The two years that students spend with us studying will be hugely important and not always easy. Students will encounter unfamiliar situations, take on roles they may not have considered previously and tackle work that is more advanced and demanding. We will provide students with many opportunities to develop their skills and self-confidence, and provide them with ample chances to take on additional responsibilities. This will provide them with many academic skills, one of which is becoming a good independent learner.
Independent study skills have become increasingly important for our students. Students will not achieve their potential if they do not put in the work outside of their lessons. Assessment frequently asks students to apply their subject knowledge to unfamiliar contexts and it is difficult, if not impossible, to do this if they have not taken the time to extend their understanding independently.
Sixth Form students spend only a limited amount of time in lessons
5/7 days in every week
4/24 hours in every day
This leaves 92% of time outside of teacher contact time; how students use this time makes a BIG difference to their outcomes.
Experience tells us that the students who achieve their potential and who achieve the highest grades are those who take the greatest responsibility for their own progress. This independence of approach is an area that all students should strive to improve, building on strategies that they have started to develop at GCSE level. At Key Stage 5 there is greater expectation that students develop independent skills and knowledge to underpin what is learnt in class.
The key assumption that we make is that the student who stays on to sixth form has an enthusiasm, enjoyment and passion for subjects they have chosen to study.
We provide time on timetables outside of lessons for students to build on what they are doing in class in a relatively independent manner. Our expectations are that students should be:
- Reading around their subjects
- Researching topics in depth
- Preparing written or other assignments
- Preparing for their next or lessons to come
If we get this ‘right’ it has been shown that:
- Students tend to be more engaged
- Class time can be utilised to focus on skills and higher order thinking such as application
- It allows a more flexible approach to learning for students with choice about when they study and how they complete the work
- More resources are available if students are absent from the lesson and they can revisit these as often as they require
- It is good preparation for university and develops independent study skills.