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St. Mary's Catholic High School

Our Aim

St Mary's Catholic High School offers a distinctive Catholic education in partnership with parents and the local Parishes. We believe in the unique dignity of each individual within our community and therefore treat each other with deep respect. Each individual is challenged to be the best that they can be in an atmosphere of peace, justice and reconciliation. We commit ourselves to equality of opportunity and access to lifelong learning.

Our aim is that you should find your experience in the Sixth Form stimulating, challenging and interesting. It is our aim that you emerge with a set of academic results as well as a portfolio of experience and expertise across a range of areas of interest that will set you apart when the time comes to make your applications to university or College leaver programmes. We hope that it will help you make the most of your Sixth Form experience over the next two years.


What we expect from you:
  • To attend the College form time/briefings at 8.30am every day. This is a vital part of the day that prepares you for your life as a Sixth Form student. You can expect to attend assemblies, receive ‘life skills’ and mindfulness sessions and receive support around your pastoral welfare and attendance. You will also have the opportunity to participate in collective worship.
  • To attend all timetabled lessons unless absence is authorised. Reasons for authorised absence include: illness, hospital/emergence appointments, driving tests… They do not include: holidays, driving lessons, part time work. Any medical/dental appointments must be confirmed either by phone call, letter or text from a parent/carer. Unacceptable patterns of absence will not be authorised. Routine medical appointments that can be booked outside of College hours will not be authorised.
  • To attend the weekly Ethics and Values lesson. This is a key part of the life in our Catholic Sixth Form.
  • To arrive to all lessons and registration punctually, with the necessary equipment ready to learn.
  • To behave in a polite and respectful manner at all times with all members of the school and college community. Be respectful of our neighbours as you enter and leave college and be especially mindful of where you leave your vehicle.
  • To adhere to the college dress code which is there for your safety and wellbeing as well as the younger students in our community.
  • Be a community member and act as role models for the younger pupils and ambassadors of the school in your everyday life.
  • To follow the St. Mary’s presentation and marking policy which includes:
    • Arriving with the necessary equipment to learn
    • Ensuring that presentation of work is as expected
    • Using green pen for reflection on marked work
  • To not visit licenced premises during the college day
  • To only smoke in the designated area (including electronic cigarettes)
  • Mobile phones should only be used in designated sixth form areas. Students must not use their mobiles phones in lessons
  • To adhere to appropriate use of the internet
  • To wear the Sixth Form identification badge at all times. This is a vital part of safeguarding yourselves and the wider school community.
  • To engage fully in your studies, complete work and meet deadlines as directed by staff.
  • To engage in any opportunities for leadership such as supporting lower school students or offering lunch time activities.
  • To swipe out of college if leaving the premises during the day and swipe back in when returning. This is a vital part of safeguarding you in case of a fire.


What you can expect from us:
  • We will provide an education based on Gospel values suited to KS5, your ability and aptitude, and we will encourage you to become involved in all aspects of college life.
  • We will provide a quality education in a safe, attractive and well-resourced working environment.
  • To be treated with respect and dignity, and in accordance with your individual need, by all College staff
  • We will keep you regularly informed of progress, achievement, attendance and punctuality.
  • We will alert you to any difficulties/concerns that may arise.
  • We will set and mark homework/coursework and set realistic deadlines.
  • You will receive positive encouragement throughout the duration of your course.
  • You will be prepared for examinations through an appropriate course of revision and examination practice.
  • You will be prepared for all coursework submissions and given effective formative feedback so that you may improve your work
  • You will receive advice and guidance to support you with UCAS applications, personal statements and interview preparation.
  • You will receive advice and guidance to support you on and after results day as you transition from Year 12 to Year 13.
  • You will have access to high quality and impartial advice and guidance from a Careers Adviser
  • You will have opportunities to sample work experience and/or visits to HE institutions
  • We will provide a final reference written on request for employers, educational institutions or training providers.
Student Absence Procedures

You have enrolled to undertake an agreed programme of study. Attendance at lessons is the single most important factor in your achievement. Research shows that a 4% drop in overall attendance, results in the loss of a grade in 1 subject and a 10% drop in overall attendance results in your grades dropping by 1 grade across your whole programme. You are expected to attend every lesson punctually. Lateness is disruptive and persistent lateness will result in disciplinary sanctions. If you do not adhere to the attendance requirements and procedures of the College you will become subject to the College’s Support and Disciplinary Procedures. Additional sanctions may also be applied and include being required to bear the cost of examination fees. Bursary payments are directly linked to attendance and punctuality. Progression to further years of study also depends upon your attendance record being good

Reporting Absences

Parents/guardians should report all absences by telephone or email to the College by 8:30 a.m. each day of your absence. Your attendance is a major priority and you should keep the College fully informed of any genuine reason for absence. Routine medical appointments that could be scheduled outside of College hours will not be authorised.

Lateness Procedure

You should be punctual to all lessons. If you know that you are going to be late you must inform the College. If you arrive late you must go straight to your lesson. You are responsible for getting your absence mark changed to a late mark by reminding your teacher at the end of the lesson.

Authorised Absences

Some absences may be classified as authorised and in these cases students will be marked as ‘authorised’ on College attendance records. You must gain approval of known absences in ADVANCE. These will ONLY be approved if the reason for absence is unavoidable and the evidence has been presented to Reception, usually prior to the date of the absence.
Authorised Absences include:

  1. University open days. Max 3.
  2. University Interviews and other final career choice interviews.
  3. Hospital / orthodontist appointments/ serious illness supported by a doctor’s note.
  4. Practical driving test.
  5. Bereavement/funeral.
  6. Religious holidays.


Unauthorised Absences

Sickness Absence Sickness absence will be recorded as unauthorised until the College receives appropriate notification. Routine doctors’ and dental appointments will also be recorded as unauthorised until the College receives appropriate notification.


Holidays in College Term Time

Holidays in term-time will NOT be approved by the College and will be recorded as unauthorised. Holidays taken during term time may result in disciplinary sanctions and may contribute to progression decisions.


* Driving lessons will NOT be authorised.

** Driving theory tests will NOT be authorised.


Procedures for monitoring attendance

From September 2013 all 16 year-olds have been required to continue in education or training, until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. In September 2015 legislation was amended to require children to continue until their 18th birthday. If a child is registered in the School Sixth Form, it is the parents who have the primary responsibility for ensuring that their child attends regularly.

  • In the case of an unplanned absence, parents/carers are expected to notify the College each day of their child’s absence. They will be asked to give a reason for absence and an expected return date.
  • The College Administrator/Student Support Officer will contact home on the first day of absence if the school has not received notification from a parent/carer via telephone. This will continue for each day a student is absent and no explanation has been given by a parent/carer.
  • If no contact has been made by the parent/carer by the third day of absence, an email will also be sent home.
  • All students are monitored weekly on their level of attendance as explained below. The College Administrator emails an updated Attendance Report to all Sixth Form Tutors every week for consideration in tutor time.
  • The College Administrator sends home a fortnightly attendance email to parents that highlights the fortnightly attendance as well as the cumulative subject attendance for the year.
97% Plus 90% to 97% 80% to 90% Below 80%


No Action Required


No Action Required.

However, you are still missing a significant amount of college time and this will affect your outcomes


Cause for Concern

Student Support Officer to discuss attendance with students and engage with parents to put strategies in place

May monitor using an attendance report card


Serious Concern

Immediate action required: Assistant Director of Key Stage to meet Parent/Student to put in strategies in place including a possible college contract 

Monitoring of attendance using report card.


In addition to attending College, students must attend all lessons and additional study sessions relevant to their programme of study. If a student is present in school and fails to attend lessons, the College will contact parents, and the student may be placed on an attendance report card to monitor their attendance in all lessons. They will also be required to complete all tasks missed. Repeated incidents of truancy and therefore defiance may result in a student losing their place in the Sixth Form.

In cases where there is concern regarding the level of attendance (attendance below 90%) the Student Support Officer and Directors will consider action to support the student to improve their attendance. Students may be placed on an attendance report card and possibly a Sixth Form Contract. A Sixth Form contract is a formal written warning that a student’s place at the Sixth Form is under review unless all terms of the contract are met. The contract will clearly set out what is expected from a student and the support strategies the College will put in place to help the student meet the conditions of the contract. If a student fails to fully adhere to the terms of the contract there are a range of possible higher level sanctions which could be issued including losing their place at College.


Continuation to Y13 criteria

The move to Linear A Levels (2 year study with one final exam) means there will be a thorough scrutiny of any end of year assessments/public examinations to determine how students are progressing. The results of these exams combined with other criteria will enable informed decisions to be made about student progression to Year 13.

The criteria for continuation into Year 13 will include:

Progress report data – in particular assessment grades, predicted grades and behaviour for learning judgements by teachers.
Portfolio work – in a vocational course the quality of the portfolio as well as the strength of the exam result.
Attendance – unless there are extenuating circumstances we require students to have good attendance (90%) throughout year 12 with no unauthorised absences.

Evidence of extenuating circumstances that clearly impacted on performance.

Students who achieve grades that are close to their aspirational target grades in their end of Y12 exams and are at grade D or above will automatically transition to Y13. Students must have also demonstrated excellent attendance, attitude to learning and role model behaviour during Year 12.

Continuation into Year 13 for students with outcomes at E/U is very much dependent on their future aspirations as well as Year 12 record. All students will have a rigorous conversation regarding pathways and future expectations. Students on vocational courses will have their portfolio grades as well as any exam results taken into consideration. If a joint decision is made to continue into Y13 then an academic support programme will be put in place with clear targets. Failure to meet these targets could result in the student losing their place at college.

Any student who does not meet the criteria for continuation into Year 13 will be offered clear advice and guidance and the opportunity to start Year 12 again, although this may only happen once. Typically this requires a thorough look at appropriate curriculums and any additional support the College can provide to ensure our students achieve success.

It is the College’s decision to offer an appropriate curriculum that is agreed with students and parents. However, we reserve the right to change a student’s course/curriculum in terms of what the College believe is in the best interest of the student.

Assistant Headteacher - Director for Key Stage 5
Assistant Director for Key Stage 5
Pastoral Support
Administration Support