The desire to achieve good A-level results and maximise exam points often results in students dropping useful or enjoyable subjects. Teachers, monitored by targets can only watch and hope the right subject remain for the right reasons. But the best results are starting to emerge from six form colleges rather than the six form at schools.
The distinct structure of the six form college, with its separate location, campus style facilities and large mix of students is showing benefits over the conventional six form schools. Already there is a seven per cent improvement in the pass rate in an A * or A-level ans students are more likely to pass A-S level exams. The dedicated facilities and specialist teachers offer a wider range of choice so students do not have to drop marginal subjects. Yet despite this positive outcome the Department for Education (DfE) apply less funding to the sixth form colleges than the six form at a conventional school. Despite improved exam standards and greater range of subjects on offer there has been a decline in the number of six form colleges, down from 120 to a current total of 94 over the last 20 years.
Some of this decline in numbers can be attributed to the growth in academies offering six form facilities. Could it be the DfE has misaligned the funding to suit political aims to grow the number of academies at the expense of a clearly better solution.