In recent years the Trinity Sixth Form Centre has become established as one of the finest not only in the City of Nottingham and the County of Nottinghamshire but also throughout the north of England, regularly appearing in newspaper performance tables as a high performing comprehensive. It is a centre of opportunity and achievement, which is distinguished by the care given to students and the extraordinary commitment of its teachers. The academic results achieved have been outstanding and out-perform many prestigious selective and independent schools. The Sixth Form is alive with enthusiasm, energy and purposefulness, which make it a stimulating and lively place for young people to develop.
At Trinity we recognise that between the ages of 16 and 18 students progress to become independent learners and mature citizens. Important first steps are taken towards further study at University, professional training or employment and we aim to create an atmosphere where these can take place successfully. The Sixth Form is a popular choice with students from local 11-16 schools (including comprehensive and independent) and a high percentage of Trinity Year 11 pupils choose to stay on in our Sixth Form. In particular, the special relationship which exists between teachers and students, alongside the support of parents, makes Trinity different.
The Sixth Form Centre is housed in the ‘Ian Brown Building’, a self-contained unit on the Upper School site opened by his Lordship Bishop McGuinness. It was newly built with 8 classrooms and a common room after a fire in 1994 with the help of parents and students and all those who supported our Phoenix fund. It has since had a number of extensions to its present capacity of 20 classrooms and work areas, mainly on the first floor above an extended common room area.
It contains purpose built Science laboratories, teaching rooms, tutorial rooms, study room areas and ICT rooms. A number of rooms have interactive boards and all have data projection systems.
The student common room enjoyed a major refurbishment in the summer of 2015 and has a dedicated work area, a bistro section where students can have hot drinks and snacks and a comfortable sofa section. The common room also overlooks the school fields and has separate Sixth Form parking provision. There is direct access to the school canteen and a designated dining area specifically for sixth formers and the upper school facilities such as the library and dance studio. There is also easy access to the Lower school building where some subjects are taught including Art, Design and Music. The arrangement of the building allows students an “insight to University life”.
Students in the Sixth Form are taught by well qualified and committed teachers determined to enable students to reach their full academic potential. Students receive five hours tuition in each of four AS subjects during Year 12 and then three A2 subjects
during Year 13. Occasionally students follow four subjects to A2. In most cases teaching is provided by more than one teacher, enabling staff and students to draw on different areas of expertise, most valuable in A-Level studies. We aim for small teaching groups to a maximum of fifteen, enhancing teacher-student contact.
In many subjects revision workshops and additional tutorial hours are given by teachers as examinations approach. Countless hours before and after school, during breaks and at lunchtime are provided by teachers to assist Sixth Form students. The building is often opened in the evening and during holidays for revision during the critical period before exams. Feedback from students leaving the Sixth Form testifies to their satisfaction with the time spent here and focuses on their appreciation of the commitment of their teachers, primarily in teaching but also in the help and support they get and all the activities which are going on.
Significantly, the majority of year 11 Trinity pupils move naturally into the Sixth Form to remain in the care of teachers they have known and trusted, and who have helped them fulfil their GCSE potential.
An important aspect of life in the Sixth Form is the Tutorial System, through which we encourage and develop our students, aiming to ensure that they make the most of their time in both academic and personal terms.
Each student is allocated to a tutor group for two years. This group of is a mix of Year 12 and 13 students, easing the integration of new students and providing a reliable base where they can share their learning and their other sixth form experiences.
The group’s Personal Tutor oversees academic work, provides guidance on study, assists with problems which arise and advises on applications for University or professional training opportunities. Tutors have developed expertise in helping their youngsters achieve career ambitions, through support, advice and a very personal and individual time commitment. There are regular timetabled interviews between students and staff to review progress and these strong relationships foster purposeful development.
In addition we run two induction days during the summer term, usually in early July for all those joining the Sixth Form after the GCSE exams whereby new students will sample some post 16 lessons and have a pastoral tutorial with one of the experienced sixth form tutors. On these induction days Trinity students operate a ‘buddy system’ to ensure newcomers are welcomed and settled.
As Trinity is such a successful centre there is inevitably pressure for places. As a Voluntary Aided school it is sponsored by the Catholic Church to provide for Catholic young people. Where space permits admission may be open to Christian young people who have a realistic chance of satisfactorily completing the course for A-Level.
The admissions criteria is outlined in our school prospectus, but in essence students need to have achieved at least 5A*-C GCSE grades, including both English Language and Mathematics at the new grade of 4. Individual entry requirements for each subject are also in the prospectus, but most subjects require students to have achieved at least a grade B to study this at A level although each applicant is considered individually and our aim is to ensure that each student has the appropriate pathway from a wide range of available courses.
In the Trinity Sixth Form a wealth of expertise is available to the students. Not only are our own staff and personal tutors available, but a range of visitors contribute to the advice and guidance.
- Specialist advice from the Connexions post 16 careers advisors
- Speakers from Higher Education institutions and the professions
- Ex-students now successful in their own right
- Organisers of gap year opportunities
- Widening participation and Aim Higher projects
A variety of trips and visits to universities and exhibitions both general and subject specific is arranged by staff and our interview scheme has received much praise. During these regular personal interview sessions students can discuss their progress individually with staff.
The success of the Trinity Sixth Form is based upon sound religious values and the belief that 16 year olds do not become adults overnight and that they still need care and supervision as well as encouragement and good teaching. We provide this in an adult way within the warm, creative and yet demanding atmosphere of our Sixth Form.
We seek to encourage students to grow in a caring Christian environment in which their faith can be developed. Charity and voluntary work are integral to the life of the students. Assemblies are linked to post 16 pastoral curriculum with a programme of visits by the clergy and other speakers as well as the discussion of religious and topical issues with students. Parish priests are invited in to say masses and regular liturgical events are organised by staff and students for the participation of all. Students are able to benefit from a retreat at the Briars, the diocesan youth centre, each year. These support our aims in the development of Christian young people who will serve their community.