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Heriot’s Sixth Year operates differently to other schools. We emphasise greater autonomy and independent learning to prepare our leavers for life after Heriot’s. We see this final year as a bridge to what lies beyond, which for most of our pupils means university.
It is a pivotal time, and we welcome new pupils who join Heriot’s just for the Sixth Year.
Pupils create their own timetable based on their interests and ambitions for the future. Almost any combination of subjects can be studied, with most Sixth Years taking two or three Advanced Higher courses. Some new subjects are offered as well as qualifications in British Sign Language, Microsoft Operating Systems and AutoCAD. Pupils also select Interest courses from a wide range that spans Brazilian Street Drumming to US Politics.
All of Sixth Year meets on Mondays for our General Studies programme. Guest lectures and discussions encourage leavers to think about the changes ahead and help them prepare to navigate adulthood. Private study is also timetabled and pupils can opt to spend this time in school or at any of several major libraries nearby.
Giving back is another important aspect of Sixth Year and we expect every individual to do Voluntary Service. This may involve helping out in the Nursery or Junior School, but more often it involves activities in the wider community. Heriot’s only exists because of our founder’s charitable vision. It is fitting that our young people continue to follow his example today and we hope our leavers will also strive to do good in their lives.
Our Sixth Years have the exclusive use of a base in the Grassmarket Campus, complete with common room, study area and café. Pupils are placed in tutorial size groups under the guidance and care of the Head of Sixth Year and the S6 Year Teacher. Together with our Careers Team, the tutors help with subject choices, university entrance and future prospects.
To mark the end of their time at Heriot’s, our Sixth Years take part in the Sixth Year Fortnight. The programme is part celebration, part preparation, as our leavers reflect fondly on their school years and eagerly anticipate the next stage in their lives. The Leavers’ Ball, held at the Balmoral hotel, is an annual highlight.