At our recent Sixth Form Open Evening, as well as hearing from our Director of Sixth Form and our subject tutors, we also heard from three SHS Sixth Formers who spoke honestly to their year 11 audience about why they had decided to join or stay at SHS for Sixth Form and what they feel makes the experience so special.
Register for our Becoming a Sixth Former Day on 8th November here: Open Days
“My name is Jen, and I left the High School this summer after finishing my A-Levels. When reflecting on my decision to join the High School for Sixth Form, it was interesting to think about what my expectations had been as a prospective Year 11, and to consider whether the factors that lead me to join had come to fruition.
So firstly a little bit about me, I came from The Corbet School in Baschurch where I had spent years 7 to 11, a relatively small school with no Sixth Form so when choosing a next step came around, I looked extensively at both private and state sixth forms. I’d been Head Girl at the Corbet, and knew that taking roles of responsibility was something I wanted to continue.
I felt that the High School could offer something exclusive, which was the first attracting factor for me, its size. I think there were 45 students in my year, meaning my biggest class was 10 and my smallest 4. The small classes were hugely influential in the grades I received, but beyond how the school’s size benefited my learning, I realised the small year meant that leadership and responsibility may be more achievable in this environment. This absolutely was the case, and my role as head of The Sixth Form Committee, (one of six roles on the Head Girl Committee) was a highlight of my time here. The experience has given me confidence to seek leadership in my career to come.
The second draw for me was the fact the High School is a Girls’ School. I hoped that this would result in an atmosphere where I could speak up, but also be confused, and get things wrong, without feeling shy and judged like I sometimes experienced at a Co-Ed school. I really believe that this style of education worked for me for sixth form. A-Levels are demanding, and I found that on those days where I struggled, the teachers noticed. Not only that, they supported us through the difficultly with reassurance that I know my friends and I really benefited from. From my experience, the GDST’s slogan ‘Where girls learn without limits’ couldn’t be more correct.
Lastly, when I think back to conversations I had with my mum in year 11, she knew that I would do my best wherever I went, but recognised that there were places where I could excel that, and thrive. The High School really was that place for me. I achieved grades that I will always be proud of, but gained so much more from the past two years. I made friends who were so kind right from my first day, and have left with genuine friends for life. I was able to form connections with my teachers that made learning my courses a real pleasure; I have nothing but the fondest memories of my classes thanks to the teachers that worked so hard for us. And now that I’ve left, the GDST will continue to be of service for me through its expansive alumnae across the country”.
I’m Harriet and I’ve just gone into year 12 this September. To be completely honest with you, I was sitting where you are this time last year thinking I’m not staying for Sixth Form! Yet reflecting on that now, I realise that it was the best decision I could have possibly made to stay at Shrewsbury High. I’ve been here since year 3, so as some of you may also be feeling, I felt like it was time for a change. I applied to another school and was actually offered a scholarship there; however, I did end up turning it down and staying here.
In my interview for the other Sixth Form, I was asked what job I wanted to do, which uni I wanted to go to and the a-levels I would be taking in order to reach this goal. At this point I answered these questions confidently…with complete lies. I had considered said career path, but I was definitely not as set on it as I may have made out to be. In that interview, I felt obliged to put up a façade, pretend to have my whole life worked out and clear steps figured out that would get me there which was definitely not the point I was at having just gone into year 11. Then I had my interview for Shrewsbury High, where I was made to feel so supported with anything I wanted to do and felt no pressure to have my whole life worked out before having even done my GCSEs. What I took from this stark difference is that the High school genuinely sees as us as individuals, not just statistics.
In Sixth Form you get so much help with careers and you will be 100% supported with whatever route you take after leaving. You really are encouraged to do whatever you want to do, and the school will do whatever they can to make that a reality for you. These two years of your life are vital as it’s when you really figure out who you truly are as a person and what you love to do, and I genuinely believe this school provides a lovely, friendly environment for this. Going into year 12 is a big change from year 11. Not only do you get to wear your own clothes and ditch the blazer, but the lessons are really different. For me, I absolutely love my subject choices and the smaller class sizes mean that you can really immerse yourself in what you are learning. There are so many opportunities in Sixth Form, no matter what you are passionate about. I’m absolutely loving it so far and there is not a single moment that I regret my decision to stay.
My name is Clara and I am delighted to be the head girl here at Shrewsbury high school. I am currently in year 13 studying Chemistry, Biology and Psychology and I am hoping to study medicine next year at university. I moved to the high school in year 9 and now in year 13 I am enjoying the support of the staff here at SHS as I apply for university.
At SHS, part way through year 12 you are assigned what is called a futures mentor, a subject specific teacher that is relevant to your aspirations after you leave Sixth Form. For me, I am working with the Head of Science due to my ambitions to study medicine. Then if you are looking to apply to university, you work closely with this mentor to draft a personal statement. Here at the High School, the teachers are very experienced, so for courses like mine when you are required to sit additional exams, undertake certain volunteering or work experience and have earlier application deadlines, they have been absolutely fantastic at guiding me and ensuring what I did was to a high standard and was within the time constraints provided by my chosen universities. The school also host a huge variety of careers events that allow you to learn more about different career options, this again helps to give you an idea of possible areas of interest if you are still unsure about where you want to go after sixth form, or it can be a great way to expand your existing knowledge of the career that you want to conduct.
For me, Shrewsbury High has given me the perfect Sixth Form environment, allowing plenty of freedom, yet providing a supportive network that ensures you can always ask for help when you need it and you won’t ever have to feel like if you don’t understand the content you are on your own to try and teach it to yourself.