Information & Guidance

We believe that good careers guidance is essential for our young people. We work in partnership with local employers and other education and training providers to ensure that our provision provides our students with direct and motivating information about the world of work to inform decisions about future education and training options.

Y12 & Y13 Student Opportunities

Have you booked a University of London Taster Day?

UCL, LSE, KCL, Royal Holloway, Imperial, Queen Mary and City University offer free taster days for a huge range of subjects. There are still places available so book now!

For more information simply click on the button.

The Uni Guide helps students make more informed decisions about their higher education choices.

The Student Room have worked together to ensure that valuable content from the award-winning Which? University website could continue to be easily available to students, parents and teachers.

University open days

They generally take place between April and July - this is the time to plan your visits. provides an updated calendar listing of all university open days in the UK - or go directly to University websites and register.

The University and Colleges Application System (UCAS)

UCAS is the central system through which all student applications are made to UK universities.

The UCAS website will provide you with access to important UCAS information, click on the UCAS logo to access it.

The UCAS Process

The Personal Statement

The personal statement is an important part of a student’s university application, as it is the only section where students have the opportunity to describe to university admissions tutors why they would be a good candidate for their chosen degree course. Students can demonstrate their interest in the subject, that they have read independently, completed related work experience and how they have been a positive part of sixth form life.

At Coombe, we work hard to support students in writing their personal statements, with ongoing, expert advice and guidance from the Sixth Form Team. However, ultimately, the personal statement is the student’s responsibility and they need to be proactive so they can clearly show in their personal statement that they have a genuine interest in their chosen course. If applying for medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or Oxford or Cambridge, applications must be discussed with the Sixth Form team by the summer term at the latest and a full draft personal statement must be submitted to the team by July of Year 12.

UCAS References

UCAS References

The UCAS reference is the school’s opportunity to ‘sell’ the student to their chosen universities. At Coombe we aim to be as positive and constructive as possible and we will work with students to ensure that we have all information to hand that could support their application. The references are written by the students' tutors and include information provided by their subject teachers.

Predicted Grades

Students’ predicted grades are another important part of their application. As a school, we encourage all staff to adopt a positive and optimistic approach to agreeing grade predictions that takes into account a students’ potential development during the final year of their course.

Communicating with parents during the process

Please note that whilst we are happy to discuss any aspect of a student’s application during the process, we are unable to keep parents informed about the detail of every application on an on-going basis. We advise, therefore, that parents discuss their son or daughter’s application status with them on a regular basis.

It is also important to note that UCAS regard applications as confidential between themselves and students and will not usually discuss them with parents unless they have been nominated as point of contact.

Choosing universities and courses

Students’ choices of courses and universities will be influenced by an enormous range of factors and we will offer support and guidance at each stage of the process during Year 12 and 13. We keep a full set of UK university prospectuses in the sixth form study room, but the most up-to-date information on entry requirements and course content will be available via the university’s individual website.

We recommend that students visit a range of university open days in the summer term of Year 12 as part of making an informed decision. Most universities now offer Saturday open days.

How the school supports students with their UCAS applications

The remainder of the summer term and the early stages of the autumn term are devoted to working with students in a wide range of ways. The most significant of these is the Coombe ‘Futures Planning’ module. This programme requires students to think through a number of possible future ‘pathways’, investigating the implications, costs and career opportunities in each case. These activities will be developed through our summer ‘Futures Planning’ Day, Active Tutorial sessions and tutor meetings, assembly presentations and so on. At all stages, the tutors and the Head of Year will be working closely with the students.

Student Finance

Student Finance arrangements are subject to change and while we try to keep up-to-date with developments, it is the responsibility of students and parents to research thoroughly.

The application window for student finance applications is usually from February to May of Year 13.

The most up-to-date information about Student Finance (tuition fees loan and maintenance loans) for higher education can be found at

A useful section is the Student Finance calculator which can give an indication of what finance is possible for individual students based on household income:

16-19 Bursary Fund

The 16-19 Bursary Fund is paid by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to Schools and Colleges so that they may provide financial help to students whose access to or completion of education might be inhibited by financial consideration.

- Students wishing to claim from the 16 – 19 Bursary Fund will fall into two categories. It is extremely important that you decide at this stage which of the two categories are likely to apply to you.

- Students who believe that they are eligible must apply by September of each academic year and must also supply the required evidence to support the application.

- Students who are eligible and who meet the requirements of the funding will receive five half - termly payments over the course of the Academic Year, subject to meeting the conditions for study and conduct detailed in the Coombe Sixth Form Learner Agreement.

You must read the document below carefully to ensure that you fully understand the requirements of the Bursary Fund and that do not miss important application deadlines which are non-negotiable.

How the UCAS process works at Coombe

  • Students decide on their degree course /s and preferred universities.

  • They complete an online UCAS application, including their ‘Personal Statement’.

  • The school completes the application by completing a reference which includes the student’s predicted grades and submits the form electronically to UCAS.

  • Universities then make conditional offers of places to students, usually from November onwards.

  • UCAS Extra can act as a useful 'insurance' for some students. This allows students who have either been rejected from all of their options or who have rejected all of their choices to make further applications at the end of the cycle. Please be aware that students can opt to use this process without discussion or being authorised by the school.

Key dates in the UCAS process

Coombe deadlines for university applications are in advance of the official UCAS deadlines. This is to allow the Sixth Form team to check applications thoroughly, complete the student’s reference and predicted grades and to ensure that each application is of the highest standard.

Please note that whilst we will still process applications received after these deadlines, we cannot guarantee to submit them by the UCAS final deadline.

Our Future Planning Calendar below contains all the deadlines and details you need to know for the UCAS process.

Coombe Sixth Form contextual information & curriculum provision university application

Coombe Sixth Form is a two site Sixth Form which offers both A level and the Level 3 Extended Diploma. Most of our female students join the sixth form from Coombe Girls’ School, an outstanding girls’ comprehensive. 18% of girls are eligible for Pupil Premium Funding and 4% have English as an Additional Language. Most of our male students join Coombe Sixth Form from Coombe Boys’ School, a rapidly improving comprehensive, with a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating. 24% of students at Coombe Boys’ are eligible for Pupil Premium Funding and 20% of students have English as an Additional Language. Both schools operate in a borough which has selective state grammar schools. Typically 85%+ students progress into higher education at a range of institutions and tariffs, including Russell Group and local specialist providers.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have reviewed our curriculum to assist students to revisit material that might be less secure. This 'Recovery Curriculum' is relying on assessing student knowledge and skills in formal and light touch assessments, and adjusting subsequent teaching accordingly. During the lockdown period, student learning was directed through provision of online materials and lesson plans, with some lessons being delivered remotely. Since September 2020, full teaching in school has resumed.


Students studying A Levels are based at Coombe Girls’ School.

There are around 150 students in Year 13.

Our curriculum model is that the vast majority of students study three A levels for two years. A very small number of students study four subjects.

The Extended Project Qualification is offered as an additional course to all students, in students’ free time. Supervisors of the EPQ adopt a supportive but hands off approach in order to best support students’ transition to undergraduate study. A small percentage of the cohort complete the qualification.


Students studying BTEC courses are based at the Coombe Boys’ School site. There are around 60 students in Year 13, the majority of whom apply to university.

Students can carry out resits in GCSE English or Maths if needed. Students are involved in volunteering within school and an enrichment programme on Wednesday afternoons.

The Extended Project Qualification is offered as an additional course to all students, in students’ free time. Supervisors of the EPQ adopt a supportive but hands off approach in order to best support students’ transition to undergraduate study. A small percentage of the cohort complete the qualification.

A Russell Group guide to making decisions about post-16 education

UCAS informedchoices-2016.86025364.pdf