The sixth form timetable is made up of five blocks. In Year 12 four of these are used for A/AS level courses. The fifth block includes Private Study and Enrichment options such as Chinese, financial awareness, community service, on-line courses, extended projects etc. In Year 13 most students use three blocks for A level courses and the other two for enrichment and additional private study.
All students have a personal timetable and it is unlikely that any two will be exactly the same. This is because the school aims to meet individual needs for Sixth Form study and it is rare for two people to have the same requirements. You lay the foundation for your personal timetable when you make your initial decision about Year 12 subjects.
We know that students may want to change subjects at any time in the first few weeks of Year 12. We will provide abundant support and encouragement to students - but we will also be honest and realistic. We want to make sure all sixth formers use these crucial two years wisely.
Subject teachers and the pastoral team monitor the progress of each sixth former, particularly during the first, probationary term. We interview any student not achieving after each set of exams and those where we have concerns over effort, deadlines, independent study or other issues. Teachers and students then agree on an action plan. This may involve extra work to reinforce weak areas, changing a subject, dropping a subject or even repeating the year. We do not support students continuing to study subjects in which success is unlikely; it is better to concentrate attention on other subjects. Our high pass rate proves the success of this policy. The average drop-out and failure rate at A-level nationally approaches 30%. At Durham Johnston School it is usually only a tiny fraction of this.
Sixth Form students play a leading role both as performers and as leaders in many extra-curricular activities such as music, debating, drama and sport. The Sixth Form Committee consists of the Head Girl and Head Boy team and representatives of each tutor group. It is the main discussion and organising body for student activities although students with interests such as Equality and Amnesty International will join dedicated sub-committees.
Community Service is a key part of the enrichment programme. It helps the sixth form develop a community spirit and benefits all of our students; it is a mechanism by which students can give back to the school and to their home community. Students' views make a valuable contribution to school life. Two sixth formers are associate members of the Governing Body, and the sixth form council is active in many areas of the school. Community service is also required for the Duke of Edinburgh Award.