Ifield Sixth Form was established in September 2006 at North West Kent College in Gravesham for learners aged 16 to 19. The course runs from one to three years, dependent on the student’s needs. It is a progressive course and allows for plenty of ‘over-learning’. It is designed to meet the hopes and aspirations of more vulnerable students for whom a mainstream college course would be too great a step.
Some of our teachers work both at Ifield School and at Ifield 6th Form - this is how we are able to provide a broad-based and exciting curriculum as part of our 14-19 pathways. All students are offered at least one overnight stay at Ifield Life, a fully furnished log cabin in the school grounds. At Ifield School, students also have access to an additional range of support and activities such as after-school clubs. They participate in a new sports enrichment afternoon involving offsite instruction.
Ifield Sixth Form is uniquely placed at the college’s Gravesend Campus, where we work closely with CXK, Student Services and our colleagues in the School of Supported Learning. We try to ease the student’s transition to a college course, supported employment or a residential programme. Joint sports, games and leisure activities with NWKC students using campus facilities ensure the student’s gradual integration. They enjoy the best of both worlds!
The student will begin an Individual Study Programme tailored to needs and aspirations with an emphasis on developing functional English and Maths, Work Related Learning Skills and Personal and Social Development. We aim to support the students to develop their communication and interaction skills and prepare them for their intended destination of work, further education and independent living.
We aim to engage each learner to ensure progression to a higher level of learning or an appropriate destination. Teachers and Teaching Assistants work together closely, reviewing each student’s progress on a weekly basis during a lengthy induction period throughout the first term. In line with Ifield School’s Aims and Visions, we ensure each student is valued, supported, challenged and successful.
Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor. We provide pastoral support, Information, Advice and Guidance and access to a range of services to remove barriers to learning and support progression. As part of Ifield School, our Sixth Form provision enjoys a continuation of specialist advice and regular support by a range of therapists.
A range of informal assessments will help towards finalising the Individual Support Programme and is continually reviewed.
The students enjoy preparatory Functional Skills workshops in English, Maths and ICT – we try to make these fun and relevant. As part of their Personal and Social Development the students attend lessons in a diverse range of subjects such as Community Action, Environmental Awareness, Leisure Time, Healthy Living, Work Preparation and Personal Safety. Other programme elements include Music and Art, Cultural Studies, Independent Living Skills and Sports, ICT and Games.
A full day is set aside for enterprise activities, largely based on the Ifield Woodlands, a coppiced magical retreat near Cobham. Students learn about making simple but environmentally sustainable products in production teams, selling their hand-crafted gifts, cards and decorations and practising their customer care skills at a range of outlets.
In addition to the enterprise sessions, students have the opportunity to engage in a work or life skills experience, overseen by North West Kent College’s Work Experience team. Final year students in particular will be expected to improve their ‘employability’ skills. A small number of students are able to work with our staff in Ifield School, e.g. Facilities and in the classrooms.
At the end of their course, students leave with a Certificate, an Award or Unit accreditation in Personal and Social Development and/or Personal Progress and a range of Vocational awards; students also achieve accreditation in functional English and Maths. These can then be used as a basis for further accreditation at a later stage and at another learning provider.
We work in close partnership with parents and carers, local learning providers, voluntary organisations and other external agencies so that the students are able to explore many options and make informed decisions about their future.