Preparing students for life beyond a private school - Hurstpierpoint College

Preparing students for life beyond a private school

The Sixth Form at private school Hurst College is focused on preparing students for the next step after school. The last two years of a student’s educational journey are key to providing a plethora of opportunities and experiences to complete their passage of self-discovery. By the time they have put pen to paper on their last A-level exam, they will have developed a keen sense of self and have made the right decision about their true purpose in life.

Sixth Form Blackland Bonding 2019This important journey begins with students stepping outside their comfort zones from the very first day of Sixth Form, when they are taken off-site for some adventure training. They take part in kayaking, climbing, raft-building and all kinds of activities where they swiftly need to form working relationships to succeed as part of a team. By the end of the day, complete with a barbecue supper back on campus, they have truly bonded as a year group.

Balancing act
The Lower Sixth year is a careful balancing act, as students are assisted and monitored by their tutors to ensure they get the balance right. The priority for each student is to complete their core academic responsibilities to the best of their ability, but also to make time for wider intellectual enrichment, so that they engage fully with all that an independent school offers beyond the classroom. It is a busy year, but also a hugely fulfilling one.

The fun continues during the Michaelmas term with a Lower Sixth dinner and quiz which is swiftly followed by the first Mystery Bus Tour of the year. Students are given the chance to sign up for a mystery trip to an unknown location where, once again, the focus is on taking part and taking a risk. They are rewarded for their bravery with trips to go-carting tracks, curling and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, amongst others.


Upper Sixth hall of residence
When they enter the Upper Sixth, students move into St John’s, the co-ed Upper Sixth hall of residence, where they begin the transition from private school to post-school life, and are encouraged to start their journey as undergraduates. The year kicks off with an Icebreaker Disco, when students dress up according to the theme, and by the end of the night, they have settled into their new house for the final year of school life, and are ready for the academic challenges that lie ahead.

Students sitting on a bench outside St John's Sixth Form houseHurst prides itself on having a unique system of Upper Sixth academic tutoring whereby each student is allocated a subject specialist depending on their desired post-school path, which for most will be a university degree. Students have access to and support from someone who knows the specific subject demands, who can help ensure that UCAS applications are the best they can be and will also be the one teacher students will have most contact with in and outside normal lesson time. It is not unusual for our Upper Sixth students to see their tutors on a daily basis, to discuss subject-specific matter for A-levels but also to push students beyond the syllabus to deepen and widen their knowledge base. This ensures that our students develop into true subject specialists, which is a sure-fire recipe for A-level success.

Private school a privilege
All of our students recognise that membership of a private school in Sussex, and in particular the Hurst Sixth Form, is a privilege and they are given multiple opportunities within the school week to make a wider contribution, both to the wellbeing of their community and to the wider world. Many work towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award Scheme, with its emphasis on leadership, community service and personal development. Others take command roles in the largest school Combined Cadet Force in the southern counties, or lead the school’s own Community Service programme.

Young Enterprise team with their standThe Young Enterprise Programme, available in the Lower Sixth, provides the opportunity for students to create and run their own business from scratch. Students can also contribute to the school’s student-run magazine or lead the many intellectual clubs and societies within the college. Charitable action is highly valued, with the student body raising around £30,000 a year for worthy causes, and Sixth Formers are expected to take the lead in this activity.

The Sixth Form is a time when significant decisions are made. Hurst is unashamedly ambitious for all its students, but the priority has to be that the next step after school is perfectly suited to each individual’s aspirations and aptitudes. Sixth Form tutors are trained as executive life coaches, to invest time and expertise in drawing out an individual’s values and motivations, to help our young people perfectly match their plan to their true selves. The majority of students choose to apply for a place at a leading British university, but the college also embraces the alternatives, from professional sport and the performing arts to entrepreneurship and aid work.

Pastoral care is second to none, with a huge focus on student wellbeing – and the Sixth Form is no exception. Students have easy access to their housemaster/mistress, school counsellors and also student guardians, should they need to speak to someone. Our Sixth Formers also play an important role in school leadership, ranging from house prefects in the Lower Sixth to Senior School prefects and guardians in the Upper Sixth. In addition, the Sixth Formers have a varied assembly programme when they are encouraged to discuss topics that are relevant to them; again, with a focus on ensuring that they leave us as happy, well-rounded young adults who are ready for the challenges and excitement that life will throw at them.

Please follow the links below for further information about Hurst College, an independent, co-educational, day and flexi/weekly boarding school for pupils aged 4–18, located just to the north of the village of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.

Prep & Pre-Prep
Senior School
Sixth Form
College Campus

Hurst College’s inspection reports and reviews:
ISC Inspection reports
Good Schools Guide