Academic Ambition

The year has been full of challenge for us all, and for schools, provision for Year 11 and Upper Sixth after their final exams has been an important additional consideration. The easiest option would have been to let these year groups leave school after half term, but this would have resulted in a 15-week holiday in the very year in which their social interaction has been severely curtailed and their academic courses contracted. At the Dixie, whilst perhaps the easiest option for all, we felt strongly that this would have been the wrong course of action.

Instead, Year 11 have returned to school this month as Sixth Formers, with all the additional freedoms and responsibilities this entails. They have risen to the challenge of the Sixth Form dress code and are embarked on bespoke introductory A Level courses.  They are making the academic leap between GCSE and A level courses now, in advance of September, but are also all engaged in the wider Dixie Sixth Form experience including the Dixie Leaders’ Award which involves working with the teachers in one of their A Level subjects to support younger students.  A key feature of life at the Dixie is the interaction between year groups and this has, like so many things, been difficult to maintain this year.  Requiring Sixth Form students to support lessons sets a fantastic example for younger students as well as developing critical skills in the Sixth Form students.  All the new Lower Sixth are also undertaking an introduction to the Extended Project Qualification where the academic skills of research, identifying sources, draft and completion is key to success. 

In recognition that A Levels are not right for all, those students who have secured appropriate work experience this half term have left to complete this with our blessing – we have enjoyed receiving reports of their achievements whilst working outside school.  The Upper Sixth having faced all the same losses of Year 11 and with the prospect of a similarly long ‘holiday’ have been offered bespoke one-to-one preparation for University courses. Some have returned to offer additional academic support to our younger students in lessons, and retaining responsibility for conducting tours for prospective parents and students. We couldn’t be prouder – of students and staff! 

Finally, we are delighted to offer the new option choice of A level Psychology. Miss Reason, the new Head of Psychology has met her new Lower Sixth A level class 2021/22 and is thoroughly enjoying this new and exciting dimension to her role.

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