Airedale Academy Sixth Form was originally set up in 2011 to provide BTEC courses for our own Year 11 students. Since then we have developed into a very successful Sixth Form specialising in Performing Arts, Business Studies and Health and Social Care at Level 3. Each of these courses is a BTEC Extended Diploma, equivalent to 3 A Levels, which allows students to specialise in one area that they particularly want to study in depth.
We attract students from across Yorkshire, especially onto our amazing Performing Arts course. This is in part because of our highly experienced team of staff, but also the fabulous facilities that we are able to offer. As well as a dedicated Sixth Form block with a bespoke common room for students to relax in, we also have the Castleford Phoenix Theatre as part of our buildings. This gives our students the opportunity to perform on a real stage in front of an audience that can number up to around 320 people. We also have the 'Turbine Rooms' which are specially designed performance spaces as well as a number of drama rooms and music teaching and rehearsal spaces.
Many of our Performing Arts students go on to study at theatre schools and often with full or partial scholarships. This is due to the close support and guidance that they receive to prepare for auditions/interviews. We also have excellent careers staff in place to ensure that those students choosing Higher Education, apprenticeships and employment are equally supported.
Our students are always very successful and 100% of the students that complete their courses pass them successfully at some level. We continue to be among some of the strongest performers in the country when it comes to results in Applied Academic courses, with the 2019 average grade being a Distinction. This is well above national averages.
Our pastoral system is very strong. Students have dedicated time with a tutor, both in group time and also in one to one meetings. All Year 12 students follow the Progression Module, which is a careers qualification offered by Leeds Beckett university which helps to prepare young people for the next step post 18. This qualification also hold UCAS points for those wishing to go on to HE.
We also welcome a range of visitors into our assemblies in the Sixth Form, covering a wide range of topics that support our students in areas of PSHE. In addition to this we have a dedicated mentor team within the school that our Post 16 students have full access to.
What makes us different?
Though we are based at a school we also offer many of the aspects of college life that students are looking for, such as no formal uniform, the ability to enter and leave site as determined by their timetable and excellent relationships with staff. However, because we offer small class sizes we feel that we can more closely monitor every students progress. We know every individual personally which allows us to tailor their support to the greatest effect.
Airedale has good bus links with Wakefield and the surrounding area. The school is also only a short bus ride away from Castleford train station.
We offer our students a range of enrichment opportunities, including free use of our fitness facilities and opportunities to take part in team sports. We also offer visits to universities and careers conventions and all students are given the opportunity to visit New York and London as well as a range of other trips and visits.
Our team feel strongly that work experience is an important part of our students Level 3 studies and try to ensure that they are given this opportunity during their time with us. We also encourage them to become involved in a number of other volunteering opportunities, which we know will strengthen their applications post 18.
Our aim is to develop strong, resilient and independent young people who can successfully progress onto the areas of their choice when they leave.