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The Sixth Form Years (16-19) (Last edited 22nd Feb.06)

So much more happened during my time in the sixth form that in order to keep this section short I have added links to other sections, and will go into more detail there.

After the last five years you would have thought I would be used to going back to school but I was still nervous when I went back to start my life in the sixth form. I had decided to do A levels in business studies and history which were two year courses and an intermediate GNVQ in business which was a one year course. The sixth form had there own annexe which had a common room and some small classrooms and study areas and as you would expect we were all given the introduction talk and then split into our new forms, there were about 90 students most had stayed on from the fifth form and there were a few new faces as well. I was placed into LVI one with the rest of the people who were doing the various GNVQ courses, the school was running two, business or health and social care and our form teacher was Mrs. Jean Williams (she was the Religious education teacher but she seemed to do most things about the school)

Again due to the way that that everyone was split up I was not in the same form as any of my friends but I knew most of the people and soon got to know the people in my classes. Talking of classes my first disappointment came when I went to my first history lesson and was given my timetable which clashed with the GNVQ course so I had to drop that subject - I still donít truly know if this was a convenient way for me to leave the course because I did not know anyone in the class or that I would be able to do the work? I spoke to the teacher and there was nothing he could do about the classes that clashed and thought it would be a good idea to drop one of the subjects. (Which was a shame as I enjoy history)

The next disappointment was when I found out that the school was not going to be doing A level Business Studies but would be doing economics instead; apparently they rotated between the two every year. I went to the first class and as soon as I walked through the door I knew I would not fit in; it was a small class less than ten students I knew the people there but I would not call them friends, they were in a different league than me and when I sat down I could hear them talking - I donít think they even cared if I could hear them but they were all wondering what I was doing there. Mr. Harvard the teacher arrived he would be sharing the teaching of the class with Mr. Robinson and had taught me history earlier in my school life, he explained what the course involved and how difficult it was and as he said this his glance around the room at his students gave me the impression that even he questioned my choice of subject.

Once the class was over I went to see Mr. Robinson, he had been one of the teachers of GCSE Business Studies and would also be one of my GNVQ teachers plus he was someone that I found easy to talk speak to and asked his advice about the economics course and how I felt the first lesson with Mr. Harvard had gone. The good thing about Mr. Robinson was that he tended to be straight up with you he told me that the course was not like the business studies I was use to and even he thought it would be difficult for me to fit in with the rest of the class. So not wanting to end up the loner in the class with no friends and no one to cross check work with I dropped the course and I only had the GNVQ course left.

The GNVQ course was worth four GCSEís and was a completely new way of learning for me, I had always been used to studying from books and learning with this course you had to do this and more. The course was split between six teachers; three of which taught the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Information Technology and the actual business part of the course was split between three teachers, Mr. Robinson, Mrs Jean Williams and Mr Carter.

The core subject teachers really had no idea what they were doing and these lessons were basically used to carry on with whatever work we were doing already especially the IT lessons. With the business side of things all three teachers had there own differing views on what they expected, Mr Carter expected the work to be of a certain high standard to equal the sort of work you would do to complete GCSE coursework. Mrs Jean Williams however did not care how much research you did what she was looking for was real information and the ability to get this information off local businesses and Mr Robinson expected well researched work to be handed in, of course the majority of the class preferred Mr Robinson.

The course was made up of various units and it was expected that they were all done on computer so for the first time since I had been refused the use of a computer by Mrs Ward to finish my history coursework I was using the school computers. Now I think certain people around the school did not think that the GNVQ was a valuable qualification as out of the two computer rooms we were always in the one that had all the slow computers, Iím talking 286 and a few 386 computers here while the second room had all the fast computers (for that time anyway). We would always complain about the lack of access to computers or the quality of the computers that we could use but these would always fall on deaf ears. I was lucky as I got myself my own computer at this time and some borrowed software meant I was able to work on projects in my own time at home.

It was during my first year in the sixth form that I was offered a Saturday job at Littlewoods, I will add a whole new section about my time at Littlewoods when I finally get around to adding more to my life story but being in a job certainly helped with my course and for projects set by Mrs Jean Williams. Working also meant that I got out of having to go down my fathers house on Saturday (by this time he had started to collect us on Friday nights so that we would be able to do more work up the garden on Saturday - those were his words) I was still collected on Saturday nights to go down there to work in the garden on Sunday. I donít know if anyone who reads this would be able to imagine what it felt like to be sixteen and not being allowed to watch television after 9pm. This is one reason why I think I am so short of friends now, I grew apart from many of them as from the age of about 11 I was going down my fathers to work in his house or garden when everyone else would have been meeting up in town.

It was in my first year in the sixth form that I first went drinking in a pub, (this of course was illegal as the legal age for drinking alcohol is eighteen in the United Kingdom) and was a part of a small gathering that David Bull was having at his house as his parents and younger brother were away for the weekend, you can find out more about that night here. I can remember that I was very annoyed as I found out that this was the second time he had invited people to his house when his parents were away and I had not been invited previously but the other people in our group had, (and because I had not heard anything about it after the events it made me think that it was some big secret from me).

At school as part of my course we had to carry out some work experience and again Mrs. Williams organised this trip (learn more about my time in Portugal) and as she had helped to organise a visit from a school in Portugal she arranged for the GNVQ class to go to Portugal for a weeks work experience.

Seeing that it was only a year course I did a lot about the school in that year, I was still involved with the camera club and even tried for a part in the school play and would have got it except for the fact that they changed the play to something else but I stayed and helped out with the lighting and also recorded the rehearsals. As the year went on I can remember thinking what I would do when the time came to leave school but fortunately for me the school decided to offer the advanced GNVQ business course the following term, which was equivalent to 2 A levels so I stayed on to do that. I think being in school was like some sort of comfort blanket for me, a way to avoid growing up.

So when all my old friends moved on to the upper sixth I was once more in the lower sixth and not everyone from the intermediate GNVQ course decided to stay on for the advanced course, Kate had and we were joined by David Johnson who was also in our year group and had dropped a few A level subjects decided to do the course along with about fifteen students who had joined the sixth form. The course was set out in the same way as the intermediate that really was a shame when it came to work to be handed in to Mr Carter and Mrs Williams.

I had always avoided the sixth form block as I never really felt that I belonged there and even through Mr Carter would tell us that we were working just as hard as the people doing the traditional A levels I always felt that I should not be there so much of my time was spent looking for a computer to use. They had by this time expanded the computer network and placed a few computers in to the room used by Mr Robinson so we did have greater access. Computer access was also helped by the fact that David Johnson was doing A level computers so I could sometimes sneak into the master computer room with him to use the computers.

It did not take long for the class to lose some of its members, in fact it seemed to happen almost over night and the class was left with just three students, Kate, David and myself and you would have thought that with such a small group we would have all worked together but there was a major clash of personalities between Kate and myself and it all came to a head during one massive project which was three assignments in one when the three of us were working together; Kate had volunteered to get certain information for the group but there was always some reason why it never materialised, I found out that she hadnít even attempted to obtain this information so David J and myself got the required information and left her out of the loop, we were able to hand our assignments in. She left the course and school soon afterwards leaving only David and myself on the course.

This double team was well known around the school and Iíve have tried to remember when we first became friends but like these things I think that day has been lost in time, maybe it was something to do with Neville and the work we would do on the school stage?