Applying to Sixth Form: 4 essential questions to ask at an open evening

Attend Derby Grammar School sixth form's opening evening to help you choose the best college for you

At Derby Grammar Sixth Form's opening evening you can meet with subject teachers and former students to ask questions and find the setting right for you. - Credit: Derby Grammar School Sixth Form

Whether you’re trying to choose a Sixth Form that’s right for you, or a parent helping your child with their application, our essential guide will make it easy for you to find the information you need.

“With so many post-GCSE options on offer to students and an enormous amount of detail to wade through online, it's hard to find the answers you need to make the right decision about your future,” says Karen Stebbings, head of Sixth Form at Derby Grammar School. “This is why attending open events is one of the best things you can do.”

Below, Karen shares four questions to ask at an open evening to find which setting is right for you.

1. What entry grades will I need?

“This is the first question on most students’ and parents’ minds, and it’s good to speak with a subject tutor to help allay your concerns,” Karen says. 

You can find out what grades you’ll need to get onto your chosen course and how best to prepare for life in the Sixth Form.

Music A-level lessons at Derby Grammar School sixth form

Smaller class sizes enable students to receive the dedicated support they need and ample time to explore the subjects they love, in detail. - Credit: Ian Hodgkinson / Picture It

2. How can I tailor my A Levels to suit my interests and goals?

If you’re interested in a career in music, the performing arts or sports, then you should select a Sixth Form that can give you the education and training that you need.

“We take a personalised approach to education and wherever possible try to accommodate individual subject choices,” Karen says. “We can also schedule your classes to fit around your timetable.”

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A rich co-curricular programme will help you build confidence and experience new things. Pupils at Derby Grammar Sixth Form can take part in Business and Enterprise schemes, the Duke of Edinburgh award, debating competitions, join a variety of clubs and get involved in digital marketing and social media campaigns for the school. 

The Sixth Form's smaller class sizes will ensure you receive one-to-one dedicated support from your tutor and can cover more ground in lessons. “Smaller classes enable pupils to share their views freely, express themselves and allow them more time to explore the subjects they love,” Karen says.

3. What support do you offer to students studying at Sixth Form?

“While you need a college that will challenge you academically, it’s also vital to establish what pastoral care, mental health and wellbeing support is available,” Karen says.

Sixth Form students at Derby Grammar School are encouraged to be inquisitive, to get involved, and make most of the opportunities on offer.

“Mental health and wellbeing are a top priority. By making students feel safe and supported, and treating them with the respect they deserve, they can mature into confident, well-rounded individuals prepared for the world ahead,” Karen says.

Derby Grammar School's sixth form opening evening will take place on October 11, 2021.

Visit Derby Grammar Sixth Form opening evening to discover what sporting opportunities and co-curricular programmes they can offer to help you achieve your future goals. - Credit: ACJ Media / Alex Cantrill-Jones

4. What facilities will students have access to while attending the Sixth Form?

“This is a brilliant question to direct to the head of Sixth Form or subject leaders. It will help you gauge the quality of opportunities you’ll have access to,” Karen shares.

Students at Derby Grammar School Sixth Form can make use of the Forest School, to boost learning engagement, help bring lessons to life and develop a better understanding of nature and the outdoors.

“A qualified forest school instructor leads a variety of activities designed to promote positivity, improve the mental wellbeing of students, as well make them aware of issues like climate change and what they can do to help care for the planet,” Karen says.

How to find out more about Derby Grammar School Sixth Form

Derby Grammar School Sixth Form will hold an open evening that prospective parents and students can attend to find out more. 

“We welcome both boys and girls at Derby Grammar School and provide them with a dynamic and stimulating environment where they can take their next steps towards their future. They'll find the motivation they need to complete their A-Levels, make a difference in society, and prepare to go on to university, undertake a degree apprenticeship or enter the workplace,” says Karen.  

The open evening will take place on October 11, 2021, from 6pm until 8pm. Refreshments will be available and you’ll have the chance to meet with Karen, the subject teachers, take a tour of the Sixth Form, speak to current students and learn how you can apply. It’s free to attend, and booking is necessary.

Call 01332 510030 or email to book a place at the open evening, or visit