Everything you need to know about UK Independent Education

Sixth Form, College & University

Making the right decision

Looking for a Sixth Form, College or University?

It is said that the days of a career for life are long gone, and now young people should think in terms of a ‘portfolio career’, where they may find themselves moving around in a number of different roles as well as industries and as Steve Jobs once famously said, ‘life has a way of throwing bricks at us’ and we need to have the resilience to respond. Whilst every stage of a child’s development is important, and this is especially true educationally and arguably the last two years of school are perhaps the most important.

In the UK the last two years of ‘school’ life are generally referred to as Yrs 12 and 13 but also traditionally known as the Sixth Form, in a throwback to the days when secondary schools started in the First Form. Most secondary schools, both Independent and State, have Sixth Forms attached to them but some are stand alone and tend to call themselves ‘Colleges’ to differentiate themselves from schools, but essentially, they are the same thing.

In 2015 the law in the UK changed to ensure that young people remain in education until they are 18 years of age in order to ensure that they are given the best possible opportunity to be well prepared for adult life. Of course, for some that will mean achieving the grades necessary to go to the best universities or medical schools and continued academic success, whereas for others it could mean switching to more vocational/technical courses that will allow them to access courses that equip them for success in our rapidly changing world of work. Whatever their aptitude, it is vital that they are in an environment will provide the best possible outcome for them and, more importantly perhaps, especially if they are unsure of the field that they want to go into beyond school or university, give them a broad and balanced set of qualifications that will allow them to springboard into the next stage.

For many, the very best place for them is the school that they are already in; they are doing well there, they are happy, they have teachers who they trust and respect and who are already bringing out the best in them but for others, it could be time for a change; the school may not offer the courses that they need going forward, or simply they have outgrown the school and need greater independence and more challenge. Whatever situation, it is always worth thinking through what the options might be and doing some research in terms of what the best possible next step could be.
Our consultants have many years of experience in helping students and their families understand what those options might look like, not only for 6TH form but also University choices, and would be very happy to have a free no obligation chat with you in the first instance.

Unsure About Sixth Form & College?

Don't Panic! We're here to help. Please give us a call or complete our on-line enquiry form and one of our experts would be happy to help. Our initial consultation is free of charge or obligation.

What people say about Us

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Parent, London
Sioban has been a rock of support and encouragement for us these past few months. We finally accepted - quite late in the day - that our daughter's current school is not the right fit for J. We were overwhelmed with the prospect of finding a new school that could properly support our daughter academically whilst providing the right balance of pastoral care. I underwent extensive research into education consultants and after our first phone call, knew I had found someone I could trust in Sioban. Sioban spent the time getting to know us as a family and more importantly J. as a person and consequently was well positioned to find a school that we believe will help J. thrive academically and help her become a confident young woman. Having been through this process recently myself, I know how daunting the prospect is of putting one's faith in a stranger to manage the future of our most loved one and can hand on heart say we would not be on our road to happiness without Sioban.
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Dr S. C
Parent, London
We went to Sioban when we had nowhere else to go, we were desperate to find an appropriate school for our daughter and had come to a dead end. Sioban put our mind at rest and found a school that was perfect for us. I wish we had turned to Sioban first and years earlier. Since placing our daughter, she has kept in touch and advised us on how to approach certain aspects of schooling. I have no hesitation in recommending her services. She is a caring and understanding individual who appreciates that all children have individual needs. She is also widely connected and understands the capabilities of each school.
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Parent, Kent
I can’t thank you enough for the help you gave me when my daughter was struggling at her school at the time. It was so such a support to me that you listened to the problems we were having and your knowledge about the other schools that were on offer was fantastic. All the organising of visits and talking to the schools about our requirements on our behalf helped us make a very successful informed choice of which school to move to. A. gained the grades she needed to get to the university she wanted which she would not have done without your help and advice to go to a school which she achieved in. She is in her second year at - university studying languages where she has this year achieved a first in German and Dutch and a 2:1 in Russian. Thank you again and I would highly recommend you and the service you provide to anyone looking for a new school.
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Parent, Bermuda
We are from Bermuda and wanted help and guidance both with the process applying for boarding schools in the UK for the 6th form and selecting a suitable school for our son to do his A levels. We had an introductory interview with Sioban, with our son. We left it a little late but Sioban immediately put our mind at ease and guided us seamlessly through the whole process, finding for us a number of excellent schools which were well matched to my son’s abilities and interests and provided invaluable help with liaising with our short-listed choice schools and dealing with their requirements, including personal statements. We felt fortunate to have worked with Sioban, who is very knowledgeable, warm, friendly and caring - she kept in contact well after we had secured a place at a great school just to check up on us - and would highly recommend her to assist anyone looking for help, guidance and reassurance when looking for the ideal school for their child. “.
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Veryan Larmour
Admissions Officer (Lower Sixth entry) at Tonbridge School
Sioban has previously approached Tonbridge and owing to her insight, careful preparation and wisdom as an ex-Headteacher, we were delighted to offer places to her clients. Sioban is always calm, well prepared and most importantly kind. Her candour gives me confidence to work with her, in addition to her perceptive comments and knowledge of which school fits well for each client.
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Lou Wivell
Former Director of Admissions at Kingsley School
I have had the pleasure of working with Sioban for a number of years, since she first started working as an Education Consultant. In that time, Sioban has been thorough and detailed with her knowledge of students that she has recommended to me. She really understands the needs of the child and carefully selects schools that she knows have the relevant support for that child to flourish. Her passion in finding the right school is second to none and she works tirelessly with the families and schools to achieve that aim. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Sioban and I hope to continue working with her in the future.
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Jackie Fisher
Director of Boarding, Lime House School Carlisle
Sioban has introduced a number of students to Lime House School which have resulted in very successful placements. Sioban 's knowledge of the educational system and the ability to place students in suitable establishments is testament to her professionalism and empathy she shows for each of her students. The continued support she offers her students is exceptional: from the initial introductions to the school to leaving the educational establishment and moving on to higher education should that be appropriate. Sioban is always keen to make firm and lasting relationships with any of the education bodies she works with and this is much appreciated by those schools. I have always found Sioban to be honest and hardworking. She is a credit to her profession and has played a pivotal part in the lives of so many students.
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