Heads of Sixth Form Blog

Autumn Conference - 26/11/21

We have 130+ delegates, 30+ speakers and 20+ sessions! This time we have even more Meet the Speaker breakouts and networking sessions if you want to opt in to them. Otherwise stay in the main room and enjoy all the quick-fire updates and practical advice sessions.

25 November, 2021 at 09:05 pm

Read More

Results Day and Clearing 2021

We are sending sixth form leaders a special results day and clearing mailing to share with students with some really helpful videos of students sharing their experiences of results day last year. It should help students prepare for the day, especially clearing which they went through and ended up with some great opportunities.

30 July, 2021 at 05:51 pm

Read More


Paul Hanks, post-16 funding expert, alerted Netsixthform members who work in schools and colleges funded through the ESFA - take note that there is ANOTHER NEW ESFA PLATFORM NOTE WHAT YOU HAVE NOT DOWNLOADED BY END OF APRIL IS GONE Action: a new Document exchange service is now liveESFA Information Exchange will no longer be accessible after Friday 30 April. A new Document exchange service is now live. We've automatically given ESFA Information Exchange users access to the new service. We've also uploaded any 2021 to 2022 academic year documents to it. ESFA Information Exchange users should now: access the new Document exchange service using their existing DfE Sign-in credentialsfollow...

8 April, 2021 at 01:04 pm

Read More

The new term begins

The new term begins. I hope that it all goes as smoothly as possible. Everyone can only do their best. What a Summer! No need to say anymore!I wish you well with enrolment and all the challenges that starting back presents this year. One thing is for sure, students need to be back in school. Staff will be understandably anxious and we can only do our best to lead by example while being sensitive to others and looking after ourselves, too. Don't burn out this year: the days, weeks and months ahead will hold a lot of extra demands. If you need help and support in your role, the Sixth Form Leaders group has been busy sharing advice. Over lockdown, this private Facebook group grew from 800...

31 August, 2020 at 10:35 am

Read More

Radio 4 as a source of super-curricular enrichment

Check out our home page link which provides and ever-expanding list of super-curricular enrichments with an emphasis on Radio 4 podcasts. Here's a few to illustrate the opportunities for students to gain in-depth knowledge for the studies and their personal statement. RADIO 4 PODCASTS - BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS 'Bottom Line' huge array of topics. 30 mins podcast with 2-3 people interviewed on a business theme. RADIO 4 PODCASTS - LAW 'Law In Action' - lots of podcasts on law theme RADIO 4 PODCASTS - PSYCHOLOGY 'All In The Mind' - huge array of podcasts for those interested in psychology.

2 February, 2020 at 06:32 pm

Read More

The eight Gatsby benchmarks - are you ready?

The eight Gatsby benchmarks of Good Career Guidance 1. A stable careers programme 2. Learning from career and labour market information 3. Addressing the needs of each pupil 4. Linking curriculum learning to careers 5. Encounters with employers and employees 6. Experiences of workplaces 7. Encounters with further and higher education 8. Personal guidance KEY INFORMATION The expectation is that schools begin to work towards the benchmarks now and meet them by the end of 2020. Guidance needs to include information on the range of education or training options, including apprenticeships. At present 51% of schools are meeting 2 of the 8 benchmarks. Every school should have their...

16 September, 2018 at 05:14 pm

Read More


I will be feeding in issues relating to GDPR over coming weeks. Here's the first issue on the area of UCAS data. New GDPR legislation comes into effect on 25 May. Anyone who processes personal information under existing legislation must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is: Fairly and lawfully processed Processed for limited purposes Adequate, relevant and not excessive Accurate and up to date Not kept for longer than is necessary Processed in line with your rights Secure Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection The key obvious areas for sixth form leaders are: ...

29 April, 2018 at 01:24 pm

Read More

Choosing universities and cognitive dissonance theory

When students are choosing between universities they want to FEEL they have made the right choice. If they feel it isn't right, they will experience discomfort from their decision: we call this discomfort cognitive dissonance. I had a student who rejected his insurance uni (didn't get the Firm) and started looking at clearing options. He stated all the negative points about his insurance uni choice and called them to turn it down. When he realised that he didn't like what he saw was available, suddenly his insurance looked more attractive than it had previously. He started telling students around him of all the positives of his former insurance uni choice! He called the insurance uni...

13 April, 2018 at 01:00 pm

Read More


In my centre, engaging parents is key so I schedule a Russell Group Evening for Year 11 parents of the top 80 students our of a year group of 320. We use alumni to help support the event. I am also using strategies learned from University of Aston by using new social media. I realised we were using it ineffectively. Aston are presenting at the December Heads of Sixth Conference and it's well worth listening to what they do: it's achievable in a sixth form! We increased our external students by 300% and retained 90% of our most able Year 11s which is up on 3 years ago. I've also started looking at a long term recruitment strategy which you can read below.

29 October, 2017 at 05:22 pm

Read More

RECRUITMENT IDEAS - long term strategy

In a school sixth form with feeder schools, I have the ability to start working with Year 5 to help them choose my school rather than any other. Year 6 is too late as the open days are early in the academic year. The starting point is making sure we have sufficient high calibre students from Year 7 as these are the ones who will be in Year 11 five years later. I am also working with organisations on a programme for top students in each year group. This should help them get the grades they need as well as get them to buy in to the sixth form. For more information email michael@netsixthform.co.uk

29 October, 2017 at 02:30 pm

Read More

TEACHING AND LEARNING - tutorial time activities

This week I ordered Dweck 'Growth Mindset', Field 'The Self esteem Workbook' and Stone 'Difficult Conversation'. All students are to read one copied chapter. In tutorial time there will be discussions about the content. The aim is to support teachers in the classroom so that students understand the growth mindset in more depth, tackle some of their self-esteem issues which prevent them working and helps them tackle issues at home to reduce conflict.

15 October, 2017 at 05:40 pm

Read More


In my centre, I am meeting with each subject leader to go through the 2017 exam reviews. We are looking at the questions where students under-performed and subject leaders then explore how teaching and learning will be addressed to help ensure the same skills and knowledge do not present an issue if similar questions were asked again in future. Download my pro-forma for exam review analysis. We are revamping our intervention strategies so they start now not later in line with the approach Shanti Healy will be outlining for delegates on 01 December at the Heads of Sixth Conference. Michael Senior, Director of Sixth Form

15 October, 2017 at 05:26 pm

Read More


PwC, EY, Accenture, M&S, Jaguar LandRover to name a few major apprenticeship providers have agreed to talk to careers advisors and sixth form leaders at our Next Steps Conference 26 January 2018 in central London. We also have a range of universities who will update delegates on the new wave of degree apprenticeships coming on stream for students at the end of Year 13. The options are really exciting and there is a an emerging genuine range of choices on offer but the market and provision is complicated so it's worth getting key information ready to advice sixth formers more thoroughly. Check out the Next Steps 18+ conference on the Conference section of the web site. There is an...

12 October, 2017 at 08:32 am

Read More

Sample Marking - delivered a workshop to senior leaders at Finchley Catholic High School

A really constructive workshop with senior leaders and sixth form managers at Finchley Catholic High School on 22 May. I presented some practical ways that sixth form staff can use to help them provide more feedback to students, yet not increase workload. It's not difficult but it does require some skill and thought to get it right. Thanks for all the questions which helped to make sample marking work even more effectively. Loved your sixth form centre, too! Michael Senior

6 June, 2017 at 07:18 pm

Read More

Feedback Review

Do you schedule a Sixth Form Review of learning with a particular focus or set of foci? I scheduled a Marking and Feedback Review in the Spring term and using SLT. In one day we visited every Year 12 & 13 lesson and gathered information about how much marking and feedback students were receiving as well as the extent to which the marking seemed to be supporting teaching and learning - or was it just a an exercise to meet the minimum school policy? 1-2-1 meetings were held with any member of staff where it was felt there was insufficient evidence and those meetings were helpful in imparting some strategies to manage marking without increasing workload such as 'sample marking'. Sample...

13 March, 2017 at 09:27 pm

Read More


Senior Press Ltd is changing into Netsixthform.co.uk - the hub for sixth form leaders Netsixthform.co.uk offers a hub for sixth form leaders of whom we have over 80% of sixth forms registered. The site is unique and increasingly we get requests from organisations who would like to promote their services to sixth form leaders. The site was developed from Director of Sixth, Michael Senior, who set up Seniorpress twenty years ago offering highly practical conferences and well-regarded resources to heads of sixth. We train over 300 heads of sixth at our summer and autumn national sixth form leaders conferences which are highly regarded. Our web site and weekly newsletters ensure that sixth...

22 February, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Read More


February witnessed the launch of mentoring across the sixth form in all linear A level courses. Year 13 mentor Year 12 and this year, there is benefit to both years which has resonated hugely with Year 13 so we have no resistance to being a mentor. Before setting it up I read an academic paper on university mentoring schemes which you can download in the FREE MATERIALS page. I set up a google shared document for each subject leader to write down the names of Year 12 & 13s so everyone could see who was selected and it helped ensure that the process and been started. One effective way to get it off the ground was to meet all the mentors and mentees at lunchtime and then the students...

18 February, 2017 at 01:47 pm

Read More


STUDENTS WILL ONLY CHANGE WHEN THEY ARE READY. That is why scheduling intervention workshops is a challenge. Like many sixth form centres, I draw on outside agencies which are useful but costly: I can't afford to schedule many sessions. So, over the last three years, I have researched and developed a series of intervention workshops for Years 12 and 13 that can be delivered in-house - cheap and can be scheduled multiple times so as to be timed when students recognise they need the advice: it takes some more feedback than others! With Head of Sixth, Kate Thomas, we are creating an INTERVENTION WORKSHOP RESOURCE PACK for every delegate to take away and re-use. Feel free to adapt but it...

5 February, 2017 at 03:49 pm

Read More

GCSEs - predictions - word is...

Ofqual warn against trying to create grade boundaries based on other sources. What I have heard is in 2016 in English and in maths about 70% of 16 year-old students achieved a grade C or above. So Ofqual expect a similar percentage to achieve a 4 and above in 2017. At A, the figures are different in English and maths: in 2016 16% of 16 year-olds achieved an A or above in English and 20% achieved an A or above in maths. Again, Ofqual expect these figures to be broadly the same in 2017. Watch out for Ofqual to be making some releases soon.

5 February, 2017 at 01:40 pm

Read More


Senior Press started in 1997 to support Heads of Sixth. We started with lots of published resources but the suite of support has expanded to include conferences and now a speakers and organisations directory for Heads of Sixth. We have plans for much more still. Hence, our name is changing to reflect these developments - we will become netsixthform.co.uk. From mid January 2017, the web site will start to reflect the new name. Our audience is still Sixth Form Leaders and post-16 teachers and tutors. All feedback welcome. For now, our email is the same info@seniorpress.co.uk but this will be changing soon. Happy New Year everyone.

31 December, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Read More


In January, I am looking at how much & quality of independent study is being set by each A level teacher. Teachers will use the sheet provided 'Post 16 Homework Improvement Log' found http://www.seniorpress.co.uk/listings/category/fre... Teachers choose 4-6 students who use the sheet for 1 week. Teacher then feeds back to line manager about what action (if any) they will take - developmental tool not a stick. I will follow up 2 weeks later by meeting with students and asking them about homework in a lunchtime focus group.

31 December, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Read More

'Homework Club' - a strategy to support your 'key marginals'

Sixth for staff asked for a strategy to tackle students who fail to complete homework or produce low quality work. So we introduced 'Homework Club' which is a strategy to use with all Year 12 & 13 students who need support in meeting deadlines. Students were informed in assembly that the very day there is a homework concern they must attend the study room within 10 minutes of the final day school bell. The teacher is responsible for registering the student - invariably they have completed the homework by the time the club begins - after which the teacher leaves and the sixth form study supervisor or a member of the sixth form team keeps an eye on the students. The session lasts from...

1 November, 2016 at 03:27 pm

Read More


Motivating and supporting students to succeed academically whilst developing their wider skills is a challenge in itself: balancing these needs with looking after their mental health is yet another facet of our various roles as Heads of Sixth. Several sixth forms are introducing mindfulness including West Kirby Grammar, Connell Sixth Form and Birkenhead Sixth Form College. Check out https://mindfulnessinschools.org for more information. Stephen Thomas has created a ready-made resource for delegates at the Heads of Sixth Conference on 25 November to help tutors share mindfulness with students - no extra work needed other than sharing with students.

2 October, 2016 at 04:56 pm

Read More



5 February, 2016 at 05:36 pm

Read More
1 | 2