My name is Gary Walker and I am Head of Sixth Form. I am responsible for a year group during their time in the Sixth Form and work alongside our Sixth Form deputies, Mary Brereton, Sophie Hull and Teresa Gott as well as our Assistant Head – Higher Education and Careers, Dr Greg Hacksley. I coordinate and manage the pastoral care and academic monitoring for the students in our care.
The School’s Sixth Form provides a stimulating environment for purposeful academic study. Located in Aquis Court, it offers spacious, light, accommodation and excellent study facilities for Sixth Formers, including a large private study area, wifi and The Loop, the newly-refurbished Sixth Form café, serving a variety of snacks, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks.
We work on the assumption that our students have made an active choice to continue with their studies, and are following courses for which they have opted freely and for which they have a genuine motivation. We see A Level study as the prelude to higher education, and a stage in the process not only of learning, but of learning how to learn. Expectations of self-discipline, self-motivation and self-organisation are correspondingly high, but not unrealistically so.
We recognise that a sixteen year old GCSE student does not turn overnight into an embryonic undergraduate, but we wish our students to view the Sixth Form as the first two years of a five-year period, that culminates in the gaining of a degree.
I joined St Albans School in 2013 as Assistant Head: Co-Head of Sixth Form. Over the past six years, I have had academic and pastoral oversight for the young men and women in my charge throughout their time in the Sixth Form. In September 2018, I was appointed to the role of Assistant Head: Higher Education and Careers and I now manage and co-ordinate the extensive support students receive as they prepare for life after school.
Prior to school teaching, I taught English Literature at Rhodes University, South Africa, where I completed my PhD. I am also a governor at a primary School in Hertford.
St Albans School Sixth Form welcomes girls, who comprise a significant and highly successful cohort of our students.
Girls have the opportunity to take part in the full range of extra-curricular activities, many of which may be new to them, such as the CCF, mountaineering and a wide variety of sports. They enjoy the challenge and sense of achievement which these present. The unique environment and friendly atmosphere at St Albans School encourages girls to gain in confidence in a co-educational environment and makes an ideal transition from school to university. Mrs Gott, one of the Deputy Heads of Sixth Form, has particular responsibility for the welfare of all new entrants into the Sixth Form throughout their two years with us.
Pastoral care is a significant strength of the School and every teacher in the School has a pastoral role. The School’s 2014 ISI Inspection Report cited pastoral care as ‘excellent’ and noted that each pupil was ‘well-known and valued as an individual’ as the staff know their pupils ‘extremely well and foster an excellent atmosphere of trust and safety, leading to strong and positive relationships’.
All our pupils, from First to Sixth Form, are members of a tutor group, organised by year.
In the Sixth Form, there are two Heads and each is responsible for the pastoral and academic welfare of a cohort of students throughout their two years in the Sixth Form. At any given time, therefore, there will be a Head of Upper Sixth and Head of Lower Sixth working with the four Deputy Heads of Sixth Form and a team of tutors. The tutor is the first point of contact for parents and oversees the personal and academic welfare of pupils, through a combination of informal contact and tutor periods.
Students in the Sixth Form are allocated to tutor groups of typically 15 students, each with a tutor responsible for the welfare, pastoral care and guidance of his or her tutees. The two Heads of Sixth Form, in conjunction with the Deputy Heads of Sixth Form, co-ordinate the pastoral work of tutors and the programme of Higher Education guidance, whereby tutors meet with their tutees twice a day and play a key role in the delivery of our PSHEE programme and in ensuring that their tutees are healthy, both mentally and physically.
The School Nurses and Chaplain make an important contribution to our pastoral provision, while the Counsellor, who is not a member of staff, is available each week for confidential consultation.
Parents can meet their child’s teachers and tutors at Parents’ Consultation Evenings and at a number of informal social occasions during the year.
We are delighted with our results for 2022 and the individual successes of all our pupils. Please click here to read more about our results.
The minimum requirements for entry to the Sixth Form for external candidates in September 2023 are:
|Deadline for Music and Academic Scholarship Applications:||31 October 2022|
|16+ Music Scholarship Interviews and Exams:||Wednesday 16 November 2022|
|16+ Scholarship Exams and Interviews:||Saturday 12 November 2022 (offers posted on 30 November 2022)|
|16+ Application without an application for Scholarship or Bursary||No Deadline, applications can be made at any time through the admissions page on our website|