Units, Examinations and Grades
Most two year A level courses consist of four units, although some subjects such as the sciences and Mathematics consist of six.
Units 1-2 (1-3 in the case of six unit qualifications) which make up the AS courses will be studied for most of Year 12 and will be externally examined in January and/or the May/June period of Year 12. Students will normally be expected to study FOUR AS subjects along with General Studies during Year 12.
At the end of Year 12, students will decide which three subjects they wish to study in Year 13 to A2 Level. Progression from AS to A2 obviously assumes that a student passes the relevant AS examinations with at least grade D, preferably A-Cs, at the end of Year 12. General Studies will continue to be studied in Year 13 at A2 Level.
Certification of AS examinations is now compulsory which means that the AS examination results (grades) have to be declared to universities when students apply in the Autumn terms of Year 13. This occurs before resits are possible!
In special circumstances, very able students who have achieved very good AS grades will be able to study four subjects at A2 level along with General Studies.
The A2 courses each consist of two (three in the case of six unit qualifications) additional units, which can be examined in either January or June. Students may re-sit an AS unit to improve upon their existing grade although experience shows it is better to try to avoid having to do this.
Please note: The A2 courses and the AQA Baccalaureate will start in the June of Year 12 immediately after the AS examinations have finished. This is because there is a large volume of work to be completed for the A2 courses. Students who are withdrawn for holidays during term time will be at a serious disadvantage. The teaching staff will not be repeating this work.
A Level results will be graded A*-E for pass grades with U (unclassified) for fail.
The school offers the possibility of students completing the AQA Baccalaureate programme of study consisting of the following four areas:
A Levels: At the end of year 12, students following the AQA Baccalaureate will continue to study at least three subjects to A2 level.
Broader study: This is to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills across areas not covered by the students’ A Levels. AQA Baccalaureate students will follow a General Studies course in Year 12 to AS Level.
Enrichment: Students have to demonstrate 100 hours commitment in two out of the three following core areas: (1) work related learning; (2) community participation and (3) personal development;
Extended Project: This can be a stand alone qualification as well as part of the Baccalaureate. Students will start this in the Summer of Year 12 after completing their AS examinations. A student can choose a topic either related to his/her A-Level studies or one that is completely independent. There will be 120 guided hours available, 30 will be delivered by a teacher (e.g. research skills) and 90 will be allocated for seminars, tutorials and independent study.
All students will follow a General Studies programme that will lead to an AS and/or A Level in the subject. General Studies is valued as an independent subject in its own right and also as another way of introducing breadth into the Sixth Form Curriculum. It encourages students to take a different perspective of their other subjects and as such enhances their study of them. It is also viewed as a major vehicle for incorporating key skills into the curriculum. The exceptions to the normal pattern of study are students who are viewed as possessing the ability to study four subjects at A2 level and/or are working on the Extended Project.
Key Skills such as time management, communication, the ability to give presentations and numeracy have become more prominent over the past few years. As an institution we are aware of their importance and develop them within both the curricular and extra-curricular activities provided by the School. Tutors are aware of their importance and refer to them where appropriate when completing references for careers or higher education applications.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
All students will follow a programme of PSHE. Students will study topics such as self harm, sexually transmitted diseases, drugs, drink, and cancers that are more prevalent among younger people. The programme is flexible and will vary from year to year in order to react to, and reflect, current issues.
These periods are also extensively used to monitor students’ progress, develop action plans and to research careers and higher education.
Games are offered to all Sixth Formers, possibly alongside some enrichment activities such as voluntary work in the community, debating teams, beginners Italian, cooking and others. This is compulsory in Year 12, but voluntary in Year 13.