Moving into the Sixth Form is a really important moment in anyone’s life. Until that point most decisions about what we might study are taken for us, although at GCSE we do have a little more choice. But at Sixth Form, with the increasing level of specialisation, there is a genuine opportunity to define a path that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
And so it is at Rishworth. In the first instance, the Sixth Form is a very important and special part of our community. Not only is it right that pupils within the school look up to members of the Sixth Form because of their age and experience but it is important that they do because they are genuinely people to respect and admire.
Sixth Form is a time to make the transition from pupil to student, from boy to man and girl to young woman. It is a time to start understanding and taking responsibility within a community and, in so doing, it is a time to develop genuine independence. And that is why the emphasis of our Sixth Form is very different to many in that alongside the very best teaching and learning, our students are encouraged to develop their character, their values and their leadership skills with a view to developing a skill set that will set them apart as capable, confident and genuinely intellectually curious when they leave to study further and in their working lives.
From the moment that they arrive, our Sixth Form students are challenged in a way that will test their character, their resolve and their intellect through the induction course at Patterdale. Beyond this, alongside the high level of teacher to student contact that they will experience within small classes, they will have the opportunity to develop their character through the very many sporting, musical and extra-curricular opportunities that are available to them. They will be encouraged to help, assist and coach. They will be encouraged to apply to become prefects in the Upper Sixth Year and truly lead the School and set the tone. And for those day students that want it, there is the additional opportunity of spending some time in boarding and getting a real sense of what university life will be like.
The time that we spend in the Sixth Form is really very important as we look to life after School. We often talk about it as the time where we develop a greater sense of independence and we are no different in doing that at Rishworth other than to have a different definition of independence than many. For us, independence is not doing whatever we want, whenever we want, without being accountable or responsible to anyone. Independence is far more wonderful. It is developing the confidence and the skills to be able to control our own lives and make the decisions that we want to, when we want to make them. It’s about being able to write the narrative of our own lives and future. This we believe, we develop through interaction with others, through the taking on of responsibility and through having our character and resolve challenged. And it is in developing this alongside achieving outstanding academic outcomes that the Sixth Form at Rishworth is considered to be excellent.