During their journey through the sixth form, it is always a pleasure to see how students gain confidence. Seeking where our aspirations lie and working towards them is at the heart of our school ethos and the diversity of our academic and our extra-curricular programmes encourages this.
In significant addition though is our tutorial, pastoral and personal development structures which the students acknowledge as a vibrant support and integral part of their education here. We begin their academic career by building an induction programme that allows our students to collaborate on a creative project as a year group and learn about effective study skills. We believe that self-knowledge is the foundation for success, so as well as preparing our students for the demands of their courses and for the world beyond Ryde, we also embed within our Sixth Form experience a coaching system where students are coached and learn themselves this useful lifelong tool so that those who then wish may play an important role in leading and mentoring the lower school and potentially others beyond Ryde.
Healthy study habits are consolidated by offering our students a wide-ranging sports and activities afternoon every Wednesday. As well as competitive teams that represent our school in national and international competitions, we also provide a range of flexible options so that students can explore and gain skills in several sporting areas. In the same vein, we offer yoga and mindfulness programmes as well as opportunities for volunteering in the local community.
On Friday afternoons, we have a varied range of ways to close our working week. This often takes the form of tutor meetings where students may discuss anything from current affairs to present academic progress.
Our small tutor groups and dedicated tutor team allow for both support, inspiration and, often, a lot of good humour. They are also important in assisting students with university, apprenticeship or job applications. We may also meet as a year or house group at the end of the week or attend a Sixth Form lecture. Every other week, our reflection takes the form of ‘chapel’; where the whole school meets for a moment of peaceful thought, prayer and a song.
Our Sixth Formers are role models and ambassadors; evolving, in our time with us, into independent and reliable citizens. They enrich our school with their active participation in important events such as the Careers Fair, the Global Rock competition, Young Enterprise, numerous school plays and concerts, charity events, open days and parents evenings to name just a few.
As our year draws to an end, all our students take part in an enrichment and activities week organised by our Head of Careers and Lifelong Learning. Here students are encouraged and challenged to learn a variety of new skills including taking extra qualifications, building go-karts, learning to cook, going on a reading retreat or learning a new language; the options are comprehensive and focussed on the important skills increasingly appreciated by universities and employers.
As well as the Winter Ball, we also meet as a whole Sixth Form in a social context. Quiz Limbo, a game indigenous to the school, is a well attended event and we punctuate our busy year with whole Sixth Form challenges and games. The end of our school year is crowned with the Leavers’ Supper and then the Leavers’ Ball. A great number of our students, from rugby players to semi-professional singers and fledgling light and sound producers, participate in the Island-wide attended school musical.
Results day at Ryde is an exciting and emotional day. We enjoy celebrating successes with our students and giving them the support they need to ensure that their first steps beyond Ryde are well oriented, right for each student and exciting.
Ryde has an active alumni presence and we stay in contact with our leavers in order to celebrate their successes and support them in their future endeavours. Students, past and present at Ryde, and their families are part of a lifelong community and it is always a pleasure to see so many of our former Sixth Formers returning to pay us visits after leaving the school.