Sixth Form

Sixth Form curriculum

In Sixth form students continue to follow pathway models, but through a ‘Preparation For Life’ focus. Students may follow a range of appropriate qualifications or vocational study and engage in relevant work related learning, including work experience. Further and more detailed information is to be found in our pathway handbooks.

Our Sixth form curriculum is delivered through an informal or formal route.


Vocational Skills & Options

Students will follow a Study programme which ensures a broad and balanced curriculum including Maths and English.

The study programme is based on the Preparation for Adulthood model – employment, independent living, good health, friends, relationships and community.

Students will be supported to ensure that their study choices reflect their aspirations for the future and will promote increased independence to enable a successful transition to adulthood.

Our study programme focusses on preparing for adulthood, our students tell us that each component is important therefore the curriculum is designed to ensure that academic and vocational qualifications are underpinned by the development of social skills, independence and being able to access the community and develop effective relationships.

We offer a range of academic levels from entry to level 1 within each vocational qualifications to ensure that students reach their potential and make good progress during their time in Sixth Form. Some options are available at Level 2 such as Computing/IT.

Please find below a list of Vocational options on offer to choose from.

  • Catering & Hospitality
  • Computing
  • Outdoor Education
  • Horticulture
  • Sport and Health
  • Dance and Performance
  • Construction
  • Art & Design
  • Business Administration
  • Creative Crafts/Textiles

Experience of Work & Employability Skills

Careers Education continues in Sixth form with a variety of topics studied and skills developed to prepare students for future studies the world of work.

Weekly lessons supported by a yearly programme of work experience, work related learning visits and guest speakers ensure that each student has a tailored experience to support their progression.

We are part of the Northeast Hub for Careers and hold the Quality in Careers Standard for our work in developing young people in relation to progression and careers development.

Students have a weekly opportunity to work in their own business to develop their enterprise and employability skills.

Companies set up recently include;

  • ‘Artisans’ – craft and design based company
  • The Breakfast Bakers
  • BPA ‘Dance Company’ Touring performances
  • Seasonal Crafts
  • Chic Fabrique

Social, Emotional & Behaviour support

Young people tell us that they enjoy Sixth Form and they are well supported.  Feedback from families highlight how independent young people become and make progress.

Young people can access SALT and support from other agencies such as counselling to support them as required and to meet EHCP outcomes.

Young people access OT and regulation programmes as required.

Young people have targets set through their progress diaries linked to EHCP outcomes and have termly tutorials with their class tutors as well as a weekly reflection.

Skills for Independence

‘To provide students with skills and confidence to be able to carry out tasks independently to promote their self-esteem and wellbeing and prepare for adulthood’

This part of the study programme provides young people with opportunities to develop practical skills and increase their independence.  Young people will access learning in a variety of settings within Sixth Form and in the community.

The learning is accredited and young people  will work on relevant topics to meet their needs and EHCP outcomes.

Topics include;

  • Life Skills
  • Leisure time
  • Social skills and communication
  • Living in the community
  • Home management
  • Money management
  • Personal care skills
  • Independent Travel Training
  • Healthy lifestyles & basic cooking

English & Maths

All young people who have not yet achieved GCSE grade 4 or above will continue to study English and Maths in Sixth Form.

Young people  will study towards Entry level or Functional skills qualifications of relevance linked to future aspirations.

Some students may work towards a GCSE resit.

How will these subjects be assessed?   

GCSE English Language & Maths will be an examination.

Functional skills are assessed by an examination at Level 1 & 2.

Entry level Maths and English are assessed in the classroom via exam board set tasks.

Some students will undertake Core Skills, which will focus on specific aspects of Literacy and Numeracy, these tasks will be practical and linked to everyday life and students will build up a portfolio.

PSHE & Citizenship

Young people will continue to study PHSE topics throughout their time in the Sixth Form.

  • To know how to keep self and others safe and live healthily – mental and physical health
  • To develop positive, long lasting, fulfilling relationships
  • To make good choices, understand fact and opinion, fake news, peer pressure and risk management
  • To understand how my body changes as I grow and how to embrace who I am
  • To understand my unique self, my skills, attributes and how I can contribute to my community


Citizenship allows young people to explore issues which affect their lives on a local, national and international level. It allows them to gain a greater insight into society in modern Britain and living and functioning in it whilst being a responsible citizen.

Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh Award plays an important role in Sixth Form. Positive feedback is received from both parents and young people regarding the range of opportunities and experiences the Duke of Edinburgh scheme provides through the various sections volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and residential for Gold Award. Young people have the opportunity to work towards Bronze, Silver and Gold at their own pace as they progress through Sixth Form.

In Sixth Form we devote a full day to Duke of Edinburgh Award each week. All young people are enrolled onto the Bronze Award in year 12.

The Gold Award takes a significant amount of time and commitment. We have had many successful Gold groups in previous years culminating in a visit to St James Palace London to receive their Gold certificate and badge from HRH Earl of Wessex.

Expedition routes have included;

  • Bronze – East Durham Coastal path
  • Silver – Northumberland coastal path
  • Gold- Lake District

Residential opportunities for Gold include Lake District week, Northumberland week, Derwent Hill as mentors, volunteer projects with local youth groups.

In Summer 2023 13 young people achieve Bronze and 18 young people achieved Silver.  We have 8 young people working towards Gold Award this academic year.