We would like to wish you all a very warm welcome to Bishop Walsh Catholic School Sixth Form. We are delighted that you are considering joining us and we most certainly hope that you choose our Sixth Form in which to embark upon your Post-16 educational journey.
We aim to give you the best Sixth Form experience possible. We set high standards in terms of pupil conduct and effort and expect our pupils to be the best that they can be in all areas.
We believe that the staff at Bishop Walsh Catholic School are highly dedicated and committed professionals. We strongly feel that we offer a supportive and friendly environment which we strongly feel helps to inspire and motivate you to succeed and reach your goals.
In our Sixth Form you can expect to receive both high quality teaching and pastoral care as well as a range of enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities such as Envision and The Extended Project Qualification. Your academic success and progress is a priority to us and we want the best for each and every student thus ensuring that your personal profile is a rich and vibrant one.
The next step in your academic journey
When considering your subjects, you should choose one in which you have achieved well and are genuinely interested in and have enthusiasm for. Post-16 education is not easy and is most certainly a significant ’step-up’ from GCSE. Be under no illusions, there will be difficult moments in your Sixth Form life but work hard, persist in your positive attitude, act upon the advice of your teachers and do not give up if you want to reach your full potential.
You are about to embark upon an exciting but challenging two years of study where we as your teachers aim to support you in using your God-given talents and abilities in order to achieve your aspirations.
Whilst we recognise the importance of academic excellence, we are also committed to developing each of our Sixth Form students as a whole individual person. We aim to ensure that young adults leaving our sixth form ready for the next chapter in their lives are well-rounded, hard-working and responsible citizens and members of the community. We aim for our sixth form students to leave us with not only high academic prowess and well-developed transferrable skills, but also with the correct attitudes and attributes for the future.
Your commitment to us and our commitment to you
You have now reached a vitally important crossroad in your academic career. This level of study requires you to be more self-disciplined and independent in your learning by making use of your time effectively and conducting wider reading and research to enrich your understanding.
You must be fully-focused and self-motivated to play an active part in your own learning. You must remember that it is you that has chosen to be a Sixth Form student here at Bishop Walsh Catholic School and embark upon the subjects that you have selected and so we expect full commitment and dedication from you. We aim to support you each and every step of the way in this journey but it is you who has to want success in this chapter in your life.
We encourage you to work hard, enjoy the next two years and make the most of every opportunity available to you at Bishop Walsh Catholic School Sixth Form.
Ambassadors of the school
We believe that each sixth former is an ambassador of our school. You are role models for younger pupils who see you as a source of inspiration and hopefully aspire to one day be a sixth former here themselves. We hope that you are proud to say that you are Bishop Walsh Sixth Form students.
There are many opportunities available to you as a sixth former here at Bishop Walsh. Being elected as a prefect with the responsibilities that this role entails is an important role that many of our students assume. In Year 13 you may wish to run for Head Boy or Head Girl. You may wish to set up pupil committees or forums.
We value your opinions in order to make our Sixth Form, and your experience of it, even better. ‘Pupil voice’ and ‘Sixth Formers’ voice are integral parts of our school, enabling us to make changes for the better that will ultimately impact positively on your school career with us and so increase your life chances. We have a school council which meets regularly to provide a platform for sharing ideas and improvements both in and out of the classroom.
Our own specific Sixth Form uniform ensures that pupils look smart and are ready to learn in each lesson they attend. The purpose-built Cardinal Newman Centre with its Sixth form kitchen area, canteen and computers, ensures that we have a distinct identity, whilst making it easier for all students, existing or new to the school, to work hard and mix with one another.
Existing pupils and pupils who are new to our school
The unique feature that we have to offer our current Year 11 pupils is the continuity and personal knowledge that is provided by staff with whom you have already enjoyed success. You will be able to continue to develop friendships formed over many years.
If you are looking for a new school, Bishop Walsh is for you! It is a fairly small school with a friendly and caring atmosphere combined with a rigorous academic work ethic. It is a Catholic school and so we place a great emphasis on spiritual development as well as academic success. All of our students are expected to take part in activities which promote this spiritual development and to attend religious celebrations. We care about the transition period from Year 11 to Year 12 and we aim to allow all pupils, whether they have been with us from Year 7 or have just joined us in year 12, to integrate fully. We work hard to ensure that students who are new to our school are fully supported both academically and pastorally thus enabling them to reach their full potential and to forge new friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Years 12 and 13 are divided into six Form Groups named after Saints. Pupils have a weekly PSHE programme of study where topics are discussed and debated as a form group. The themes of the PSHE programme are age-appropriate to cater for the requirements of our students as young adults. Our afternoon registration sessions also include a weekly inter-house quiz to encourage a sense of competition amongst our students.
Our Heads of Year have an active and vital role in the care of our sixth formers as well as monitoring students’ daily attendance and punctuality, using information processed by our attendance officer. They are also responsible for checking on our students’ academic progress and attitude to learning. Students will be enrolled onto the Positive Progress Programme if we feel that they require additional help with their studies. Students are expected to make the most of their study periods when not in lessons and to work on areas such as independently completing work, conducting extra research and undertaking wider reading.
Our Key Stage 5 Learning Mentor, Mrs Hayes, provides invaluable support and guidance to our students. Students can self-refer to Mrs Hayes or may be referred through their form tutor or Head of Year.
Guidance for the future and life beyond Bishop Walsh Catholic School Sixth Form
We are committed to your academic journey here at Bishop Walsh Catholic School. We are also passionate about preparing you for life beyond our school and Sixth Form. We believe that this is an essential part of Sixth Form life and we have a wide range of initiatives in place to help support you in your post-18 life. As well as gaining information from the Sixth Form Leadership Team, Sixth Form Heads of Year, form tutors and subject teachers, advice can be sought from Mrs Forsyth, our school’s career advisor, who can offer impartial guidance on UCAS and prospective Universities as well as other Higher Education establishments, apprenticeships and employment opportunities.
There is a full and comprehensive programme of preparation for the University application system through UCAS. We offer extensive guidance when students are writing their personal statements and as staff we pride ourselves on the high quality of our academic references to support your application to University or other Higher Education establishments. We undertake a number of University visits to allow pupils to experience life as an undergraduate. We take our sixth formers to the annual Higher Education Conference in the summer term of Year 12 as well as taking the year group away on a University residential where pupils attend sample lectures and gain a valuable insight into University life. We also offer interview preparation should a pupil gain an interview for University.
In the last week of the summer term, Year 12 pupils participate in an appropriate work experience placement that they themselves have had the responsibility of arranging. The aim is for students to broaden their insight into their chosen future career and provide them with valuable awareness of this preferred path.
Finally, we do hope that you will join us for your Post-16 educational journey. We encourage you to work hard, enjoy the next two years and make the most of every opportunity available to you in the Sixth Form of Bishop Walsh Catholic School.
Head of Sixth Form