​​​​Is a sixth​ form college bigger than school and will I feel like an individual?

Esher Sixth Form College is the same size as a large secondary school, except that all students are aged 16-18.  This provides a great opportunity to make new friends and it's something that our current and former students regularly comment on. This is just one of the reasons why we are often referred to as a halfway house or a stepping stone to higher education and employment.  However, it is important to remember that Esher is not a university, or even a General Further Education College, in terms of size and the support for academic progress.  As far as colleges go, we are relatively small and our focus is entirely on the success of 16-18 year olds on advanced academic and general vocational qualifications.

A well-established, integrated and specialist student support structure (sometimes referred to as pastoral care) underpins our students' success.  It starts from an understanding that all students are different and its aim is to cater for the particular needs of 16-18 year olds of all types.  It is about well-being, overall welfare and the monitoring of individual progress.  If you take a look at our website, you will find that this is enshrined in our Mission Statement.  Many of the points in FAQ 1 also apply here.  

Here's what we do:

  • Induction and 'ice-breaker' activities in tutor and subject sessions to help you build relationships and establish friendship groups

  • Activities and events for those of you who are a little anxious or are the only enrolment from your school (this may be because the school is small or geographically distant)

  • You will have chosen courses that reflect your interests and you will find yourself with other students with similar interests - other students, like you, who are really interested in History, or enjoy figuring out Maths problems and so on. Whatever you are interested in, you will find students with similar interests in your classes

  • In the majority of cases, you will find yourself in a tutor group in which your fellow tutees will be taking one of your subjects – and your personal tutor will be a teacher of that subject

  • Assessment, feedback and reference writing are based on an understanding that all students are different and teachers and tutors ensure that this important work is focused on your individual needs and abilities

  • The College is committed to equality in all its forms and to the celebration of diversity (our students run a number of support groups). So, you will find fellow students who are on your wavelength and have similar interests

  • You will find that the College is a remarkably peaceful learning environment.  Visitors often comment on how calm the College feels.  That's because students are either in lessons or studying in the two Learning Resource Centres

  • All students are in the same position and are as interested in getting to know you, as you are to know them. The college isn't cliquey. Across your two years you get to know the students in your classes well 

  • The reality of life at Esher is that you will study each of your core subjects within a group of around 20 students, so you will be part of a smaller class/course community, as well as feeling part of a wider and vibrant College community. Thinking of things on this smaller scale makes the prospect of moving from school to a sixth form college less daunting and more closely relates to the actual experience of the vast majority of our students