Stepping into the sixth form: freedoms and responsibilities
The sixth form act as role models for the rest of the school and there are a range of opportunities for you to develop personal skills such as leadership, management, problem-solving, communication, listening and mentoring skills.
In the 2012/2013 academic year we introduced an academic enrichment programme (STRETCH) at St Swithun’s for all pupils, with girls in Years 7-9 following a programme of activities such as astronomy, thinking skills, experimental art, discovering the news and the great egg challenge while girls from Years 10-13 have a choice of courses including ethics and science, Socratic discussion and UK political issues. The programme includes regular lectures from outside speakers.
Sixth formers have the opportunity to run or assist teachers with these STRETCH groups and sessions and girls may also request a contribution to their UCAS reference from the member of staff in charge of an activity.
Within all houses, both day and boarding, members of the sixth form are given responsibilities, and house staff try to work with you as much as possible in the day-to-day running of the house. Every girl in the lower sixth is given a specific role (such as sports captain, head of house, performing arts coordinator, fund-raising coordinator) and each year we appreciate their innovative ideas and willingness to get involved, for example through raising money for the charity of the term, or in organising events that include different year groups and help them to get to know one another.
We encourage all upper-sixth formers to act as mentors. The mentor programme allows the upper sixth to help and advise the lower sixth but also it ensures that younger girls know members of the upper sixth as friendly faces around school; someone to trust and confide in if they need to.
In your final year you will have the opportunity to apply for positions of leadership and responsibility in the school officer team. Becoming a school officer not only gives you individual responsibilities but recognises that you and your fellow officers play a valued part in running the school, as well as in being ambassadors and promoting the school on public occasions.
The head of school will lead the team which includes deputies in charge of mentoring and duties. Other members of the team oversee student participation in key areas of school life such as drama, sport, choir, fundraising, Finlay and boarders in all year groups.
There are also enrichment officers who look after co-curricular activities including the lower-sixth dance and who help with social events throughout the year. An academic enrichment officer coordinates teaching and learning officers throughout the school and a communication enrichment officer collates information from Student Voice PR officers, edits a student newsletter, and promotes school events to the student body.
The mentoring team includes upper-sixth girls who advise with STRETCH activities and others who volunteer to visit lower school forms once a week to check younger pupils’ diaries and organisation, and offer peer support, friendship and advice.
The 2013-2014 school officers are listed here