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Frequently Asked Questions

Sixth Form Life

Do I have to wear a uniform?

Years 12 and 13 do not have to wear school uniform, but should dress in accordance with the Sixth Form Dress Code (see dress code below).  Students are reminded that their clothing should be appropriate for a learning environment.

What is the sixth form dress code?

The Sixth Form at SPH enjoy a more relaxed dress code than students in the younger years. Nevertheless, there is an expectation that students dress appropriately.  We have a Catholic ethos, and it is worth remembering that there are children as young as 11-years-old in the school.  What you wear should be:

  • Modest
  • Respectful
  • Dignified


Please see the following dress code for guidance on what is acceptable.

Dress Code:

  • No mini skirts / dresses or revealing skirts / dresses, and shorts and playsuits should be of mid-thigh length.
  • Shorts should be tailored.
  • Sports leggings and tracksuit / jogging bottoms, and shorts made of the same material, can only be worn for PE purposes on enrichment days.
  • Everyday leggings can be worn as long as covered by a sweatshirt/t-shirt that comes down to the mid-thigh.
  • No strapless tops, backless tops, off the shoulder tops and no tops / crop tops that display the midriff.
  • Be careful about loose-fitting clothing, baggy tops should not be overly revealing.
  • Vest tops should have a strap of at least 1 inch in width.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for your subject (i.e. no open-toed footwear for practical subjects).
  • Words and diagrams on clothing should not be offensive or possibly be seen as offensive.
  • Facial piercings should be limited to small studs or thin rings.
  • Hairstyles:
    • No shaved heads shorter than a “number 1” haircut
    • Patterns or words shaved into very short hair are not acceptable
    • Hair must be of a natural colour, no extreme colours
  • Lanyards must be worn and visible at all times when on the school premises ie over jumpers or coats.


Staff will make the final judgement regarding suitability of dress in any other cases.  Final decisions rest with the year heads and senior members of staff.  If a member of staff deems your clothing to be unacceptable you will be asked to change or be sent home to change.

How do I know where to go for my classes?

Students will receive a personalised timetable on their first day which details the lessons they have, as well as the room and teacher.  This will also be available on EduLink.  The school is generally laid out in department areas and the majority of lessons take place in rooms associated with that department.  Maps are available and will be provided to students new to SPH during our induction week in June.

How long am I expected to attend Sixth Form each day?

The school day starts at 8.40am and finishes at 3.05pm.  Year 12 students are expected to be in school for 8.30am every day and stay until 3.05pm.  Usually during the second term, after the initial mocks, this is reviewed and some students will be given permission to come in later on the days they do not have Tutor Time or assembly and leave early on days when they do not have lessons in the afternoon.  Year 13s are expected in for 8.30am on days when they have Tutor Time or assembly and can leave early if they do not have lessons.

I'm not catholic, can I still attend St Philip Howard?

Definitely!  We are a Catholic school, but we welcome children of all faiths and backgrounds who wish to join our community.  Whilst there is an admissions policy for the main school, the Sixth Form do not operate this for applications.

What kind of facilities are available to use?

The Sixth Form has a specific building for use outside of lesson times, and during lessons it is provided for silent working during Directed Study periods.  It is also where the board games take place during enrichment, as well as some assemblies and various parent information evenings.  The Sixth Form Cafe is next door to the Sixth Form Centre and provides a more relaxed space for students to socialise during break and lunch.  The cafe offers hot and cold food and drinks.  The school has a newly built chapel which offers all students and staff a quiet space for reflection or prayer.

We have four study rooms for Sixth Form students to use in small groups, and these can be booked for lessons during the school day.

We have various sports facilities, including a large sports hall, outdoor pitches, netball and tennis courts, and MUGA, as well as a purpose-built dance studio.  The school is accessible to students with additional needs and there is wheelchair access around the buildings, either via ramps or lifts.  We have dedicated music rooms which can be used for solo or group practice sessions, and a large art studio with its own darkroom for photography students to use.

How would I operate the various systems around St Philip Howard

All Sixth Form students will be given a lanyard and ID badge when they start Year 12.  These are used for signing in and out at one of the three iPads in the Sixth Form Centre.  You must sign in every morning and out if you leave at break or lunch, remembering to sign back in when you get back on site.  You must also sign out at the end of the day.  This system is linked with the fire registers and is used should we have to evacuate the buildings for any reason.  Lanyards must be worn whenever you are on school site, and must be visible at all times.

If at any point you feel unwell you must go via the medical room in the Wellbeing Hub to let them know.  They will then advise whether you can leave, remembering to sign out before doing so.

We ask that any absence is reported by a parent / carer first thing, either by email to or 01243 558218.  This needs to be done on each day of absence.

If you have a planned absence, for example a doctor or dentist appointment, a school trip, or uni interview then you must complete an absence form.  These are located on the desk and must be filled out and signed off in advance of the absence.  If you are missing an Assessment Period (AP) you should rebook this for your next available Directed Study before the form is signed off by the AP team.

If you are new to SPH then an email address will be given to you, along with the login details needed to access EduLink and the ILT, and your printer / copier passcode.


How do I apply for a course?

At St Philip Howard Sixth Form we use an online application form.  Please complete this form which can be found here, completing the required information and selecting the subjects you would like to study.  The deadline for applications is TBA, although students are invited to contact us on 01243 558218 if it is past this date.  All current SPH Year 11 students and parents receive an email at the time of our annual Open Evening (November) which will give you the login details – this way a lot of the information is pre-populated for you.  Students who are not currently at SPH can follow the link to register.  All students are invited in for an interview during late January / early February, after which offers are made.

Can I apply for both A Level and BTEC based courses?

Yes.  So long as you have the appropriate grades at GCSE level (see the course pages), students can choose between a purely A Level based curriculum, just BTECs, or a combination of both.  We will discuss options during your interview, and again after GCSE Results Day if there are any issues with achieved grades, to ensure you are choosing appropriate courses to help you be successful in your chosen future.  To confirm, students must choose a minimum of three subjects, although some do choose a fourth option.

Can I apply for a course if I have not got a relevant GCSE?

The majority of the courses we offer do have a GCSE or BTEC Level 2 requirement in either that subject or a related one, if appropriate.  The previous related study requirements are all detailed on the course pages.  We do expect all students to achieve at least a Grade 4 in five or more GCSE subjects.

What happens if I do not achieve the grades I need?

If things do not go as well as you had hoped with your GCSEs, we may still be able to offer you a place at Sixth Form.  However, the course choice may be limited depending on your subjects and grades.  If this is you, we would encourage you to attend the Sixth Form Centre on Results Day to discuss any queries and the best way forward.  If you do not obtain a Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English Language and / or Maths, there is a legal requirement that students retake these qualifications.  If this is the case, you will have extra P7 (i.e. after school) sessions added to your weekly timetable specifically for these lessons, and will be entered in the November exams for these subjects.


What does the school day look like?

Lessons are 50 minutes each, with six lessons a day, some of which may be Directed Study.

Time of Day Event
students are asked to arrive for this time each day
Tutor or Assembly, or time in the Sixth Form Centre
Period 1
Period 2
Period 3
Period 4
Period 5
Period 6
How many students are in each class?

The majority of our classes are small, but this will vary depending on the subject and overall students’ choices that year.  As we build out timetable based on the courses students have chosen on their application form we can, if necessary, put subjects in more than one block to ensure class sizes remain as small as possible.


Is there student parking available?

There is limited space on Elm Grove South for parking, which must not be on corners, on the grassed areas, or blocking residents’ driveways.  We also offer a Parking Permit scheme for students where they can park on the gravel area within the staff car park.  The application form is on the Sixth Form Centre desk – we need a copy of your driving licence and your certificate of insurance.  Again, there is limited space.   We ask all students driving to school to register their car details with the Sixth Form desk for security and safety purposes.

What is public transport like?

Barnham Railway station is a five-minute walk away (using the back access gate to the school, which is open before and after school).  The 500 bus route by Stagecoach runs every 30 minutes between Chichester and Littlehampton and has stops at the station and the end of the school road.

Safety & Wellbeing

Where can I go if I am struggling?

We know that we all struggle sometimes.  Your first port of call would be your Tutor or your Head of Year, or perhaps Kirsten or Olivia at the Sixth Form Centre desk.  If you are struggling with a specific subject then we would advise approaching one of the relevant subject teachers.  We also have a Sixth Form Leadership Team made up of Year 13 students, and one of the teams is Student Wellbeing.

Several members of staff are Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) and this information will be displayed within the Sixth Form Centre.  They are the people to turn to if you are uncomfortable or feel that your physical or emotional safety might not be being respected.  We also have a Chaplaincy team who you can go to.

If you need Learning Support we have a dedicated team within the Inclusion department, as well as a great team in the Wellbeing Hub.  We also have a qualified school counsellor who you can be referred to.

For medical issues we have Mrs Leonard and Mrs Streeter in the medical room, also located within the Wellbeing Hub.

For IT issues you can go to the Sixth Form Centre desk for any initial help and they may point you in the direction of the IT team.

Interviews with Different Professions


Claire Skaptason, Sixth Form Careers, Interviews Jasmine Hine, Assistant Psychologist at Psychology Chartered. An interview with Jasmine Hine, Assistant Pyschologist at Psychology Chartered. Jasmine talks about her current role, the path she has taken to get their and offers some tips to students currently looking to apply to University.


Claire Skaptason, Careers at St Philip Howard Sixth Form, interviews GP Clare Matthews. Clare talks about her career, the path she took to become a GP, what she enjoys, the challenges she faces and offers advice to any student thinking of going into medicine.


Claire Skaptason, Careers at St Philip Howard Sixth Form, interviews Dr Sadie Jones, Astronomy Public Engagement Leader at Southampton University Astrodome. Sadie talks about her career, her path to get to where she is today, what she enjoys about her role and offers tips to students considering applying to university.

Interviews with Past Sixth Form Students


Claire Skaptason, Careers at St Philip Howard Sixth Form, interviews ex-students Alex Broadhurst and Oliver Button who both level SPH Sixth Form in 2018. Alex Broadhurst has recently completed his Higher Apprenticeship with JPMorgan and Oliver Button started a degree apprenticeship with JPMorgan, studying at the University of Exeter, which he applied for during his gap year. They talk to us about their apprenticeships, the different processes they both went through and they offer tips to year 12 students who are thinking about applying to do an apprenticeship.


Claire Skaptason, Careers at St Philip Howard Sixth Form, interviews ex student Molly Sivyer who has just completed her second year studying American Studies at UEA. Molly talks about her course, her life at uni and the impact COVID-19 has had on her studies.


Claire Skaptason, Sixth Form Careers, interviews ex student Shane Fitzgibbon who left Sixth Form in 2019 to head to the University of Winchester to study Primary Education. Shane talks about his course, his uni life and provides some great tips for our year 12 students thinking about applying to University.


Claire Skaptason, Careers at St Philip Howard Sixth Form, interviews Harry Waters, who has just finished his first year studying Maths & Finance at the University of Liverpool, and Dom Buckle who has just finished his first year studying Sport Psychology at Liverpool Hope University. Both talk about their University experiences so far and offer tips to our current year 12 students looking to apply to university.