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Wilberforce Sixth Form College FAQs

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We’ve answered the most frequent questions we get asked, so please take a look below to help find the information you are looking for…

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are the college expectations? Arrow down

    All students need to know and understand the college expectations. These are as follows:

    • Students are expected to cooperate with college staff at all times and seek support if they have any queries or concerns.
    • Students must behave according to college expectations and therefore should not act in a way that negatively affects the learning of other students or themselves.
    • Students should be prepared to work cooperatively with staff and other students as well as working independently and in groups.
    • Students are expected to work outside of class and utilise resources such as the Learning Resource Centre, Microsoft Teams (when appropriate) and develop skills to support progression beyond the college, including building their employability skills.
    • A minimum expectation is that for every hour in the classroom, this will be matched with one hour of independent study. All work – classroom or independent – is expected to be of the highest standard possible for each student. Students will be made aware of work that is below expected standards and strategies put in place for improvement, such as one-to-one Academic Mentoring with their Academic Mentor.
    • Submission of work to deadlines is a requirement for all students. It is the responsibility of students to discuss with teachers, before the deadline, of any difficulties they may have in meeting deadlines.
    • Students are also expected to be organised and ready to learn for all lessons. They should know the time and place of every lesson as well as deadline dates for coursework, exam dates etc. Course and subject folders should contain class notes and other relevant materials and brought to lessons as directed by teachers and be kept neat and orderly.
  • Do students have to be in school for the whole day every day? Arrow down

    Students have their own individual timetable, subject to the level and choice of your course(s). All of our courses run over 5 days so students are expected to be in everyday. We believe this is the best approach for students as it allows them to intersperse lessons with independent study. It also means that they always have support from subject staff and the study support team.

  • How can students decide what subjects to choose for sixth form? Arrow down

    Our dedicated Liaison team are on hand throughout the year to discuss options and course choices. They will discuss future career pathways and what subjects are available at Wilberforce for that preferred career. Students can also attend our Future Student Events. These events are a great opportunity to meet with subject specialists, career advisors and student ambassadors who can also discuss the best courses for you.

  • Can students study four subjects? Arrow down

    We encourage students to only take three subjects. Since A Level reforms in 2017, subjects are more demanding than ever before. Universities will only look at the top three grades and so we encourage students to focus on three subjects. However, we do meet with all students prior to starting and some students will be allowed to study four subjects if they have high GCSE grades.

    Another option for students to take, is an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), which is an individual project of approximately 5,000 words. an EPQ is equivalent to half an A Level and it often results in a reduced offer for university. 

  • What is the difference between A Levels and BTECs? Arrow down

    A levels are two year linear qualifications with exams at the end of two years. There are often two or three exams over a short period of time. Whilst some A Levels have coursework this is often only 20-30% of the qualification. BTECs course have a higher percentage of coursework (up to 60%) and have exams spread throughout the two years (with January and June exam opportunities in both years). Students also have the chance to resit their exams.

  • What is the difference between T Levels and BTECs? Arrow down

    One of the major differences between T Levels and BTECs is that T Levels involve a mix of classroom learning (about 80% of the course time) and practical experience (about 20% of the course time) including a 45 day on-the-job placement in a genuine business. Alongside the placement, the employer will also set a project for students to complete as part of the TLevel, in the same way that coursework is completed for a BTEC.

  • Are BTECs accepted by universities? Arrow down

    BTECs are equivalent to A Levels and are accepted by the vast majority of universities. Even a number of Russel Group universities accept these qualifications. The only exceptions are the very top tier universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. We always discuss this with students during their futures interview in year 11 and will offer individual advice at this stage.

  • What is the Extended Project Qualification? Arrow down

    The Extended Project Qualification, otherwise known as the EPQ is an individual project of approximately 5,000 words. As part of our curriculum students have a timetabled lesson for EPQ where they are supported by a specialist teacher. Students can choose any topic and it is often a good way for them to continue with a subject that they have not chosen at sixth form or find out more about a specialism within one of their subjects. The EPQ is the equivalent of an AS level and is worth UCAS points. It often results in a reduced offer for university.

  • How much independent study are students expected to do? Arrow down

    Students are expected to complete a minimum of 4-5 hours per week per subject. This means that students should be completing a minimum of 15 hours of independent study per week.

  • Can students also have a paid job? Arrow down

    We know that many students like to earn their own money and that paid jobs give students the opportunity to develop skills and independence. However, students should be mindful of the amount of working hours they do to ensure it doesn’t cause a negative impact on their studies, which should be their main focus.

  • How will students find work experience? Arrow down

    Students are expected to organise their own work experience but we do support students with this. We have a number of employers who have offered work experience in the past and are happy for us to provide their details to other students. Tutors, our careers advisor and our sixth form study support team are all able to offer help and support to students.

  • How do students apply to Wilberforce? Arrow down

    To apply to Wilberforce, you can do so on the homepage of our website. All students will then have a futures interview with subject specialist to discuss their course options and secure their place for the following September.

  • When will students be offered a place at Wilberforce? Arrow down

    Students will be offered a place after their futures interview. This offer will be based on their chosen course and will be subject to students making entry requirements for their courses.

  • What happens if a student does not gain 5 grade 4-9s at GCSE? Arrow down

    We offer a level 2 programme for students who do not gain 4 grade 4-9s. This is a one-year programme, if students have achieved a 3 in Maths and English they would need to retake English and Maths GCSE alongside their level 2 programme. If students successfully complete this course and achieved a higher grade in their GCSE resit of 4 or above, they can then choose to stay for a further two years to complete a level 3 course.

  • What happens if a student does not gain a grade 4 in their maths and English GCSE? Arrow down

    Students will be required to resit their Maths and English if they have not achieved a 4 or above. This will run alongside their programme of study.

  • Do students have to attend Wilberforce every day? Arrow down

    Students are expected to attend all lessons, tutorial, learner progress meetings (LPMs), work placements and support sessions set out on their weekly timetable or agreed with a member of staff.

    All of our courses run over 5 days, students are expected to be in every day. We believe this is the best approach for students as it allows them to intersperse lessons with independent study. It also means that they always have support from subject staff and the study support team.

  • What is the dress code for Wilberforce? Arrow down

    Wilberforce Sixth Form College believe that dress plays a valuable role in contributing to the ethos and values it represents and in setting an appropriate tone for learning, behaviour and attitude, but also in preparing students for the world of work and life beyond the College.

    Items of dress that may reasonably be expected to cause offence or deemed inappropriate to any member of the college community, such as T-shirts bearing inappropriate language or images, or particularly revealing items of clothing, are not allowed to be worn in college.

    If a student is believed to be in breach of the College Dress Code, the matter should be referred to Student Services. They will review the situation and, if they feel that the code has
    been breached, they will:
    – Discuss the matter with the student(s) concerned, explaining clearly what the issue is and in what way they have breached the Dress Code
    – Send the individual home from College so they can remove or change the items of clothing, as appropriate. It should be made clear that this is not a suspension or exclusion, and that they will be readmitted to college immediately once they comply with the Dress Code.

    Persistent or wilful breaches of the Dress Code will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant disciplinary procedures

  • Do you offer a Bursary and free meals? Arrow down

    For students who need financial help in order to continue with their studies, a Vulnerable Group Bursary must be offered by all colleges. The bursary currently has a value of £1200 and is awarded to eligible students who claim Income Support, Universal Credit, are in care or have left care. Please read Bursary Application Form for full details. The bursary is paid weekly directly into a student’s bank account.

    If so, and your household income has not changed, you are likely to be eligible for the Discretionary Bursary. Make sure you complete an application form. Student Services can help.

    Eligibility is dependent upon household income. An application form must be completed. Help is provided via meal cards and bus passes. If required, you can also apply to get help with trips, placements, some course equipment and University applications (your UCAS fee is paid and you can get help with travel to interviews and open days).

    If you are going through exceptional financial difficulties you can apply for assistance from the Hardship Fund through Student Services. You will be assessed on an individual basis to see if you are eligible.

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