Personal Development - What Makes a Good Sixth Former?
There is no doubt that excellent teaching and learning are a huge part of the success of our sixth form at East Dulwich.
We understand that this success does not come from teaching and learning alone but is also as a result of the personal development of the student and the experience your son or daughter can have with us reflects this fully.
Our personal development curriculum results in well-rounded young people who are confident, capable of study and who realise that there is more to life at Sixth Form than lessons; as important as these are.
In terms of study habits, we have a consistent dialogue shared by students and teaching staff. Outside of lessons and homework, we expect students to complete 3-4 hours of independent study each week, per subject – study periods are a great opportunity for this and those students who we see consistently working and producing, we will reward.
To help secure these successes we use tutor time to develop our young people. They will partake in Prep. This is a structured opportunity where students organise themselves for the week ahead considering what they need to do and when; this helps our students structure their independent study time, creation of task lists and understanding how they can prioritise workload.
Students will also participate in termly ‘Big Talk’ sessions where they are encouraged to debate and discuss topics like ‘cancel culture’. Our tutors set the expectation that all contribute verbally in order to set ourselves up for success in the future. The last part of tutor time is PSHE and we use this time to have our young people understand the importance of being an active citizen who contributes to and questions their society - to be someone who is well equipped for the challenges and situations that life in a city in the 21st century might throw at them.
Clubs and societies
Our commitment to cultivating development in young people goes beyond tutor time. Our students lead a number of their own groups which teaches them about leadership and collaboration, and gives them an outlet to do something that they care about and value.
Most recently our Raising and Giving Society raised money for local charities and wrote winter cards for a local care home whilst our Medi Soc and Health Care Society have been holding weekly meetings where students present on healthcare related topics to get them ready for their future careers and applications. This is led very much by the students and is a genuine opportunity for them to take the lead.
Other students show leadership by applying to become Subject Ambassadors. These students take a scholarly lead on tutoring students as resident experts; they share new research, reading and opportunities that link to their subject and have been able to support lower school or younger students particularly in unpicking subject problems that have presented themselves; again, it is our young people who lead this.
The Discover programme
Each year we run the DISCOVER programme with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The programme looks at how to manage stress and worry.
Dr Sclare, a clinical psychologist who leads the programme across a number of Harris Sixth Forms with great success, meets with the Head of Sixth Form, to discuss the impact the programme has had on our students each year.
We have always seen excellent results, and this is another method we use to support our students and identify where there may be concerns we would not normally see on our average day.
The DISCOVER team have also helped us identify additional ways to support students who are struggling to cope with high levels of stress.
Mature, independent and highly resilient
The reason we do this is because of the continuing increase in pressures placed on our students in the Sixth Form and nationally. It is a tough – and very fast – two years where students are required to study very challenging courses without the extensive support they received in Year 11.
They are to become mature, independent and highly resilient young people almost overnight once they start in order to prepare for either university or the outside world of work – it is a significant jump from Year 11 to university/employment in merely two years.
We encourage all of our students to take part in this outstanding programme to seek advice and support throughout their time in our Sixth Form.