Here are some useful FAQs to help you prepare for Your Start at Esher in September 2024.

Esher College

Starting at College

Q: When is my first day of College?
For Entry in September 2024 your first official day of timetabled lessons will be Monday 9 September.  Before that, you will be invited into the College to meet with your tutor and tutor group as part of the Your Start At Esher induction programme beginning on Wednesday 4 September.

Q: Are students organised into houses?
No. Instead you will be part of a tutor group, where you will meet once a week to take part in timetabled sessions. These sessions form part of your Personal Development Programme, and will focus on a variety of key issues relevant to young adults, including charity fund-raising, environmental matters and current affairs. Your tutor group is also part of a broader tutor team, led by a Tutor Team Leader.

Q: When do I meet my tutor group?
6.1 students (first year or Year 12 students) meet with their tutor group every Tuesday during period 4 (12:40-1:45pm).

6.2 students (second year or Year 13 students) meet every Thursday during period 4 (12:40-1:45pm).

 Q: How are tutor groups selected?
Your personal tutor will most likely be a teacher in one of your chosen subjects, while your tutor group will be a selection of students with similar subject interests.

Q: I’m the only one coming from my school to Esher, how do I meet new people?
Our students come from more than 100 different schools, so there will be many students in the same position who are excited about making new friends too. During Your Start At Esher induction, you will meet both your tutor and fellow tutees in a small group session, which will be followed once term commences, with a programme of Your Start At Esher events to help you meet new people. Aside from your course choices, you will also meet students with similar interests through your complementary subject choice.

Student Life

Q: Do we get lockers?
Yes. We have lockers available to students to rent for £15 a year (includes a £5 refundable deposit). Further details will be in your enrolment letter.

Q: What are the rules about lanyards?
All students must have their ID card on their person at all times while engaged in College activity and be able to produce their ID card if required to do so by a member of staff. All students will be provided with an ID Lanyard and can make use of it, if they so choose.

Q: Is there a cafe?
We have a café and outdoor ‘snack shack’, run by independent caterers Innovate, as well as two Costa Coffee concessions. Innovate provide freshly hot cooked meals every lunchtime, salad bar and a wide selection of sandwiches, drinks and snacks.

Q: Does the café offer vegan and vegetarian food?
Our caterer, Innovate, provide a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, available daily.

Q: If I don’t have any lessons, do I have to stay at College?
Students are expected to attend all timetabled sessions and activities. However allocated periods of private study can either be taken at home or in College. We have two Learning Resource Centres at College where you can work both individually or in groups.

Q: How many free periods will I have?
One of the biggest differences at sixth form will be the amount of private study periods you have. Learning to study independently is a key skill for life and how you use this time is up to you. Many students find our Learning Resource Centres and our Study Centre are the perfect environments for quiet study and research. Other students prefer studying in the café, outside in the quad or even at home. On average most students will typically have 14-15 timetabled sessions a week, with the rest allocated to private study.

Q: Do I need my own laptop?
The College has 950 desktop computers around the college and 325 laptops, 192 of which you can borrow through our LapSafe locker scheme. The laptops are for use on campus, in class and for private study. There are PCs in the Learning Resource Centres as well as in the Café and Study Centre. To borrow a laptop or to log on to a PC you simply need your student card.

All students have access to high speed WIFI throughout the College and Microsoft 365, with access to Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive and so much more.

Q: Can I bring a laptop/iPad into class to make notes on it?
Yes, you are welcome to bring laptops into College to work and make notes. In fact, we encourage it if it helps progress your learning.

Q: What is the College’s policy on mobile phones?
Mobile phones must be placed on silent or turned off when you are in class. They must always be kept stored away (in pockets or bags) in lessons or in any working areas, unless otherwise instructed.

Q: Does the College have a dress code?
At Esher, there is no uniform and no strict rules on what you are allowed to wear. However, you will be joining an adult learning community, based on mutual respect and tolerance, and we expect students to dress appropriately for a learning environment.

Q: Do I need to buy my own books to write in?
We do not provide students with exercise books to write in. Most students will bring in their own supply of lined paper that they can file in their folders. The College has a well-stocked Stationery shop, situated in LRC1.

Q: Do classes have seating plans?
This will be at the discretion of your teacher/tutor.


Q: Can I ride my moped to College?
Yes, you can. We have a student car park on campus, but you must obtain a valid permit from the Security Officer.

Q: Can I drive to College?
Yes, you can. We have a student car park on campus, but you must obtain a valid permit from the Security Officer.


Q: What study support is there to help students cope with the transition to A Levels?
Many students find it’s a big step up from GCSEs to A Levels and vocational courses, which is why we work with you from the start to develop the skills you need to make the transition successful.

In your PDP (Personal Development Programme) lessons you will be introduced to our Learning to Learn Programme and each course will follow this up with a subject-specific induction to help you adjust to a new level of study.  We also have half-termly study skills courses delivered by our Learning Mentors, specific subject clinics and a team of specialists in our Study Centre to help you with everything from note-taking and essay writing to exam and revision techniques.

For those that need it, our Learning To Learn programme helps students make the jump to independent learning by offering half termly study skills courses.  These courses are delivered by our Learning Mentors in the Study Centre, who will help you adapt your study habits to succeed on higher-level courses.

Q: Do you offer support for families with low incomes?
We offer a bursary and free meals support if your circumstances meet the published criteria. For more information visit the Finance section on our website.

Q: What resources are there for LGBTQ+ students?
We are an inclusive sixth form college and actively encourage applications from students from diverse and varied backgrounds. We have societies that students can join, including our Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) lunchtime meetings, which organises speakers and events.

Q: Do you have counsellors available?
Yes, we do. We have trained counsellors on site, who are available to give individual help to students with work-related or personal concerns. We also have our own Mental Health Week, just before the summer exams, to help students support each other, re-connect and build resilience.

Your Courses and Timetable

Q: When do I get my timetable?
After enrolment you will be invited, by email, to come and meet your tutor and tutor group as part of our induction programme starting on Wednesday 4 September.

Your timetable will be available on our database to download on the afternoon of Friday 6 September. We will email to let you know when it is ready to view.

Your first lesson, on Monday 9 September, will be with your tutor where you will be given a hard copy of your timetable and your Esher Planner.

Q: How long is each lesson?
Each lesson is 65 minutes long. You will receive four hours and 20 minutes of timetabled lessons for each curriculum subject per week and a further 65 minutes for PDP and your Complementary Study.

Q: I want to change one of my subjects, how do I do this?
The best time to make any changes to your Study Programme will be at Enrolment, 27-29 August, when subject teachers and tutors will be available to advise on any changes.  However, if you are sure about your course change and don’t need to speak to one of our advisors, you can make changes by logging onto your online application account.

Q: I want to drop one of my subjects, how do I do this?
The best time to make any changes to your Study Programme will be at Enrolment, 27-29 August, when subject teachers and tutors will be available to advise on any changes. Once you have chosen your subjects, you will take them for both years.

Q: Is there a deadline for changing my course subjects?
Once lessons begin, we have a temporary suspension of all course changes in the first week (9-13 September) to let the timetable settle.  After that, there is a five-week period from Monday 16 September, where students can make subject changes to their Study Programme on discussion with their tutor/teacher.

Q: How many students are there per class?
Class sizes vary between subjects, on average between 15 and 22 students per class.

Q: Can I change my mind about taking four courses?
Yes, you can. Students who opt to take four courses must have at least seven GCSEs at grade 7 or above and averaging at least grade 7 across all GCSEs.  Your tutor and subject teachers will constantly be reviewing your progress and can discuss any changes with you. However, once you have enrolled, we expect you to follow four courses over your two-year study programme. There is no requirement for any student to follow four courses.

Q: How can I contact a teacher about a specific course?
The best time to talk to a subject teacher about a specific course will be at Enrolment on 27-29 August.

Q: Can I resit my GCSEs at Esher?
You will need to retake most GCSE qualifications at your original centre, i.e. your secondary school, in the autumn term. However, English Language and Maths are available to be retaken at Esher as part of your College study programme.

Q: Do I get a new Esher account – as my online application account is under my parents’ email?
Yes, you will. Once you are enrolled to the College you will be given a new account to log in to the College systems. This account will include a College email address, access to free WiFi on campus, and access to Microsoft Office 365 on your home computer.


Extension Studies

Q: What extension studies do you offer?
First Year (6.1 students) can choose from more than 40 complementary studies, including Scuba Diving, DofE and College Production. You will be able to choose six options by researching the Complementary Studies booklet that will be on the website shortly and then enter your shortlist online before enrolment.

Second Year (6.2 students) choose specific Progression Pathway to develop your skills further.  These include the EPQ, Creative Arts Portfolio and Sports Leadership Award. You choose these at the end of your first year.

Q: If I don’t pick sport as an extension study – can I still play recreationally?
There are several recreational complementary studies, such as five-a-side football, circuits, racket sports, CrossFit, futsal, workout. If students don’t wish to select one of these they can use the gym during opening hours (period 3 & 4 Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri). The facilities such as the Sports Hall are not typically available for unsupervised student use during the day, but the field space can be used if students have their own equipment.

Q: How many Extension Studies can I do?
When you enrol, you will be able to select one Complementary Study on your timetable alongside your chosen academic subjects. Your Complementary Study is the equivalent of one lesson per week on your timetable, however some course require slightly more commitment.

You can choose to do either one long course or two short courses in your first year. Some of our courses such as membership of a sports team or Duke of Edinburgh will last up until Easter. Our short courses last for only one term. If you choose a short course, you will need to choose another short course at changeover time in January, which you will follow until Easter.

Q: What sport teams are there?
There are numerous opportunities for students to get involved through team sport in Football (women and men), Netball (women), Mixed Hockey, Basketball (men and women) and Rugby (women and men).   Additionally, we enter some teams on an ad hoc basis into competitions as they arise throughout the year in sports such as swimming, golf, badminton, cricket and cross country.

If you would like to be part of an Esher Sports team, you will need to attend trials AND complete the form.

Thursday 29th August 2-4pm

  • Men’s football – Surnames A-M (Esher College, 3G pitch)
  • Women’s football (Esher College, 9-aside pitch)
  • Men’s rugby (Esher College, Rugby pitch)
  • Netball (Esher College, Outdoor courts)

Tuesday 3rd September 2-4pm

  • Men’s football – Surnames N-Z (Esher College, 3G pitch)
  • Mixed Hockey (OC’s Hockey Club)
  • Men’s Basketball (College, Sports Hall)

If you want to trial for women’s rugby or women’s netball, these will be held on the first training session so make sure you put this as your first choice complementary.

Q: Do I need to be doing PE A Level/BTEC to be on the ROSE programme?
No. The Roll Of Sporting Excellence (ROSE) programme is open to all students who meet the elite performance criteria.

Q: Can I still play music at Esher, even if I’m not doing Music A Level/BTEC?
Yes. We offer several music options as part of your Extension Studies including College Band, Jazz Band, Choir or Music Theory. The Music Department also organise Open Mic sessions where students are encouraged to perform to their peers.

Q: How is the DofE GOLD programme run?
If you are interested in undertaking your Duke of Edinburgh Gold award, you will be invited to an information evening during 6.1 Enrolment. This information evening will provide you with all the relevant information on the expedition location we are able to offer and associated costs.  Participants will meet with others for one timetabled session per week, where you will use this time to get to know your fellow DofE participants and work on what you want to do for each of the five sections (Physical, Skill, Volunteering, Residential and the Expedition). Your practice expedition and final expedition will be in your second year.

You do not need to have completed DofE Bronze or Silver to take part.

Q: Can I do four Courses and DofE?
Only students with a high level of GCSE passes (at least seven GCSEs, grade 7 or higher) are offered a four-course programme. Adding Duke of Edinburgh GOLD to that would be challenging but doable if the student is highly organised.

Q: Can I play table tennis at Esher?
There is a racket sports club, which first year students can take as their complementary study option incorporating table tennis, along with badminton and tennis.

Q: Is there a running club?
No, although we do enter some students for cross country competitions as they arise throughout the year. If there is an interest in different activities, we would endeavour to develop some provision.