 9 hours a fortnight of classroom teaching; this means that most students will have a number of periods per week when they do not have a lesson commitment, this time is to be used for private study within Larkmead School. A designated study room timetable will be published at the start of the year and students can choose to work in the study room or other suitable locations in school e.g. the Learning Resource Centre. For some students who struggle to manage their time and work commitments, they will be directed to particular areas of the school where they are expected to study. It should also be noted that students are expected to do at least 4 hours per subject per week of independent study beyond the classroom.
Often some of the most memorable learning experiences students have occur beyond the classroom and at Larkmead to try to enrich every students learning experience by providing these additional opportunities. Some of the activities our students took part in are pictured below.
- Work experience
- London & the Design Museum
- New York – VPA
- Geography Field Trip
- Mock Uni Day
- High Sheriff /Law Lecture
- Photography trip London
- University visits
- Cooking skills
- Ski Trip
Work Experience is an extremely valuable opportunity, which enabled me to make decisions regarding my future such as cementing which university course I would like to apply for. In addition to this, the careers coordinating department at Larkmead are highly supportive, informative, and helpful; their links with local businesses proved invaluable in finding my ideal Work Experience placement.
The pantomime has been an exciting creative challenge which everyone has thrown themselves into with great energy. I love how I’ve got to know so many sixth formers who I may otherwise not have mixed with.
When we went on a cultural trip to London, we experienced the interesting, vibrant atmosphere of Borough market, and got to see lots of fascinating inventions in the design museum.
I had an amazing time on the ski trip to Italy as it gave me an opportunity to have a new and different experience. I’d recommend it to anyone considering it whether you’ve skied before or not.
The annual cooking pdc session helped me bond with new people that I haven’t spoken to before which meant that I had to step out of my comfort zone. It was also fun creating a meal for someone else preparing myself for the future once I am at university.
I found discussing world problems at a Mock United Nations conference alongside a range of students from other schools really insightful.
I found the High Sheriff’s law lecture fascinating as a it provided window into an ancient Oxford tradition, yet the talk was a thoroughly modern exploration of today’s legal issues.
The UNIQ summer school was a brilliant chance to see university from a student’s perspective, and learn about a subject I’d never previously studied in much more depth than I’d expected. I also met fantastic people – overall it was a highly enjoyable experience.
One of the things I like most about Larkmead is the opportunity to take part in lots of extra- curricular activities. I currently help out a lot at school for lighting and sound in the school’s productions as well as helping out in various shows outside of school, this had led me to join the National Youth Theatre. I have been inspired to choose the film industry as my future career and after finishing my A Levels.
The subjects are taught really well at Larkmead and in different ways without a set routine. The teachers are always enthusiastic about their subjects. I would love to become a professor in astrophysics, taking data from observations evaluating siting from the night sky and carrying out theoretical work on exotic subjects in space.
I like the way that the sixth form works as a consortium with the opportunity to study and socialise with people from different schools. When I finish my A Levels, I’d like to do a natural sciences degree and specialise in chemistry or biochemistry topics such as drug development and genetic research
The leadership for Larkmead sixth form is outstanding. My son been incredibly well supported and encouraged throughout his time in the sixth form. Staff work above and beyond the call of duty to help students reach their potential.
I wanted to thank you for all your genuine support, encouragement and care during the past two years. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the Larkmead Sixth Form; if it weren’t for Larkmead I wouldn’t be where I am today.