Tuesday, 01 February 2011 09:40

Student Support

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Student Support

The programme in the Sixth Form is designed to provide students with the academic and pastoral support they need. There are a number of different components.

1. The form teacher

Each student is allocated to a form teacher who will have personal responsibility for the progress of each student. Each form teacher has time built into his or her timetable specifically for student contact. In this way, the service we provide to our students is individualised and personal.

Year 13 Form Staff 2011 – Profiles


Mrs R Gillespie (RG) has been a Sixth Form tutor for ten years and is also Head of Mathematics at Drumragh Integrated College. Her perspective as an academic subject head and experienced post-16 form tutor make her ideally placed to guide and advise her students.


Mr C McConnell (CMc) has also been a Sixth Form tutor for ten years. He is Head of Technology and Design so again sees students from both an academic and pastoral vantage point.

 (Q) What qualities make a successful A-Level student in your experience?

RG – “There are many, but the three that stand out and have made a difference to my students over the years are focus, independence and above all determination.”

CMc – “The ability to take charge of your own learning is important. Reading around topics, not being totally reliant on your single textbook or other source of information demonstrates this.”


(Q) Why is it considered difficult to make the transition to A-Level?

RG – “The work is simply more difficult. Problems are more complex and require development of new skills. Students that work hard to develop these skills make the transition more smoothly.”

CMc – “GCSE’s no longer prepare a student for Advanced level. At A-level there is much more of an emphasis on reading and expanding on what you have learned in the class room. Students who take responsibility for their own learning are the ones that step up to A-Level successfully.”


(Q) What qualities do you look for and foster in your form group?

RG – “A-Level students are young adults. They must communicate with me effectively and to help this along we try to engender a team spirit approach. This requires trust which comes in time.”

CMc – “An A-Level student must be independent. They should be approachable and very importantly, they should be reliable. Our Sixth Form is based on mutual respect between staff and students.”


(Q) If you could give one piece of advice to an A-Level student, what would it be?

RG – “Be prepared to work hard but work differently to the way you have in the past.”

CMc – “Start coursework assignments early! Aim to be finished by Christmas and realise the year is shorter than you think.”


2. Miss E McCallan – Head of Careers profile 2011


Miss McCallan (EMc) has been involved at Sixth Form level for eight years. Two of these were spent as form tutor and careers advisor, and for the past four years she has been Head of the Careers Department. Her expertise has allowed students to broaden their horizon and find their own pathway to success.


(Q) From a careers perspective, why is it difficult to adjust to A-Level?

“Not only do students need new levels of drive and determination to succeed at A-Level, they now need to have one eye on the future. What is the next step for me? How do I get to the next stage of my career? Students have to make decisions for themselves, this is exciting but a little scary too.”


(Q) How does a student overcome these difficulties?

“Use independent study time wisely! If a student has a break in subject work then they should start thinking about how they get to the next stage. University courses and employment opportunities are well documented in the careers department and the more time devoted to the future the better it will be.”

(Q) How can a student increase the chance of having a career that is happy and fulfilling?

“Do the research and use the expertise of staff that are on hand to help. Always have a plan. If the plan changes that’s okay, but having no plan will reduce motivation to work hard and so ultimately the number of career opportunities.”


(Q) What resources are available when the time comes?

“The time is now! Don’t put off researching your future till tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. Start early and make it an ongoing process. We have vast resources available. Everything from software to books, from prospectuses to organised trips to institutions in Northern Ireland. You can do whatever you aspire to do – but you have to decide to do it first.”


3. Study Supervisors

In addition to brand new Sixth form Facilities, we have Mrs Rosemary Loughrey, our study supervisors. Mrs Loughrey is responsible for our dedicated study room and the students that use them. Whenever timetabled for study, this provides a base, and contains the facilities for students to further reinforce class room learning, an integral part of being a sixth form student.


4. Personal Development programme (PD)

The Personal Development programme (PD) has been designed to provide each student with the skills and awareness they will need to progress through Sixth Form and into university or employment.

The year 13 programme is based on a variety of topics including study skills, preparation for work experience and revision techniques. An important feature of PD at Sixth Form is the opportunity for students to have discussion time with their form teacher and with numerous visiting speakers. Presentations are arranged on issues such as drugs and alcohol awareness, road safety, finance and community volunteer opportunities.

The year 14 programme focuses on the skills necessary to progress beyond Drumragh Integrated College. Focus falls upon UCAS applications, interview skills, managing finance and writing letters of application and CV’s.

Read 13258 times Last modified on Monday, 25 March 2013 08:42
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