Head of Post 16, Grace Theay shares her thoughts on Heart of England Sixth Form.
When you go onto the Heart of England School’s website, the first thing you see is the slogan Creating Futures. Now, many brands are known for their slogans, from I’m loving it through to Once you pop, you can’t stop and of course, the famous It melts in your mouth, not in your hand. However, I have to question the validity of these slogans. I know many people who do not love that particular brand (and many that do of course!) Once I pop – I can stop, and equally they do melt in your hands, as the chocolate covered hands of my young nieces have taught me!
Creating Futures however is a valid slogan. It underpins everything we strive to do at Heart of England Sixth Form. As Head of Sixth Form, my vision is simple. To create well-rounded individuals who are prepared for life beyond the school gates. Education for me is not just being able to answer a 16-mark examination question and get all of the key points that you need to get the marks. It is ensuring that you know how to apply for a bank account, how to understand compound interest on a loan, even the basics of how to change a light bulb! It’s knowing how to sell yourself in a job interview, to know how to pick buzz words out of a job advert ensuring that you tailor your application to stand out from the crowd.
We are proud of the futures we have created. This year alone, students have embarked on some exciting courses at university, from Paramedic Science, Medicine, Conservation Biology to Law, we are excited to see where our students journey takes them. We are proud to be able to give students the start in life to get them on the path they want to take. Past students have gone on to work at CERN in Switzerland, to become teachers, lawyers, graphic designers, personal trainers and even releasing their own classical albums!
At Heart of England Sixth form, our students are happy. They are known. In the climate where A Levels have changed to become linear, our teachers support the students through their journey, to ensure that they achieve the best they possibly can in order to prepare them for their future. A Levels are not easy. They are called advanced levels for a reason, but our strength as a Sixth Form is being honest with ourselves and our students about their difficulty, and doing something about it. This could simply be some time with our well-being practitioner to focus on relaxing, it could be help with organisation or it could be spending a little extra time with the teacher to grasp a tricky concept. Whatever the answer, we aim to work with our students to find it.
When the time comes to look at life beyond our gates, we will support students every step of the way. If university is their destination of choice, a complex support network will be set up consisting of teachers and tutors who will support them systematically through the UCAS process. We will educate them in student loans, budgeting and contract law just in case they go into student housing. If an Apprenticeship or employment is their next destination, we will support them in CV writing and finding that perfect place for them. We will educate them in contact law, in employment law and budgeting their salary.
So, our slogan is valid. We do create futures. We are creating them every day – and we are loving it.