Olivia

The St George’s Sixth Form really is a very close knit community with everyone making an extra effort to make you feel comfortable and welcome.

Olivia

We interviewed Olivia, a recent SGA Sixth Form Alumna, to hear her honest reflections on life at the St George's Sixth Form.

To find out more about what St George's can offer your daughter, speak to a member of our Admissions team.

Olivia joined St George’s from a local independent school in the Summer Term of the Second Year (Year 8), looking to benefit from the strong Performing Arts programme we offer. She has really enjoyed singing in the school choir and makes a regular appearance on stage, taking Drama, Business and Psychology for her A levels. The musicals have been the highlight of her time at St George’s and she is hoping to carry on treading the boards at Nottingham University where she has chosen to study Sociology.

We caught up with Liv recently and heard all about the academic and pastoral support she received particularly when things were quite hard in the Upper Sixth Form and also why she chose to board in her Sixth Form years.

What were some of the things that were on your mind in advance of entering the sixth form? What were you looking forward to, what were you worried about?

I think if I am being honest, I was just terrified of the pressure and the jump from GCSE to A level. I was so excited to be going on summer holiday but also aware that the workload was going to be ridiculous. In reality, due to the 9-1 system (the GCSE grading system adopted in 2018), I actually felt the jump from Lower to Upper sixth was bigger than GCSE to Lower Sixth. Actually GCSE had prepared us well.

What made that jump from lower sixth to upper sixth so challenging?

It was probably my mindset as well as the work load itself. I thought to myself ‘This is a game changer, this is my final year, I need to pull it out of the bag.’ It was the pressure I placed on myself, wanting to do well. I ended up having a very big wobble at the start of Upper Sixth, but the teachers really helped me with my ‘anxious mind’ (she gently laughs at herself). I ended up in my Head of Year’s office every single day in tears, but not only did he give me all the time I needed but also helped me to see the positive. He encouraged me to go to the Counsellor for a couple of weeks and she also really helped. She reassured me that everything was going to be OK and helped me to see there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

She reassured me that everything was going to be OK and helped me to see there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

What are the best perks of being in the sixth form?

(Groan of appreciation) The cafe! I love that cafe, that was a great cafe. (The View is a Sixth Form Centre that was opened in 2019) I loved being a small year group. It had such a good vibe, everyone wanted to be there, we were all enjoying our subjects and trying new things. We had a bit more free time as we were only doing 3 subjects. As a Year group collectively we became super close, I got to know people I hadn’t known in my Fifth Year (Year 11). There was always someone different in there and I grew so many friendships.

Did you find the extra curricular programme at St George’s gave you everything you wanted in sixth form?

For sure, especially the Leiths cookery course actually. I loved it! I would recommend it to any of the younger years. I wish I’d done the Peer Point Counselling too but there was a scheduling clash and we couldn’t do both.

Looking back how would you reflect on having attended an all girls school? Was it beneficial? What was the co-ed social programme like?

I think personally - I get quite distracted by boys - when I’m in my work environment I need a straight head (guffaws with laughter)! There are so many socials and I made such good friends with those I met from Harrow, Radley, Eton through the socials. You don’t feel you’re a bunch of girls in a friendship group, somehow trapped. You don’t have arguments about boys, which friends I know at co-ed schools do, but you enjoy school life and then go party at the weekends!

I actually started boarding in the Spring Term of Lower Sixth because I wanted to spend more time at school. The library is just amazing, I never really liked going during the day when it was really hectic and full of people, but I found it was a great place to work in the evenings. We all used to head up there and study together. It became really restrictive having my mum pick me up at 9pm. I think boarding in SIxth Form has really prepared me well for uni as I’m not too homesick anymore.

So, no, an all girls school has been perfect for me.

There are so many socials and I made such good friends with [the boys] I met from Harrow, Radley [and] Eton. You don’t feel you’re a bunch of girls in a friendship group...an all girls school has been perfect for me.

What three things would you tell a friend if she were thinking about joining St George’s in the sixth form?

I’d say not to panic, because the teachers are all there to support you. They can honestly make all the difference. Enjoy it! Enjoy the breaks in between but don’t take them as sleeping breaks, really dive in and work in them because once you get it solid in your Lower Sixth, you can relax a bit towards the end of Lower Sixth. Do everything you possibly can but don’t overwhelm yourself - make sure you’ve got the balance.

What have been your stand out moments at St George’s?

Such a hard question, there are so many. One of my stand out moments is definitely the musicals. Doing any play, you grow so many friendships across the different Year groups. It’s so important not to be in a little bubble in your own year group, but get to know people all up and down the school and not really see a hierarchy. The Sixth Form can be that person you want to speak to, it’s OK to have friends throughout the school. The musicals were the real highlight!

What will you miss?

It’s so small you know everyone, it’s like a family, there’s always someone to talk to, you walk the corridors and you always see a familiar face. Going into the dining room and just seeing everyone.

It’s like a family, there’s always someone to talk to.

Have there been any teachers who have been particularly influential and what was it about them that made them so special?

This is an easy one. I adore our Head of Music. He’s always always been there for me since day one. He’s always been so positive and bubbly. He’s had a big influence on me and brought out my confidence especially in the choir. Also my Head of Year. He always tries to find a way to turn something negative into a positive.

How do you feel St George’s has helped you prepare for life beyond school?

We’ve had a lot of enrichment sessions with people coming in to talk to us all about different jobs they’ve done.

During lockdown, they’ve prepared us with a number of courses on student finances and other life skills. We also had a day when loads of Alumnae returned to the school to tell us about their experience since leaving school. I thought, ‘OK they went to St George’s, they’re similar to me and they went on to uni’ It just gives you a bit of an example or pathway to follow.

If you could sum up in one sentence?

The St George’s Sixth Form really is a very close knit community with everyone making an extra effort to make you feel comfortable and welcome, especially our Head of Year who is always there to bring positivity and to crack a joke!

Read next: Sigho's Story

Sigho joined St George’s as a full boarder in the Third Year (Year 9) from a French Speaking International school in Nigeria.