I've just competed my first year at university having moved to Moulton School for my A-levels. I studied English Language, Sociology and Business and got three B grades. I'm now studying Criminology and Sociology at Sheffield Hallam. I wanted to go to a new school for sixth form as the idea of going to college never really appealed to me and I just fancied a change, especially as not many of my friends were staying on at my secondary school. As well as this, I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet new people and gain new friendships; which it most definitely did!
I think I always knew that I wanted to go Moulton for Sixth Form. I had friends who were at Moulton already, who gave it great praise in many aspects; the quality of teaching, the resources available at the Sixth Form centre, such as a big library just for Sixth Form students which not all schools offer and the study room with great toasties – just to name a few. I did look at other schools, but I didn’t get the right vibes like I did at Moulton.
I chose Moulton for a number of reasons. On the open day, I found that the staff were all very helpful and engaging and genuinely took an interest in each individual student, both those already at Moulton and students moving from other schools. They were honest about whether or not a particular subject would suit you or not and the challenges you would face over the two year course. Secondly, I knew that a lot of the students at Moulton have gone on to University after Sixth Form, which made me optimistic that they’d be able to help and support me when going through the same process – which they did; not only through teaching, but by helping me with personal statements and advising me what certain uni’s specialise in and which have the best student environment.
There were a lot of things I was initially worried about, however I found that I quickly adjusted to a new school. I did find it scary that a lot of the students from secondary school stayed on at Moulton, due to the high standard and reputation of the Sixth Form, so there were a lot of large cliques, which can be intimidating when you’re 16 and you don’t want to be a loner but you don’t want to be that annoying kid who goes up to everyone. However, these cliques aren’t as scary as you think and once you get into your classes you get to know a lot of different people and have different friends across Sixth Form which was good.
I was worried that as a new student, I would be a seen as different and feel excluded. However, everyone who starts Sixth Form, as a new or existing student are all actually in the same boat. Some of the teachers at Moulton don't even teach the students lower down the school, so all the students are new to them. Additionally, it wasn’t really that excluding because I wasn’t the only new student! There was a high number of external students due to Moulton’s appealing Sixth Form.
The existing Moulton kids were all different. Many were very welcoming, and this was most prevalent in classes, because when you’re sat next to someone, you don’t have a choice but to talk to them! This led to people introducing me to other people, which allowed me to form friendships with lots of different people. Many people you talk to who have been at the school the whole time eventually forget that the externals went to a different secondary school and you have to remind them that you don’t know what they’re on about when they're talking about the old days!
I would advise other new students to talk to all the people in your classes, because some will be really studious and can help you in exam period and a lot of other friendships stem from them introducing you to their mates. Another key thing is not to hold back in class just because you think you might get an answer wrong or are too scared that the teacher will think you’re not very bright. If you talk in class and get involved with the group discussions from an early stage, it makes the teacher remember who you are and it will impress them!
The aspect I liked most about Moulton Sixth Form was that it was like a little village, it was separate from the main school which gave you the independence and time away from the main school. Teachers at Moulton really do push you to get the best grade you could and would give up their time just to help you reach your desired grade. One of my teachers gave up countless lunch times to help me prepare for an exam that I was finding difficult and I went on to achieve an A grade on that paper. Generally everyone at Moulton was really friendly and everyone in Sixth Form seemed to know one and other, in Year 12 and 13. I ended up going to Reading Festival with about 30 other Moulton students after we finished our Year 12 exams.
I absolutely love Uni now I'm here and am so jealous of everyone who gets to be a fresher in future, because it will probably be the best year of your life. Going to a different school for Sixth Form definitely helped prepare me for meeting new people at University, as I had already done it all before and it didn’t seem as a big challenge.