One of the great aspects of Sixth Form in an 11 to 18 school like John Lyon is the opportunity for students to experience much more beyond the classroom.
A solid academic grounding is key, but time and time again we see that busy students are successful students. As such there are great opportunities for students to explore their passions or discover new ones, though off-curriculum learning, sport, drama, music, art, charity and voluntary work, mentoring and educational visits within the UK and beyond.
By the time students reach the Sixth Form, many are already thinking about university and the learning opportunities and freedom that will offer. At John Lyon there are opportunities for all students to pursue this learning, through our Academic Society, where students can present on a topic of their choosing; JLx, where teachers present lunchtime seminars on their own areas of expertise, the nationally recognised Extended Project Qualification, and through the School’s Hiley Research Project.
John Lyon also hosts the Goldhawk Lecture Series for its Sixth Form students, at which guest speakers come, weekly, to School to provoke debate and discussion. The Goldhawk Lecture Series encourages curiosity and broadens the horizons of John Lyon students, equipping them for life at university. The Goldhawk Lecture Series is wide ranging and varied, and has included visits from an EU Parliamentarian, a former Archbishop of Canterbury and a Polar Explorer.
Throughout the School year there are also many talks and events organised by departments, such as the annual John Lyon Model United Nations Conference, and the annual Economics Symposium and Cabinet Office Day, hosted at the government offices in Whitehall.
Sport is hugely important at John Lyon, and no less so in the Sixth Form. Students have access to excellent facilities and specialist coaches who encourage them to push themselves to be the best they can possibly be.
A wide range of sports includes, among others, Football, Cricket, Hockey, Basketball, Water Polo, Badminton, Athletics, Tennis, Golf, Rock Climbing, Sailing and Judo. We play many competitive fixtures and national competitions in all sports on offer. Students at John Lyon are supported in their sporting endeavours both inside and outside school and we have a number of pupils who play at a representative level or who go on to contracts in professional sport.
At John Lyon Music, Drama and Art are all offered as academic subjects at A-Level, and we also realise the importance of the arts to students who wish to continue one of more of these disciplines even if they do not wish to pursue them academically.
Many Sixth Form students are active in the musical, dramatic and artistic life of the School and are given the opportunity to take part in concerts, perform on stage or create works for exhibitions, through extra-curricular clubs and societies and through the School’s Co-Curricular programme.
Charity and voluntary work
The idea of philanthropy, charity and giving has been at the heart of John Lyon since its founding and it is largely through the endeavours of Sixth Form students that this spirit continues to this day. Every year numerous community projects take place both inside and outside School and there are regular fundraising drives spearheaded by students. Recent community work includes the creation and delivery of a Classics course to primary school children and a record-breaking £10,000 fundraising effort for the Movember charity.
Trips and exchanges
John Lyon believes in giving student the opportunity to explore new and different thoughts, beliefs, cultures and horizons – whether they be in London, the wider UK or across the world.
Our strong links with the Harrow International Schools have helped open opportunities across Asia and a World Volunteer trip to Laos is now a firm fixture in the calendar. There are also regular Sport and Music tours overseas, educational visits to places such as CERN in Switzerland and well-established opportunities afforded by schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Each September Sixth Form begins with an induction event for the Lower Sixth, when all students join together to undertake tasks and challenges followed by a formal meal, which strengthens the bonds both with their peers and the Sixth Form staff that will support them in the two years ahead.
The facilities available to students also foster an environment of friendship, within the classroom and social areas of the Thomas Blackwell Sixth Form Centre and also in the new Sixth Form cafe, opened in 2019.
The School helps students plan and arrange a number of social events throughout the year, culminating with the Leavers’ Ball in July.
An important area for Sixth Form students to develop for the future is leadership and teamwork. Activities such as sports, drama and ensemble music obviously play a major part in this.
There are also opportunities for Sixth Form students to act as peer mentors, both pastoral and academic. Other schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award also have enormous benefits to offer those who participate. Upper Sixth students also have the opportunity to assist in the smooth running of the school by becoming part of the Prefect body. Prefects are expected to set the highest standard within the school community and act as positive role models. Prefects receive regular training across their Upper Sixth year. In addition, the Head Boy Team attends, in September, an annual National Leadership Conference for newly appointed Senior Prefects in independent schools.
Much of what is expected of the John Lyon Sixth Former is encapsulated by the Goldhawk Diploma, for which boys are required to fully commit to all the Sixth Form has to offer. All students complete the qualification which works to develop their academic curiosity, employability, resilience, leadership and soft skills.