Can you change sixth form?

There are many sixth form colleges who happily accept new students at the start of Year 13, and some may also accept students partway through either Year 12 or Year 13. Of course, this is not the case for every sixth form in the country, so it is important to research carefully and check the admissions policies of each school or college. There are some sixth forms who may only accept students during a particular timeframe, and there are others who may take new students at any time, depending on capacity.

How can Westminster Tutors Independent Sixth Form help?

A Seamless Transition Moving Sixth Form

At Westminster Tutors, we are unique in being able to provide incoming students with a seamless transition during their A level studies. We accept new enrolments at any point during the academic year, depending on capacity, so you don’t have to wait until finishing Year 12, for example. We also offer a wide range of subject choices and teach all exam boards, including AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR and Eduqas, so you can continue where you left off. In addition to this, you can even continue with the same texts and topics if you are studying subjects such as English and History.

Changing One of Your A Levels

We also offer one-year intensive A levels, so if you are joining Year 13 and want to change subjects, this is possible without starting another two-year course, although fees are higher as you need to study two years in one. Changing A levels can have great benefits either if you realise you made the wrong choice and are really struggling with one of your subjects, or because you have decided on a particular degree or career and need to offer a different A level subject.

Individual Mentoring and Careers & UCAS Support

Furthermore, our sixth form college provides study skills and pastoral mentoring for all students to ensure they are well supported, not just for their transition, but for the entirety of their time with us. We also provide individualised and expert UCAS support and careers guidance to help each one of our students achieve their desired university destinations and future ambitions. The tutorial-style of our teaching in very small classes or one-to-one is also great preparation for further study at university, and we empower all our students to be independent learners.

Flexible Timetables and Central London Location

The flexibility of our courses also means that our sixth form students can continue to pursue any extracurricular activities alongside their A level studies. Our central location in the heart of London allows us to quickly reach a myriad of museums, galleries and theatres, and public transport links also make it easy for students to travel to us wherever they live in London and beyond. For students who have a longer commute, we can either timetable for them to start later in the day to avoid peak travel times, or we can compress their timetables into fewer days so that they do not need to make a long journey every day.

A Simple Admissions Process

Westminster Tutors is academically non-selective: due to our approach the students who move to our sixth form do far better than they had previously hoped or expected. The admissions process is very simple and involves the prospective student and their family visiting the college and having an interview with our Principal. Our main admissions criteria are making sure we are a good fit and can offer what you need to fulfil your potential, as well as checking that we have availability in the A level courses you want to study.

Making Sure We Understand Your Academic Needs

In terms of your GCSE grades, a grade 6 is normally the minimum for starting an A level course in the same subject, and for Maths and the sciences a higher GCSE grade is often beneficial if you want to hit the top grade at A level. In addition, we will advise on whether core GCSE grades in English and Maths are likely to hold you back in your university application (for example grades 4 and 5 can put you out of the running for certain degree courses and may also be affecting your performance at A level). If you need it, we can offer a GCSE retake course in either English or Maths to run alongside your A level studies.

Finally, we will also want to take up a reference with your current school or sixth form to check how you have been doing: this helps us to provide a seamless transition and means you can move to us and press ahead without disruption.

Why should you switch sixth form?

Before you think about changing sixth form, you should consider what is most important for your own educational journey. Are you looking to transfer from a state school to a private independent sixth form college? Perhaps you are currently at a boarding school or a single-sex school and want a change of environment. Maybe you have particular extra-curricular commitments, which require a more flexible academic schedule.

Better Choice of A Level Subjects or Combinations

One of the most popular reasons for switching sixth form is for a greater variety of subject choices. There are many schools with a limited range of A level subjects on offer, and some even have restrictions on subject combinations due to timetabling and administrative constraints. Some colleges may also have entry requirements for certain subjects and are selective based on GCSE grades. If you have your heart on a particular A level subject, university course or career, it could be very disheartening to be told by your sixth form that you cannot study that subject.

Changing to A Levels from Other Courses

Another reason for changing sixth form may be that you are at an international school, which only offers international qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or International A Levels with the Cambridge exam board. These qualifications are usually perceived to be more challenging than traditional A levels, so this is an important factor to consider when thinking about university applications, for example.

Better A Level Teaching and Individual Support

Aside from administrative reasons, there are, unfortunately, some cases when students want to transfer sixth form due to poor teaching or support at their current school. Some students may feel that they are not able to reach their full potential, and therefore need to seek a sixth form college where they feel confident in achieving the grades they aspire towards. In other cases, the teaching may be excellent, but the class sizes are too large and some students may need more individualised attention. There may also be some students who aren’t receiving enough pastoral support, or perhaps are even suffering from bullying, and need a fresh start.

Changing Sixth Form Due to Relocation

Finally, there may be some cases where students are very happy at their current sixth form, but are forced to look for another place, as their families are relocating, so they need to find a suitable college in their new area.

When should you start thinking about transferring sixth form?

Allow Time for Your Sixth Form Admissions Process

It’s best to start thinking as soon as possible, especially if there is a particular sixth form you have in mind, as you want to be sure there will be space for you to enrol. It is important to find out what the application process involves, as this may take some time. You will likely need to attend an open day or an initial visit, which will help you decide whether the sixth form is right for you. Many colleges will also require prospective students to have an interview to determine whether or not they can offer a place. Once all that is done, there will be application forms to complete and documentation to gather, such as ID, previous results and school reports.

Let Your Current School Know You are Changing Sixth Form

It is not just the new sixth form you will have to think about: your current school may have a notice period which you will need to follow, otherwise early withdrawal fees may apply. You will also likely need a reference from your current school to ensure that the transition is seamless. The new college may also require a deposit to be paid before your place is confirmed, so you will need to make sure everything is in place to start the transfer.

How should you choose your new sixth form?

Researching Sixth Forms Online

Most people are likely to head straight to the internet and see the top search results for best sixth form colleges. There is a lot of research that can be done online to find out what different colleges are offering and which looks most appealing. Many parents may also turn to websites such as the Good Schools Guide (GSG), Independent Schools Council (ISC) or the Council for Independent Education (CIFE), which give advice and detailed information about select schools and colleges.

Word of Mouth and Google Reviews

One of the best ways of choosing a new sixth form is through recommendations by friends and family. If you know someone who is currently studying or has recently completed their A levels, it is a very good idea to ask their opinion about what it’s like to be a student at that particular sixth form college. They will often give you an honest account of the aspects that you won’t necessarily find online, such as the quality of teaching and pastoral support.

In digital terms, Google reviews operate in the same way as word of mouth, as students and parents leave honest and verified opinions about your new sixth form – make sure you check what families really have to say about your chosen college.

Check Your Sixth Form’s Results and Onward Destinations

Another important thing to research is what the exam results and university destinations are like at the sixth form colleges you are exploring. Alongside this, you should also find out what sort of experience and support the colleges offer with regards to university applications and careers. If you have a particular career in mind, you need to be sure that the sixth form college you are transferring to will be able to help you every step of the way to achieve that goal.

Think About What You Can Offer Your New Sixth Form

Finally, it may not simply be a question of what the college can offer you, but what you can offer them. Perhaps there are bursaries or scholarships on offer for academic excellence or extracurricular contributions. It is also essential to find out whether there are any entry requirements, for example, minimum GCSE grades, in order to be accepted into the new sixth form college.

What else do you need to consider about changing sixth form?

Some Sixth Forms May Require a Change of A Level Curriculum

When you switch sixth form, there are bound to be a number of changes you may have to adapt to. Firstly, your new sixth form college may only teach a particular exam board which is different to the one you are following at your current school. Therefore, there may be some differences in content and structure of the specification. If you are studying new subjects and exam boards, you should keep in mind the additional workload that may be required for this transition.

Check Your New Sixth Form Can Continue Coursework, Practicals etc

In some subjects, you may have started a non-examined assessment component, such as English or History coursework, Geography fieldwork or science practicals, so you need to check whether this can be carried over to the new sixth form.

Check Your Sixth Form is Flexible Enough

If you are involved in any extracurricular activities, you should also consider whether you can continue this when changing sixth form. It will be important that the new college can allow flexibility in the timetable for this, and in the case of increased workload, you should also carefully consider whether you can juggle both academic and extracurricular commitments.

Why Choose Westminster Tutors?

  • Top independent sixth form college
  • Average grades 57% A*-A and 80% A*-B
  • 68% placed at Russell Group unis
  • Superbly qualified teachers who care
  • Average A level retake improvement is 1.5 grades
Student studying for her A-Levels
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About Us

Westminster Tutors is one of the oldest and best independent sixth form colleges in London. Established in 1934, our culture of scholastic excellence is deeply embedded and sets the standard for other colleges to follow.