Our Aim

St Mary's Catholic High School offers a distinctive Catholic education in partnership with parents and the local Parishes.

We believe in the unique dignity of each individual within our community and therefore treat each other with deep respect. Each individual is challenged to be the best that they can be in an atmosphere of peace, justice and reconciliation. We commit ourselves to equality of opportunity and access to lifelong learning.

Our aim is that you should find your experience in the Sixth Form stimulating, challenging and interesting. It is our aim that you emerge with a set of academic results as well as a portfolio of experience and expertise across a range of areas of interest that will set you apart when the time comes to make your applications to university or College leaver programmes. We hope that it will help you make the most of your Sixth Form experience over the next two years.

What we expect from you:

  • To attend all timetabled lessons unless absence is authorised. Reasons for authorised absence include: illness, medical appointments, driving tests, University visits… They do not include: holidays, driving lessons, part time work… Any medical/dental appointments must be confirmed either by phone call, letter, text or email from a parent/carer. Unacceptable patterns of absence will not be authorised.
  • To attend Form Time each morning (8.30-8.55am)

  • To attend the weekly Theology in Action lesson. This is a key part of the life in our Catholic Sixth Form and supports the Character Virtues of the St Mary’s community.

  • To arrive to all lessons and tutorials punctually.
  • To arrive with the necessary equipment to learn.
  • To behave in a polite and respectful manner at all times with all members of the school and college community.
  • To adhere to the college dress code.
  • Be a community member and act as role models for the younger pupils and ambassadors of the school in your everyday life.
  • Follow the St. Mary’s presentation and marking policy which includes:
  • Arriving with the necessary equipment to learn.
  • Ensuring that presentation of work is as expected.
  • Using green pen for reflection on marked work.
  • To not visit licenced premises during the college day.
  • To only smoke in the designated area (including electronic cigarettes).
  • To always follow staff instructions.
  • Mobile phones should only be used in designated sixth form areas. Students must not use their mobiles phones in lessons.
  • To adhere to appropriate use of the internet.
  • To wear the sixth form identification badge at all times.
  • To sign in to college via the electronic system on entry and to sign out upon leaving. This must be done for any instance of entering and leaving the college site.
  • To engage fully in my studies, complete work and meet deadlines as directed by staff.
  • To engage in any opportunities for leadership such as supporting lower school students or offering lunch time activities.

What you can expect from us:

  • We will provide an education based on Gospel values suited to your age, ability and aptitude, encouraging you to become involved in all aspects of college life.
  • We will provide a quality education in a safe, attractive and well-resourced working environment.
  • We will provide a personal tutor who will support you through your academic journey and help you to achieve your potential.
  • We will keep you regularly informed of progress, achievement, attendance and punctuality.
  • We will provide independent careers advice and guidance and the opportunities for work experience.
  • We will alert you to any difficulties/concerns that may arise.
  • We will set and mark homework/coursework and set realistic deadlines.

Student Absence Procedures

You have enrolled to undertake an agreed programme of study. Attendance at lessons is the single most important factor in your achievement. Research shows that a 4% drop in overall attendance, results in the loss of a grade in 1 subject and a 10% drop in overall attendance results in your grades dropping by 1 grade across your whole programme. You are expected to attend every lesson punctually. Lateness is disruptive and persistent lateness will result in disciplinary sanctions. If you do not adhere to the attendance requirements and procedures of the College you will become subject to the College’s Support and Disciplinary Procedures. Additional sanctions may also be applied and include being required to bear the cost of examination fees. Bursary payments are directly linked to attendance and punctuality. Progression to further years of study also depends upon your attendance record being good.

Reporting Absences

Parents/guardians should report all absences by telephone or email to the College by 8:30 a.m. each day of your absence. Your attendance is a major priority and you should keep the College fully informed of any genuine reason for absence. Routine medical appointments that could be scheduled outside of College hours will not be authorised.

Lateness Procedure

You should be punctual to all lessons. If you know that you are going to be late you must inform the College. If you arrive late you must go straight to your lesson. You are responsible for getting your absence mark changed to a late mark by reminding your teacher at the end of the lesson.

Authorised Absences

Some absences may be classified as authorised and in these cases students will be marked as ‘authorised’ on College attendance records. You must gain approval of known absences in ADVANCE. These will ONLY be approved if the reason for absence is unavoidable and the evidence has been presented to Reception, usually prior to the date of the absence.
Authorised Absences include:

  • University open days. Max 3.
  • University Interviews and other final career choice interviews.
  • Hospital / orthodontist appointments/ serious illness supported by a doctor’s note.
  • Practical driving test.
  • Bereavement/funeral.
  • Religious holidays.

Unauthorised Absences

Sickness Absence Sickness absence will be recorded as unauthorised until the College receives appropriate notification. Routine doctors’ and dental appointments will also be recorded as unauthorised until the College receives appropriate notification.

Holidays in College Term Time

Holidays in term-time will NOT be approved by the College and will be recorded as unauthorised. Holidays taken during term time may result in disciplinary sanctions and may contribute to progression decisions.

* Driving lessons will NOT be authorised.

** Driving theory tests will NOT be authorised.

Procedures for monitoring attendance

From September 2013 all 16 year-olds have been required to continue in education or training, until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. In September 2015 legislation was amended to require children to continue until their 18th birthday. If a child is registered in the School Sixth Form, it is the parents who have the primary responsibility for ensuring that their child attends regularly.

  • In the case of an unplanned absence, parents/carers are expected to notify the College each day of their child’s absence. They will be asked to give a reason for absence and an expected return date.
  • The Key Stage 5 Team will contact home on the first day of absence if the school has not received notification from a parent/carer via telephone. This will continue for each day a student is absent and no explanation has been given by a parent/carer.
  • If no contact has been made by the parent/carer by the third day of absence, an email will also be sent home.
  • All students are monitored weekly on their level of attendance as explained below. The Key Stage 5 Team emails an updated Attendance Report to all Sixth Form Tutors every week for consideration in tutor time.
  • The Key Stage 5 Team sends home a fortnightly attendance email to parents that highlights the fortnightly attendance as well as the cumulative subject attendance for the year.

97% Plus

90% to 97%

80% to 90%

Below 80%

No Action Required

No Action Required.However, you are still missing a significant amount of college time and this will affect your outcomes

Cause for ConcernStudent Support Officer to discuss attendance with students and engage with parents to put strategies in placeMay monitor using an attendance report card

Serious ConcernImmediate action required: Assistant Director of Key Stage to meet Parent/Student to put in strategies in place including a possible college contract Monitoring of attendance using report card.

In addition to attending College, students must attend all lessons and additional study sessions relevant to their programme of study. If a student is present in school and fails to attend lessons, the College will contact parents, and the student may be placed on an attendance report card to monitor their attendance in all lessons. They will also be required to complete all tasks missed. Repeated incidents of truancy and therefore defiance may result in a student losing their place in the Sixth Form.

In cases where there is concern regarding the level of attendance (attendance below 90%) the Key Stage 5 Team will consider action to support the student to improve their attendance. Students may be placed on an attendance report card and possibly a Sixth Form Contract. A Sixth Form contract is a formal written warning that a student’s place at the Sixth Form is under review unless all terms of the contract are met. The contract will clearly set out what is expected from a student and the support strategies the College will put in place to help the student meet the conditions of the contract. If a student fails to fully adhere to the terms of the contract there are a range of possible higher level sanctions which could be issued including losing their place at College.

Continuation to Y13 criteria

The move to Linear A Levels (2 year study with one final exam) means there will be a thorough scrutiny of any end of year assessments/public examinations to determine how students are progressing. The results of these exams combined with other criteria will enable informed decisions to be made about student progression to Year 13.

The criteria for continuation into Year 13 will include:

Progress report data – in particular assessment grades, predicted grades and behaviour for learning judgements by teachers.
Portfolio work – in a vocational course the quality of the portfolio as well as the strength of the exam result.
Attendance – unless there are extenuating circumstances we require students to have good attendance (90%) throughout year 12 with no unauthorised absences.

Evidence of extenuating circumstances that clearly impacted on performance.

Students who achieve grades that are close to their aspirational target grades in their end of Y12 exams and are at grade D or above will automatically transition to Y13. Students must have also demonstrated excellent attendance, attitude to learning and role model behaviour during Year 12.

Continuation into Year 13 for students with outcomes at E/U is very much dependent on their future aspirations as well as Year 12 record. All students will have a rigorous conversation regarding pathways and future expectations. Students on vocational courses will have their portfolio grades as well as any exam results taken into consideration. If a joint decision is made to continue into Y13 then an academic support programme will be put in place with clear targets. Failure to meet these targets could result in the student losing their place at college.

Any student who does not meet the criteria for continuation into Year 13 will be offered clear advice and guidance and the opportunity to start Year 12 again, although this may only happen once. Typically this requires a thorough look at appropriate curriculums and any additional support the College can provide to ensure our students achieve success.

It is the College’s decision to offer an appropriate curriculum that is agreed with students and parents. However, we reserve the right to change a student’s course/curriculum in terms of what the College believe is in the best interest of the student.