Welcome to the frequently asked question page. Click on a question to read more.
What’s different about a sixth form college?
To start with, there’s only year 12 and year 13. This means it’s a much more adult environment, without young students around (or much older students), and without the distractions of students that don’t want to learn. It means it’s a more inclusive environment – everyone joining the college is keen to make new friends. It’s a chance for people to start afresh and a chance to meet new, like-minded people, and also to meet people different from themselves. There’s no uniform, no bells, your study time outside of lessons is your own. Provided you’re working hard and making good progress, you’ll have a lot more flexibility about how and where you work compared with your experience in Year 11. There’s a lot of work to do at A level and BTEC though, so there’s a really strong culture of work and commitment.
All of our courses are A levels or Level 3 BTEC qualifications. The standards are really high because teaching is delivered by teachers only focused on A level and Level 3 BTEC teaching. Teachers are more specialised and have lots of experience of post-16 teaching.
Our new purpose-built campus means that we have specialist facilities designed for our courses. There are 11 different areas of the college where you can work outside of lessons, all varying in size and feel, helping you to find the learning environment that suits you best. You can even book a private study room for a few hours if you want to.
We offer more A level subjects than anywhere in Doncaster, with 50 different A level or Level 3 BTEC courses to choose from. We know from experience that students perform best when they’re able to choose courses that they’re really interested in and which play to both their strengths and aspirations. When your choices are limited it’s too easy to end up studying courses that aren’t really right for you.
Because we’re the biggest A level and Level 3 BTEC provider in Doncaster, we’re also able to offer lots of sports, clubs and societies for students to get involved with outside of lessons.
How do I apply to study at New College Doncaster in September 2019?
Simply complete our online application at www.ncdoncaster.ac.uk/apply. It only takes a few minutes. Don’t worry too much if you’re not 100% sure which subjects you want to study – if you apply now you’ll be able to change these at interview.
The deadline for applications is Friday 1 March 2019.
The earlier you apply the better because it means we can then invite you along to one of our interview evenings. It also helps us to match our staffing and number of classes to the number of students we’re expecting for our courses.
You can still apply after 1 March and we’d strongly encourage you to do so if you haven’t already. However, if the college is oversubscribed we will give priority to any students that meet the application deadline. Students applying after this date should not worry – in 2018 we were able to accommodate all students that applied after the application deadline and who attended enrolment (although a small number of courses did become full). We welcome applications right up to September 2019.
For further details, you may wish to read our admissions policy which is available on our Trust website. https://nclt.ac.uk/policy-documents/
The interview – can you tell me more?
It will be really informal and nothing you need to worry about. It will just be a chat about the subjects you’re interested in studying, how you’re getting on at school and your career aims. It’s a chance for you to find out more and to ask us any questions you have. It’s an opportunity for us to give you advice and guidance about subject choices and your future plans. You’re welcome to come by yourself, or you can bring a parent with you, if you prefer.
Provisionally, the dates of our interview evenings are as follows:
- Wednesday 28 November
- Thursday 31 January
- Tuesday 12 March
Depending on levels of applications, there may be a further interview evening on Monday 17 June 2019 for students that applied after the application deadline of Friday 1 March.
What is a conditional offer?
We will offer the vast majority of students a conditional offer at interview. This means that those students have secured a place to study the courses agreed at interview subject to:
- The student meeting the entry criteria for the chosen courses
- The student accepting the conditional offer and attending the official enrolment day
- In the unlikely event that a course is oversubscribed, the college is still able to offer a place on that course having used the oversubscription prioritisation criteria
It’s worth noting that students are able to accept conditional offers from multiple schools and colleges and students will then make their final decision about where to enrol after receiving GCSE results.
In a small number of cases the college may decline to make a conditional offer. This would usually be in cases where there are significant concerns about behaviour, attendance, commitment to learning or evidence that the student is very unlikely to meet the entry criteria for any of our courses. Students also have to be under the age of 19 when our courses start to be eligible to study with us.
We are also keen to discuss with students and parents special educational needs and Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) during the application process in order to ensure that the college is able to fully support the learning and medical needs of prospective students.
If you are not currently in Y11, we are likely to request further information to help us decide whether to make a conditional offer, and we may request a reference from your current/previous school or college.
What grades do I need to get in?
This depends on both the individual subjects you’re wanting to study and the overall combination of subjects you’re wanting to study. This helps us to tailor programmes to each student’s strengths, confidence and preferred learning style.
For example, a student wanting to study four A levels will need to have secured a stronger overall set of GCSE results than a student wanting to study three. Most of our subjects have subject specific entry requirements too. For example, a student wishing to study A levels in science subjects will also need to have achieved certain minimum levels in GCSE maths and science qualifications, as well as an average GCSE point score which also meets the minimum requirement.
We have four different pathways for students and each have different entry requirements:
- A programme of four A levels
- A programme of 3 A levels
- A combination of A levels and Level 3 BTEC qualifications
- A programme of Level 3 BTEC qualifications
Full details of the entry requirements for each of these pathways can be found in our admissions policy at https://nclt.ac.uk/policy-documents/
Additional requirements for individual subjects are also included in the admissions policy.
Please note that details in the prospectus serve as a useful guide but the full details are included within the admissions policy.
If you don’t achieve the minimum entry requirements for one of your subjects, the first thing to stress is that you shouldn’t panic. We will discuss that with you in detail at enrolment. Not achieving the grades you need in a subject doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t study at New College Doncaster, but we may possibly need to rethink some of your subject choices.
What is Induction Day?
All students that that have accepted conditional offers will be invited to attend our induction day on Tuesday 9 July. This is a day in college where students will be able to attend taster lessons for some of the courses they’ve applied to study, as well as an introduction to studying at the college. It’s an opportunity to find your feet, try out the buses (if you’re using a college bus), to get settled in, and talk to us if you’re thinking about changing any of your courses.
When do I enrol?
Our official enrolment day is Tuesday 27 August 2019. We will write to all students that have accepted conditional offers over the summer, indicating the time we’d like you to attend.
Students must attend this day in person – you can’t send a friend or family member to enrol on your behalf. You do also have to be present in college to enrol – you can’t do it by telephone or email.
Please note that a conditional offer is dependant on a student attending the enrolment day. However, any students that let us know well in advance that they are unable to attend on Tuesday 27 August will be invited to a ‘late enrolment’ event early in the week beginning 2 September. It is likely that many courses will still have available spaces at the late enrolment event but some courses may become full. If you do not attend on Tuesday 27 August and don’t let us know well in advance that you can’t attend that date, we will withdraw your application.
What if I change my mind about the subjects I want to study?
Please just let us know. The sooner you drop us an email the more likely it is that we’ll be able to accommodate any requests students have. The earlier you tell us the less likely it is that a course will be full up. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ll also be able to let us know about any changes you’re thinking about at the induction day on 9 July 2019.
You can still change your mind about your subjects right up to the enrolment day, provided courses do still have space available at that point.
What if the college or courses are oversubscribed?
We received approximately 1100 applications last year to start studying at New College Doncaster and this converted to 550 actual enrolments. This is an exceptionally high level of enrolment for a new post-16 provider only in its second year, but it demonstrates why students and parents shouldn’t worry too much when they see application numbers rising to very high levels. Lots of students will apply to multiple schools and colleges and make their final decisions after their GCSE results. We do expect that the college will grow in September 2019 but we think it is unlikely that the college overall will be oversubscribed, though some individual courses may potentially become oversubscribed, depending on the subjects students ultimately choose at enrolment. We do advise students to apply early.
We are already planning our staffing and timetable for September 2019 to help ensure that things run as smoothly as possible at enrolment.
In the event that any individual courses do become full, the college has clear criteria for determining which students will be given priority to enrol onto those courses. Full details of the prioritisation criteria can be found in our admissions policy at https://nclt.ac.uk/policy-documents/. We will do our best to help students to find a suitable alternative course in the unlikely event that they are unable to study one of their chosen subjects because of oversubscription.
Students can increase their likelihood of being prioritised by applying on time, attending their allocated interview, accepting their conditional offer on time and attending the official enrolment day.
Can I apply to other schools and colleges as well as New College?
Yes, that’s no problem. We understand that students will be keen to explore a range of options and will make the decision that is right for them. We’re excited that New College Doncaster offers something very special, but we fully support your right to make your own decision about where you study and about your future. It’s good to keep your options open.
Do I have to accept my conditional offer? What if another school or college offers me a place?
Most schools and colleges ask applicants to formally accept the offer of a place many months before the start of term. This is usually so that schools and colleges have a good idea about how many students to plan for, but it doesn’t bind you to that school or college and you can change your mind at any point. You shouldn’t feel pressured by any schools or colleges asking you to accept places. Our advice would be to accept any conditional offers you’re made by any schools and colleges (unless you’ve strongly ruled them out), and simply decide for yourself after your GCSE results which one you think you’ll enjoy the most and get the best results at.
We write to students in the spring term, after we’ve interviewed all students that applied by the deadline, inviting them to accept conditional offers. We’ll ask students to indicate one of the three options:
- Accept – Firm – this means that you’re accepting and indicating that you’re expecting to enrol at New College Doncaster
- Accept – Undecided – this means that you’re accepting but you’re unsure about where you’ll enrol in September
- Decline – this means that you’ve decided that you don’t want to study at New College Doncaster and would like your application to be withdrawn
There’s no advantage to choosing the first option rather than the second – you’re accepting a conditional offer either way – it just helps us to plan better if we have a good idea of how many firm and undecided students we have.
What are plans for buses?
The college is currently served by a combination of service buses and privately contracted services. There are frequent services running between the college and Doncaster Frenchgate throughout the day (57 and X4 services). In 2018-19, students that opt to use one of the college’s 6 privately contracted services do so by purchasing an annual pass for £280, which is approximately £0.75 per journey.
We are currently in the process of finalising our bus services for 2019-20. All areas currently covered by college buses will continue to be covered in 2019-20. Details of services available in 2018-19 are available here:
What facilities will the college have?
The £20m campus is specifically designed for level 3 academic study. In addition to specialist facilities and wide-ranging study space in the learning resource centre, independent study space is scattered throughout the campus. £800,000 of IT and network infrastructure has been invested in the college, ensuring high availability of PCs, Macs and laptops for students, both in and out of lessons. The campus is fully Wi-Fi enabled.
- Science: Specialist super-labs
- Performing Arts: Dance studio, drama studio, music recording studio, music practice rooms
- Visual Arts and Media: Dark room for photography, photography studio, textiles and graphics facilities, Mac rooms for art, photography and media
- Modern Foreign Languages: Specialist language lab kitted out with IT
- Sport: Gym, sports hall, changing rooms, sports fields
- Outdoor Student Courtyard
- Learning Resource Centre
- Student Social Space, Student Study Space: Because as young adults we expect you to manage your study time and social time effectively
- Buses: Drop off points and turning arcs, to ensure student safety
Will I have to be in college all day for the full 5 days?
Provided that you are attending all your lessons, working hard and making good progress, we trust you to use your time outside of lessons effectively. This means that when you don’t have a timetabled lesson you are able to study in the learning resource centre, work in one of the study spaces around the campus, or you can spend a little time in the cafeteria or other more social areas of campus. College life is about making new friends and having new experiences, as well as achieving outstanding results. Students are also able to go off-site during free periods. If you don’t have a lesson last period, for example, you’re welcome to go home whenever you’re ready to. If you don’t have a lesson you don’t have to be in college.
The way we’ve designed our timetable means that some students may end up with all of their lessons spread over 4 days. Again, if you’re lucky enough to be in that position then you don’t have to come into college on the 5th day. We trust you to use your time wisely and to study at home, but you’re still welcome to come into college and use the facilities and resources if you want to.
How will the college day and timetable be organised?
Each day is made up of three 90-minute lessons, with 15 lessons spread across the week. Each A level or single BTEC subject has three lessons per week. This means that most full time students will have 9 lessons per week (if they are studying 3 subjects), or 12 lessons per week (if they are studying 4 subjects). In addition, at points of the year students will have an additional tutorial period with their progress tutor.
As a rule of thumb, students should spend roughly as much time completing homework or independent study outside of lessons as they spend time in lessons.
Gaps in a student’s timetable, when a student is not required to be in a timetabled lesson, are called study periods. As a general rule, we trust students to use this time sensibly, and students are free to study in college or at home during these times. In some circumstances, a student may not have any timetabled lessons on a particular day and so they may choose to work in college or to work from home.
Only if a student is falling behind or not working well will the college review a student’s use of study periods, and may direct them accordingly.
The college day is as follows:
The teacher access period before lunch is a 30 minute slot in which teachers will keep a number of students back to provide additional support with topics that are being studied, or to address weaknesses identified in assessments or homework. It is also an opportunity for students to ask further questions, or to ask about additional work they can complete.
Students are likely to have a subject twice on one particular day of the week.
Example 1: A student studying A level Psychology, A level Sociology, A level Biology
Example 2: A student studying a programme of 4 A levels – A level Maths, A level Further Maths, A level Chemistry, A level Physics
Example 3: A student studying a triple BTEC in Sport, plus GCSE Maths resit
These examples are purely illustrative – choosing the same subjects will not necessarily result in the same timetables as above.
Can I apply as an adult student?
Only students in the 16-19 age range are funded by government to study at New College Doncaster. Students must be under the age of 19 at the end of August 2019 to be able to enrol with us.
Can I apply to restart Y12?
If you’re currently in Year 12 and things aren’t going to plan, you can apply to New College Doncaster to restart Year 12. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly and in many cases it is right for students to complete their courses at their current school or college. We would advise you in the first instance to discuss your concerns and progress with your existing school or college before applying to New College Doncaster. There can be a number of good reasons for a student applying to restart Year 12, but we’d obviously want to explore this with you in detail before making a conditional offer. We want students to succeed and to be studying courses which are absolutely right for them, and that sometimes means that we would need to explore our full range of subjects as well as the ones currently being studied. In some cases, we may request to take up references from the existing school that you’re studying at so that we are able to get a full picture about how things have gone in the first year of A level or BTEC study.
I’m currently studying in Y12 – can I apply to finish my Y13 studies at the college?
We are happy to discuss this with you, but in most cases it is unlikely that we’d be able to accommodate such requests. This is because A level courses are now two year qualifications and the delivery of these qualifications will vary significantly between different schools and colleges. There are multiple exam boards, the actual topics studied is likely to be different, and the order in which content is delivered is likely to be different, making transfers half-way through courses very difficult.
In some cases, it might be feasible and so we don’t rule out the possibility of some students being able to complete Y13 studies in very special cases. Please contact us if this is something you are interested in discussing.