School Life

“The opportunities are there for you to grasp, but Berkhamsted Sixth is what you, as an individual, make of it.”

Jemima Storey, Berkhamsted Head Girl, 2018-19

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Dynamic and diverse, Berkhamsted Sixth offers our pupils a stimulating and supportive transition from senior school to the next step in their lives – whether university or an apprenticeship.

At Berkhamsted, we develop our students into fully-rounded people. We teach our pupils to do their best in exams, yet we also teach them to develop a broad range of interests outside of their core academic subjects.

We create an environment that encourages our Sixth students to be intellectually inquisitive, helping them to develop into young adults who aim to challenge themselves academically and pastorally.

We expect our students to be active and reflective and to work effectively as an individual and also as a member of a team.

We understand that this will not always be easy. Our staff give our students opportunities, responsibilities and challenges and we hold them accountable for how they respond, right from the start.

We listen to our students and empower them to develop independently. We never withhold opportunities to learn, which are often found through their own problems and difficulties. We encourage our pupils to discover that it is equally as important to learn to fail, as it is to succeed.

We are here to support and challenge our students, helping them grow into adventurous, motivated individuals with a true sense of compassion.

At Berkhamsted, we believe that our students develop by taking responsibility for their actions, plus their mistakes when they make them.

We listen to our students and empower them to develop, without withholding the opportunities to learn that their own problems and difficulties will afford. We encourage our pupils that it is equally as important to learn to fail, as well as to succeed.

Our students leave Berkhamsted Sixth with resilience, ambition and motivation. They are independent, confident and resourceful, equipped with the skills and strategies they will need to enter the next stage of their lives as leaders.

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Insights into Sixth

Berkhamsted Sixth is an environment that encourages our students to develop into intellectually inquisitive, motivated and ambitious young adults who aim to challenge themselves academically and also beyond the classroom.

Jemima Storey – Berkhamsted Head Girl (2018-19)

“I am proud to be a student at Berkhamsted Sixth. Staff and students alike aspire to treat each other with the utmost consideration.  It is this friendly and warm community that allows us to achieve our goals with a positive attitude. We strongly believe in the value of serving each other and the wider community and this shows itself in charity work, goodwill, encouragement and day-to-day politeness – all of which have enriched my experience at Berkhamsted.

Being surrounded by driven and ambitious individuals has encouraged me to pursue my own interests to a high level. There is great diversity in the range of aspirations and talents.  I have found that watching my peers present on topics unrelated to my personal academic focus, for example, within our Crawford Society, which has been thought-provoking.

This environment of aspiration and ambition motivates students to work hard in the classroom and also play hard in other areas of the school.  My time at Berkhamsted has led me to take part in school music, Duke of Edinburgh awards, art and hockey. Having joined the school in Year 9, throwing myself into these extra-curricular activities helped me to settle in, make friends and relax from school work. To anyone joining our Sixth Form, I would thoroughly recommend seizing these opportunities.

While my personal interests are not all curriculum-related, I have enjoyed partaking in subject-based clubs too. Often student-led, these are as intellectually stimulating as you want them to be.  Whether you have an interest in engineering, psychology, classics, languages or art (to mention but a few of our societies!) there is something for everyone to take part in, if they wish.

The thing I will take away at the end of my time at Berkhamsted is this sense of independence. I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore academic pathways through engaging lessons, lectures and clubs, which have sparked new areas of curiosity.  However, what I will appreciate and look back on most are the skills for independent learning I have developed in my time at the school.

What I think is special about our Sixth Form is the freedom students have to participate in as much or as little as they choose. The opportunities are there for you to grasp, but Sixth Form is what you, as an individual, make of it.”

Joe Beadle – Berkhamsted Head Boy (2018-19)

“With the support and opportunities on offer here, your time at Berkhamsted isn’t whatever you might think of it now – it’s what you’re going to make of it.

Studying the subjects that fascinate and inspire you, Berkhamsted Sixth nurtures not only students’ independent thinking and academic curiosity, but also friendships and memories that you will keep for a lifetime. We pride ourselves in being an international, diverse school, which interacts with the wider community, particularly in our student-led charity initiatives.

My advice for prospective students is to choose the subjects you love the most – as you will be dedicating lots of time to them! – and to not only expect, but look forward to a real challenge. Embracing and learning from the challenges you will encounter at Berkhamsted will give you a true sense of achievement. Be brave, throw yourself into the deep end, try new things and make the most of this incredible opportunity.

At Berkhamsted, there is so much on offer beyond the academic. I have greatly enjoyed immersing myself in the school’s dynamic performing arts scene – some of the opportunities Berkhamsted has given me include performing a duet to HM The Queen; music tours to Austria, Czech Republic and Italy and senior drama productions, including composing the live score to Molière’s ‘The Miser’ at the Edinburgh Fringe (2018).

Whatever they may be, you can explore your passions here and you will get out what you put in, whilst being integrated into a supportive and inclusive student body.

You will be challenged here, but, if you make the most of the opportunities, you will feel so proud to belong to this vibrant school community and its values of being adventurous, aiming high with integrity, and serving others.

I, for one, wouldn’t change my time here for the world.”

Wellbeing

The wellbeing of our pupils is of the utmost importance to us at Berkhamsted. We provide a safe, confidential and supportive environment in which our students can feel secure, enabling them to grow to achieve their full potential.

Our proactive wellbeing strategy helps keep our pupils well, detects early signs of potential problems and supports any student who is experiencing pastoral difficulties.

We believe that collaboration between our students, parents and staff is crucial for our pupils to flourish. We will always speak the truth kindly to parents and to listen to parents in return.

We are here to help our pupils work through the difficulties of teenage life and develop coping strategies to prepare them for their future, developing into resilient, independent, young adults who have a sense of purpose and compassion.

Our dedicated Wellbeing team is led by our Director of Pupil Wellbeing. The team includes nurses, counsellors and coaches as well as chaplaincy staff, who support our teaching staff in their pastoral roles.

Our medical centre is accessible during the school day and our medical officer has a special responsibility for our boarders. Our qualified counsellors are available for confidential counselling six days per week.

Pastoral Care

Our aim at Berkhamsted Sixth is to instill our students with a strong sense of discipline and accountability within a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

We encourage our students to take responsibility for their self-discipline, adhering to our school rules and Code of Conduct. We believe our pupils develop by taking responsibility for their mistakes as and when they make them, rather than adopting a culture of blaming others.

Everyday discipline at Berkhamsted falls within the remit of our school staff, supported by the Heads of Houses. Any serious breaches of discipline are dealt with by the Deputy Heads or Heads in consultation with the Heads of Houses.

Chaplaincy

Our Christian foundation was established when our School was founded in 1541 and the foundation remains as much a part of school life and tradition as it was 477 years ago.

We have two school chapels and two full-time chaplaincy staff who provide pastoral care and support to our students through lunchtime drop-in clubs, extracurricular Christian Unions and the opportunity to take Confirmation classes.

All Berkhamsted students attend one chapel service each week, which are Christian in their focus but still accessible to those of other faiths and none.

Christmas, Easter and Remembrance Day are marked with special services and there is a half termly after-school communion service, which is open to anyone in the school community.

We believe that social action and spiritual development are vital to the development of our students, enabling them to become well-rounded individuals with a strong community focus and sense of compassion.

We aim to raise questions, stimulate our students with debate and provide them with opportunities to contribute and reflect.

Boarding

At Berkhamsted we place great value on the benefits that our students gain from their experience of living in a community. Developing resilience and independence, boarding is the ideal way to prepare our students for the next stage of their life at university and beyond.

Although the majority of our pupils are day pupils, we also offer various flexible boarding options for our pupils aged 11-18, with full-time termly and weekly boarding options available to pupils in Year 9 onwards.

Full-time boarding in Sixth allows our senior students to focus on their academic studies while still participating fully in all that Berkhamsted Sixth has to offer.

We also offer a number of boarding places to Sixth Form students from overseas.

We aim to create a boarding environment in which the happiness and wellbeing of our students is paramount, with our pastoral care, chaplaincy and medical staff available to guide and support every pupil.

Our boarding houses

Our two boarding houses – St John’s for girls and Incents for boys – are located on Chesham Road within a few minutes walk of our Senior campuses – Castle and Kings – and the town centre.

Both boarding houses have individual study bedrooms for Senior pupils, which are furnished and decorated to a high standard.

There are two common rooms, kitchen facilities and a large garden, which is shared between the houses. Pupils can also meet together in the dining area.

Our boarders have access to the sports facilities of the Senior School, alongside free private membership to our Knox-Johnston sports centre, which offers a fitness suite, sports hall and 25m swimming pool. Classes range from aqua aerobics to pilates.

Computers with Wi-Fi access are available in both boarding houses and house outings are arranged on a regular basis.

Our boarding options

Our flexible and occasional boarding options ensure pupils who live far away from our School are able to participate fully in our extensive after-school activities.

Flexible boarding – which is charged at a nightly fee – is the ideal solution for parents who frequently work away or travel abroad and need the assurance that their children are well cared for. Choose a regular booking, or use on an ad-hoc basis.

Weekly boarding typically runs for four nights per week, from Monday to Thursday.

If you’d like to discuss boarding at Berkhamsted for your son or daughter or you’d like to visit one of our boarding houses, please just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

@berkhamstedschools

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