Sixth form FAQs

These FAQs are specific to sixth form education.  If your question is not included here please contact our friendly admissions team by calling 02380 514776 or by sending an email to admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk

If you have queries about adult education, please click here.

Submitting applications

When can I apply? Our courses run from September to July. You can make an application from late September (the year before joining) onwards. We recommend that you apply by February to ensure your place on your preferred courses. If you apply after March you will miss out on the chance to attend our Welcome Evenings. If you apply after June, you will miss out on our Freshers’ Days and we won’t be able to interview you or confirm your place until the end of August.

In the event that courses fill up, we will allocate places in order of application date. Students will lose the benefit of an early application date if they:

  • Fail to attend their interview without letting us know
  • Cannot attend enrolment at the normal time
  • Fail to respond to our communications.
How can I apply? You can complete and submit your application online. Alternatively you can download and complete a form from the website, or complete the printed form in the back of the prospectus, and return it to us by hand or by post.
What will happen after I submit my application? If you submit your application online you will receive an email to confirm that we have received your application. If you do not received this email, it means that you have either not fully completed the application or you have supplied an incorrect email address.

You will hear from us within two weeks of making your application with an invitation for your pre-enrolment interview. If you apply after the end of June, the interview will take place during enrolment at the end of August.

I’m having problems with the online application form The most common reasons for this are:

  • The system is unavailable between midnight – 7am
  • You are using the wrong password to login – click the ‘forgotten password link’ to reset
  • You have not completed all details on the application form – you must click ‘submit’ on the final page.
I’ve submitted the application form but want to change something Simply email your changes to our Admissions team  (admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk) and your application will be updated.
I want to submit a personal statement or other documents Please email the document to our admissions team and we will join the document up with your application. Remember to include your full name and date of birth in the email.
Can I apply after the academic year has started? We accept a small number of late applicants in the first few weeks of the academic year if:

  • We still have places on our courses
  • Students can convince us they can catch up on the work they have missed without disrupting other students

If you wish to transfer from another college mid-year, contact our admissions team (admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk)who will arrange a phone consultation with one of our senior managers.

Course selection

I want to apply but I don’t know what courses to do Try and pick at least one topic that you might be interested in studying so that we can allocate you the most appropriate interviewer for pre-enrolment. Your interviewer will give you the advice you need to decide on a programme, but don’t worry – it can still be changed later!
Are the courses on my pre-enrolment offer letter final? No, you can still change your subjects after your pre-enrolment interview, just contact the admissions team (admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk) to let them know. They will consult your interviewer who may contact you if they think the change needs further discussion.

If you want to make a complete change of direction, then we may invite you back for another interview.

I’ve had my interview but I’m still not sure what courses I want to do Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to think about it, as your courses aren’t finalised until the end of August. We recommend that you:

  • Research any career ideas you have and work out what qualifications / courses you will need to complete
  • Speak to your school Careers Adviser for guidance
  • Try different subjects on Freshers’ Day.
I’ve changed my mind about the courses I want to try on Freshers’ Day Just contact our admissions team to let them know (admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk). If it’s close to the day, we will ask you to collect your new timetable on arrival. You can try different subjects on Freshers’ Day without affecting the courses you are officially enrolled on.
I’ve been to Freshers’ Day and now I want to change my courses Contact the admissions team (admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk) to let them know. The team will then allocate you the most appropriate interviewer at enrolment. We can’t check the viability of your new course at this stage, so just explain to your interviewer when you come to enrolment.
Can I study part-time? Up to the age of 18 you are required to study a full-time programme, although we can make exceptions in special cases e.g. for medical reasons. If you are over 18, please see the ‘Students over 18’ section below.
What is a full-time programme? A full-time programme is classed as 540 classroom hours per year – roughly 15-17 hours per week. We expect each classroom hour to be matched by an hour of study/homework.

Pre-enrolment interviews

What is a pre-enrolment interview? During a pre-enrolment interview we find out what you want to study and why, and decide whether we can offer you a place.
When do the pre-enrolment interviews take place? Pre-enrolment interviews for daytime students take place between October and June at the college. College interviews take place on Tuesday evenings or Saturday mornings. If you apply after June, we are unable to carry out the interview until enrolment (late August / early September).
I’ve been invited to a pre-enrolment interview but I can’t make it. Just contact the admissions team (admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk)and they will arrange an alternative date to suit you.
I have not yet moved to the area and am unable to attend the pre-enrolment interview. We can usually arrange a phone interview or work around times when you are going to be in the local area.
I’m not going to make it to my pre-enrolment interview, what do I do? It’s helpful if you can let us know that you can’t make the interview or have been held up, as we do check messages received during the pre-enrolment sessions. If you don’t turn up and we haven’t heard from you, we will call you to arrange another interview.

Music auditions

Do I need to undertake a music audition? You need to do a music audition if you are applying for any of our music courses.
When does it take place? We aim to arrange music auditions at the same time as your pre-enrolment interview, as they help us to recommend the right course for you. Occasionally, we may invite you to an audition on a separate occasion or for later applicants, on Freshers’ Day in June.
What does the audition consist of? The audition takes about 10 minutes and you will be asked to play or sing a piece of your choice. The audition isn’t about ‘getting in’ or not, it’s about assessing your level and putting you on the best courses. If you have any queries about the audition or what to bring, just contact our admissions team (admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk).

Welcome Evening

What is the Welcome Evening? Welcome Evening is a short evening event for prospective students and their parents/guardians to learn more about how things work at college, how we support you, what’s on offer to you at Richard Taunton, details about lessons and workload etc. You can also put your questions to our panel of teachers, students and parents.
When do the  Welcome Evenings take place? We operate two Welcome Evenings to accommodate everyone. You will be invited to a specific event. These take place in April.
Who can come? Welcome Evenings are open to prospective students, who have already undertaken their pre-enrolment interview, and their parents/guardians.
Does it matter if I miss it? These events are not compulsory but we recommend you come if you can so that you can be as well prepared as possible for the next stage of your education.
Is it relevant to 19+ students? If have you applied to study a sixth form level three course, which is taught alongside our 16-19 year old students during the daytime, then this event is relevant to you.

Freshers’ Day

What is Freshers’ Day? Some colleges call it a Taster Day or Introductory Day. As a prospective student, you’ll be invited to spend the day in college following a timetable and experiencing the lessons of your chosen subjects.
How many courses can I try on Freshers Day? Generally the timetable allows for up to three subjects, either A Level or vocational.
Does it matter if I miss it? Freshers’ Day is not compulsory but we do recommend that you attend if you can. It’s a unique opportunity to get to know the college and meet future class mates. The more time you spend here the more you’ll feel at home when you start in September. It’s particularly valuable if you still haven’t made up your mind about your courses, or which college to go to.
Can I come to part of the day? You will get the best out of the experience if you attend the whole day. If you are going to be late due to an unavoidable commitment (e.g. an exam) please let us know so someone can meet you upon your arrival.
If I can’t make the day, are there other options? Regretfully we can’t offer the full Freshers’ Day experience on any other day.  We do try to avoid clashes with local school proms  and other college taster days where possible.
Is it relevant to 19+ students? If you’re 19+ enrolled on a daytime course and don’t have prior experience of college life, we recommend that you attend Freshers’ Day.

Enrolment

What is enrolment? This is the final step you take before officially joining and beginning lessons. At enrolment, we finalise your courses (based on your actual GCSE grades) and complete the administration required to officially make you one of our students.
When does it take place? The main enrolment period runs from the day that GCSE results are published until the end of August.
Do I have to come? Yes, this event is compulsory although dates are flexible if necessary.
How will I know which day to attend? At Freshers’ Day we will issue you with a letter confirming the day and time.
What if I can’t make my appointment? Just contact the Admissions team and they will re-arrange it for you.
What if I can’t make the main enrolment week? We continue to enrol students after the main enrolment period, but by that time we are finalising the timetable and therefore may not be able to offer you a place on all your chosen courses.

We advise against late enrolment if you applied after June and have therefore not had a pre-enrolment interview, as we will not be able to offer your place until the enrolment interview.

Can parents come? Yes, parents are encouraged to attend enrolment. The process includes payment of the student fund, college deposit, course payments and bus passes (where applicable) and many parents prefer to be there in person to do this.

Course payments

Are there things I have to pay for at college? Whilst the government generally funds your tuition, there are other things we charge you for when you enrol with us. These payments help us fund our extensive enrichment programme and pay for additional items to help you with your studies, like revision guides. We will also ask you to pay for some books and equipment, and some trips.
When do I need to make the payments? Course payments are due at enrolment. Payment for most trips and equipment is requested as and when an event is being planned.
How do I pay? At enrolment you can pay by cash, cheque or credit/debit card. After enrolment, you can use Wisepay (our online payment system).
What if my courses change? If you change courses at a later stage we will refund or recharge you as required.
What if I can’t pay? We understand that these payments may present difficulties for some people. Please refer to our Bursary scheme to see if we can help.

Timetables and workload

What is the structure of the timetable?
  • Each day is divided into six periods of one hour
  • Most of these periods are lessons, but some slots are allocated to tutorials, supported study, workshops and enrichment activities
  • The following teaching hours are allocated to qualifications:A Level – five 1 hr sessions
    Single Vocational – five 1 hr sessions
    Double Vocational – ten 1 hr sessions
    Triple Vocational  – 15 1 hr sessions
    GCSE – four 1 hr sessions
    Level 1 and 2 vocational – eight 1 hr sessions
What times are the lessons? Lesson 1: 8:30 – 9:30Lesson 2: 9:30 – 10:30BREAK 10:30 – 10:50

Lesson 3: 10:50 – 11:55

Lesson 4: 11:55 – 12:55

LUNCH 12:55 – 13:50

Lesson 5: 13:50 -14:55

Lesson 6: 14:55 – 15:55

Do I have to be in college all day? You don’t have to be in college when you don’t have a timetabled activity, but we recommend that you make the most of your opportunity to study in college and use our facilities.

Exams

I had extra time or special arrangements at school for my exams; will I get this at college? This does not happen automatically. To make sure that you have these special arrangements in place, you must go to the ILC and speak to a member of the Upgrade team who will ask you to take part in an assessment and put the necessary arrangements in place.
We are booking our holidays, what do we do? We do not encourage/advise you to take holidays during term-time. You should contact the Exams Office to find out when your exams are likely to be and talk to your teacher about timings for coursework and art or oral exams. If you miss an external exam (e.g. GCSE or A level), there is no opportunity to take this until the following year.
How am I entered for exams? We will automatically enter you for the exams you need to take in order to pass each course, providing that you have met the requirements laid out in our Learning Agreement regarding attendance and completed homework.
Will I have to pay for my exams? In almost all cases, the government course funding covers your exam fee. You will only need to pay an exam entry fee if:
a) You are re-sitting an exam you’ve done before
b) You have not attended enough lessons, or completed enough homework, to meet the requirements to be entered (as stated in your Learning Agreement). If you still want to go ahead, you will need to pay the fee.
c) You do not turn up for an exam you have been entered for.
What times of the year are exams held? GCSE’s take place in November and in the Summer. A Level exams are held between April and June. We also have a January exam season; mainly held at this time are BTEC exams and controlled assessments, but sometimes other exams/assessments can take place if teachers wish to have students sit them in January. University entry exams take place during October and November. Vocational course exam dates (where applicable) are decided within the department. Usually they take place in November or January depending on the course. You will need to liaise with your art teacher to find out when your art exams are to be held.

We usually release Summer exam timetables on ProPortal after the February half term. Please ensure you check your timetable regularly. It is live and changes can occur up to the day of the exam.

There may be other exams during the year but you will be notified in advance by your subject teacher, tutor and via ProPortal.

Where can I find past papers? Copies are available on the following websites:
AQA
OCR
Pearson/Edexcel
WJECOn your exam timetable you will see details of each paper you will be sitting, along with the exam board.
Where will I sit my exams? Room allocations will be included on your exam timetable. Seating plans for the main hall and sports hall will be positioned outside of each room prior to the exam, so that you can find your desk quickly and quietly.If you have a separate room or a small shared room, this will be included on your timetable.
What do I do if I am too unwell to attend an exam? If you are unable to attend an exam for any reason (illness, exceptional circumstances, etc.) please contact the exams office on 02380 514713 as soon as possible. Please note that we may ask for medical evidence if you are unable to attend due to illness.
What do I do if I am going to arrive late for an exam? On the day of your exam if there is a problem, please phone the College as soon as possible on 02380 511811 to report as to why you may be late.
Can I change the date/time of my exam? No; the exam boards set the dates for the exams. If you have an exam clash or have some exceptional circumstances, the time may be changed at the exam board’s discretion.
What can I take into the exam? You must provide your own pens, rulers, pencils, rubbers, and mathematical equipment such as calculators (when allowed). Remember you must only use black ink. The use of pencil is allowed for diagrams and illustrations. You may bring a bottle of water into the exam hall, however you must remove any labels. If you require any medication or medical device with you during the exam, please notify the Exams Office, and we will ensure invigilators are aware of this before each exam.

You may bring your bag/coat into the exam venue; the invigilators will tell you where to put them. We cannot guarantee their security. Any mobile phones, smart watches or similar devices must be switched off whilst in the exam venue. They must not be with you at your desk; if you do not have a bag to put them in you must hand them in at Student Services before your exam.

How long do the exams run for? The length of exams can vary between papers. Your exam timetable will include the duration of each exam.
How many exams might I have to take in a day, or a week? Typically, you may sit one morning and one afternoon exam in a day. However, you may sometimes sit exams back to back if you have more than two in one day. The board ruling is that you can sit exams up to six hours per day.
What if I have two exams scheduled at the same time? If you have two exams scheduled at the same time you will receive a letter, before exam season begins, clearly explaining which exam you will sit in the main venue and at what time you will sit the second exam. You may be required to bring your lunch with you, as you may need to be supervised by an invigilator before your second exam.
What happens on the day of the exam? Seating plans are displayed outside of the exam venue up to an hour before the exam begins. Your candidate number and/or name is used to indicate the row you will sit in. Morning (AM) exams begin at 09:00 and afternoon (PM) exams begin at 13:30. You need to be at the exam venue at least 15 minutes before the exam begins.
Will my teacher be present at the exam? No; teachers may be outside of the exam room before students go in, but they cannot enter the room at any time, due to JCQ regulations.
When are results issued? A Level and GCSE results are issued in August. For exact dates, please consult the Moodle exams page. Photo ID MUST be shown when collecting results.

Results will be available online via ProPortal, so if you are not available to collect your statement of results, you can see/print them from home. We will not post out these statements to students unless requested, so please let us know if you would like these to come through the post.

Once you have joined us, please ensure your home address is correct on the system. To change or check your home address please contact Student Services.

When can I expect to receive my certificates? We should have received all Summer certificates by November. Once they all arrive at the college, we will contact students to let them know and you can come in and pick them up anytime within the Exams Office opening hours.

If you take any GCSE exams in November your certificate(s) should be available to collect from March.

How can I contact the exams department? The Exams Office is located opposite the Student Services Help Desk on the first floor. Exams Office opening hours:
Monday – Thursday: 07:45 – 16:00
Friday: 07:45 – 15:30
I am a past student and would like a copy of my results. How can I obtain them? Please contact us (exams@richardtaunton.ac.uk / 02380 514713) with your name and date of birth. We will then get in touch to discuss this. Due to GDPR regulations, we do not hold student data from longer than 7 years ago, so if you finished your courses 7 or 7+ years ago, we will not be able to provide you with a statement of results.

Students over 18 (on 31st August of start year)

Does the college accept 19+ year old students on sixth form courses / daytime programmes?
  • We do offer this option to a limited number of adults

Please note that:

  • You may need to pay fees (see the next section)
  • Applications for daytime study will be put on the waiting list until we are sure we have places available (after our 16-18 year olds have enrolled)
  • If you are enrolled on a daytime programme, your timetable is likely to be spread over several days and can’t be adjusted to suit your availability
  • All of our courses are for a minimum of one academic year starting in September. BTEC Level 3 Diplomas and A Level courses take two years
  • If you are studying in the day your classmates will mainly be 16-18 year old students so we may ask for a character reference
  • The financial support we offer is intended to help with travel expenses but can’t cover living expenses – if you’re living independently, you need to look into part-time work or claiming benefits
  • Juggling part-time study with a job is tough, so we need you to demonstrate that you are committed and mature enough to cope with the challenge.
Does the college have nursery facilities? Regretfully, no.

Funding and fees (19+ / overseas students)

Will I have to pay tuition fees? You may have to pay fees if:

  • You are 19+ on 31st August of your start year and want to enrol on a daytime sixth form course
  • You are from outside the European economic area and have not been resident in the UK for three years

In these cases we deal with each student individually. There are many reasons why you may still qualify for full or partial fee remission (i.e. the government still funds you) but to assess this we need to know:

  • Your prior qualifications and grades
  • The courses you plan to study with us
  • Whether you are entitled to benefits
  • Your nationality and right to remain in the UK
  • In some cases, your parents nationality and right to remain in the UK

We will assess all this at your pre-enrolment interview (or enrolment if you apply after June) and let you know if you need to pay tuition fees, and if so how much.

How much are the fees? The fees depend on your course, please contact the admissions team to see the current fee list. Please note they are subject to change each year.
Is there a waiting list? Yes, if you are 19+ (on 31st August of your start year) and qualify for government funding (known as fee remission) then we will put your name on a waiting list, because we can only access a limited amount of adult funding.

The rest of the admissions process is as normal, but we can only finalise your place once enrolment is complete during the first week of September. For this reason, you are advised to explore other opportunities to keep your options open.

Places are allocated based on date of application. Students will lose the benefit of an early application date if they:

  • Fail to attend their interview without letting us know
  • Cannot attend enrolment at the normal time
  • Fail to respond to our communications.
Can I get a student loan to cover my fees? You can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan if:

  • You are 19 or older at the start of your course AND
  • You are studying a daytime sixth form level 3 course (equivalent to A Levels)

We will explain the loan and how it works when you have your pre-enrolment interview.