Sixth Form

“Staff are mindful of the stage pupils are at. They design learning which is aimed at the individual and based on careful assessment of what pupils know and can do.” Ofsted 2022

Within the Sixth Form at West Heath School, we offer bespoke programmes of study through a phased transition over one, two or three years, focusing on offsite learning and preparation for adulthood.

The main reasons why a student may wish to join our Sixth Form are:

  • They currently attend West Heath School but do not yet feel ready to be an independent learner
  • Their current school does not have a Sixth Form, or
  • They may just want a fresh start

Prior to a student joining the Sixth Form, discussions are held between the school, the student and the parents/carers to ascertain the most suitable education route Post 16.

Within the Sixth Form we place a large emphasis on pastoral care and support which is provided by our designated Sixth Form tutors located both onsite and within our offsite provisions. Regular communication between the Sixth Form tutors and parents/carers ensures they are involved throughout our students’ journeys.

There are no formal entry requirements to the Sixth Form but for a successful placement the following can be used as a guide;

  • Y11 Attendance 80%+ (our external partner colleges make no adjustments in their expectations on attendance, so it is important students join the Sixth Form with good attendance records)
  • English and Maths qualification at any level (Functional Skills or GCSE)

Sixth Form Provision and Partners


  • Level 3 Diploma in Art – This course is aimed at students who have previously studied Art at GCSE (or equivalent) and have an interest in acquiring and extending their practical skills whilst widening their knowledge of art and design disciplines alongside the development of a portfolio. Students have access to a separate Art studio within the school in order to learn and develop new skills with specialist support. Students from this route have progressed to further education, university or employment.
  • Gate Lodge - This is a one-year course delivered in our specialist Sixth Form provision, housed separately to the main school. Students on this pathway study towards a L1 qualification in Employability and Progression.  The course is designed to develop students’ skills and confidence in order to prepare them for progression to college, an apprenticeship or one of our partner provisions.  Students also have the opportunity to explore areas of interest through optional units and/or work experience.  Students on this pathway will continue to study towards achieving GCSE and/or Functional Skills qualifications in English and Maths. 

 Offsite Provision

  • Mid Kent College – A mainstream FE college in Maidstone.  The majority of Sixth Form students study here.  West Heath School staff support students during both social times (where required) and with their studies.  This has been an incredibly successful experience for our learners and supports students to develop their skills in preparation for transition to life beyond West Heath including further education, apprenticeships, employment and university.
  • Beechwood School – An independent secondary school setting, providing transition for high-performing students who wish to study A-levels in a small, rigorously academic setting. 
  • St Gregory's School – A mainstream secondary school, providing transition for high-performing students who wish to study A-levels, Applied and BTEC Level 3 courses.  Students choosing this route usually progress to university, apprenticeships or employment.
  • Skills for Employment – A small provision in Tunbridge Wells, specialising in working with young people to obtain L1 City & Guilds certificates in construction crafts qualifications.  Students studying these courses usually progress to college to continue their studies in a particular discipline or to apprenticeships or employment.
  • Plus, other specialist providers.

“For some pupils, sixth form takes place at a satellite site located at a local further education college.
Students enjoy the opportunity this gives them to develop their social skills and prepare them for life
after they leave the school.” Ofsted 2022

Progress Data

In the academic year 2022/23 the students accessed the following courses;

  • GCSE or Functional Skills in English and Maths
  • A Levels or L1, L2 and L3 courses in a variety of subjects

Work Placements

To help prepare the students for adulthood, a large emphasis is placed on the importance of work placement programmes.

We benefit from a designated Work Placement Co-ordinator who is tasked with finding the students placements based on their educational course, interests and career aspirations. We endeavour to get as many students as possible regular suitable work placements as opposed to one off work experiences. For some of our students this has led to part-time paid employment alongside their education.

A work placement pack is provided before the student begins the placement providing clear information for the employer and the student. Built into the pack is an opportunity for reflection by the student and this helps to support their development. The Sixth Form Team also supports students in creating or developing their CV’s in preparation for moving on to the world of work.

Life Skills

Part of the important work undertaken in the Sixth Form is the development of independent life skills. This takes many forms based on individual needs and locations however the main areas covered are:

  • Social development with their peers and the general public.
  • Independent travel training (foot, bus and train).
  • Financial (e.g. budgeting, money management, bank accounts).
  • Managing daily routines (e.g. punctuality, deadlines).
  • Domestic independence (e.g. cooking, laundry, shopping).

Term Dates

As our Sixth Form students attend a number of different provisions, the term dates follow the college or provision they are attending and not those of West Heath School (this includes boarding students).

Staff Support

Where appropriate, Sixth Form staff support students in line with their college timetable, even where this is beyond the end of the West Heath School day.


We have a range of therapists that work onsite and at our offsite providers, including a designated counsellor for Sixth Form students.  Access to other therapies are provision and timetable dependent.