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Sixth Form vs FE College

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by justttamyyyyy, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. justttamyyyyy

    justttamyyyyy New commenter

    Hello all,

    I hope someone can englighten me on this area. I'm wondering if there are any specific/large differences between working in a sixth form or independent FE college.

    I did my training in an FE college so I am aware of how it works, but have not worked in sixth form.

    There is a job that has become available in my subject area at a sixth form, but upon getting bogged down in research I have heard varying opinions on working in sixth form/college.

    What have your experiences been/what differences should I be aware of?

    Can someone also explain the current pay scale for teachers in FE? I've read so many different terms I'm confused like nobody else. The application I have viewed states "Teachers Pay Spine, NPS 1-9, currently 22,709 - 37,984"

    Many thanks!
  2. Malachi_Constant

    Malachi_Constant New commenter

    I have taught in both F.E. collages and Sixth Form Collages. In my experience there is very little difference. Your experience will depend almost entirely on the courses that they have you teaching and the students in your classes. While it is true that there are some F.E. collages that are very vocationally focused it is also true that there are F.E. collages that teach huge and successful academic programmes. In my experience, the reverse situation is less likely to be true!

    A Sixth Form college is perhaps more likely to be focussed on A-level provision, but might have a range of vocational courses running along side these. These courses could be at level 1, 2 or 3. Both types of collages will run GCSE classes in Maths and English. The exact make up of the curriculum offer will vary from place to place.

    Working conditions are heavily dependant on the culture of the organisation. Some places are lovely and others are... err... not.

    As for pay, the range that you state sounds about right to me for a teacher. The top end will be on the upper scale. The union websites have the relevant pay scales.
  3. danbham

    danbham New commenter


    I work at a Sixth Form College and recently turned down a job at an FE College. I didn't fancy the lower holidays, varying timetable and evening hours. I find working in a Sixth Form College to be the best job I've ever had. Yes, there are targets, disciplinary issues and all the other stuff that happens everywhere but the students are mostly excellent and it is a joy to teach in.

    I have freedom to teach how I would like (on the most part) and thoroughly enjoy the Sixth Form College environment. As I never actually worked in an FE college I can't comment too much but I am happy with my decision as I get the good holidays and my evenings to myself.

  4. AaronCocker

    AaronCocker New commenter

    I've been to both an FE and Sixth Form College. The FE staff have total freedom of the BTEC units they taught and how they taught it, though the choices were based around the requirements of local universities and businesses.It was a better experience than the Sixth Form.

    In the Sixth Form, every teacher taught from the same PowerPoints as their colleagues and all work was conducted in paper workbooks, the staff had no control on how they delivered their individual lessons.

    This is not to say that all colleges are like this, this was just my particularly bad experience. The FE teachers do enjoy their holidays without work though.
  5. lyonsd78

    lyonsd78 New commenter

    What's the difference in 'holidays' between both FE and 6th Form?
  6. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Further Education is one step nearer to the workplace for young people, I found. I taught mainly in FE Colleges but also in schools and there was a big difference. My students realized that they were on the doorstep to work placements and not just examinations, and they matured very quickly. Most of the FE teachers had worked outside in the world of business or industry and I would say were much less "teacher-like". I noticed a big difference when I taught in a school for a while and was glad to be back in FE. Many of the teachers in the school had never worked outside of a classroom in their lives. It showed.

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