Sixth Form > Introducing the Sixth Form

The Sixth Form at Milton Abbey

A Milton Abbey Sixth Form is a transformational experience.

You will not only study your subjects in depth, but get to understand yourself and others better, in and beyond the classroom. You will leave us ready for the adult world of work and study. With a huge choice of activities to get involved in, and leadership opportunities, your Sixth Form years will be busy, fun and challenging.

What can I study?

Almost anything!

We proudly offer the widest selection of Sixth Form courses in the independent sector. Innovative vocational courses (BTECs) can be studied alongside or instead of traditional academic A Levels.

This means we can find the perfect study programme for each one of our students, whatever your ability, subject interests, prior learning or future ambitions. We try to be flexible and can usually accommodate the most unusual combinations.

If there’s a subject that’s important to you that we do not offer, please tell us and we will do our best either to provide it – that’s how our very successful Fashion BTEC started – or ensure high-level co-curricular provision to develop your interest and skills through our activities programme.

What is there to do in the evenings and at weekends?

Loads: there is a packed activities programme, run every weekday evening and at the weekends, including sport, music, art, drama, cookery, e-sports, design – even a dog-walking club. You can also go to spend time with friends at the Sixth Form social space. Your House Team will help you choose a balanced programme, with some old favourites (activities you know you want to do) and perhaps a new one to challenge you or complement the subjects you’re studying.

On the weekend you have the chance to get off site if you want to, on a meal trip with friends or ‘stop and drop’ outing to a local town. 90% of our students are boarders so the weekends are always busy, with plenty of friends around and lots to do.

What help with my studies is available?

Being independent doesn’t mean going it alone. You will have the support and encouragement of your Tutor and Housemistress/Housemaster every step of the way.

Your specialist subject teachers will understand your learning profile and history, to help you achieve to the very best of your ability and develop the right habits for learning. We

have weekly ‘clinics’ in every subject, in addition to your timetabled lessons, so you can drop in to spend more informal time getting support or advice from specialist teachers.

We have a fantastic Learning Development Department (what some schools call Learning Support). In the Sixth Form you are less likely to receive regular ‘pull out’ individual Learning Development) sessions but you might benefit from a ‘booster course’, for example, on how to participate in class, how to manage your time, how to manage exam nerves or how to structure an essay.

At Milton Abbey, Learning Development (LD) is not about a session or two a week but is embedded in every lesson, in every subject, for every student. LD teachers might come to your lesson to see how you are learning and give advice to you and your teachers about useful strategies and approaches. Individual help is available if needed and you can always drop in to Learning Development for help and advice.

How is Sixth Form life different from Lower School?

It’s time for more responsibility and independence. The Sixth Form years build on the foundation of your education and character development so far, to get you ready for independent life.

  • You will learn to manage your workload and your time, deciding when and how you want to work. So for example, you might decide in a ‘non-contact’ period, that you want to go to a gym session. That’s fine if you are up to date with your work. Or if you have some reading to do, you can do it in the Sixth Form Centre, in the Library or back in your dorm: as long as you get your work done when it is due, and done well, there is a great deal of flexibility.
  • You will direct your learning. Increasingly, as your knowledge and subject specialism develops, you will find that your teachers are facilitating your learning, helping you plan and reflect, rather than directing your learning. This gets you ready for university study and the workplace.
  • You will make things happen. Sixth Formers have opportunities to set up and run societies, to lead campaigns and initiatives to drive our school forward, to arrange school events such as ‘socials’, to run house events like House Music or House Sport, to plan and run charity events. Sixth Formers also run our Round Table – student parliament – in which every student has a voice.
  • You will set the tone. Sixth Form students, by the example they set, the actions they take and the way they interact with others, play a major role in establishing the tone of our community. That is why it is so important that you do all you can to make this a positive and happy community for all. That’s about how you treat people – as our Expectations for Students put it:
    • Kindness, self-respect and respect for others are central to our community.
    • Diversity and difference are celebrated.
    • All stand up for what they know to be right.
It’s also about how you get involved
We expect you to contribute, participate, challenge yourself and give of your best in all that you do – inside and outside the classroom.
  • ‚ÄčYou will get ready to leave! From the moment you join us, we are thinking about what you will do next. Don’t worry if you don’t have a clear idea of this yet. Sixth Form at Milton Abbey will introduce you to ways of thinking about yourself that will help you understand what paths you might wish to take.

We arrange uni visits and opportunities to learn about apprenticeships. Talks from inspiring speakers will give you ideas about career directions or how you might want spend a gap year. We offer fantastic university guidance and careers advice and can connect you through our alumni (former pupils) and parent network with professionals in every area, who can advise and inspire.

Will I be the only new student?

Definitely not! Our Sixth Form attracts a significant intake of new students every year, attracted by the courses we offer and our approach to learning. Incoming students join those who have taken their GCSEs here with us. New and continuing students integrate quickly, forming our new Lower Sixth Form. It’s not unusual for a Pilot (our word for Prefects), Head or Deputy Head of School to have started here as a Sixth Former. What we ask is that you ‘contribute, participate and challenge yourself’: that way, you will soon find yourself part of the community and make the most of the many opportunities Milton Abbey life offers.

How long will it take me to settle in?

Being new anywhere is always a challenge, but you will find everyone here is focused on helping you make new friends, understand what is expected, and settle in. Kindness is what we call our ‘cornerstone’: it’s the most important attribute a Miltonian needs to show to others.

It usually takes about two weeks to know your House, about three weeks to get to know your year group, and by Half Term (about six or seven weeks in), you will know everybody, and they will know you. That’s one of the joys of a small school.

To find out more about settling in, watch the videos of the 2022 leavers talking about their experiences.

Top tips for settling in, from recent leavers:

  • Get involved in as much as you can: it keeps you busy and you meet more people
  • Never worry about asking if you need help or you are finding things hard – everyone knows what it’s like to be new, and there are so many people to help you
  • Keep on top of your work deadlines, then you will be able to join in all the social activities without getting behind

What if I don’t like one of the subjects I choose?

No problem. We can usually be flexible. Ideally, we like to see any changes made by the first Exeat (in late September), but in practice, movement to a new course is usually possible as late as Half Term in the Michaelmas (Autumn) Term.

Your tutor will monitor your study programme and help you make any necessary changes. If you do swap courses, help is available to ensure you catch up with anything you’ve missed.

How can I find out more?

You can read more about our Aims and Expectations on this site and hear our 2022 leavers talking about their Milton Abbey experiences.
You can also click here to read Frequently Asked Questions about joining our Sixth Form.
The best way to get to know us is to visit. Click here to arrange an admissions visit.