Thames sixth form for home educated young people
At Thames, we offer full support to those who come to us from home education, online learning or non-traditional settings. Changing schools or going to university can be daunting even when you’re familiar with a typical school environment, even more so when you’re not.
Among the new Sixth Form intake at Thames are a number of individuals who were home educated or had periods of time outside mainstream school. We sat down with Millie, 17, and Anna, 16, to find out how they are settling in.
How have they adjusted to life at Thames Sixth Form?
Millie, who is studying Art, English and Psychology A Levels, says, “I’ve found joining the Sixth Form at Thames a very smooth transition from homeschool. From taking full control of my education, to having the aid of such amazing facilities which are really boosting my imagination. I also appreciate the mental divide of being ‘at home’ and ‘at school.”
Anna is studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths. She says, “I was homeschooled since reception. I had a kind of negative ‘TV programme’ idea of what teachers are like, so I was surprised by how nice everyone is. I have a lot of independence, rather than someone else controlling my work, so we are able to organise our non-contact time in a way that suits us best. The teachers are really kind and helpful.”
Millie says, “We have a lot of control over how we manage our independent study and coursework. Sixth Form at Thames is less like a teacher / student relationship, and more like mentor and mentee. Unlike online school, where you just do what you’re told and get on with it, at Thames we interact with the teachers, there’s a discussion and it’s more personalised.”
Why did they choose Thames Sixth Form?
Anna says she chose Thames because, “To study A Level science you really need the large array of equipment and the in-depth knowledge that the specialist teachers have here. Other places felt like institutions and Thames is smaller and a lot less overwhelming. It’s a calm environment and very supportive.”
“I wanted to study art and I already knew the teachers here,” says Millie. “I knew the art department was going to be exceptional, it’s a brand new building, and Mr Adkins is an incredible teacher. I also have the space to work without worrying about getting paint on my mum’s carpet!”
How does Thames Sixth Form prepare them for life beyond school?
Sixth Form students are encouraged to manage their own workload, embrace their independence and accept responsibility. “Our starting point for co-curricular was to think of everything we wish we’d known at 19,” says Miss Mercy Dennis-Smith, Head of Sixth Form. “Block 6 covers Excel spreadsheets, critical thinking, DIY, first aid, budgeting and how to manage money, cookery, menu and meal planning, alongside UCAS preparation, work experience and plenty of careers advice. Students will be visiting What University? & What Career? at Kensington Olympia in November.”
“It’s a modern take on education,” agrees Millie. “We get together every morning for a meeting which is a nice environment to come into. Being around people teaches you how to socialise which home educators have missed, having not been around people a lot.”
In addition, students have a lot of freedom; “We can come and go as we please,” continues Millie, “but I spend a lot of time in the Sixth Form art studio and I usually work in the study space. It’s very mature, you can really focus and it’s a good environment as there’s no distractions like there are at home. There’s respect and we are treated like adults.”
“Our external students have navigated the transition with maturity and grace,” says Miss Dennis-Smith. “They bring a ‘heads down, it’s not uncool to study’ attitude and the self-motivation from working from home. They have really helped set the academic tone and culture for Sixth Form.”
To find out more about Thames Christian School and our open events, please visit our website www.thameschristianschool.org.uk