Familiarisation Day July 2021


JAC Familiarisation Day - FAQs

Where can we access the recorded subject sessions from Familiarisation Day?

There will be recorded sessions available on our website very soon, including a recording of our assembly and Q&A.

What happens if the subject/s that we have applied for in September are full?

We are oversubscribed in some of our subjects including Psychology, History and Law. If you do not gain a place to study one of these subjects you will be offered an alternative option and will be able to join a waiting list for your chosen subject.

When will we know if there are spaces available on our chosen subjects?

Once you have completed your application on results day on Applicaa, we will be in contact to let you know whether you have gained a place to study on your chosen subjects.

For the subjects which are oversubscribed, will there be more than one class if there is enough for a second group?

We have two classes for English literature, history, politics, psychology and sociology as these are our most popular classes.

If we don't have a lesson until midday, do we still have to come in for 8:50?

You do not have to work onsite at Jane Austen College in your free periods. This means you can arrive at school ahead of your first lesson of the day and leave after your last lesson of the day, although you are welcome to be onsite throughout the school day to study. You are expected to be available between 08:50 and 16:30 for additional study support and interventions so you cannot book work shifts during this time.

If we have more subjects at Sir Isaac Newton, where would we have form and assembly?

The site where you have the most subjects is your home site. For example, if you study Biology, History and Sociology, you will be a JAC student as two of your three subjects are taught here. You will have your form and assemblies at your home site.

What happens if you've planned to take 2 courses at each school?

If you have planned to take two courses at each school, you should apply to your chosen home site. However, you do need to consider which subject you are likely to drop as you will be at the home site where the majority of your subjects are taught. We would recommend that students take three subjects rather than four due to the linear design of the qualifications and the preferences of universities. If you are unsure, please contact us so we can ensure you’re at the correct site to best support your learning.

What happens if we do not meet a subject requirement on results day?

At Jane Austen College we require you to have six grades at 5+ and a 5+ in English and Maths. There are also subject specific entry requirements and further information on these can be found here. If you do not meet a subject requirement you may still have the entry requirements for another subject on offer and we are available to contact throughout the day to answer any queries.

If a subject is at capacity, how are spaces allocated on the waiting list?

If a subject is at capacity our admissions policy is applied. Please note that if the subject is taught at Jane Austen, students with a Jane Austen home site will be prioritised above students with a Sir Isaac Newton home site. The same applies for Sir Isaac Newton, whereby Sir Isaac Newton students will receive priority over Jane Austen students for their subjects.

Do I have to put core maths on my Applicaa application?

Yes you will need to put core maths on your Applicaa application as we will need to allocate you to a class on enrolment day.

If the school day starts at 8:50 what time is the school open for students to enter?

Students can enter the school from 08:00 and can use the sixth form common room and study space ahead of the school day. If, due to transport issues, you may need to arrive earlier than this please let the sixth form team know so they can accommodate you.

What is your uniform policy?

Jane Austen College and Sir Isaac Newton have a shared dress code policy that will be outlined in your student handbook following enrolment. The sixth form is a place of study and work and our dress code reflects that. We expect all sixth form students to dress in casual office-style attire, this includes appropriate hairstyling, makeup and jewelry.

What resources will we require at Jane Austen College?

You will be given further information in your student handbook following enrolment, however, we suggest students have paper and something to write with and a folder for each of your subjects. Your teachers will let you know if there are any specific resources required for their subjects.

Is it possible to initially start with 4 subjects and then drop one after the first term?

This is possible, although we suggest that all students make the decision to drop their fourth subject by October 1st as no university values four A-levels over three A-levels. This will also be subject to capacity on chosen courses.

If one of our 3 subjects were full and no other subject interested us to replace the 1, could we only study 2 subjects?

No, we only accept full-time students. This means that every JAC student must be studying three A-level subjects as a minimum.

If I am only studying at Jane Austen can I still use the Isaac Newton facilities?

Yes students are welcome to use the facilities at Sir Isaac Newton, although this is subject to change as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. The Franklin Room is available for silent, supervised study at Sir Isaac Newton.

Will you offer bursaries for people travelling by bus on long journeys?

If you are eligible for a bursary you are able to use this towards your travel costs. Information regarding the bursary scheme will be shared following enrolment.

Are we allowed to take notes on our laptops in lessons?

Yes you are able to use a laptop or borrow a Chromebook from reception. However, we do encourage students to write their exam answers and essays if they are not allowed a word processor in exams to ensure they are used to this way of working ahead of sitting their A-levels.

Which subject combinations result in timetable clashes?

Students can select one subject from each block:

  • Block A: Fine Art, Music Technology, History, German, Politics

  • Block B: Drama, Psychology, Sociology, Law

  • Block C: History, Spanish, Graphics, Politics, Core Maths

  • Block D: Geography, English Literature, Philosophy, French, Sociology

  • Block E: Music, Classics, English Literature, English Language, Psychology

Therefore, it would not be possible to take two subjects in the same block, for example Music Technology and German. However, it would be possible to take both History and German, as although both subjects are in block A, History is also in block C.


Responses from our current sixth form students


What can I do to prepare for my A-levels?


It is important to read around the subject before you start it in September. The ‘Preparation for A-level’ booklet is really helpful as there are some suggested tasks and books that are recommended by the teacher which can really help you to gain a basic level of understanding of the course to set you in good stead for September.


Reading around the subject is really good to keep your mind refreshed with the subjects you've chosen during the summer. Consulting various news outlets to keep up to date on current affairs and events really helps with maintaining awareness of global context in regards to your subjects.


The best thing you can do to prepare for A levels is to continue to engage with your subject over the summer. However, make sure that you take a break and rest so that you can come into year 12 with a positive start! 


I found that the best way to prepare is to research your subjects and the school before you start. Look into the opportunities and facilities on offer, such as trips, equipment and electives, so you can make the most of these when you start. Go into sixth form with an open mind, a willingness to learn and a high level of enthusiasm and that will put you in good stead for your studies!


What is the best way to organise your time at A-level?


It is recommended that you independently study outside of lessons for 15 hours per week. It can be really helpful to create a revision timetable in which you can write what work you want to do for what subject in each of your free periods. For example, if you have a free first period followed by History, it can be helpful to look on the delivery map to see what you are covering in that lesson so you can be more prepared.


One thing that's helpful no matter what subject you take is how you organise homework - I find that planning to do work either on the day it's set or the day after in my free periods functions best, especially if you forget homework. That way, forgotten homework isn't rushed and you have enough time to catch up with it!


I would say in the first couple of weeks experiment to see where you are the most productive and where you work best. Some people find that they work best at home, some go to the forum, some go to cafes, others stay at school working in the common room or study support sessions. Once you have found the best place for you, it is so much easier to organise and utilise your time.


I found it useful to make a to-do list for each day and attempt to complete all the tasks on the list during my free periods and after school. Try to make the most out of your free periods to do your homework and revise so that you still have some time to relax in the evenings. My main piece of advice would be to find what works best for you - find where you like to work, what sorts of tasks you like doing at what times of the day and whether you prefer to work alone or with others, and do that! Once I had developed my own working method, I found it much easier to organise my time and be the most productive.


What support is available at Jane Austen College?


Pastoral mentors are available to Sixth Formers as well as form tutors and our Heads of Sixth Form, The student leadership team is also on hand to help you settle in and feel comfortable with many different aspects of JAC as well. Don't hesitate to come and strike up a conversation any time, we're more than happy to have a chat!


The support at JAC has been amazing. Teachers reply to emails so quickly if you have a question or concern (I've had a reply within minutes lots of times), there are academic mentors that you can arrange a meeting with if you're struggling with revision and there are also pastoral mentors and form tutors for support with your well-being. Everyone is so friendly and supportive of one another and I seriously don't think any sixth form has a community that is quite like ours.


When seeking support for subject specific issues, your teachers in that lesson should be your first port of call. Senior staff are also available and their office is on the way into the common room so you can always pop in for a quick chat. Miss Joel is located in her office in the common room and will also be there to support you in any way she can. Everyone is very friendly and students in the year above will also be able to help provide any guidance and advice should you ask them. 


There is a huge amount of support available at JAC! It’s really easy to get in contact with your teachers via email or in person and they are always willing to help in any way they can. Our brilliant pastoral and academic mentors are also always on hand to offer support, as well as our amazing therapy dogs! The students are also really friendly and helpful so there is a really lovely supportive atmosphere at Jane Austen College that is really welcoming for a new student starting sixth form.


What are your best tips for revision at A-level?


One of the best things to do is to keep revising even when you do not have a test imminently, make sure to keep on top of revision and dont leave it to the last minute. 


Don't revise your work exclusively on the afternoon of the day you receive it in class - spread it out over time and that way you'll remember it better! Another thing that links with that is cramming - it's usually really ineffective and organising ~30mins-1hr revision every 1-2 days works out far better.


For science subjects I would really recommend making flashcards with the key words and knowledge - when I had a pile of cards I didn't know and cards I got correct, I would put the ones that I didn't know on the top so I could go over them more regularly. For humanities, writing out on a piece of paper everything you can remember about a particular topic and then checking it using notes and adding information with a different coloured pen is really effective.


Try to find a revision space where you feel you are most efficient- for me I used the kitchen study area in sixth form as it was usually quiet and I could quickly top up with cups of tea.


I found that the degree of content meant that focusing my time on short bursts of recall was extremely effective. For essay based subjects, the best way to improve is to keep practising your timed essays. That way you can work off recent feedback to ensure faster progress.


I used an app called Forest that allows you to grow virtual trees when you focus, preventing you from using your phone and getting distracted. This is also a great way of seeing how long you have been revising for, which I found to be really motivational and confidence boosting. My key piece of advice is to find the best way of revising for you. Active recall techniques were the most effective way for me to revise, such as testing myself using flashcards, utilising online resources like Quizlet and Seneca, and planning or writing answers to past exam questions in timed conditions but I know that many of my friends found other ways of working to be equally as useful for them. 


What is the environment like at Jane Austen College?

Even though JAC is also a high school it still feels sixth form-like due to the fact that there is a specific sixth form study room and common room with a kitchen. As well as this JAC students have access to Sir Isaac Newton’s facilities which gives a second space to go which is just as nice as JAC.


JAC is definitely a very relaxed and open environment - the Sixth Form spaces are great for socialising and everyone's very welcoming. There's many things on offer to make study here the best, including uni and post-18 endeavour resources for academic purposes and equally things like a microwave and a kettle for break times! It's a very nice atmosphere and sure to be enjoyed.


The main reason, amongst many, that I applied for sixth form is the community and environment. Everyone says good morning to one another, if someone is making a hot drink they will often ask if anyone else wants one and we decorate the common room at Halloween and Christmas which is really fun. If you want to chat and be socially connected with people then everyone is really friendly but equally if you ever want to have some quiet and alone time people respect that too.


Jane Austen is a very welcoming college. The students are all friendly and the staff are available to help you in any way they can. Everyone there is genuinely interested in their subject which makes for a passionate and interesting learning environment. The therapy dogs make it even better! The revision spaces available are quiet and focused so you will be able to get work done efficiently. The common room is a good space to relax and feel comfortable when you are stressed.


The environment at JAC is always so friendly and welcoming! All the students and staff are incredibly supportive and helpful, and there’s always a warm, welcoming atmosphere and sense of community both in the common room and study room and all the classrooms. I think this lovely environment is unique to JAC and is one of the main things that makes us stand out from other sixth forms in the area.


What is it like to be a student studying at both JAC and SIN?


I was a JAC student, so I had my forms and assemblies at JAC and spent the majority of my time there but I went over to SIN for my biology lessons. The walk only takes about 7 minutes and it can be really refreshing to have a small walk in between lessons to get some fresh air! A huge bonus of both schools is their location - going from SIN to JAC means that you can stop off at a shop or the market on the way to grab some food and the forum is nearby to study in.


Top tips from our current students

  • Enjoy your time at sixth form! Two years sounds like a long time but it really does fly by so try to make the most of your time here. Be enthusiastic and open-minded and try to get involved in as much as possible, like electives, shows, study groups and volunteering at school events. I found all of these experiences as enriching as the lessons themselves and they really helped me when writing my personal statement for university applications as I had lots of extra-curricular experience to support my academic grades.

  • If you need to work on a laptop but don’t have one of your own, don’t worry! The school has lots of chromebooks and desktop computers that you can use to work on.

  • Definitely choose subjects that you think you will enjoy the most - you aren't going to be motivated to revise for a subject that you don't like

  • Bring a travel mug or normal mug with you! You can have hot drinks as there are kettles in the kitchen as well as a fridge and two microwaves.

  • Although it's nice to be able to go out and grab lunch from the shops every day, be aware that this can get expensive - I brought a packed lunch or meal that I could heat in the microwave with me most days which I found was a lot cheaper.

  • Lots of the teachers will have extra reading and revision resources so make sure to make the most of these to gain a really good, in-depth knowledge of your course.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling. A-Levels can be very different to GCSEs and it can sometimes be difficult to make the transition but all of the teachers will be more than happy to provide extra support for you if you are finding your subjects difficult, and our pastoral mentors are also available to help with more personal challenges.