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Choosing an Independent Sixth Form FAQ

Posted: 6th August 2014

Deciding on where to study your A-Levels is a big step. Choosing an institution that is right for you will have an enormous impact on the success of you or failure of your A Levels and consequently on your future.

Read our FAQ to help determine the Sixth Form College that’s right for you.

What’s the difference between an Independent Sixth Form College and a school Sixth Form provider?

A Sixth Form College offers a different learning environment and typically offers a wider variety of subjects and greater flexibility in subject combinations than traditional Sixth Form schools.
In a Sixth Form College you’ll find your time to be more your own. More emphasis is given to you as a student to take responsibility and manage your time.

Some other major differences are:
No dress code
A variety of students of all ages, backgrounds and interests
Personal academic tutors to help you with study problems
a more informal atmosphere

Why choose a Sixth Form College?

Besides having more variety and flexibility in classes, according to a study by the National Audit Office in 2011, students in Sixth Form Colleges recorded higher attainment in Level 3 courses than those in school or general further education colleges.
In addition, at qualification Levels 1 through to 3, Sixth Form Colleges had higher success rates than general further education colleges (84% compared to 78%).

How do I compare Sixth Form Colleges?

Now that you’ve decided on a Sixth Form College how do you compare them?


A good place to start when comparing College’s is their inspection reports. Sixth Form Colleges are regularly inspected both by Oftsed and the Independent School Inspectorate. Both unbiased reports are for the benefit of pupils and seek to improve the quality and effectiveness of their education.

Some highlights from Brampton’s latest Ofted and ISI reports include:

  • Students make exceptionally rapid progress academically. They achieve their examination goals with resounding success.
  • Students’ highly positive attitudes enable them to profit greatly from the excellent teaching that is provided across a wide range of subjects.
  • The academic curriculum is excellent and is a major strength of the college.
  • Students of all backgrounds and abilities present themselves as alert, attentive and keen to do well. They take a great pride in all that they do. They gladly support and encourage one another.
  • Students receive excellent guidance regarding university admission. They are carefully and skilfully advised about appropriate courses and universities.

Academic Environment

The environment of your school of choice can make a significant impact on your studies.
At Brampton College has been helping students to meet their academic aims for many years. Although an informal and relaxed atmosphere, at Brampton College a strong emphasis is still put on our academics and as such our students have achieved extremely high success rates academically speaking. Our classes are on average no more than 7 pupils which allows for more one-on-one time with teachers.

At Brampton College you can expect:
  • Close academic supervision – Teachers, Heads of Departments and Personal Tutors closely monitor students’ progress in order to guide them in the most effective way
  • Regular examination practice – weekly or fortnightly tests outside lesson time ensures students build their confidence in exam techniques and working under timed conditions


One of the first things you will notice at a Sixth Form College is that the range of courses is much wider. But not all colleges offer the same ‘mix’ of subjects so it’s very important to compare these carefully.

At Brampton College we offer a wide range of subjects in Mathematics, Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences.

As a Sixth Form College, we are able to offer considerable flexibility in choosing courses according to individual circumstances. In some cases a mixture of courses may well be the most suitable: for example, re-taking GCSEs and at the same time starting a two year A level course.

Career Advice / Guidance

One of the most important aspects you should be looking for when choosing a Sixth Form College is the career advice and guidance that they offer.
At Brampton College a close relationship with personal tutors and subject specialists ensures that every student is given the academic and pastoral support appropriate to his or her needs.

At Brampton College you’ll get:

  • Guidance on University applications
  • Information and guidance on Admissions Tutors
  • On-going monitoring of all applications from initial research to post A Level debriefing
  • Support for arrangement of work experience, volunteer opportunities and gap year placements
  • Advice on AS and A2 subject choices

What are the admissions procedures?

All reputable colleges will expect you to visit for an interview. Interviews are not meant to be stressful, but provide the best way for the college to find out what you’ve done, what your hopes are, and to work out with you the best pattern of courses.
At Brampton College, prospective students are invited to meet with either the Principal or one of the Vice Principals. This provides an opportunity to visit the College and meet some of the teachers. You will be shown around by one of our current students.
Students are assessed on an individual basis. Successful applicants are offered a place and become enrolled in the College upon receipt of a completed enrolment form.

What if I’m an International Student?

Places for International Students are always in demand. But don’t let that deter you if you’re from abroad.
At Brampton College approximately 10% of students joining each year are from all around the world. Our international students have gone on to degree courses at Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial College, University College London (UCL) and the London School of Economics (LSE).
At Brampton College we offer extra support to our International Students ensuring their success. Click here to download our brochure and learn more.

Why choose Brampton College?

Brampton College has been helping students to achieve their academic aims since 1989. And as our latest inspection report shows, we continue to maintain this tradition of excellence.
Brampton offers expert teaching in an environment which is friendly, supportive and encouraging. Our record of A level results speaks for itself, and many of our students achieve places on the most competitive university courses.
Classes at Brampton are small; our teachers are experienced A level specialists. The atmosphere is informal, but with a high level of academic discipline. We have a very careful monitoring system and give regular examination practice.
We pride ourselves on the high level of care we offer to each student in the pursuit of their individual academic goals. Students come to Brampton because they want to succeed, and we are proud of our record of helping them to do so.
But don’t just take our word for it. Visit our College Life section and read what some of our students have had to say themselves.

Still need advice?

If you’re still undecided where to study your A-Levels, please contact Pam Glenville, our Admissions Secretary, who’ll be more than happy to answer any of your questions or arrange for an interview. Pam can be contacted on 020 8203 5025 or by e-mail at
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