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Excellent Teaching and a Strong Focus on Learning

United College Sixth Form is an innovative sixth form where we take pride in providing high standards of teaching and learning in all subjects. Our evidence-based approaches to teaching ensure all students can achieve their potential and enjoy their learning experiences.

Students are provided with the space, support and equipment to complete work on-site, and given opportunities to take part in trips, talks and activities that add value and practical application to their learning.  We also PROVIDE EVERY UCSF STUDENT WITH A CHROMEBOOK FOR THE DURATION OF THEIR STUDIES, to ensure that they have the equipment they need to make the most of their learning.

Teaching and Learning at UCSF is aligned to rest of Swindon Academy and is based on the Principles of Rosenshine as outlined below:

  • UCSF lessons incorporate knowledge testing as part of the daily, weekly and monthly review. Banks of United Quizzing questions are planned to accompany each Level 3 unit taught where there is an external exam. 
  • Lessons present information in small steps.
  • Lessons support regular practice in applying the knowledge against the AOs for the subject area. 
  • Practice in lesson should be guided using the ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach using high quality models.  
  • Scaffolds are provided for difficult tasks and teachers take into account the ability range of students in their teaching group when planning. 
  • Silent study is used as pre-reading. 
  • Prep is used for independent practice.
  • Prep is assessed weekly by teachers who provide clear feedback to students on the steps they need to take to improve their learning. 
  • Check for Understanding techniques are used across lessons and lesson sequences, so that misconceptions can be identified and addressed and so that students achieve a high success rate.

A Level Mindset and Academic Mentoring

In the book, The A Level Mindset, Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin share the secrets of coaching students to develop the characteristics, habits and mindsets which will help them realise their potential.  Those students who make real and sustained progress at A level aren't necessarily the ones with superb GCSEs. As part of our Year 13 programme from September 2020, The Academic Head of Sixth Form will be running fortnightly assemblies and workshops with Year 13 focussing on the VESPA model.

Year 12 A Level Mindset Programme

Over the course of Year 12, students will take part in a series of assemblies and workshops introducing them to the ideas behind having an A Level Mindset. These sessions will look at how they can improve their mindset to become effective learners using the VESPA (Vision, Effort, Systems, Practice and Attitude) model.

Year 13 Academic Mentoring

Whilst Year 12 students are in their A Level Mindset sessions, Year 13 students will take part in an Academic Mentoring Programme.  This involves each student meeting with a member of the Sixth Form Tutor Team a minimum of twice every term. 

Within this meeting students have the opportunity to discuss any concerns they might be having in completing or being successful in their academic studies. Academic Mentors coach their students in setting themselves goals and supporting the students in how they can achieve those goals. Academic Mentors are also available to read through personal statements and support the UCAS application process during these meetings.

When students are not in an Academic Mentoring meeting, they are expected to work in the UCSF Centre on one of the following tasks.

  • UCAS application
  • Personal statement
  • Unifrog research
  • Catch up work


The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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