Welcome to the Sixth Form
Welcome to the sixth form
Welcome to the Sixth Form at Bedford Modern School. By choosing to join us, students have elected to enter an important phase of their education and of their personal development. Preparing students for A Levels is our focus but we do not believe that a successful Sixth Form should stop at this.
In essence, the Sixth Form here at BMS has been designed to act as a route to university, the world of work or training. The Rutherford Building has been built with this aim in mind. We encourage our students, as Sixth Formers, to accept both the rights and responsibilities of being a young adult.
The main purpose of this page is to outline the expectations and day-to-day routines that make up the life of our Sixth Form. It also explains the ways in which students’ growing independence is recognised.
Greater freedom and independence are the main differences between the Senior School and the Sixth Form. Responsibilities also change and much more is now expected of students, not only as senior members of the school community but also as adults with certain legal rights. We hope that students have an enjoyable and rewarding time with us.
To help you familiarise yourself with the School site, an interactive map can be viewed here.
We provide students with a pack of study on Move Up Day; this will also be available on Microsoft Teams. This must be completed and handed in by the start of term. It is likely to be approximately four hours per subject, the content of which will be decided by the respective subject teachers. The work set will be self-guided in nature with clear parameters on what is expected. This reflects the more independent nature of Sixth Form study. Staff will ensure that students know when they can make contact with them if they have any questions about the work set.
Autumn Term 2023
Wednesday 06 September to Friday 15 December*
Half term: 2 weeks commencing Monday 23 October
Spring Term 2024
Tuesday 09 January to Thursday 28 March*
Half term: 1 week commencing Monday 19 February
Summer Term 2024
Tuesday 23 April to Friday 12 July*
Half term: 1 week commencing Monday 27 May
*the last day of each term finishes at 12 noon
Term dates can always be found on the website here.
All Parents’ Evenings are held online unless you are notified otherwise. In the Sixth Form, students make appointments with their subject teachers on an individual basis. Evenings normally start at 5.00pm but, where mutually convenient, students may make appointments prior to this. Last appointments should finish by 8.00pm.
Who's Who in the Sixth Form
John White – Director of Sixth Form
Stuart Baker – Assistant Head of Sixth Form
Sheena Boa – Senior Tutor
Johanna Kilbey – Senior Tutor
Anna Smith – Senior Tutor
Richard Smith – Higher Education and UCAS Officer
Director of Sixth Form
The Sixth Form Management Team is led by the Director of Sixth Form who is responsible for strategic planning, personnel management and development of the Sixth Form. The Director of Sixth Form is also responsible for serious pastoral, academic or disciplinary matters.
The Senior Tutor
There are four Senior Tutors each responsible for six tutors who are charged with the day-to-day operational running of the Sixth Form. The Senior Tutor reports to the Director of Sixth Form and is accountable for all those for whom s/he is responsible, both students and tutors. Each Senior Tutor is responsible for the effective management and monitoring of the academic and pastoral welfare of his/her cluster including:
- Management and leadership of the students and tutors in their cluster to ensure students’ academic aspirations and personal development are fully realised.
- Acting as a mentor to tutors when assisting with more serious pastoral concerns.
- Acting as a mentor and guide to those students within their cluster who are struggling either academically, personally or socially.
We have a team of 24 Sixth Form tutors who work with students on a daily basis. The traditional model of tutoring from the Senior School remains at the heart of the Sixth Form with tutors monitoring pastoral and academic issues. Parents are encouraged to make contact with tutors if they have any issues concerning their sons or daughters. This is best done by email and addresses can be found on the website here. The Sixth Form is supported by a Higher Education Officer and dedicated administration support. There are also two Learning Advisors who manage the Sixth Form Learning Centre and provide additional mentoring support for students in both Year 12 and Year 13.
PA to the Sixth Form
Lynne McBride email@example.com
Sixth Form Transition Co-ordinator and UCAS Assistant
Dawn Costello firstname.lastname@example.org
To report an absence or late arrival in the Sixth Form, please use the ‘Report an Absence’ function in My School Portal.
Contacting the School
Main School Reception: 01234 332500
General email: email@example.com
We aim to provide an environment of educational excellence in which all Sixth Formers should:
- be able to recognise and achieve their potential in all areas
- recognise the important role and contribution that they make as individuals to the School and wider community, by being prepared and equipped to exercise roles of responsibility
- foster attitudes of respect, compassion and understanding and hence develop their emotional intelligence
- make full use of the opportunities given to them to help develop the skills of independent learning
- be encouraged to develop their intellectual curiosity in preparation for lifelong learning
- be encouraged to develop a vision of their future and to accept the responsibility for planning and achieving their goals within a supportive and structured framework.
Our Statement of Student Care
At all times we try to:
- recognise and celebrate achievement
- give students the respect appropriate to their age and standing in the School
- listen to and appreciate students’ points of view
- provide a supportive and caring environment
- resolve disputes in a fair and equitable manner
- identify and support the needs of the individual
- recognise and accommodate for the varying pace of behavioural development.
Sixth Form Expectations
Please note that the Sixth Form Expectations are subject to change
The following expectations were created by Sixth Formers for Sixth Formers.
As Sixth Formers we are senior members of a caring community and have a right to express our feelings and views freely within reasonable boundaries. As senior members of the school community we expect to be treated and trusted appropriately according to the level of maturity, behaviour and respect that we demonstrate. Our collective differences: race, religion, gender and sexuality should be respected; we should be treated, and treat each other, as equals. As Sixth Formers we should be allowed freedom of movement on and off site if we have completed our timetabled commitments and have proved that we are capable of managing our own time and studies effectively. We also have the right to security and freedom from intimidation, both physical and verbal, whilst at school.
To ourselves: Our prime responsibility is to look after ourselves and each other as members of a caring community. This means trying to stay safe and healthy and acting in a manner that is appropriate to our position and status in the School. We also have a responsibility to represent Bedford Modern School on and off site. It is our responsibility as Sixth Formers to be open and honest about our academic progress and to seek out help and support when we need it. The Sixth Form is a voluntary stage in our education as we have all chosen to be here; it is our responsibility to work hard and make the most of the opportunities available to us.
To others: It is our responsibility to ensure that we do not infringe the rights of any other member of the Sixth Form. It is our responsibility to act in a fashion that does not disturb and disrupt the learning of other students in the Sixth Form; we should respect others’ safety and enjoyment of the facilities on offer. It is our joint responsibility to ensure a pleasant, tidy environment where all students can relax. As senior members of the school community we all have a responsibility to set a positive example to the younger members of the school community through behaviour and demeanour. We must help and support our fellow students and peers.
To the School: We should involve ourselves fully in the life of the School so that we and the wider school community benefit from our enthusiasm and participation in events and activities. We also have a responsibility to ensure that we do not bring the good name of the School into disrepute through our actions or behaviour. It is our responsibility to the School to respect the property, buildings and environment so that all members of the school community; both current and future generations, can enjoy it.
Timings of the School Day
School (including the Rutherford Building) opens at 8.00am (breakfast club from 7:30am) and closes at 5.30pm. Students should report to their form rooms promptly for morning registration. Electronic registration then continues throughout the day in every lesson.
Registration: 8.40 – 8.48am
Period 1: 8.50 – 9.40am
Period 2: 9.40 – 10.35am
Tutor/assembly: 10.35 – 11.15am
Period 3: 11.20 – 12.10pm
Period 4: 12.10 – 1.05pm
Lunch: 1.05 – 2.15pm
Period 5: 2.20 – 3.10pm
Period 6: 3.10 – 4.00pm
The Study Centre in the Wilden Room is available for private study, twilight study and mentoring until 5.30pm Monday – Thursday and 4.45pm on Fridays.
Please note that dress code is subject to change
At BMS we believe that School uniform is important for the following reasons:
- It brings uniformity and equality among students
- It fosters a sense of community
- It helps create a positive learning environment
- It encourages a sense of pride in appearance
- It supports health and safety.
It is expected that all members of the school community, i.e. students, parents and staff, will work together to uphold the highest standards of uniform recognising it plays an important part in the whole school ethos.
- To lay out our approach to how the uniform should be worn, what is not acceptable and the implications if the policy is not followed
- To support all members of the school community in upholding expected standards of dress
- To ensure that inclusion, diversity and equality are at the heart of our policy and that, where necessary, reasonable variations can be made to support the rights of individuals with protected characteristics
- To ensure that in establishing a policy we do not discriminate unlawfully and are mindful of the risks of indirect discrimination, particularly with regard to religion and belief.
This policy has been created in consultation with the students and staff at BMS.
In recognition of the Sixth Form students’ growing maturity and independence, our dress code is based upon business principles. We believe that a business dress code will promote fairness and equality for all in the Sixth Form as well as providing them with a more adult image. Additionally, we believe the dress code strikes a balance between some degree of individuality whilst recognising the importance of setting an example to the younger members of the school community.
- A plain style/check smart business suit jacket with matching suit trousers, suit skirt or suit or co-ordinated dress with jacket. No very bright colours, leggings, jeans or chinos
- A smart business shirt and tie, or blouse with collar
- Skirts and dresses should be uniform in length (5cm above or below the knee) and may be fitted but not stretch material (such as bodycon) or anything considered to be partywear
- A plain knitted jumper or cardigan under the jacket (no longer than the jacket) can be worn in the winter months and should be a plain style
- Smart black/brown business shoes. Due to the nature of our site and for safety reasons, high heels and stilettos are not permitted. Any heels should be no more than 3cm in height and toes should be covered. Trainers are not permitted.
A plain dark waterproof coat (colouring for road safety is permitted) can be worn over the blazer on the way to and from school. Coats should not be worn in school during the day.
Hair and Makeup
Hair should be natural in colour and as a rule cuts should ensure hair is of a consistent length with no obvious differences. No tramlines or patterns should be shaved into hair or eyebrows and students should be clean shaven. Brightly coloured dyed hair is not permitted.
If parents are unsure if a particular hairstyle will be permitted, contact should be made with the school prior to restyling taking place. Long hair will need to be tied back for practical lessons.
Make up, if worn, should be applied subtly without extreme colour. Nails should be kept at an appropriate length. Nail varnish is permitted. False nails are not permitted for health and safety reasons.
- A watch
- No more than three small stud earrings in each ear
- One simple necklace and bracelet
- No more than one plain ring on each hand
- All other piercings, including stretchers and plastic retainers are not permitted on health and safety grounds.
We would advise that all valuable items and/or those with sentimental value are left at home. Permitted items must be removed for Games.
Religious headwear should be no longer than shoulder length and should be of a plain colour. Requests for other religious dress not covered in this policy should be made to the Director of Sixth Form.
Where a student’s uniform does not conform with this policy, they may be asked to remove the item(s) concerned and they should comply with this reasonable request. Items which do not form part of the school’s uniform policy will be confiscated and placed at main reception for collection. The school cannot be held responsible for confiscated items.
Where a student is non-compliant, the situation will be managed in line with the School Behaviour Policy and one or more of the following sanctions may be used:
- Parents/carers contacted and if required the student may be sent home to adapt their appearance or asked to bring the appropriate items into school
- If students forget an item of uniform, they will be supplied with items of loan uniform to wear for the day
- For persistent non-compliance, the Behaviour Policy will be applied.
Sport at BMS
Students have no Physical Education lessons in the Sixth Form, instead they participate in a weekly games afternoon which is compulsory for Year 12 and Year 13 students. In recent years the School has offered a variety of sports dependent on the term and numbers.
For further details on sport at Bedford Modern School, please click here.
A list showing the sportswear requirements for 2023-24 can be downloaded here.
All sportswear is available to purchase from No Limitz which is situated at 25 Shuttleworth Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, just off Goldington Road, Bedford MK41 0HS (opposite Waitrose). The store’s opening hours are 10am until 6pm during the week and 9am until 5.30pm on Saturdays with free parking available.
No Limitz provides a streamlined and convenient service and includes the facility to try on and purchase the same day, click and collect from the store during opening hours or from school on two set days per week as well as home delivery. There is also a fitting service in place for new students, please see below for more details.
No Limitz is a leading sports equipment retailer offering a huge range of footwear, equipment and clothing for all major sports, and caters for all levels of ability from beginner to aspiring professional. As a BMS parent you are also entitled to an elevated level of loyalty equating to 10% cash back on all non-uniform purchases so please be sure to claim this when in store.
Nearly New Uniform Shop
The Parents’ Association run a Nearly New Uniform Shop during term time. This is situated in the school quads and supplies items of current school uniform. For further information please click here.
The Co-Curricular clubs and activities that are on offer at BMS are many and varied, ranging from sport to craft, through to music and academic reinforcement. Each member of staff offers at least one club on a weekly basis and these occur on a fixed day of the week. Further details can be found here.
Specific School Rules
Please note that school rules are subject to change
Students are expected to maintain a high standard of conduct and of consideration for others both in and out of school.
Students are required to wear business attire and, in outlook and personal appearance, to bring credit to the School at all times. Teams and parties representing the School both at home and away, on weekdays and on Saturdays will wear business attire.
No student may interfere with the property belonging to others. Borrowing without permission is regarded as stealing, which is never acceptable and is liable to the severest of punishments, which may include exclusion.
Mobile phones and other electronic items
Valuable items should not be brought into school. Personal electronic devices should only be used outside of the school premises. If any of these devices are brought into school, the School accepts no responsibility for loss or theft.
Mobile phones or similar devices are not allowed in the Refectory at lunchtime, in the corridors or when walking around the school site.
No-one should walk around the School wearing headphones; they may only be worn in school when express permission has been given by a member of staff.
Leaving the School site
Sixth Form students may leave the school grounds at lunchtime without obtaining leave from their Senior Tutor on each occasion. However, they must sign out, either by text or in person, and sign or text in when they return. Year 12 students are afforded this privilege only once we reach October half term and we are satisfied that they have acclimatised to A Level study.
Possession or use of illegal drugs is considered a very serious offence and renders the possessor liable to exclusion. The BMS Drugs Policy can be found here.
It is an offence to smoke on school premises or in public during school hours, when in school uniform or when engaged in any school activity. Eating in classrooms or corridors is forbidden. Food can only be consumed in areas designated for this purpose (e.g. School Refectory and Sixth Form Café). No food, drink or chewing gum may be consumed in the Oakley Room.
Plain water may be drunk by students during lessons, with the permission of the member of staff, provided that there are no Health and Safety implications (e.g. in the proximity of electrical supplies). No drinks are permitted in the Wilden Room. Any damage or breakages must be reported at once to the Director of Operations. Damage due to misbehaviour or negligence will have to be paid for at the students’ expense. All students have a right of appeal to the Headmaster and should feel free to consult him if they have any special problems.
Sixth Form Leave of Absence
In the Sixth Form, leave of absence should be obtained from the Senior Tutor in advance. Sixth Formers are expected to organise appointments outside of the school day, as far as possible. Parents should write formally to the Headmaster if more than one day’s leave is requested. We actively encourage Year 12 and Year 13 students to make visits to universities, but these are restricted to a maximum of three in the Summer Term of Year 12 and three in the Autumn Term of Year 13. Again, leave of absence for these should be obtained from a Senior Tutor.
Monitoring Academic Progress
When students arrive with us in the Sixth Form they are taking a very different step into a new academic challenge. GCSEs will have given them some foundations in the subjects they are about to study but the step up to A Level is significant. To help us to monitor a student’s progress, staff in the Sixth Form team use a variety of tools in partnership with the CEM Centre at Durham University.
Since the 1980s, Durham University’s A Level Information System (ALIS) has been collating data on the relationship between GCSE performance and A Level outcomes. The CEM Centre at Durham is responsible for organising the ALIS project and now has more than 2000 schools involved. In total they process more than a million examination entries which is a statistically significant pool from which to draw conclusions.
The CEM Centre provides us with all of our ‘value added’ data which we then use to help teachers and Heads of Subject to set each student an individual minimum target in each subject. Throughout the remainder of the academic year we then monitor progress against this minimum target grade providing additional support as and when necessary.
Monitoring Academic Progress FAQs
Why use targets? Targets help us to identify the progress students are making compared to where a student with a similar academic profile would normally be. How do you set targets? Each department uses three pieces of information to help set a subject target. Firstly, the CEM Centre gives us predicted A Level grades based upon the overall GCSE score. Secondly, they provide us with information from the Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) that students sit on their induction day; this helps us to identify under and overachievement at GCSE. Finally, the teacher and Head of Subject discuss the data, current progress during the first half of term and any other prior knowledge from past reports or progress in the subject.
What if I fall below my target? From time to time everyone might slip back below their target; this could be because the work is getting harder or because students need to pay more attention to a certain aspect of the work they are studying. For some students, home life and social factors may also cause problems. We will then aim to help students by putting a package of support in place (individual learning plans). It is important to remember that targets can be beaten and we will encourage students to do so. The target really represents the most likely outcome based upon the information we have. Each year many students will do significantly better than the target they are set; usually these are the most committed and well-organised students. Sadly, each year a small number are disappointed and don’t reach the target for a variety of reasons.
I got a 7 at GCSE so why is my target grade a C? There is no statistical correlation between GCSE performance in a single subject and A Level. All of the correlations are between overall GCSE performance; the more 7 or 8s a student has, for example, the more likely the target grade will go up.
When we monitor and how we help
During the course of a student’s time in the Sixth Form their academic progress is monitored in the classroom by teachers in the normal ways. During the course of the academic year each teacher submits current attainment and effort data on a regular basis so that we can monitor performance against agreed individual targets. We see communication with parents, whether at a consultation evening or via regular academic updates, as crucial to the success of our students. Senior Tutors and Tutors are responsible for monitoring overall academic performance and will discuss worries and concerns with students at regular points. Academic reporting via interim reports and parents’ evenings underpin our half termly updates to parents, thus enabling us to identify concerns early so that we can put a programme of support in place to help students.
These are some of the many ways in which we help students to deal with the problems they are facing:
Twilight Study: Our study centre is staffed and open until 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and until 4.45pm on a Friday when students can be supported or may simply require a quiet place to work.
Sixth Form Learning Advisors: We have two Sixth Form Learning Advisors whose job is to help support students in the transition from GCSE to A Level and throughout their Sixth Form experience. They run our Study Centre where students spend their private study periods and run extended study sessions focused on helping students to develop good study habits. They are a critical component of the Sixth Form team. Building a tailored revision plan, getting advice on time management or simply spending some time receiving help with organisation may be all that is needed.
Departments: All academic departments offer ad hoc support during lunchtime and/or after school on an individual basis.
Individual Learning Plans
What happens if all of this doesn’t work and I still have problems? Firstly don’t panic! All students in the transition from GCSE to A Level face difficulties at some point or another. If students are really finding it difficult to improve their performance be it from a D to a B or a C to an A then being referred on to an individual learning plan may be the right step.
What is an Individual Learning Plan? Our Learning Advisors run a number of sessions to help those students who are finding the transition from GCSE or indeed the rigour of A Level study a challenge. For these students additional support/guidance/subject-specific help will be built into a format to enable them to work through the issues faced. A weekly 1:1 meeting with a Learning Advisor to ensure that a student is keeping abreast of the workload and meeting academic commitments as well as offering ideas and strategies for successful study can make all the difference. Twilight study sessions run after school between 4pm and 5.30pm and include subject specialists for 1:1 advice, which adds a further dimension to the learning plan. Meetings can be discontinued once students are coping with their workload and feel more confident.
Freedom of Movement
As recognition of students’ growing maturity and independence in the Sixth Form they are allowed to come and go off site as they please subject to the following restrictions:
- All students must attend morning registration at 8.40am
- All students must attend all of their timetabled commitments including tutorial and assemblies and the Sixth Form enrichment and activities programme
- All students must either sign out in the Sixth Form office when they leave the site, or they can ‘text out’ (07467 373090)
- Students must also sign in when they return or ‘text in’
- Students who absent themselves from lessons will be dealt with severely and will be expected to make the time up on the first available evening.
Bedford Modern School accepts no responsibility whatsoever for students’ welfare and safety once they choose to leave the site of their own free will. Parents who do not want their son or daughter to leave the site during the day must write to the Director of Sixth Form.
Students may access some of the School’s facilities during the course of the school day. In particular students may use the sports facilities with the exception of the school pool. However, students must:
- Abide by the Sports Department’s policies as interpreted by the Director of Sport
- Have completed an induction session before they may use the weights and fitness rooms
- Use the facilities in pairs – students are not permitted to use any of the facilities by themselves for health and safety reasons
- Report to the designated member of the Sports Department to confirm that they are present and using the facilities.
Sixth Formers are not supervised during the times when they are using the facilities or equipment. Parents who do not want their son or daughter to have access to the sports facilities must write to inform the Director of Sixth Form.
University Applications and Advice
Rights and Responsibilities
As members of the Sixth Form, students are entitled to receive advice and guidance from the Sixth Form team about university applications. However, the choice and final decisions on destination and level of offer are the responsibility of each student. At Bedford Modern School we have a very experienced team helping students to complete their applications. We work together with both parents and students to guide them through the process so that the student can make the right choice. There is a wide range of resources that students can take advantage of and these are detailed below.
This is an online resource that students will start to use in Year 12. It is effectively a ‘one stop shop’ where students can explore their interests and identify the next steps after school. These can include applying to university, apprenticeships, employment or study abroad. Unifrog will provide both a search engine and application platform for the student to explore the various pathways open to them.
This is the application system for entry into UK university courses. Students will register on the system in the second half of the Summer Term in Year 12. We will support and guide students through the process to help them make the right choices. We would recommend that parents visit the UCAS website’s guide for parents which can be found here.
We also recommend that you see the Parents’ Guide for more in depth information. This is updated every year and when your son or daughter starts to think about UCAS in a year from now we will give you the up-to-date version. However, if you want to download a copy you can find it here.
Student Finance, Loans and Maintenance Awards are the sole responsibility of students and their parents. Forms and information on Higher Education Finance can be found at Student Finance England or on their website here.
Open Days – students are entitled to attend open days and participate in taster courses to help them make their decisions:
Year 12 Autumn Term – Vetsix and Medlink courses only November/ December.
Year 12 Summer Term – Three open days in the second half of the Summer Term.
Year 13 Autumn Term – A maximum of three open days.
Year 13 Spring Term – Only interviews and visits to a candidate’s firm or insurance offer are allowed.
All students must complete the open day/taster day application form which can be obtained from the Sixth Form office. Students must get permission from all staff whose lessons they will miss. Increasingly universities are offering open days at weekends and also virtual open days which allow students to visit a greater range of institutions without missing lesson time.
It is the student’s responsibility to meet the deadlines which are set by UCAS and the School. Final decisions on courses and institutions remain the student’s, not the School’s.
Applications to Oxford and Cambridge
The school has a specific programme of support for those students wishing to apply to study at either institution of which students are encouraged to take advantage. Both universities have an early application deadline that students must meet and it is a student’s responsibility to ensure that they are entered for any relevant entrance exams.
Applications for Medicine / Dentistry / Veterinary Science
The school has a specific programme of support for those students wishing to pursue careers in the above. An early application deadline applies which students must meet and it is a student’s responsibility to ensure that they are entered for any relevant entrance exams.
UCAS Timeline for Sixth Form
The timeline here is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all the deadlines but to illustrate some of the key activities that will take place during a student’s time in the Sixth Form and the application process.
Apprenticeships, Work and Gap Year Opportunities
The school supports students who wish to apply for a Higher Level Apprenticeship, work placement or gap year opportunity in much the same way as we do with UCAS. Advice on pathways, compilation of applications, mock interviews and decision making are all catered for but in essence individual students are treated as such and we respond as the student requires.