Hopefully this website will give you an insight into what makes our Sixth Form special.
You will find:
- Outstanding teaching, facilities and resources which will allow you to reach your full academic potential
- As a member of the senior section of a large 11-18 year old school you will have the opportunity to lead, mentor and be role models for younger students developing invaluable skills for your future workplace
- Opportunities to develop team-working, leadership and life skills through an incredible array of extra-curricular activities and through close supervision and pastoral care: we aim to both challenge and support you
- Expert career guidance and assistance in your university application which will help you to get to your choice of university and to secure the job you really want
Academic standards are high but this is no ivory tower. Each year more students sit A level exams and, each year, academic grades improve. Securing good A level grades is no longer enough to secure the next steps in education or employment. Universities and employers increasingly want to see evidence of other achievements and interests and your ability to add value to the community. The range of opportunities on offer to you at Bolton School is, I believe, second to none and you will have every chance to pursue interests and follow activities that build your character and your CV.
The A level years are intensive: they will be hard work but they will also be fun and will provide you with lifelong memories. Many Old Boltonians look back upon them as amongst the best years of their lives. You can view a copy of our digital prospectus here.
This is a warm and welcoming place, open to all sections of the community. It will provide you with the education, opportunities and preparation to help you to achieve your hopes and dreams. I urge you to apply, for we offer what you need to help you realise your full potential.
Head of Boys' Division
The first thing you will notice about life in the Sixth Form is that your relationship with your teachers changes. The learning process becomes much more of a partnership between yourself and teachers and you will quickly learn that they are there to help you fulfil your potential.
The Sixth Form years offer greater freedom and opportunity, but along with this freedom comes more responsibility. It is a time for you to take control of your own destiny: a time when you will make big decisions as you prepare for Higher Education and your future career.
You may find that A level is the most difficult work you have ever studied. The amount you are expected to cover, in lessons and in free time, is greater than you thought possible for a student. At the same time you will be looking forward to greater freedom and privileges. You may need help to get the balance right between your academic and social pursuits. Everything is in place at Bolton School to help you make these adjustments. We are not a Sixth Form College and our smaller size allows us to retain a genuine sense of community and for teaching staff to offer focused individual support. Our dedicated and experienced team offers a huge amount of advice that will guide you through your A level studies.
Yes, there will be high expectations, but I want you to leave Bolton School believing that everything you strive for is possible. You will explore exciting and extensive opportunities, be encouraged to be inquisitive and to innovate, to face challenge, take responsibility and show leadership, and to be a force for good in the community.
Welcome to our Sixth Form.
I am sure you will enjoy your time here.
Head of Sixth Form
Life in The Sixth Form
Subjects are taught in small classes (9-10 students on average). Teaching may be shared between subject specialists to give all students the benefit of the different strengths found within departmental teams. Our aim is to create a genuine partnership between students and staff in the learning process. As this develops during Year 12, it leads to the assurance of the provision of personal, specialised assistance often necessary in preparation for the final A2 modules. All of this is supported by excellent specialist facilities and learning resources. Periods for private study are incorporated into each student's timetable and the facilities of our excellently stocked Senior Library and ICT Learning Centre will be open to you to you at these times.
Your progress will be monitored regularly and your Form Tutor will sit down with you formally each half-term to discuss progress. Brief reports will be provided for you and your parents. Careers guidance is given throughout the two years and will be particularly intensive at the end of Year 12 and the beginning of Year 13.
One of the most distinctive features of Bolton School is the tremendous range of opportunities available to you beyond the academic curriculum. Without doubt, it is involvement with these that many former students look back on with great affection. The experiences that students draw from them prove to be of enormous value for their future - developing lifelong interests, building their CVs and expanding their horizons.
Relaxing over a hot breakfast with friends - this is what the Sixth Form is all about.
Daniel, Year 13
A Level Options
After taking GCSE examinations at the end of Year 11, most Bolton School students move up to the Sixth Form for a two-year course in Advanced GCE. Each year our Sixth Form also welcomes about 10 new students from other schools. There is a good atmosphere in the Sixth Form and throughout the whole of the School and new students are welcomed and find themselves quickly settling in.
We offer a wide range of advanced courses and every effort is made to cater for individual subject selections, provided that these are sensible, and clearly lead somewhere worthwhile. Our aim is to design a programme which offers the greatest flexibility and opportunity for individual success. Full details of the courses and arrangements are given in our ‘Beyond GCSE’ booklet, which is revised annually, and can be viewed below or hard copies are available from the School Office (email the Admission’s Registrar, [email protected]).
We are treated as young adults. A close relationship with teachers helps create a relaxed atmosphere.
Nick, Year 13
The following points of general guidance will help you in choosing your subjects.
- You should have a genuine interest in each of your chosen subjects. You must under no circumstances choose a collection of subjects simply because they were the ones in which you achieved your best GCSE results. A realistic approach to choice is required, and advice and guidance should be sought, if needed.
- You should have a sense of purpose from the outset. You should appreciate where the course will take you, and realise that you have made a significant step in leaving the GCSE years behind you. You have moved from the study of a large group of subjects at a somewhat elementary level, to the study of a small number of subjects in depth. Work patterns will, therefore, be different and inevitably much more demanding.
- You should select an appropriate quartet of subjects to study for two years for your long-term goals. Where these are still largely undecided, you should select an acceptable and workable subject combination to give maximum flexibility in the future.
- You should realise that a place in the Sixth Form at Bolton School is no guarantee of a place at a university or other institute of higher education. Many university courses demand high entry grades (in some cases straight As), together with evidence of a record that demonstrates responsible attitudes and, across the board, clear contributions to the community life of the school.
- You should realise that success in the Sixth Form depends as much on what you put into work as on what is put into you. You will have to cope with tasks that are, at times, laborious, involving a measure of routine learning, and, at other times, challenging, involving a degree of difficulty and complexity not previously encountered. It is of paramount importance that you are fully engaged from the start of Year 12, and that you do not attempt to treat this year as a period of rest and/or relaxation following the GCSE programme.
- You should realise that university admissions tutors look not only for academic success and individual potential, but that they also place considerable importance on evidence of a candidate's strong interest in a subject and your genuine commitment to it.
- A minority of students may find academic study of more than three obvious AS/A2 choices either difficult or unattractive. This may be acceptable, depending upon the particular career or university course that the student may have in mind. Students who feel that this is the case should see the Headmaster to discuss their position in more detail.
There is no hard and fast rule which helps to determine subject choices. However, all medical schools will require Chemistry and most now prefer at least one more science. Engineering will require Mathematics and Physics, but, on the other hand, it is now possible to study Law with almost any combination of A levels. Given that language graduates are the most employable in the current job market, it may help to consider a language as a fourth option. Business Studies and Economics are quite clearly related.
Some universities prefer a contrasting fourth subject, whilst others simply look for achievement at the highest possible level. In the final analysis it is likely that you will be allowed to follow whatever course you chose. However, it would be unwise to decide before you have sought advice from your teachers and, in particular, from the Director of Studies and the Headmaster.
A very sociable atmosphere but one that provides well for hard study, when necessary.
Oliver, Year 13
Students generally select four subjects at the start of A level study in Year 12. Most students will move to focus on three of these subjects during the first year of A level study. A small number of subjects offer the AS level qualification.
Each subject has 11 periods per two week cycle in each year group.
The enrichment programme allows students to pursue other qualifications. Examples include the Extended Project Qualification, Artsmark, Science Crest Award and a Youth Leadership Award amongst others.
All pupils participate in Sports lessons and in Community Service work.
The subjects offered at A Level are:
- Art - Craft and Design
- Art - Graphic Design
- Business Studies
- Classical Civilisation
- Design Technology: Product Design or Design Engineering
- English Language
- English Literature
- Further Mathematics
- Physical Education
- Religious Studies
What is the Extended project Qualification and how will I be assessed?
The EPQ is a stand-alone AS level equivalent qualification that allows each student to embark on a largely self-directed and self-motivated project. Students must choose a topic, plan, research and develop their idea and decide on their finished product.
We encourage creativity and curiosity. A project topic may be directly related to a student’s main study programme, but should look beyond the specification. A finished product may take the form of a:
- research based written report
- production* (e.g. charity event, fashion show or sports event etc)
- an artefact* (e.g. piece of art, a computer game or realised design)
*A written report must accompany these options
Students must also record their project process in their Production Log. The process of recording and completing a project is as important as the finished product. Both the Production Log and Product will be assessed. Boys will also present their project to an audience of their peers.
This additional qualification will be appropriate for some, but not all, Bolton School boys depending on their ability, aptitudes, interests and intended H.E. courses. A significant proportion of entrants will opt not to complete it.
Preparation starts in Spring of Year 12, with completion of the extended project by the first half of the Spring term of Year 13.
To do well you will have to demonstrate a keen interest in your chosen topic and be prepared to work independently. The bulk of the research and writing will take place during the summer vacation of Year 12.
Selection for the EPQ
The purpose of selecting students is simply to be sure that the qualification is well-suited to individuals and provides a genuine opportunity for study and enrichment rather than an additional burden.
There will be a section on the option choices form to indicate an interest in the EPQ.
It must be appreciated that work at this level, whether AS or A2, is extremely demanding. The courses are wide-ranging, yet of considerable intellectual depth - much more so than courses at GCSE level. We look for students who are self-motivated, and who realise that much is expected of them in the two years of the Sixth Form. Students now have to take responsibility for their own progress, and to show initiative in planning work to ensure they meet deadlines.
Regular reviews of progress are made, some formal, some informal. All subjects are assessed by modular examinations taken at up to four stages over the two years of the course. Grades for university estimates are derived from the Year 12 AS examination results, and all students are required to attain at least a grade equivalent to a satisfactory final pass before they can move up into Year 13. During Year 13 the progress of all students is regularly monitored and checked, both formally and informally, providing a system of continuous assessment, modelled on similar procedures currently operating in universities and colleges of higher education.
Beyond Bolton School
Bolton School provides:
- Bespoke Higher Education application advice, information and guidance for each student.
- Development of interview skills and help with the Personal Statement.
- Guest speakers from universities and an HE Day.
- Help with every stage of the UCAS application.
- Careers advice.
- Extra assistance with dentistry, medicine and veterinary science applications and UKCAT and BMAT preparation.
- Personal guidance for applications to Oxford and Cambridge.
- Advice and help for former students too.
My name is James Roberts and I am hoping to study Medicine at Liverpool University. The Higher Education Team at Bolton School helped me greatly when choosing which medical schools to apply to and with the application process in general. I felt very prepared and confident when the day of the interview came.
Greetings. I’m Adnaan and I’ll hopefully be reading Medicine at King’s College, London. Dr Holland was extremely adept in guiding me through the minefield that was the medical admissions process. Choosing the right university for me was perhaps the hardest aspect of the process but the continued support and encouragement from the department helped me to narrow my choices to a select few.
A detailed programme regarding entry to Higher Education is launched in the Spring Term of Year 12: it involves the Head of Sixth Form, the Director of Higher Education Applications, the Head of Careers and departmental staff. The programme continues as a coordinated procedure for the remaining four terms, and includes post-GCE Advanced Level results advice and assistance. Each individual is given considerable time by members of the senior staff group, as well as by form tutors and departmental staff, to ensure that future plans are correctly orientated and executed.
The depth of knowledge and expertise within the school in all matters related to Higher Education is considerable, and is available to all students on an equal basis. It must be recognised that, for universities and colleges, GCSE grades and AS results are usually the only hard evidence they have at the time of a candidate's application to them. Performance in your GCSE examinations may have ramifications for your entry to university!
It is vital that students familiarise themselves with the courses on offer in universities and colleges quickly, and discover the grades required for entry. At a very early stage, it needs to be confirmed that the subjects chosen are acceptable for the courses considered in the future. It is each student's responsibility to ensure the viability of his options in this respect.
The following are useful sources of information on course requirements and related appropriate Sixth Form/Upper School subjects:
- Laser Compendium of Higher Education
- Which Degree?
- Degree Course Guides
- The Times Good University Guide
- Choosing your Degree Course and University (Brian Heap)
Alumni Perspectives on the Application
Bolton School provides excellent advice to you on how to successfully apply and be accepted at the HE institution of your choice. Here Old Boys reflect on the help they were given:
Hi, my name is Vinay Anicatt and I am at the very beginning of my Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at Wadham College, Oxford University.
The way Bolton School handles a complex and demanding university applications procedure is remarkable, especially considering how meticulously we're taken through it. The help I received didn't stop at the drafting of my personal statement - I was patiently guided through every personal niggling issue. There were invaluable trips to university-organised talks and information sessions, reading material was recommended and we even had weekly forums where we could present topics of interest and then be scrutinised on them. I felt thoroughly prepared by the time I clicked 'submit application' and am extremely grateful to our experienced teachers for their collective efforts, once again!
I am currently in my third year at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University where I am reading Earth Sciences. Bolton School was instrumental in guiding me through the whole application process, providing help with my personal statement and interview techniques. The teaching staff went above and beyond the curriculum, passing on the benefit of their experience and knowledge. I could not have been better prepared for the rigour of the Oxford interview process. It goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bolton School. My advice would be to make the most of your teachers and to listen to what they have to say.
There can be no doubt that studying overseas can be a really rewarding and exciting experience. It is challenging and requires, of course, rather more preparation than an application made through UCAS. However, many employers worldwide are seeking to attract applicants who have had such experience, especially if they have begun to learn a new foreign language during their studies. Studying abroad will help you build a wide network of contacts, especially if your university is one of the leading “world class” higher education institutions to which the best students from all around the world wish to apply.
Bolton School has an excellent record of supporting students who apply overseas. The staff who lead higher education applications have experience of giving advice, information and guidance about the different admissions procedures and can help too with all aspects of your application from personal statement to filling in forms.
School has been delighted to see students secure places at both Harvard and Yale, two of the most prestigious members of the elite Ivy League group of American universities.
A number of students have combined their studies with the opportunity to develop their sporting talents at American colleges which offer world-class facilities and coaching of international standard.
Paddy Pender was recently offered a place to study at Harvard University in the US. Paddy chose to study at Harvard because of the opportunities it offers, not just academically but also in sport, although he gained his place on academic merit and did not receive a sponsorship as some athletes do.
Paul Drinkwater is currently in the US for golf, while studying Economics in Austin, Texas. He is at the end of his second year of a four year course. Paul has to maintain a high standard in his academic grades to be considered to be part of the golf team. Like many pupils, being in America proved to be an irresistible opportunity for him to study in an environment which would allow him to balance his academic work with sport.
Swimmer Daniel Sliwinski also studied in the US at the University of Indiana, as did Tom Whittaker and Chas Parry, who had football scholarships at the University of Rio Grande Ohio and Purdue University in Indiana respectively. Krishnan Patel headed to Lassen Community College on the West Coast, also for football and Chris Nott went to the University of Arizona for Tennis. Former Girls’ Division student and swimmer Emma Saunders is currently studying at Alabama University and Beth Coton will attend the University of Colorado to study and play tennis.
Another former Bolton School student to take up an opportunity at an American university was six time 24-hour solo World Champion mountain bike racer, Chris Eatough. He went to Clemson University on a football scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He then moved on to The University of Virginia, where he earned a master's degree in transportation engineering and where he discovered mountain biking and became passionate about the sport.