In the Sixth Form, pupils have the opportunity to engage in a wide array of co-curricular activities. Alongside well-established clubs and societies, pupils are encouraged to initiate and lead new activities, inspiring the development of balanced, creative and independent young people.
Pupils regularly invite and host distinguished speakers, academics and professionals to contribute to an extensive programme of lunchtime and after-school lectures, encompassing a wide variety of topics, fields and perspectives. Sixth Form pupils annually direct a Drama production, and many participate in Music concert programmes.
Sixth Form pupils are given the chance to mentor younger pupils in specific subjects or on an individual basis. Pupils also organise and host a day of activities for Kentish Town Primary School each year. Selected pupils in the Sixth Form have the opportunity to volunteer at our partner school, Equatorial College School in Uganda, as well as working alongside the Hands of Hope charity in Romania, and the El Shaddai Charitable Trust in India. Every Friday afternoon the Sixth Form take part in a volunteering project.
Further opportunities to develop personal attributes include being Monitors (prefects), Deme Captains, Sixth Form Council, Captains of Sport, running Assemblies, mentoring younger pupils in Entry or Shell, running the Tuck Shop, touring visitors around the campus, presenting a research project, organising the Leavers’ Ball or Yearbook; and a good number pursue the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
Considerable amounts of time are afforded to advising and supporting students in their plans for life beyond UCS. Almost all continue onto higher education. In the last five years, the most popular universities have been Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Oxford, Manchester and UCL, but our advice is not solely focused on these more academic institutions. We have successfully supported students moving onto art foundation courses, music conservatoire degrees, and undergraduate courses as varied as fashion design, nursing and marketing. The students are provided with information on options for Gap Years, with many students proceeding to internships, scholarship placements with professional services firms, or charity programmes overseas. Typically, around a quarter of each Sixth year group takes a year out before commencing an undergraduate course.
The university application process is carefully managed by the Sixth Form Team. Advice is provided in a gradual manner, to ensure that students are not overwhelmed, but are fully aware of all the information they need to know. In year 10, information is provided on how universities use GCSE grades as part of their selection process; in year 12, the application process is introduced via the 'Beyond UCS' evening. Events are run for students and parents considering applications to Oxford and Cambridge, or to universities in the USA or elsewhere overseas. A Universities Fair for over 20 popular institutions is held and major companies from the City are also present, with opportunities for internships and work experience made available.
The Head of Sixth Form meets with all students to discuss the process and their aims, while departments run extension classes for students considering applications to the most competitive universities including Oxbridge. Specialist advice is given to applicants for medicine, veterinary science and other vocational courses, and there is a 'UCAS day' that gives students the information they need to start compiling their applications. In the (Upper) Sixth, tutors and Deme Wardens advise students as they complete their UCAS forms and their personal statements, references are written, and departments prepare students for admissions tests and interviews as required.
In recent years, every student has received offers from one or more of their chosen universities, with many students receiving offers from all five. At that point, the focus turns to supporting students as they prepare for their final A Level and Pre-U examinations, and the fulfilment of the conditions of their university offers.
All UCS leavers automatically become part of our alumni association, the Old Gowers Club, which is run from the Development Office and enables all alumni to stay in touch with the School, and to build social and professional links with our active community of over 4,000 Old Gowers.
UCS is committed to preparing its pupils for successful relationships and careers, an enterprising and resourceful outlook, high achievement, and emotional resilience. Many of these attributes are developed formally through the PSHE and Sixth Form programmes, and informally through daily school life such as contact with the Pastoral Team, visiting speakers and the Alumni Office.
Our Careers Education and Guidance programme seeks to help all UCS pupils from Years 7-13 appreciate the world of work, develop the attitudes and attributes needed for success in the workplace, and understand how to set about applying for and securing an appropriate job.
Careers events are a regular feature of the Sixth Form at UCS, including networking events sponsored by parents or Old Gowers. The Careers provision in fact starts before the Sixth Form, with a PSHE programme that helps to build up pupils’ views of themselves and the outside world, focusing on topics such as team work, online etiquette and presentation skills. From year 10, all pupils use the Bridge-U software which ties together their personal attributes, interests and aspirations and matches them against possible career and university pathways.