MCA6 is a unique Sixth Form environment; situated a mile from the main school site, our post 16 students have the space to develop into independent young adults as well as the security and support expected from a traditional setup. Whilst, as the new Director of Sixth Form, I am probably biased the students agree that the freedom at MCA6 was a factor in their decision to study with us. Freya, a Year 13 student, said “I chose MCA6 because of the independence it gave me” whilst Sam, another Year 13 student, highlighted the academic nature of a post-16 only site saying “MCA6 is a quiet environment where you can work”.
I joined MCA6 in September 2016, having taught in Bedfordshire for the last eleven years. As an advocate for personalised post 16 education, I was drawn to MCA6 because of the wide range of subjects on offer to the subjects. Whilst many students study a combination of the traditional A level options, others combine A levels with vocational options and a few opt for a purely vocational pathway studying courses such as BTEC level 3 Sport Science, BTEC level 3 Art and Design, BTEC level 3 ICT, BTEC level 3 Business Studies, and BTEC level 3 Health and Social Care. Those students who choose to combine courses can select from an extensive list which includes subjects such as Criminology, Food Science, Mathematics, Media Studies, History, English Literature and Computer Science, to name just a few.
Boasting all the facilities a modern educational establishment should, MCA6 has a Mac suite for the Media and Photography students as well as a further five computer rooms. We have a food science kitchen, a dance studio, separate drama studio, a music suite including recording studios, two fully equipped science labs, and a variety of art rooms depending upon specialism as well as subject specific classrooms. A well-resourced library offers a great space for students to study and we have our own coffee shop where our hungry teenagers are able to purchase lunch and snacks throughout the day. However, it was the ‘personal study offices’ occupied by the Year 13 students that impressed me during my initial visit to MCA6. Year 13 students are able to apply in small groups for their own office and those successful applicants take enormous pride in their work space where they can work during their study periods as well as after school thus further developing their independence.
Our students love the learning environment yet their results are equally important to them. Zac, a Year 13 student, told me that it was the “Very good results by previous students and a ‘good’ Ofsted report” that encouraged him to join MCA6 from his previous school. And our results are extremely impressive; some of the highlights from this summer include all of the BTEC Extended Diploma Art, Health & Social Care and Sport Studies students achieving either Distinction or Distinction * whilst 48% of A level exams resulted in an A* to B grade for the student.
The Sixth Form years are important stepping stones from childhood to adulthood; consequently as a school community we offer a rounded experience that supports students in this transition. This winter, we have a visit to Strasbourg to enable students to see first-hand the work of the EU, speakers coming in from the University of Suffolk, the British Army, and the University of Gloucestershire and a one day Shakespeare Conference! So something of interest to everyone. In addition, we encourage our students to take advantage of leadership opportunities which include mentoring younger students and fundraising for their own Midsummer Ball and other national and local charities. Our students thrive through these opportunities which enable them to grow into young adults who are ready for the world so pop along to our open evening on the 3rd November 2016 to discover MCA6 for yourself!
Mrs K Sanders-Pope
Director of Sixth Form, Assistant Principal