I am a 16 year student who has just moved schools to do her A level.
Had it been my choice, I would have stayed in my own school
But it wasn't my choice.
The choice was made for me when my local government decided to build a sixth form college.
Now, don't get me wrong, I really really love my new school. It is a fantastic school with good A level pass and fantastic opportunities available to me. And I am really enjoying it here. But the thing is, I don't have any teachers that I know already. I had been in my old school for 5 years, and I knew all of my teachers very well. I knew that if I was having a crappy day, I could down down to my music teacher and sit in the back room for a bit until I calmed down. I knew where all of the teachers would be hiding when they had no lessons, and more than anything, I had teachers I could trust and talk to.
In my new school, I don't really know many of the teachers. I don't know anyone in the younger years. I can't really talk to any of them and I don't really trust any of them as much as my old teachers. Why? Because the trust I had with my old teachers was built up over the course of the 5 years that I was there.
The college cost 33 million pounds to build. 30. 3. Million. That's a heck of a lot of money. Where I live already had a college, but I think the idea was that it was renovated and turned into a sixth form college. Some of my friends have gone to the college in my area and are in a form class with people a lot older than themselves. One of the best things about being is sixth form is being the oldest students in the school, yet when you go to a college, you can be among the youngest. In school, you get lots of privileges compared to the younger years, in a college you may still get those privileges, but the may be taken for granted because everybody has them.
I do believe that for some people, a college is probably a better environment for them to learn in. And one of the best arguments for a sixth form college I think I've heard is that it's a transition period from school to university. An opportunity for people to learn like they will at uni, with the same amount of support as they would in uni (obviously they can have more help if they ask, but if you don't ask, you don't get anything extra), but you can still live at home and have the same amount of support off of your parents. You can still live under your parents roof and scrounge off of them for food.
So had I been given the choice, I would still be in my old school. They gave us an opportunity to express our opinion, and most people said no. The college was built regardless of our opinion, and now it's us that are paying the price.
What do you think? Would you rather a college environment or school for your a levels? Do you think all education post-16 should become tertiary? Let me know in the comments.