Sixth Form should be the best two years of your school life.

Sixth Form should be the best two years of your school life.

At last, there is the freedom to study the subjects that really excite you, have more informal and rewarding relationships with teachers, and make new friends – all whilst being guided towards the very best university outcomes for you (if that’s what you would like to do).

Welcome to Rydal Penrhos Sixth Form

We want our Sixth Form to bridge the gap between school and university study, and we want it to be balanced.

Therefore, supported by subject teachers, tutors, and head of Key Stage 5, you will be able to explore your chosen academic subjects as well as immerse yourself in our extra-curricular programmes.

We understand that you are older and more independent – but there are still people on hand to guide and help as you navigate your way through classes, exams and what lies beyond school.

When we think of what “Sixth Form Life” here at Rydal Penrhos means it includes:

Academia – subject lessons, dedicated teachers, small tutorial groups (more along the lines of university), trips, visiting speakers, independent learning and support.

Extra-Curricular – A rich variety of options are available, including drama, music, sport, debating, and out hugely successful Duke of Edinburgh Award programme.

Leadership – the chance to mentor younger pupils and lead charitable groups and initiatives.

Socialising – let us not forget the meeting of new friends, the team building, the Ball, the fancy dress days and the general relaxation in the Sixth form’s dedicated café area.

Moving on to the next stage in life – and whether that is to university, a GAP year, apprenticeship or anything else we have dedicated staff to assist.

Choosing Your A-Level Subjects

Whilst there is a mass of excellent advice on choosing a university course, the depth of advice for GCSE pupils making the next steps is limited.

Some GCSE pupils know what they wish to study at university or pursue a career in, and for them, they probably know what A levels to take.

In general: – take Physics and Mathematics for Engineering or Computer Science; Take Biology and Chemistry for Medicine and Dentistry; Take Mathematics for Accountancy and most Economics courses

However, for most courses, it matters less what subjects you take and more what grades you achieve.  Therefore, taking subjects that you enjoy and are good at is the best advice to give.

It pays to arrange a talk with careers teacher, form teacher or someone else whose opinion you trust for a chat about options.

There are, however, a number of websites worth considering to give you more information

The one that stands out for me, although there is a small fee for the analysis is via https://www.myfuturechoice.com/mycareerchoices/

Additionally, below are other excellent resources to help choose:

General careers site with advice on A level choices: https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/information/a-levels/choosing-your-a-levels-what-you-need-to-consider

UCAS advice on choices https://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/tips_on_choosing_a_levels_march_2015_0.pdf

UCAS buzz quiz – more fun than in-depth https://www.ucas.com/careers/buzz-quiz

General advice https://targetcareers.co.uk/careers-advice/a-level-choices/315491-what-a-level-subjects-should-i-take

Russell Group of universities advice on choosing subjects.  The link to the www.informedchoices.ac.uk  site is absolutely recommended for those with aspirations to apply to selective universities https://russellgroup.ac.uk/for-students/school-and-college-in-the-uk/subject-choices-at-school-and-college/

My pick of the bunch for the next stage choosing a degree course https://www.myunichoices.com/


Head of Careers


Sixth Form Curriculum


The curriculum in our Sixth Form is based around A-level and Cambridge Technical courses, as well as the Extended Project Qualification. In addition, we also support pupils through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).

The choice of subjects in Sixth Form is so important in enabling our students to gain access to the university and course of their choice. It is equally important that students choose subjects that they are going to thoroughly enjoy.

From Year 11 we encourage them to think about what they want to achieve in higher education and beyond, and we support them every step of the way.

All our Lower Sixth pupils initially choose four subjects to study with 28 academic lessons per week. During the first year of study, pupils may opt to discontinue one of these, although some will continue with four subjects for the duration of their Sixth Form.

Pupils have the option of choosing four AS Levels with two study periods, or three AS Levels and the Extended Project Qualification, which comes with seven study periods.
Sixth Formers also get two Physical Education lessons per week and one PSHE lesson that now incorporates UCAS application assistance and university preparations.
Those in Years 12 and 13 will also participate in one lesson focusing on Community Service as part of their extra-curricular provision.
This will be community work, which could count towards a pupil’s Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering, charitable giving or work experience if needed.
It will be led by the Reverend Dr Rob Beamish – Rydal Penrhos Chaplain – and will feature initiatives such as visiting elderly care home residents, helping children to read in a local school, work on the school grounds with our Estates Team among many other possibilities.

We have high academic standards, and, with our guidance and support, our students work hard throughout their time in Sixth Form. All our subjects are taught by specialist teachers who have a passion for the topic.

We are focused on great teaching, thorough marking, and excellent feedback, because this is what will enable a Rydal Penrhos pupil to achieve the best results and in turn go on to secure their goals in life.

Furthermore, after school each day pupils will have the choice of academic clinics for “support,” or “extension work,” dependent on the pupil’s ability/needs.

Every pupil is provided with their own free iPad which gives us an improved ability to facilitate learning both in the classroom and for revision and remote online learning in the event of a lockdown or pupil absence.

Our Sixth Form offers:

Small class sizes:

Focusing on the individual is something that we take great pride in here at Rydal Penrhos. Small class sizes provide them with extra attention during each phase of their A-level studies. And this is something that has come with exceptional academic success throughout the school’s illustrious history.

Excellent teaching:

Our teaching staff are always going above and beyond the call of duty here at Rydal Penrhos. They care deeply about the development and welfare of each pupil, and this is especially evident across our Sixth Form provision.

Thorough marking and progress monitoring:

Having a consistent marking and assessment process during Sixth Form studies enables our staff to identify areas of improvement and the strength of a pupil. This allows us to form a study plan to enhance their progression academically, which is a proven method of improving results.

Free iPad for every pupil:

We have introduced free iPads for every pupil from Year 3-13 for lesson-by-lesson use in school, but the investment also has the possibility to facilitate remote online learning in the event of a second lockdown.

We believe that this investment will have a marked improvement in the educational opportunities for Rydal Penrhos pupils and on their personal and academic progress.

24 face to face academic lessons weekly:

A typical sixth former will participate in 24 weekly academic lessons. This enables our pupils to get the most out of their learning experience in readiness for examinations and coursework challenges during their A-level modules.

Supervised study:

In addition to weekly lessons, our Sixth Form cohort also gets the chance to take part in two supervised study sessions with teaching staff. This is another opportunity for them to gain some extra knowledge and maximise their productivity.

Large choice of subjects:

We have a wide and varied A-level and Cambridge Technical curriculum at Rydal Penrhos that caters to almost any potential career path. These options give our pupils a more in-depth avenue into what ignites their passion.

University application lessons:

Preparing for University can be a daunting prospect, but this is a pressure we look to relieve considerably here at Rydal Penrhos. With specific lessons regarding applications, the assessment process and best possible destinations, our Sixth Form group will be given every essential piece of information ahead of the next stage of their journey.

Extra academic clinics after school:

For those seeking more study time relating to their modules of choice, Rydal Penrhos will be offering extra academic clinics after school hours. This will give each sixth former the chance to brush up on specific elements of their subjects and get even more time with our incredible teaching staff.

Rydal Penrhos is now able to offer socially distanced tours to prospective pupils and their families.

For more information email admissions@rydalpenrhos.com

Sixth Form Committees

The Sixth Form not only offers incredible breadth of study, it also provides pupils with a varied and exciting social calendar, largely coordinated by the pupils themselves.

The Sixth Form Ferguson Committee organises events such as dances (leavers’ ball), parties (Halloween, Valentine’s) and BBQs, while the Sixth Form Charity Committee is in charge of charity fundraising events throughout the year.

The Eco Committee raises awareness of various local and international campaigns and the International Committee enjoys welcoming pupils from abroad and ensuring smooth integration into our school community through various ventures.

The School Council is a further opportunity for our pupils to take the lead, offering feedback on their experience in the Sixth Form and raising ideas for implementation.

Peer Mentoring

The Peer Mentoring Programme at Rydal Penrhos helps pupils to learn how to support each other by offering a listening ear. Volunteers from Year 11 and above attend an eight-week training course in which they learn basic counselling and mentoring skills, giving them the ability to:

  • act as a support to younger pupils
  • provide support and encouragement for these pupils
  • help their mentee to explore ways to move forward for themselves

Mentors also benefit from training by:

  • Improving communication and personal skills
  • increasing confidence and motivation
  • understanding how to offer empathy without taking sides
  • benefiting from a sense of fulfilment and personal growth
  • developing leadership skills

All Year 7 & 8 pupils are assigned a peer mentor who will help them to settle in, make progress and to achieve their full potential within school life. Mentors are supported by a trained mentoring teacher, Mrs Richardson, and there are regular meetings throughout the year.

Life After Sixth Form

We know that life is only just beginning when you leave school at 18. A vital part of what we offer as a Sixth Form is to arrange information evenings, masterclasses and one-to-one tutorials to support you with whatever journey you decide to take, be it advice on your gap year or mock interviews for your university application.

Almost all Rydal Penrhos pupils proceed to higher education, either immediately after the summer they leave school, or after a gap year. In August 2020, 48 pupils out of 51 decided to proceed to university.

If university is the path you wish to follow, we offer all of our Sixth Form pupils guidance in applying to their chosen destinations. We pride ourselves on providing close and expert support throughout the UCAS application process. This enables pupils to focus on their A-levels, making sure they never find their exciting first steps towards life beyond school a burden.

Each year several of our pupils are offered places at Oxford or Cambridge and we receive many offers from Russell Group universities. In August 2020 over 87% of our pupils secured their first-choice destinations.

This Year Durham has proved a very popular choice, as has London University with pupils going to Kings, Goldsmiths and LSE.

We also support pupils in applications to overseas universities and have had pupils in recent years head on to MIT, West Virginia, Dartmouth along with universities in Thailand, China and Europe.

The Rydal Penrhos Society provides over 5,000 current and former pupils with an international network of individuals, who can share opportunities and experiences with each other through our social network or at one of our numerous social events we hold both nationally and internationally.

Please contact alumni@rydalpenrhos.com for more information about the Society.