SIXTH FORM INFORMATION
The transition from Y11 is an important stage in the school career of all students and is a key time in your education. You are about to make subject choices that will affect the last two years of your schooling, what you may go on to study at university or undertake for your career. In that regard, these decisions need thorough research and consideration. The great advantage of the A-level system is that it provides students with the opportunity to choose those subjects you are most interested in and to which your talents are best suited. This specialisation should be highly motivating and the deeper level of study should be more demanding and satisfying intellectually. In the same vein, teaching sets tend to be smaller and the atmosphere perhaps more informal than in the larger classes in Y11 preparing for IGCSE. The teaching at Harrow Hong Kong is inspirational and highly interactive but Subject Teachers expect greater initiative from students. That means Sixth Formers must take more responsibility for their own organisation, especially when there are no longer set days of the week for prep (the Harrow word for â€˜homeworkâ€™) and it is important
to plan ahead. Equally, to do very well academically, it is important that students genuinely become independent learners and read more widely around their subjects. For those who are likely to apply to UK universities, the grades achieved in International AS-levels at the end of Y12 are crucially important, because they represent half of the A-level marks and they may also appear on university application forms. As January modules are no longer offered at A-level, there is only one chance to re-sit AS-level modules in the summer of Y13; and as they coincide with A2 revision, it is a less than desirable situation and one that is best avoided by doing well first time. Many other opportunities will be open to you in the Sixth Form at Harrow Hong Kong. The expectations of the Schoolâ€™s vision statement Leadership for a better world, and the six leadership attributes it outlines, are nowhere greater than in the Sixth Form. The opportunities to contribute positively to, and derive benefit from, the School community
are enormous. You will be expected to develop your extra-curricular interests, and there will be many opportunities to widen your horizons through, for example, the distinguished speakers who regularly visit the School and the work shadowing placements that are supported by Friends of Harrow. Above all, as senior students in the School, and particularly in your Houses, Sixth Formers are expected to be exemplary role models for younger students and to make the most of opportunities to be leaders in different aspects of School life. However, the priority will be the subjects you have to choose to study at AS-level and A-level. Some students may already have a good idea of their probable career path and will choose subjects with that in mind. Equally, to read some subjects at university, certain A-level subjects are required. However, for most students the key factors to take into account in decisions about A-level choices are the subjects that they are most likely to find enjoyable and, therefore where they will be motivated to work hard.
ACADEMIC COURSES The main components of the Sixth Form academic curriculum at the School are: • •
AS-levels (usually four) in Y12 A2 levels (usually three) in Y13
Some students do carry on with four A-levels and it is even occasionally possible to study a fifth A-level, usually Further Mathematics or an additional language. However, university entry is usually determined by the results in three A-levels and it is important that taking more than three does not compromise the achievement of top grades in three A-levels. The subjects available to study at A-level from September 2017 are: • • • • • • • •
Art and Design Biology Chemistry Chinese Economics English in Literature French Geography
• • • • • • •
Government & Politics History Mathematics and Further Mathematics Music Philosophy & Religious Studies Physics Spanish
All subjects are offered subject to demand and availability. Confirmation will come in the final stages of the whole School timetable scheduling process. Each subject will have 5 lessons of teaching time per week, with either one or two Subject Teachers. The School encourages Sixth Form students to embark on an Extended Project Qualification, with one lesson per week. This is viewed extremely favourably
by universities as it will equip you with many of the skills needed for successful undergraduate study not covered by your AS-level or A-level course; how to undertake research, referencing, selecting appropriate sources, time management, presentation skills, and keeping a log of your work. For applications to the most competitive courses, there is evidence that a very good EPQ can be definite advantage in helping to select the best students.
There is also at least one period per week where all students in Y12 or Y13 are free at the same time. At that time, we invite visiting speakers and representatives from different universities to come into the School to talk about their subject area or their institution. It is during this time that you will be given general advice and guidance about applying for higher education. The Sixth Form Leader is always available to talk through your options with you individually. In addition, all students follow the Harrow Hong Kong International Perspectives course in the Autumn Term and Spring Term of Y12. The course is not
externally examined, but is assessed through internal presentations, debates and essays. It is designed to prepare students for the demands of higher education through focusing on the skills of critical analysis and scholarship. The content is related to global issues and different perspectives of them, including: democracy and alternative political systems; free will and determinism; genetic engineering and medical ethics; terrorism and counter-terrorism; different religious and non-religious world views; the nature of a successful business; and environmental ethics.
HOW DO I CHOOSE
MY A-LEVEL SUBJECTS It is important that you choose your A-level subjects wisely. On the whole, the best choices will be the subjects that you enjoy most and you are most likely to success. However, there are some subjects that are either essential, or at least very important, for some careers. If you have plans at this stage to follow a particular career, you must find out what subjects are needed so that you do not drop the wrong ones now. The main factors that should be considered in your decision-making are: 1. Your level of interest in the subject Does a subject really interest you and why? You need to be interested in the subject matter and enjoy the skills involved in it. For example, does it involve extended writing? Is it a more practical subject? In addition, take into account how the subject will be assessed will there be any coursework? Economics and Government & Politics are new subjects offered in the Sixth Form that you may not have met before and consequently, you need to find out even more about them. 2. Your ability in the subject What are your strengths and weaknesses? Look at your latest school report and be clear about subjects in which have you been most successful so far and why? What skills come more easily to you?
3. University Course and Career choices It is vital that you consider the implications of the choices of the courses that you elect to study. Some subjects are necessary if you wish to read certain degrees, especially Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry, and Engineering, but it can apply to arts and languages subjects too. It is not possible to be prescriptive, however, to be perscriptive, because each university sets its own admissions standards. For students interested in studying in the UK, the current university prospectuses are the best guides. Useful websites and publications include: • • •
www.ucas.ac.uk www.russellgroup.ac.uk/informed-choices Book: HEAP 2016: University Degree Course Offers: The Essential Guide to Winning your Place at University
In Summary: DO CHOOSE A SUBJECT because: • • • • •
You will enjoy it You have a strong interest in it You are good at it It will help you in your future career aspirations and plans You believe that you will succeed in it
DO NOT CHOOSE A SUBJECT because: • • • • • •
Your friends have chosen it You think it will be easy You have been told it involves less work Relatives or friends tell you to do it without a good reason It is something new You like your current teacher – they may not teach you in the Sixth Form
KEY PEOPLE As with every student in the Upper School at Harrow Hong Kong, your House Master or House Mistress is the person who has overall responsibility for your pastoral care and is the person who will deal with most of the concerns you might have during your time here. There are, however, two other people, who will play an important role in your life in the Sixth Form: Sixth Form Leader The Sixth Form Leader coordinates guidance to all Sixth Form students relating to university applications and careers, and manages the mechanics of the university entrance process. In association with the Friends of Harrow, the Sixth Form Leader also helps to provide appropriate work shadowing opportunities, and presentation and interviewing skills training for Sixth Form students. She also co-ordinates the Extended Project Qualification, especially the taught skills element. The School has a comprehensive programme of advice for and preparation of Sixth Forme students for appropriate universities, and has developed strong, effective links with universities in the UK, USA and Hong Kong. Students will find regular visits of distinguished speakers from a variety of universities. Director of Studies The Director of Studies is responsible for all matters relating to teaching and learning in the Upper School, including the construction of the academic timetable. He is, therefore, the person who works with Sixth Form students in designing their academic course of study and monitors their overall progress with the Heads of Departments and Subject Teachers. Key academic decisions about academic subjects must be taken in association with the Director of Studies.
LEADERSHIP IN ACTION
A varied extra-curricular programme has always been an essential part of a Harrow education. Distinctively in Hong Kong, the Leadership in Action programme includes an extra-curricular (ECA) programme for all students from Y1 to Y13, which is integrated into the longer than normal School day, supported by an enrichment programme outside the formal School day. These programmes, together with related opportunities in the academic curriculum and the Facing Challenges programme (the Schoolâ€™s bespoke pastoral education programme), aim to encourage students to attain excellence in those activities in which they show talent while engaging over time in a broad range of activities that enable them to develop the skills associated with six key themes: service, charity, teamwork, creative expression, leadership and challenge. The Leadership-in-Action programme includes a wide range of team and
individual sports, music, art, drama, cultural and academic extension activities. In the ECA programme, all students in the Senior School choose all their ECA options. There is an Upper School enrichment programme each day after 5.15pm for boarders and those day students able to attend. It includes a very good range of inter-House academic, cultural and sports competitions throughout the year, with inter-House sports leagues every Wednesday. On selected Wednesdays in the Autumn Term and Spring Term, inter-House competitions involving the participation of all Upper School students mean that all day students are required to remain until 7.15pm in Wednesday Evening School. Music Ensembles practices and academic society meetings take place during the lunchtime enrichment programme.
PASTORAL CARE HOUSES The quality of relationships and community life, and the personal formation of character are fundamental to the life of Harrow International School Hong Kong. In the Upper School, the House Master or House Mistress has the primary role in the pastoral care of students. All students, whether day or boarders, are members of a House; there are currently three boys’ and three girls’
Prep Houses (Y6-Y8), and three boys’ and three girls’ Senior Houses (Y9-Y13). There are around 300 weekly boarders (from Sunday evening to Friday evening). Resident in each House is a House Master or House Mistress, and a Resident House Tutor, but all Upper School teachers are Tutors in one of the Houses and the House Pastoral teams play a major role in supporting the boarders and day students.
The Houses provide rich opportunities for interacting with students from a wide range of backgrounds and for developing more profound relationships with teachers and each other. This comes in part from the daily challenge of living with other people, through which students develop the intricacies of human interaction. The real strength of a House is the vertical integration of different year groups, which effectively creates a large family unit, allowing responsibilities to fall to older students to care for and support younger students. The result is the creation of a close-knit, family atmosphere in which boarders feel that it is their home during term time, but in which all students feel happy, secure and valued. The prime responsibility for developing this falls to the House Masters and House Mistresses and great â€˜House spiritâ€™ is generated,
is particularly seen when inter-House competitions, especially but not solely on certain designated Wednesday Evening activities. Sixth Form boarding students usually have their own room, with some of the Sixth Form rooms having a shared bathroom. Each House has a common room in which its residents can relax and socialise. In addition, all boarders share an outside patio area in front of the boarding block. The boarding facility also contains a medical centre where 24-hour medical care is available. Fully qualified nursing members of staff are on duty throughout the day and night. Facilities such as the sports hall, swimming pool, sports fields, tennis courts and music practice rooms are available to boarders out of School hours.
Harrow International School Hong Kong 38 Tsing Ying Road, Tuen Mun New Territories, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2824 9099 Fax: +852 2824 9928 www.harrowschool.hk