Sixth Form

Choosing your future

Why Stoke College Sixth Form?

The Stoke College Sixth Form reflects the same unique ethos of strong pastoral care and personalised learning in small groups which characterises our Prep and Senior Schools. The Sixth Form offers a choice of pathways to university, college and work.

At Stoke College we view the Sixth Form as a gateway to the start of adult life. We will prepare our Sixth Formers for the transition to this adult world by helping them achieve the best grades and develop the interpersonal skills they need to thrive.

Sixth Form represents a very significant time in the development of a young adult; we aim to make the years both challenging and fulfilling for each of our students.  We want our students to continue to develop as confident, courteous and contributing members of society.  We encourage them to be responsible and considerate, self-disciplined and socially aware.  Above all we want to instil a real sense of self-worth.

Find out more about the Curriculum

Stoke College offers A Levels and BTEC National vocational courses aimed at serving the needs of our current pupils, applicants from the local area and our international and UK boarders. In consultation with parents we have been established a core of subjects which will be delivered and we are currently exploring further options so that we can offer a broad curriculum which will meet the diverse needs of our students. Choice is important and therefore students, to a great extent, have the freedom to select any subject from the options available and full guidance on the option blocks is issued in the Spring term each year. We will actively follow the progress of each student and will be on hand to offer tailored support and guidance.  Full written progress reports will be sent to parents each term with interim grades published each half term.  Staff will guide pupils through university entrance procedures to help them secure offers from their preferred choices.
In 2017 we offer:
  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Economics (including Business)
  • Electronics
  • English Literature
  • Italian
  • Psychology
In future years we will extend our offer to include History and French. A levels are worth up to 120 UCAS points for university entrance.
At BTEC QCF (Nationals) vocational awards we will offer in 2018:
  • Art and Design
  • Sport
Other vocational courses, including Countryside Management, are under consideration Each offer the opportunity to achieve a Diploma. The courses are taught in the same time as 2 A levels and attract up to 280 points UCAS points for university entrance. In addition to the academic curriculum each student will meet with their tutor regularly. PSHEE will be provided, preparing students for the demands of the adult world as well as providing dedicated time to preparing for university applications. Physical activity is important to mental well-being and a variety of sporting and fitness opportunities are offered.
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
Each student will be encouraged and supported to offer a piece of independent research on a topic of their choice during the Lower Sixth. This will be submitted for an Extended Project Qualification which attracts up to 60 UCAS points. As well as being a great advantage in gaining a place at a highly competitive university, it also prepares students to study in a more independent style, reflecting the expectations of undergraduate study. By choosing their own topic, students can explore an area of interest to them personally and the experience often sharpens the focus when it comes to choosing their undergraduate course.
English as an Additional Language
For overseas students for whom English is a second language tuition and preparation for the IELTS examinations is offered.
What to expect
  • Small class sizes
  • Teaching methods adapted to the individual
  • The expertise of highly qualified staff
  • The Stoke College system of strong pastoral care
  • A Personal tutor
  • A Sixth Form facility, designed with the input of our existing students, with personal study space.
  • The opportunity to become actively involved in whole school events.
  • Careers advice targeted at university entry and the workplace, together with support in the application process for life beyond the Sixth Form.
  • A Sixth Form with a separate identity to the main school, with a strong shared ethos of developing the individual to ensure they reach their potential.

Meet the Staff

Art and Design (BTEC)
Mr Martin Reeves HND, BA (Hons) QTS
Mr Reeves joined Stoke College in 2017 from St Benedict’s College, Colchester where he had been Head of Art, Design and Technology for the previous four years. As well as teaching Art, Mr Reeves is an experienced teacher of Design and Technology and Catering and Hospitality. He has also taught Graphic Design to GCSE level and Product Design to A level. Prior to becoming a teacher he worked as a designer and as a model maker for film and television. He leads the Art and Technology department at Stoke. In his free time he enjoys many pastimes including cycling, vehicle maintenance and playing the drums. His wide range of experiences allow him to get the very best from students studying for Art and Design.
Miss Katherine Stansfield BSc (Hons), BA (Hons), PGCE
Miss Stansfield, formerly at teacher of Science and Psychology at Tendring Technology College for four years, joined Stoke in 2017. She is an experienced A level teacher of Biology and Psychology, as well as of Physics and Chemistry up to GCSE. In teaching both Biology and Psychology at A level she finds the areas where they intertwine the most interesting. She is an experienced form tutor and has guided sixth form students to destinations as diverse as studying medicine at Cambridge University and taking a degree level apprenticeship at Renault in France. Miss Stansfield has a keen interest in many subjects and thinks that education has the power to change your life and your mind. As part of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) team she encourages students to pursue topics beyond the syllabus, to become experts at independent study and to really get to grips with interesting and challenging topics. She is passionate about debating and enjoys seeing the self confidence and reasoning of pupils develop through debate. When not working, Miss Stansfield is likely to be found camping with her family and playing her ukulele.
Mr Joe Swain, BSc. (Hons), PGCE
Mr Swain joined Stoke College in September 2016 as Head of Science. He has taught in large state-sector schools for the past six years and brings with him a range of skills to promote excellent teaching in Science. In particular he is an experienced A-Level teacher having taught each and every year to students with a range of abilities. His International Baccalaureate teaching experience as well as being a Sixth Form tutor for two years will also be an excellent asset. Mr Swain brings strong credentials into his new post as after a strong A-Level performance he went on to achieve a first-class honours degree at the University of Hertfordshire. He then completed his PGCE in Secondary Science Teaching before quickly finding his first post. Mr Swain likes to share his skills and pass extra-curricular knowledge onto students as well as teaching Science. Last term he put his guitar-playing skills to good use to join in with the Year 7 choir. He also cycles regularly as well playing a range of other sports including golf.          
  Computer Science
Mr David Moss BA (Hons), Cert Web Apps (Open), Cert IT & Comp (Open), MCSE
David Moss is head of the Computer Science and Business Studies departments and is now in his 14th year at Stoke College. Prior to this, he worked as a freelance programmer and technical journalist, writing programs for a number of companies including Microsoft and CitySCAN, as well as being a regular columnist for publications such as PC Pro, Windows Magazine and Computer Buyer. David qualified as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and successfully undertook Microsoft’s IT Trainer programme. He has a degree from the Open University, gained in later life, his earlier years being spent in the armed forces and then working as a technical instructor for the Control Data Corporation’s training arm. David has a passion for teaching and has worked hard to ensure that Computer Science and ICT are available for all at the College. To this end he recently became a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, runs an enthusiastic Robotics Club, and is now involved in our electric car motorsport project. He is greatly looking forward to teaching the subject at A level and engaging the students at a higher level in this hugely important subject.          
Computer Science
Mr Richard Stuart MA (Cantab), PGCE (London)
See profile under Mathematics.
Mr Frank Thompson, MA (Cantab), MPhil (Cantab), PGCE (London), NPQH
As well as being Head of Stoke College, Mr Thompson is also a qualified teacher in Economics and Business Studies. Before moving to headship, Mr Thompson spent six years at Mount St Mary’s College, an 11-18 independent co-educational school in Derbyshire, where amongst his duties he taught Economics and Business A level for six years. Before this he taught sixth formers in the maintained sector, at All Saints Catholic College in Dukinfield, Cheshire. One of the highlights of his time at the college was receiving the highest possible rating for teaching Business Studies A level during an Ofsted inspection. A graduate of Cambridge University, Mr Thompson holds an MA in Philosophy and Land Economy and an MPhil in the Economics and Politics of Development. He spent his early career teaching Economics and Business Studies in London and Manchester Sixth Form colleges. During his teaching career he has successfully helped students gain places at Oxford and Cambridge to study for degrees in Economics and PPE. He is very much looking forward to teaching the Economics B course at A level with its applied approach to the study of the subject. The course draws on current events in economics, politics and business to bring theory to life and to make sense the modern world. At a time of particular change globally, the power of Economics to help explain our complex world often inspires great passion in students for the subject. In his free time, he loves spending time with his family, keeping fit and enjoys cooking. He is also a great enthusiast for physics, hill walking and railways.
Mr John Underdown BSc (Hons), MSc, PGCE
See below under Physics.
Mrs Charis Hunn-Smith, BA (Hons), PGCE (Bristol)
Mrs Hunn-Smith joined Stoke in September 2016 from top academic establishment, Tiffin Girls School, Kingston-upon-Thames. Rated Outstanding by Ofsted, this grammar school scores near the top of the league tables for A level and GCSE nationally each year. At Tiffin Girls School she was Head of English and has considerable experience of leading developments in teaching and learning. The Times Educational Supplement has published much of her work online. An excellent teacher in her own right, she is well versed in the methods of leading improvements in learning school-wide. She has been inspired by the unique ethos of Stoke College and is very much looking forward to working with pupils and staff next academic year to lead us forward in our academic success. Mrs Hunn-Smith relocated from Surrey to Suffolk to take up the Assistant Head Teacher post at Stoke College in September 2016. She studied English Literature and History as an Honours undergraduate then spent a year backpacking round the world before completing her PGCE at Bristol University. Mrs Hunn-Smith has been teaching English for ten years and is passionate about making sure English lessons are as engaging and fun as possible. She has presented at local and national teaching conferences, focusing on how to design an inspirational English curriculum that stretches students of all ages and abilities to think about the world around them and how it is reflected in Literature. She has prepared many students for successful applications to Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities, while supporting students across the whole ability range. Mrs Hunn-Smith applies the same positive energy outside school as within it: she loves to travel, the further off the beaten track the better, follows cricket and rugby across Europe and the rest of the world, and is well underway with training for a Half Ironman event in France this summer. Of course, as an English teacher, Mrs Hunn-Smith loves to read and ranks The Poisonwood Bible, The God of Small Things, War and Peace and the Harry Potter series among her favourite books.
Mr Rob Jaina, BA (Hons), PGCE (Notts)
Mr Jaina joined Stoke College in September 2016 from The Harbour School, Cambridgeshire, where he was Deputy Head. He is also formerly Vice Principal of Bedford Academy, Bedford and Deputy Head of Burnt Mill School, Harlow. Prior to his entry into education he worked in communications and later in risk management at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. He thoroughly enjoys teaching History at Stoke with class sizes that really enable the students to debate the topics. Students are asked to think about the reasons why events happened and the decisions historical personalities have made. His favourite topics to deliver to classes are Tudor and Stuart British history and Twentieth Century world history. He spent time researching and studying both these areas during his years at University. Away for school he is married with a fantastic nine year old who attends the prep school at stoke College. He is passionate about Motorsport and marshals at events in the UK, Europe, Canada and UAE from Formula One and top level Sports cars to club and Historic motorsports. This passion rubs off in the school where he has started a motorsports group looking to build an electric car to compete against other schools. He distance runs, competing for a local club in a variety of running events and was very lucky in 2016 to get a place in the London Marathon, an experience he will never forget!
Mathematics and Further Mathematics
Mrs F Shane MA (London), BSc (Hons), PGCE
Mrs Shane has a degree in Mathematics and a PGCE in Teaching Secondary Mathematics. She went on to study an MA in Mathematics in Education, part time at London University, whilst she was in her second year of teaching. She obtained a Distinction in this and her research was used and referenced by others in the field. She was offered a scholarship to take up a doctorate, however, she was enjoying her maths teaching so much that she declined and thought she would save this for later in life! She has taught in six different schools and has been Head of Department at a boys' grammar school followed by being Head of Faculty at a large girls' school. Having fun with Mathematics is an important part of learning and she has always been involved with extra curricular activities such as Mathematical trips, inter-school competitions, Maths Challenges, guest speakers, Mathematical Workshops and activity days. Having always taught A level maths, she specialises in the Pure and Statistics components. She has a passion for teaching Mathematics and has always loved sharing this with students. She is always thrilled when students pursue their love of Mathematics into the 6th form and is looking forward to teaching A level next year.
Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Computer Science
Mr Richard Stuart MA (Cantab), PGCE (London)
Mr Richard Stuart is excited to be joining the outstanding team at Stoke College as the Head of Sixth Form, and looks forward to working together with the first cohort of sixth form students to forge an inclusive, supportive, challenging, inspirational and outward-looking community of learning that will give them the very best preparation for University and later life. Mr Stuart read Computer Science at the University of Cambridge before training as a teacher of Secondary Maths at the Institute of Education in London and has seven years’ experience teaching Maths, Further Maths and ICT to students of all abilities and ages from 11 to 18. He has had a number of roles supporting the development of teaching and learning both in Maths and across other subjects and he has a dynamic, patient and accessible teaching style that will support, engage and enthuse learners of all abilities. He has also worked as a private tutor and outside the world of education as a freelance web developer. Mr Stuart is particularly looking forward to teaching Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science in the Sixth Form at Stoke College, as well as contributing to the wider life of the College through his extra-curricular interests, which include singing, playing the piano and the cello alongside enjoying the brilliant world of ‘super-curricular’ maths and computing.
Modern Foreign Languages
Ms Katherine Smith BA (Dunelm), PGCE
Ms Smith joined us from Jersey College for Girls where she taught French and Italian up to A level. At Stoke she leads Modern Languages, teaching French and Spanish, offering both French and Italian A level. Ms Smith has taught languages for over 20 years to all age groups and has worked for the OCR examination board in Cambridge. She also helped devise an award winning vocational programme for a business-focused alternative to qualification to GCSE which has subsequently been taken by thousands of young people. She has worked with Memrise developing a learning tool for vocabulary and has been invited to sit on a number of review panels for languages; including CILT Languages Standards group, the LEPP review by the Council of Europe and the All Party Parliamentary group on languages. She is looking forward to making links with businesses in the local area who regularly use languages and to give students the opportunities to see languages in action.
Physics and Electronics
Mr John Underdown BSc (Hons), MSc, PGCE
At university Mr Underdown studied for a degree in Physics and Astrophysics, gaining first class honours. He spent much of his third year in the university observatory setting up, commissioning and then using the department telescope.  He went on to study fluid dynamics at Masters level and decided to stay at university for a PhD in Meso-Physics. After leaving university he studied for a PGCE in Science teaching and taught at middle schools for five years before becoming a Science supply teacher in the Windsor area.  During this time he taught all aspects of Maths, Physics and Chemistry from Key Stage 3 to A level, as well as running his own private tutoring company helping students with their GCSEs and A-Levels. He now teaches Science, Maths and Physics as well as offering Astronomy GCSE using the school’s telescopes.  He also builds and flies drones with students and gets groups together to play board games.      
Miss Katherine Stansfield BSc (Hons), BA (Hons), PGCE
See Biology above.
Sport (BTEC)
Miss Ashleigh Fryers BA (Liverpool), PGDE
Miss Fryers joined us from Liverpool John Moores University where she completed her PGDE in Physical Education. Born in Belfast she moved to England to train as a PE teacher. Her aspiration is to not only develop students academically within Physical Education but guide them to develop into outstanding young people. Her view is that students need to be challenged to learn and to feel a sense of achievement though struggling to succeed. She loves all sports and has played hockey to a high level. She has taught badminton, football, netball and gymnastics. She has also taught Dance at GCSE. She has experienced a wide range of teaching environments prior to joining Stoke having had a school placement at Enterprise South Liverpool Academy as well as worked as a graduate resident in a boarding school.  
Sport (BTEC)
Mr Alex Kelsall BSc (Hons), QTS
Mr Kelsall joined Stoke College as Head of Boys PE and Games in September 2016 from Fakenham Academy, Norfolk. At the Academy he taught and internally verified both BTEC level 2 and level 3, where the results were consistently 75%+ A* to C. He was also able to run a very successful sporting calendar culminating in county schools success in rugby and athletics. During his time at Stoke College Mr Kelsall has seen the resilient, unflinching enthusiasm of the school that is fostered in the ethos which allows all students to progress, and with this he is looking forward to the new challenges and students that the Sixth Form will bring to Stoke College. Mr Kelsall studied Sports Science and Coaching at the University of Bedfordshire and worked as a games instructor at Sevenoaks School, before completing his QTS course in Norwich. Mr Kelsall has been teaching PE and Games for 3 years and has strived to ensure that all lessons are based around fun experiences that foster high levels of understanding and learning. He has adapted and designed PE curricula to suit the needs and demands of all students and to allow everyone to enjoy and access sport. Through Mr Kelsall’s teaching many students have been able to gain the grades to progress to the college or university of their choice. Mr Kelsall has enjoyed a long and high-level playing career in rugby. He was a member of the Leicester Tigers Academy and the Bedford Blues Academy, where he won the National Colts Cup. He is a member of the Cambridge Rugby Club playing the National One league and representative rugby for England Midlands. He has transferred his playing experience in to his work in coaching and teaching and holds a wide variety of coaching awards. Mr Kelsall is a keen amateur mechanic and has a particular interest in classic cars and their restoration. He enjoys reading and his favourite books are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.
English as a Foreign Language
Mrs Natasha De Souza BA (Hons), Cert. TESOL, Trinity Dip.
Fluent in English and Italian, Mrs De Souza is an experienced and highly accomplished teacher of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). She has taught EFL both in Italy and in the UK, with experiences ranging from teaching younger children their first steps in English to adults studying for their Masters degrees. In addition to her teaching, Mrs De Souza works for the Cambridge University Press writing materials for both IELTS and the Cambridge Suite of examinations. Her experiences include being a Director of Studies and Examinations Officer for a large Cambridge language school, running her own language school overseas and being an oral examiner for the KET and PET qualifications. Her vast experience of the subject and understanding of the varying needs of different students will allow her to teach every Stoke student requiring EFL according to their personal needs and help them achieve the IELTS points they require for access to the sixth form and to the university of their choice.

Social and Cultural Life

Sixth form is different from school. This is reflected in the way sixth formers are expected to wear business dress rather than school uniform. It is reflected too in the greater freedoms and responsibilities. Students will have their own social space and periods during the day when they do not have scheduled lessons. These are study periods and wise students will ensure that they use these to complete as much of their homework and independent study as possible.

The degree of monitoring and support each needs will vary and it is a mark of sixth form life that when a student is ready to manage their own time they are allowed to do so with a far greater degree of freedom than they will have experienced hitherto.

As part of sixth form life there will be opportunities to take trips to local areas, such as Cambridge, to not only support academic learning but also have broader cultural experiences. There will be visiting speakers too who will help students broaden their perspective on the world as well as times when the objective is just to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.

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