Sixth Form Entry

Student-led teaching and learning is part of the Cranleigh Sixth Form experience

The entry point for Sixth Form is Year 12 and we invite applicants to register with us in the first term of Year 11. 

Pupils study a minimum of three A Levels and, to ensure the strongest possible application to university, they also complete an Extended Project Qualification (see below). There are minimum requirements for entry into Cranleigh Sixth Form. The full list of subject options including (I)GCSE grades required can be found in our Sixth Form Brochure. Hard copies are available from the Admissions team at school if you are in Abu Dhabi.

“If you are interested in joining our Sixth Form, please do connect with us early in Term 1 of Year 11 so you can benefit from the personal support and advice we provide when it comes to subject choices and career pathways,” Morgan Whitfield Carney, Head of Sixth Form. 

Under ADEK guidelines, we are unfortunately not permitted to accept pupils who have not followed the British curriculum and taken (I)GCSE examinations.

All students are required to take a three-stage evaluation between January and April of the year of entry. 

  1. Interview: With the Headmaster and/or the Head of Sixth Form
  2. Two Subject Papers: Students sit two papers which should be based on two of the subjects they wish to study at A-level. Each paper will last for one hour.
  3. Online Evaluation: This takes approximately two hours and is designed to measure, as far as possible, ability and aptitude for learning rather than achievement. Results provide us with insight into three areas of cognitive ability: numerical, verbal and non-verbal skills. Scores achieved are compared the UK national standardised averages.

In addition to the evaluation, we review School Reports and a Confidential Reference provided by each student’s current school. We will also request predicted GSCE grades.

In the transient international environment we work in, we are more than aware that on occasion family plans can change at the last minute. For that reason, we are always ready to work with late applicants. Please contact us for advice at

Life in the Sixth Form

Sixth Form is a great time to join us here at Cranleigh. Students move from the main school into a bespoke Sixth Form Centre and enjoy exceptionally high levels of individualised attention. We work hard to ensure each student gets the most from their final two years at school, leaving us with the best exam grades they are capable of and importantly, well prepared for the next stage of their life.

Source: The World Economic Forum’s ‘The Future of Jobs’ Report

Academically, A Levels and the Extended Project are a significant step up from GCSEs, requiring a more mature study style. In order to support students as they rise to the Sixth Form challenge, tutors work very closely with them one-to-one, to ensure they are managing their time, setting and achieving their goals and enjoying school life.  Success in the Sixth Form relies on the development of key skills and in particular, of those highlighted by the World Economic Forum as required in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our programme places significant emphasis on key skills through an innovative approach to teaching and learning which is explained below. In addition, all our Sixth Formers participate in a broad and creative programme of careers development, leadership and work experience.

The Extended Project & Harkness Teaching

Each Sixth Former is unique and so their educational experience needs to be tailored to highlight and deepen their strengths. In order to build the kind of research and analytical skills so critical for university and workplace life, all Cranleigh Sixth Formers complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The Extended Project is a substantial piece of work that can focus on any subject area and takes the form of either a dissertation, an investigation, a performance or an artefact. It allows pupils to stretch and develop beyond the curriculum, broadening their knowledge and complementing their A Level choices. The Extended Project is equivalent to half an A Level and can play a significant and positive role as part of a university application. 

Much of the teaching in the Cranleigh Sixth Form uses Harkness, the innovative discussion-based method. Harkness places the onus on students to prepare for lessons and come to class ready to discuss topics in a collaborative, tutorial style that encourages and develops listening skills and interaction with other minds. Teachers are facilitators, pupils are the leaders. Pupils are presented with problems, prompts, dilemmas and queries. They share their findings and analyse the work of their peers. The process ensures every voice is heard and valued. Classes are small and held at an oval table. Extraordinary results emerge when independence, resilience and mindfulness is nurtured. Most importantly, Harkness develops and hones mature, university-style critical thinking and learning 

Careers, Leadership & Work Experience

From learning about the difference between the the world’s university systems to commencing regular, real life work experience; and from attending university fairs to completing workplace skills and entrepreneurship courses, our Sixth Formers are kept busy as they research and plan for their futures.

One of our key careers goals is to provide pupils with as many avenues of exploration as possible to help them make the best possible decisions about their future. To that end, we have formed partnerships with a number of leading organisations including Columbia Business School, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Gabbitas Education and Hale Education Group. Students also have access to Unifrog, the online tool that supports and guides students as they choose their educational pathway, identify university opportunities best suited to them and ultimately, complete the application process.

Our work experience model is bespoke and unique to the Abu Dhabi secondary educational landscape. It is based on a belief that it is of more value to pupils to consistently engage in a workplace, gaining real and ongoing experience of professional routines, rather than only taking a one or two week snap shot in the holidays. It is for this reason that every week, our students are given the privilege to leave school early to attend work experience across an array of institutions in the capital including Saab Group, NYU Abu Dhabi, Manchester City Football Club, Ensol Group and Digital Spring Ventures.

Sixth Formers also have a host of opportunities outside their core programme including Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and The Purvis Society – our senior enrichment programme – which features opportunities to take part in Model United Nations and other selected debating, public speaking and academic opportunities. In addition, we offer a number of international trips including time at Cranleigh UK with the British Sixth Formers and a volunteering opportunity at Kawama Community School, Cranleigh’s partner school in Zambia.

Finally, our students can benefit from access to Cranleigh UK’s careers-for-life programme – the Cranleigh Network – as well as its Old Cranleighan (OC) Society which together, give us access to a wealth of professional and industry experience on a global scale.