5 May 2022

Dear Year 12 Students


What a busy start to this half term it has been. Of any Year 12 group, you are the least experienced at exams and I am impressed that so many of you achieved impressive results in your January mocks and recent assessments – well done. However, I recognise that the last year has not been favourable for some of you; but as I said in assembly, we can only move forward and you are not alone – we are here to support you. You have received your reports, and made decisions regarding Year 13 courses and AS qualification entries. Where an intervention interview has followed your report, we have been impressed with your willingness to commit to an improved work ethos. In Year 13, most of you will follow three courses to full A Level, and these grades will be the ones that university offers for 2023 will be made on. I’m also delighted that we’ve been able to get back to lots of the academic and extracurricular activities that make up the rich tapestry of sixth form life, preparing you for academic success and life after A Levels.


AS Entries and Dropping Courses 

At Durham Johnston Sixth Form, we encourage you to study four AS courses in Year 12 for a number of reasons, including helping you choose the best three to take forward into Year 13, for assessment in summer 2023.  For the courses you are not continuing with to full A Level, you have been entered for an AS qualification. When you return to lessons w/c 20th June, after the external AS and internal mock exams, you will not need to be in lessons for any subject you are definitely dropping at AS Level.  Please return resources (including textbooks) to departments.  As always, there will be ongoing assessments in your other subjects, allowing you to demonstrate your developing competence and confidence with your core A Levels.  UCAS references and predicted grades will take account of your continued progress. Where your mock exams showed concern regarding your progress so far, the April – June / July period is so important in turning things around and I will be asking your teachers to identify any student they still have concerns about in early July. These students and parents will be contacted; it would be unwise to continue with courses where you are unlikely to achieve a grade.


Academic Progress  

Although you will be making progress with content, your A Level assessments throughout Year 13 (next mock period will be end of November 2022) will reflect the linear nature of your exams next summer and will therefore cover work you have covered so far.  It is important to build consolidation of all work covered into your regular study routines.  In assemblies and PHE, we looked at other academic opportunities including EPQs and FutureLearn courses. These are some links I have shared with you previously:

What’s Next (PHE)

Your timetabled lessons to help you research your options for after A Levels start when you return to lessons in June.  Here are some of the things we have and will be exploring in our PHE programme.


  • Why consider university – what is right for you?
  • Types of courses / universities – what is right for you?
  • Alternatives to university, including degree apprenticeships.
  • Measure twice – cut once.  The importance of research to make informed decisions.   E.G. – check your emails (& the weekly notices when you return) for opportunities / experiences – including virtual work experience.  Also, lunchtime / afternoon sessions with universities / apprenticeship / studying abroad opportunities.
  • How to apply – UCAS.
    • Sign up for UCAS convention/exhibition & print/copy your individual ticket -  Tyneside UCAS exhibition 2022 | Exhibition | UCAS
    • UCAS Hub – for individual sign up. Sign in | UCAS From 17th May you can start filling in your application form (Undergraduate Apply 2023), but I suggest you focus on exams.
    • Personal Statements – examples and top tips.
    • Understanding your school reference.
  • Finance – student loans, budgeting & beyond.
  • Interviews – university & employment.
  • Living independently: with others, healthily & respectfully. This includes safety and consent.



Key Dates to Assist Planning

  • 13th May – Study Leave begins (end of day).
  • w/c 13th June – internal mock examination week.  Except for 14th June.
  • 14th June – UCAS convention – an important part of your research for what you might want to study from autumn 2023 – plan your visit.  No exams that day, buses leave at 10.40am for the journey to Newcastle and depart Newcastle at 1.30pm for the return to school.
  • 20th June – lessons recommence for any subject you may continue with to full A level.
  • 24th June – no sixth form lessons – Year 11 Induction Day.  There are a number of local university Open Days on this day – sign up.
  • 29th June 5.30pm - 6.30pm – UCAS Parent Information Evening in school
  • w/c 4th July – your final report for this academic year. Entry to Year 13 courses requires the potential to succeed at full A level. 
  • 11th July – for 7 school days there are no subject lessons.  As discussed in assembly and PHE, organise yourself with a sense of purpose.  Relevant activities include:
    • Work shadowing.  This links with our ‘show – don’t tell’ theme – evidence of your interest in a given career / course.
    • EPQ – a great opportunity to make significant progress.
    • Future Learn courses.
    • NEA (coursework).
    • Helping staff with younger pupils.
  • 18th and 19th July – A consent / safeguarding programme.  We have the opportunity for 36 students to attend a 3 hour workshop (9.00am – 12.00pm) each of these days.  Sign up will begin after exams.
  • 18th August – results of any external AS exams issued.


Other Opportunities

You will shortly be the most senior members of our school community (approximately 1700 students). Look out for further information on:

  • Head student roles
  • Student Associate Governor roles
  • Sixth Form Committee – what do you want to be remembered for?
  • Subject Ambassador roles
  • Societies – leading and active roles in
  • Mentoring others.


As always, if you have any questions, please come along and talk to me or Mr Wilbraham. Please let your parents/carers know they can contact us too.




Mrs Lennon
Head of Sixth Form