At Denmark Road High School there are always opportunities to develop beyond the classroom. In recent years alone, DRHS has organised many international trips, including skiing in Austria, as well as subject trips to New York City, Iceland, Thailand and Barbados.
Work experience at Denmark Road is a brilliant asset to the Sixth Form. Unlike many schools we run work experience on a weekly basis in addition to the mandatory week in June. This is an advantage because many work experience placements won't accept under 16s, especially in medical fields, hence running it in Year 12 gives students a wider range of options for placements. Throughout the process of finding a placement students receive a lot of support which, again, helps ensure students get the best placement possible. Personally this was an huge advantage while looking for a medical placement. Due to the support of our Sixth Form staff I found a placement in Gloucester Royal Hospital which will give me invaluable experience in the field I hope to follow into a career as well as a standout feature on my applications to university and medical school.
Learning & Teaching
At Denmark Road Sixth Form, an emphasis has been placed on Metacognition; ‘learning how to learn’ and Thinking Hard. This allows students to implement learning strategies specific to them and plan, monitor and evaluate their effectiveness. The use of directed study and free periods allows students to learn how to balance their time between homework and reading around their subject areas to deepen their understanding.
Furthermore, the introduction of 9th Assessment Lessons means that teachers can gauge the progress for each individual on different topics to tailor their support. It benefits students by encouraging a more regular revision approach which improves the retrieval of information from their long term memory. With supportive teachers and small class sizes, it is easy for students to build up a strong rapport with teachers and feel confident asking challenging questions at Denmark Road.
Sixth Form Socials
There are a number of social events that take place throughout the school year, which really enable mixing between year groups and having a good time with your friends away from the stresses of A levels. Year 12 Foundation Day and icebreaker are the first of many of these events, and are the most important to establish those first friendships in Sixth Form. Winter ball, consisting of both a DJ and a buffet at a local hotel was a lovely end before the Christmas holidays, we also enjoyed a trip to Birmingham Christmas markets and a theatre trip. Being part of the senior team, I play a key role in organising the events and so it is great to hear about how much everyone enjoys them. For Year 13, Prom is the highlight of the year, and for this event it is so nice to be able to open out the organisation to the rest of the year group and work alongside a larger team to organise the best event of the year.
Sixth Form Support
The student support at Denmark Road Sixth Form is brilliant. Mrs Harvey (6th Form Student Support Officer) is available all day every day just for 6th Form. Whether it is just a simple problem that can easily be solved or something that is much bigger, Mrs Harvey will without a doubt do the best she can to help. Whilst Sixth Form can sometimes be tough, the Sixth Form support team will undoubtedly help you achieve every success and overcome any worries or stresses you have during Sixth Form life.
Sport at Denmark Road Sixth Form can vary between highly competitive team sports to a more relaxed, social form of exercise. In Sixth Form girls can choose to sign up for netball where we have two competitive teams that play matches against other schools or train on a Wednesday afternoon. These teams are mixed between year 12 and 13, based on ability, so it is an excellent opportunity to bond between year groups as well as providing some competitive sport! In addition to this, you may choose to play badminton or something more relaxed in the gym with less supervision. This is much more independent and is just a chance to do some exercise and have a break from school work with your friends for fun. There are also opportunities to leave school and go to your own gym locally if you’re a member of one this gives us a bit more independence. Sport at Denmark Road Sixth Form is not compulsory however, so if you’re overloaded with work or just want to relax then you can still work like normal in one of the study rooms or LRC and have a chance to catch up on anything you need!
The main reason I stayed at Denmark Road Sixth Form was because it is the only school that offers Textiles A-level in the area. I studied both Fine Art and Textiles at GCSE (A*) and A-Level (both predicted A*). I have felt well supported throughout the course by my teachers, and their consistent advice has guided me to create well-informed pieces and to be a confident artist. The studios are also open for us to work in in free periods, which is really useful for us to be able to use the facilities out of lesson time. The expertise offered at Denmark Road for Fine Art and Textiles have been key in allowing me to develop my artistic skills, and I can credit much of my progress to my teachers. Over the past few years I have studied a number of artists including sculptural artist Henry Moore and textural artists Sue Hotchkis. During the A-Level course there is a weekly work experience option, which gave me the opportunity to work in a gallery on a regular basis. There is also a week’s work experience offered in the summer of Year 12, when I worked at a gallery in London. I feel really fortunate to have had the experience of studying Fine Art and Textiles at Denmark Road, and would highly recommend the sixth form for anyone with an interest in these subjects.
There are so many opportunities at Denmark Road to be involved in music, with many different groups like orchestra, jazz band and senior choir. Sixth Form students are supported by the music department in leading or starting student led groups as well, and each house has a House Music captain that leads the younger years and the whole house in competitions, this provides 6th Form Students with great leadership opportunities. We also perform a musical every two years which not only gives Sixth Form students a great chance to incorporate acting with music, but also work in sound tech and backstage. As well as being given lots of opportunities to perform, we play a wide range of different musical genres so that everyone can be included in the music and performing arts at Denmark Road.
House events at Denmark Road High School provide multiple opportunities for the Sixth Form to take part in the organisation, leadership and participation of events. There are five houses, Bearland, Mynd, Kyneburga, Hartland and Barwell, each with four house officials, elected through a vote in Year 12. There’s a large range of house events including sports day, drama, music, dance and multiple sports events. As house captain of Bearland, I’ve enjoyed the house spirit shown throughout all these events, especially sports day and house drama which involve the whole school. It has given me the chance to work with, and become friends with people I may never have otherwise and it is a great opportunity to get to know students in the younger years and take on a leadership role within the school. It has been an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience, especially when the hard work pays off in the form of a great performance or even a trophy.
Unifrog is a really useful careers tool which helps guide you through the daunting choice of options available after finishing A Levels. In addition Unifrog guides you in writing personal statements and CVs. Each section of Unifrog is organised clearly and suggests things to consider when completing sections. I felt this online process was extremely helpful in ensuring that I wrote the best statement possible, covering all aspects needed for a successful application. Unifrog also encourages you to reflect on relevant work experience, skills, personal values and outside interests. The text is easy to edit and amend and can be shared with your Form Tutor directly in order to obtain expert feedback and support. Unifrog also has a multitude of online videos about a wealth of careers and university choices which are really useful and can be personalised to what you are looking for. The Unifrog software automatically shows your own progress and benchmarks this against the rest of your year group, so if you are competitive like me this is an added incentive as you progress through Unifrog!
A Day in the Life
Sixth Form at DRHS prepares you for the more independent learning style that comes with a university course. The supportive and friendly environment makes the stress of exams as bearable as it can be and allows you to feel part of the Sixth Form community.
A DRHS day consists of five one hour periods. As a Sixth Former this time will be a mixture of formal subject lessons, independent study, assessment lessons or recreational PE.
The addition of the assessment lesson has provided students with valuable time to complete a task set by the teacher or take a Mid/End of Term Assessment without encroaching on teaching time.
Students will have at least six independent study periods per week, depending on the number of A Levels that are being studied. During these periods, you can go to the Study Rooms, the Sixth Form Study Area in the library or the Sixth Form Computer Room which provides a quiet space with computers and laptops just for Year 12 and 13.
Sixth Form lessons at DRHS are challenging and enjoyable and ensure that students are fully prepared for their chosen pathway. As well as receiving support in lesson time, the teachers are happy to organise extra sessions to ensure students fully understand and feel confident in every subject. The Sixth Form team are also available to discuss any concerns that we may have, whether it is academic or pastoral.
During breaks and lunchtime, you’ll find the Sixth Formers enjoying the food and drink served in the Sixth Form Café which is for the exclusive use of Year 12 and 13 students.
The transition from GCSEs to A Levels is a huge and potentially scary step but DRHS Sixth Form ensures that you are never on your own in this journey.