A sixth form college is an educational institution in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belize, The Caribbean, Hong Kong, Malta, Norway, etc, where students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or school-level qualifications such as GCSEs. In Singapore and India, this is known as a junior college. The municipal government of the city of Paris uses the phrase "sixth form college" as the English name for a lycée.
In England, The Caribbean, and Wales, education is only compulsory until the end of year 11, the school year in which the pupil turns 16 (although this is changing in August 2013 to compulsory education until year 12 and by 2015, education will be compulsory until year 13) In the English and Welsh state educational systems, those wishing to continue may either stay on at a secondary school with an attached sixth form, transfer to a local sixth form college, or go to a more vocational further education college, although, depending on geographical location, there may be little choice as to which of these options can be taken. In the independent sector, sixth forms are an integral part of secondary schools (public schools), and there is also a number of smaller-scale independent sixth form colleges.
Students at sixth form college typically study for two years (known as Years 12 and 13, Years 13 and 14 in Northern Ireland and/or lower sixth and upper sixth). Some students sit AS examinations at the end of the first year, and A-level examinations at the end of the second. These exams are called C.A.P.E (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination), in the Caribbean. In addition, in recent years a variety of vocational courses have been added to the curriculum.
There are currently over 90 sixth form colleges in operation in England and Wales. Most perform extremely well in national examination league tables. In addition, they offer a broader range of courses at a lower cost per student than most school sixth forms. In a few areas, authorities run sixth form schools which function like sixth form colleges but are completely under the control of the local education authorities. Unlike further education colleges, sixth form colleges rarely accept part-time students or run evening classes, although one boarding sixth form college exists.
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