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Sixth Form Autumn Open Evening raises aspirations

Toll Bar Sixth Form welcomed hundreds of students, and their families, to last week’s Autumn Open Evening.

The event took place at a time when Year 11 students are beginning to consider life beyond GCSEs. It offered an opportunity to meet the Sixth Form Team and current Sixth Formers students, discuss options with subject specialists and tour the Sixth Form’s newly rebranded site. Also present on the evening were representatives from local universities, apprenticeship providers and local employers who offered advice on decision-making beyond further education.

26 qualifications were showcased on the evening including two additional courses offered from September 2023, Dance and Criminology, and two offered from September 2024, Drama and Theatre and Photography. Guests listened to Student Ambassadors who discussed their own experience of studying further education and passed on valuable advice on transitioning from secondary school. Indeed, over 70 student volunteers were present to support guests who attended from ten different local schools.

Welcomed on the evening by Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Hook explained the values underpinning life at Toll Bar Sixth Form as: Aspiration; Responsibility and Compassion. She went on to outline how a focus on outstanding teaching, specialist facilities, and exceptional levels of support and guidance has consistently resulted in students accessing their preferred destinations. In 2023, she said, a 98.2% pass rate across all A-levels helped 93% of students access their 1st or 2nd choice destination, with 26% going on to study at a Russell Group university, including Warwick, York, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

To consolidate this success this year, Mrs Hook said, Toll Bar Sixth Form has begun a special collaboration with The Elephant Group, a headteacher-led charity committed to improving fair access to top universities for its Year 12 and 13s. Principal of Waltham Toll Bar Academy Nigel Whittle reiterated this commitment, saying “We are unapologetically ambitious on behalf of our students and are committed to ensuring that they have the same opportunities to access top institutions as students living elsewhere in the country.”

The event is part of a continuing outreach programme by the Sixth Form which aims to fully inform local students about their future options. A Spring event will see even more representatives from universities, apprenticeship providers and employers present to provide students across Key Stages 3 and 4 with vital early guidance on future opportunities. Please do keep an eye on our social media channels for more information. In the meantime, any young person who would like to discuss our options or visit the Sixth Form is encouraged to contact one of the Sixth Form Team.