Choosing a college is a big decision. Know what to look for and you will make the right one.
Choosing a sixth form college is a major decision, with lots to consider.
It can be a tricky time for parents and students, who are seeking a college that can provide both academic and pastoral support.
College open days are a really good way to get a feel for what is on offer, to meet staff, and to get a flavour of college life.
At Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College in Leeds, there are 37 A-level and Level 3 BTEC courses available to over 1900 students.
Here, the College Principal Justine Barlow talks about what prospective students and parents who are thinking of attending their open days might ask, and what the college has to offer.
Speak to staff
It might seem like an obvious thing to point out but some people just look around and leave. By talking to the staff at the college you can get a feel for the place and how students will be supported during their study. Notre Dame’s staff are enthusiastic and always go the extra mile to support students.
Attend the principal’s address
This is usually held in the college’s main hall. It’ll give you a great overview of what the college has to offer, its ethos and values, and confirms it is the right fit for the student.
Check which subjects are on offer
Explore a broad range of subjects which will inspire, challenge and bring satisfaction.
Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College enables students to take the traditional academic subjects, but also offers subjects including Classical Civilisation and has a successful football academy. Students are uniquely able to choose a combination of A level and BTEC courses as part of their programme of study.
Find out about results
Check how its students have performed in recent exams.
Notre Dame has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, it’s the top performing sixth form college nationally for EPQ, and exceeded the national pass rate benchmark for A Level this year, with two out of three students achieving an a high grade (B-A*). It also has a 100 per cent BTEC pass rate.
What else does the college offer?
While results are important, college is also about giving students positive experiences, so they emerge as well-rounded adults.
For example, Notre Dame enriches its students’ time by offering everything from mountaineering, The Cambridge Chemistry Challenge competition, learning Korean, trips to China, Peru, Berlin, Italy, Kenya and an annual pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Look to the future
Check how the college prepares students for future careers, so young people have a good vision of where their education can lead them.
At Notre Dame, there’s a study support centre and a dedicated careers department to support students in reaching their goals. Notre Dame also runs a variety of Future Programmes that supports progression into a range of attractive industries and sectors including engineering, teaching and health. There is also an Enhancing Excellence programme that supports students in applying for Oxbridge and Russell group universities as well as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses. In 2018, 7 students accepted places at an Oxbridge university.
Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College is a happy and thriving college which welcomes all faiths. It is holding two open days on Saturday 13th October from 9.30am to 1pm, and Thursday 22nd November from 4.30 to 7.30pm. Everyone who attends will receive a Notre Dame sports watch, imprinted with the hashtag #TimetoAchieve, in a canvas bag, as well as a prospectus and information to take away.
Principal Justine Barlow said: “Our watches symbolise to students and parents that when they come to Notre Dame it is a time to achieve.“Whether that means going to university, or gaining your dream apprenticeship or career, Notre Dame can help make it happen. “We want our students to achieve well academically as well as taking part in our fantastic enrichment activities as we believe in educating the whole person.”
Find out more and book your place at the college open days, by visiting www.notredamecoll.ac.uk.