Not all periods in a Bloomsbury Sixth Former’s timetable are allocated to lessons – a situation that may appear to leave ‘gaps’ in which nothing specific is scheduled. These ‘gaps’ are in fact devoted to private study: students use them to complete reading or writing assignments, to refine and tidy up their notes, to conduct revision and to research and read around their chosen AS/A Level subjects. Private study periods form an extremely important aspect of a Bloomsbury Sixth Former’s studies, and Sixth Form teachers provide extensive and detailed guidance to students over how to use them effectively in ways enabling them to derive maximum benefit. The school regards this as an opportunity for its Sixth Formers to acquire and develop sound time management and self-management skills and to take responsibility for making and keeping to decisions as to how these skills should be applied in practice.

Private study periods are supervised by a member of staff to ensure Sixth Formers can work quietly without interruption, but choices over which precise tasks to deal with during these sessions and how long to spend on each one are left to students themselves. As Sixth Formers become more familiar with the exact requirements of their respective AS/A Level syllabuses, they generally become more confident in determining how to adapt private study periods to the latter’s contents and needs.

The guidance offered by teachers (especially at the inception of a new academic year) over how best to use private study periods is combined with advice over how to balance time spent on the homework and set work entailed by all AS/A Level syllabuses; students considering applying to enter Bloomsbury’s Sixth Form are kindly requested to note that the latter’s volume will increase significantly in relation to the amount set in their past IGCSE studies. They should also be aware that even when homework and set work are not expressly assigned, students are expected to read around and generally explore the topics that form part of their curricula.

Sixth Formers also receive guidance over which items they should bring to private study periods (e.g. assignments, textbooks, periodicals and other reading materials, note files and folders, laptop computers or tablets etc): this is to ensure that they are au fait with the practicalities of how best to use this facility as well as with its underlying principles.