Last revised, 3 September 2012. This page is a work in progress and I am happy to accept suggestions for improvement.
I am available to support appeals for sixth form admission, whre appropriate. Feel free to enquire, with full details of your situation, whether I can help you. You should ote that a sxith form appeal cna take up to six school weeks to process.
If GCSE results are not as planned (better, worse, or just different), and you may need to seek a change of direction, the first thing to do is to seek as much independent advice as possible. First port of call will be your school that should have staff who know you available to provide advice on possible steps. However, remember that schools do have an interest in developing the best sixth form possible, so their advice may not be independent. The best schools will have invited in a member of Kent and Medway Connexions, which offers an independent careers service to assist in the process.
All students have a range of options after GCSE, although many do not think of these, being comfortable with staying at the same school. Others are told they may not go on to their home school sixth form, without being told the regulations covering such decisions.
For students for whom A Level is the sensible option, most will have alternative schools that are possibilities. Whether these make sense may depend on such issues as courses provided, grades required to be admitted, the academic standards of the school. Many single sex grammar schools will admit students of the opposite gender into the sixth form. Many students from non-selective schools may benefit from a transfer to grammar school, although their welcome varies according to the ethos of the school.
It is a good idea for all potential A Level students to ask to see the profile of A Level results at the school for each subject they are considering – remember, you are the customer and should carry out research before buying!
Many non selective schools operate successful sixth forms (look at the results to determine which), and many schools are in consortia to extend the range of A Level courses.
Other important options are vocational courses or the local College of Further (and Higher) Education, which will also offer opportunities to make up for important subjects which have not been gained first time round. College Foundation courses are often suitable for students with limited success at school.
I do not consider myself qualified to comment on such courses, but I recommend you contact Kent Connexions (in both Kent & Medway), who will offer independent advice on alternatives. You will find details on their website, not immediately obvious but in the section entitled “exam results”. Remember, schools may have their own agenda when offering advice: - do they want to attract, put off, the student; do they have sufficient numbers to run the relevant course; will recommendations be influenced by their need to perform in league tables, etc. You can also try The Advisory Centre for Education (Ace), which runs a helpline providing independent advice for parents and carers.
You will find Regulations for Sixth Form Admissions in sections 2.6 and others in the School Admissions Code 2012; you will find a link here. Admission Authorities for schools can set their own entry requirements such as GCSE Grades, which will be the same both for internal or external applicants. They must also publish oversubscription criteria, although students who are already in the school who achieve the entry requirements will automatically qualify for a place without need for an application. Entry MUST NOT be dependent on attendance, behaviour record, or perceptions of attitude or motivation (including effort put in). Where the school has not admitted up to its published admission number it cannot refuse to admit applicants who have met the minimum entry requirements for the school even if a chosen course is full. In the latter case, the school must offer a place whilst offering alternative course options.
Students or their parents have the right to appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel against a decision not to offer a place in a school sixth form. The big drawback is that the Admission Authority has up to forty school days in which to arrange an appeal hearing after the appeal is lodged. Clients of mine have been successful in several such appeals where it is clear the school has acted unreasonably.