Adam is one of a growing number of students who, having studied at another school up to the age of 16, joins our Sixth Form for their A levels. Here he explains why he chose Bolton School:
I would first of all like to explain why I chose to study my A Levels at Bolton School as opposed to other Sixth Form Colleges in the area. For me, Bolton School provided the easiest transition possible after having studied for my GCSEs at what was a very small independent school, with class sizes typically around the number of 15 students. This bears a striking resemblance to the class sizes here in the Sixth Form and therefore helped me a great deal in adjusting quickly to the new environment. Given the way in which A Levels are now assessed, this is critically important when you consider that you may be sitting some of your subject modules in the January after you arrive, meaning that it is essential to settle in quickly so that you can then turn your full attention towards your studies from the very first week. With the vast contrasts of a college environment however, I do not believe that is always possible.
Bolton School also provided me with the opportunity to fulfil other aspects of my life in conjunction with the high academic standards that are set. There are now over 50 clubs and societies open for all Sixth Formers to partake in, covering a vast variety of subject matter, from the highly energised nature of rugby training to the comparative serenity of the Classics Club. Through involving myself in more of these clubs as the weeks pass by, I am sure that I will become a much more rounded person as a consequence of doing so. But whatever your interest may be, there truly is something for everyone and particularly for new students like myself, getting involved in sports teams or musical groups is one of the best ways of starting to get to know people, something which I shall elaborate upon shortly.
Another aspect of the School that impressed me on my earlier visits was how emphasis is not only placed upon the present, ie achieving your goals in terms of A Level results, but also upon your future career path and more immediately our route through to Higher Education. It is one thing to achieve 3 A grades at A Level, but being able to do something with them is another matter and something that requires professional assistance and careful discussion, qualities that can be provided in copious amounts through the careers department at Bolton School. In addition, the extremely well stocked careers room has already helped to give me more clarity in terms of the path that I would like to take after A Level, with a wealth of resources available regarding all fields of work and the various university courses available.
So, after more than 2 months of studying at Bolton School, what are my first impressions? The first point I would like to make became apparent to me within only 5 minutes of having sat down in a solitary corner of the Sixth Form Common Room on my first day as a new student in Year 12. I immediately discovered how welcoming, amicable and extremely sociable all of the boys are, making fitting into the social atmosphere of the school extremely easy. When one considers the demands of a weekly academic timetable in the Sixth Form, having friends around you is essential whether it is to ask for their advice on something, or to simply enjoy a bacon sandwich with them in the Common Room. As I have discovered, being an external candidate to the Sixth Form will not in any way jeopardise your chances of being able to socialise at Bolton School in spite of the fact that many of the Sixth Formers here have known each other for many years.
But it is not just the relationships with your peers that will be a noticeable plus point of Sixth Form life. As you move closer to embarking upon adulthood, the teachers will treat you accordingly, making for a more stimulating and proactive learning environment which allows you to successfully bridge the gap between GCSE and AS Level, an obstacle that many students find daunting. There are also no feelings of an "us against them" situation in the classroom that can occur at more junior levels of education, for there is now the necessity to be truly empowered in your work.
This point links in with the extremely strong work ethic that I have found to exist amongst the Sixth Form students here, for people are here because they have a desire to learn and not because they are legally required to. It is the balance between this strong work ethic and relaxed classroom environment that makes being a member of the Bolton School Sixth Form such a pleasurable experience. This kind of ethos is essential considering that you are required to be much more empowered in the subjects you study at A Level than at GCSE, for in order to achieve the top grades, we have all come to realise that making use of resources such as the school library to read around your subjects is one of the most important ways to progress. This may sound daunting, but if you choose the subjects you enjoy, it shouldn't be! Although it is essential that you follow the advice given by your subject teachers and complete all of the work set, this is sometimes not enough if you are going to truly succeed at A Level. The resources offered here allow you to go into the necessary amount of depth. Further involvement within your chosen subjects is also assisted through the startling amount of departmental excursions on offer. For example, I was fortunate enough to be one of the boys who went on the French Exchange last month to Clermont-Ferrand. Not only did this help me in my A Level French studies by putting what I had learned into practice, but it was once again another opportunity to immerse myself in the social atmosphere of the School and, of course, to have a good time!
So, I hope that I have been able to offer you some further insight into the life of a Sixth Form student at Bolton School and wish you all the very best of luck in the forthcoming GCSE examinations.
Adam, Year 12