The process of applying to Higher Education starts at The Oratory.
The Lower Sixth are well catered for with trips to a UCAS convention, talks on Oxbridge applications, and a number of activities in the summer in preparation for application to university.
For students with a desire to take academia beyond the curriculum there are also Scholars Plus Lower and Upper Sixth groups running weekly that focus on developing the logic of the mind through philosophical argument and discussion of a wide range of topics; this is balanced on the Science side by a Science Plus group that offers opportunities to hear some of the country’s top scientists lecturing and take regular visits to the Café Scientifique in nearby Didcot.
In tutor groups, students learn how to write CVs, letters of application and personal statements, receive advice through seminars, complete UCAS forms, attend master classes and courses that are being offered by universities and receive basic finance education. They also have the opportunity to discuss world issues and politics.
Extra-curricular activities also focus on preparation for life, work and service:
All Fifth Form boys undertake a minimum of one week’s work experience in various fields ranging from media, manufacturing, retail, banking, caring professions, to archaeology, international relations, construction and photography. As part of the process, pupils are expected to write letters of introduction and CVs. Those L6th pupils who do not do Art & Design complete a second week in their post-AS Level period.
A number of boys in the Lower Sixth choose to start Community Service on Thursday afternoons. Home visits to the elderly, sick or disabled are arranged through the local Ryder-Cheshire Volunteers, who aim to match up the able-bodied with the disabled who share their interests. This could be to fulfil the Duke of Edinburgh Service section, to gain Millennium Volunteer recognition or, most usually, just to give time to others in need.
The Gold Award is often viewed separately from the Bronze and Silver due to the increased time commitment required completing this impressive feat. The boys have the option to complete the Gold Award on expedition in the UK or on the annual Gold Morocco Expedition. In addition to the expedition section the boys must complete programmes in three other sections: physical, skill and volunteering. At Gold a residential project is also required.
Sixth Form boys voluntarily continue service in all CCF sections taking on Under-Officer responsibilities. Many Old Oratorians go on to serve in the Armed Forces. (link to Old Boys site)
There are a number of societies that the Sixth Form can become involved with: The Windhover is a discussion society whereby Sixth Formers deliver a paper on a topic of their choice and present it for discussion; The Adelphi is the school’s senior debating society; The Hopkins Society arranges cultural visits, competitions and speaker events; The Buzz is the school newspaper run by a Sixth Form editorial team.
Outside the A level curriculum, there are a number of areas of “education for life” which are covered in special sessions or with outside speakers including drug and alcohol education, safe driving, relationships, and occasional talks on other matters of interest and concern.