Sixth Form at
St Joseph’s College


Enabling plans
and aspirations
for students
aged 16 to 19

A pivotal step towards the adult world, Sixth Form can become a blur of assessments and exams, but don’t let it pass in a flash. Ours is worth enjoying at leisure.

Serious study; serious fun

Progressing from school to the adult world of university and work requires academic and/or vocational qualifications and you will get those here. You will also acquire a broad range of life skills that make the leap a lot less daunting.

By learning to be self-reliant and resourceful, our Sixth Formers take responsibility for their own success, but whilst they are given a greater degree of independence than their younger peers, they are never cut adrift.

Our highly experienced and dedicated staff are on hand to support each young person’s development, achievement and attainment, including the College’s Head of Sixth Form, Heads of Lower and Upper Sixth, Deputy Principal, and our Futures Adviser, whose role is to help students to identify and realise their post-school ambitions.

The community atmosphere of St Jo’s is never stronger than in the Sixth Form, where a supportive team spirit incorporates every student, recent joiners and long-term students alike. In the lofty and stylish Sixth Form Centre, students study and socialise together, working towards future goals as varied as these individuals themselves.

With the guided study of GCSEs behind them, students must assume the self-discipline necessary to succeed at higher levels. They are supported in this by their tutors and subject teachers.

Students are also encouraged to consider undertaking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). This research-based one-year project involves the preparation of a mini-thesis and an academic presentation on any chosen topic. We believe the EPQ provides both a good introduction to university-style research and academic work and the opportunity to stand out on UCAS and job applications.

The minimum academic standard required for entry into the Sixth Form at St Joseph’s is four grade 6 GCSEs for A-level study or five grade 4s for BTEC/CTEC study, including both English and Maths. Our Sixth Form Options booklet describes each subject in detail. A hybrid path of A-levels and vocational qualifications may also be followed.

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Sport is intrinsic to the St Joseph’s College experience for all ages and the school boasts first-class facilities. At Sixth Form, as throughout, we believe in the value of sport for all, for pleasure and for good health.

The majority of our Sixth Formers enjoy competitive sports, with many of our students progressing to county, regional or even national representations in their chosen sports. For a sizable number, this is a period of serious preparation for professional sports careers. This is particularly evident in our four performance sports of rugby, netball, football and cricket and among those students following vocational qualifications in Sport Coaching and Development.

We are partnered with Ipswich Town FC, Ealing Trailfinders, Northampton Saints, and BUCS University Sports, and are one of the two Independent Schools in the country accredited with TASS Dual Career Status.


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In Creative and Performing Arts students explore art and design, textiles, dance, drama and music. Together with opportunities to study for A-levels and/or vocational qualifications, our Sixth Formers can further their interests on a less formal basis at our wide range of clubs.

Concerts and our annual school musical showcase the talent within our student body. We hire a professional theatre and students also cover the backstage and technical roles. Less formal showcases, such as our Summer Arts Festival, allow even the shyest of performers to ‘have a go.’

Students develop their talents alongside professional artists – including our partners at Arts International – and at workshops and masterclasses delivered by visiting speakers. Some of our leavers go on to art colleges, drama and musical theatre schools and university courses, including Music. We aim for them all to take away an appreciation of the creative sphere.

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Before they know it, our Sixth Formers are likely to find themselves at freshers’ fairs deciding whether to join the charity committee, the University Players or the Tolkien Society. Many will have had a flying start thanks to having pursued some of the broad programme of extra-curricular available here.

Our Sixth Formers are busy people but we encourage them to take on more and try something new rather than slog away at their books without respite. Some of the activities are offered to extend academic learning, others develop cultural and sporting interests. There is a chance to volunteer within the College and beyond its gates, to further sporting or cultural interests, and to travel. 

The vibrant Birkfield Speaker programme runs weekly, where professionals from varying industries including Property, NHS, Law, Armed Forces, and Accountancy, are invited to speak about their journey into their chosen careers, stimulate discussion and engage students on different issues and opportunities.

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Whole School
Open Day

Saturday 21 September 2024




Here you will find answers to some of the commonly asked questions about St Joseph’s College Sixth Form. Feel free to browse through the questions to learn more. 

Why St Joseph’s College Sixth Form rather than a Sixth Form College?

Whilst our Sixth Formers have a greater degree of independence than our Senior students, we recognise the value for them of being part of a larger, warm and supportive school community. Our Sixth Formers are given the same level of support as other students, whilst benefiting from additional leadership and travel opportunities. They enjoy small class sizes, consistent and warm relationships with teaching staff they know well, and are well-supported during study periods. Additionally, they benefit from the commercial and higher education experience and wisdom of our Futures Advisor, who will help them with their next steps in the adult world.

What level of pastoral support is offered?

Pastoral care is never more necessary than for Sixth Formers, who are following important pathways toward their careers and who are on the verge of full independence. Support includes  Form Tutors and  Heads of Year, who know individual students well and are always available for guidance. Our Pastoral Support Assistant, Senior Pastoral Manager, team of Designated Safeguarding Leads and Vice Principal Pastoral will step in if asked or required. Quiet spaces for reflection and ‘decompression’ include the Chapel and Wellbeing Hub. There is also a student-led mental health action group, a full-time nurse on campus, and a qualified counsellor.

What can my child study?

Students study a full range of subjects at St Jo’s, including more traditional academic courses for those with their sights on prestigious universities. Others prefer the more portfolio-based options we offer. Or they ‘mix and match and follow a hybrid route’. Overall, we aim to provide a diverse and stimulating curriculum, with a focus on developing well-rounded individuals who are equipped for the future. Humanities, Sciences, Spanish, Fine Art, Business, Engineering and, of course, Sport… See our Sixth Form Subjects and Courses Booklet to appreciate the full range.

What grades do I need to be accepted?

The College is proudly non-academically selective, but for certain subjects, we believe students should have a minimum grade at GCSE in order to proceed to Sixth Form. We welcome all applications and recommend that you talk to our Admissions Team about your child’s results and the pathways options available. For Sciences and Mathematics A-level subjects we require a minimum of grade 6.

GCSE results aren’t what you’d hoped! Will St Jo’s help?

Yes, please call us. If results day hasn’t gone as planned, don’t panic – we understand things can go awry. Our Admissions Team and members of our Senior Leadership Team, will be available to support your family throughout the Summer, and we would encourage you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual circumstances and explore available options. We have a wide range of courses, and we’re here to help you find the best path forward. Remember, you’re not alone, and with our support, your child can still achieve your goals.

Snapshot Morning

Friday 7 June

Get in touch directly :

01473 694576

[email protected]



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