Curriculum

The National Picture: Information on the structure of A Level courses

The structure of A Levels began to change in September 2015. By September 2017 all A Levels followed the new structure. This reform has been driven by the Government and aims to better equip students for university and employment. The changes are part of a national initiative to ensure the value of A Levels into the future.

What are the main changes?

  • A Level qualifications are 2-year linear courses – this means students need to study for the full two years to  get the qualification, sitting all exams at the end of the 2 years.
  • AS Level is now a stand-alone qualification which does not contribute to an A Level grade. At Kings Norton Sixth Form we will not be offering AS Levels.
  • Examination is the main method of assessment.

Why are these changes taking place?

The Secretary of State for Education initiated the reform of GCSEs and A Levels in February 2013, asking Ofqual to implement changes that would lead to new qualifications. By reforming A Levels, the Department for Education (DfE) intends to:

  • Make the qualifications more ambitious
  • Better prepare young people for employment and further study
  • Give everyone greater confidence in the integrity and reliability of the qualifications system.
  • Ensure that the purpose of taking A Levels is primarily for entry to university

 

Kings Norton Sixth Form Curriculum Offer

A flexible personalised package will be discussed to support all students’ needs on enrolment and students will be placed on one of three pathways.

Pathway1:

It is expected that most students will study 3 A Levels and an enrichment subject, continuing with all 3 A Level subjects to the end of Year 13.

Pathway 2:

Students who achieve exceptionally well at GCSE may take 4 A Levels and chose an enrichment option continuing with all 4 subjects to the end of Year 13.

Pathway 3:

A few students will study 2 A Levels and at least one enrichment option. Students will be expected to continue with both A Levels to the end of Year 13.

Irrespective of the pathway followed the following principles will apply to all A level courses:

Academic Criteria

5 GCSE grades 5 or above (or grades A*-C). Grade 4 GCSE in English and maths.

For each proposed course of study, the minimum requirement for that subject must be met. This is usually a grade 6 in the subject at GCSE or associated subject and can be found in the subject specific details on the website.

Monitoring of Students’ Progress:

 

  • The quality and effort put into KS4 –KS5 holiday work will be taken into account when courses and pathways are offered.
  • All students will be closely monitored in the first six weeks of Year 12 and where progress is insufficient their continuance considered.
  • Subjects will only be examined at the end of Year 13 and as a full A Level course.
  • Subject will not be examined at AS Level.
  • Students will be rigorously tracked throughout Year 12 and interventions put in place where necessary.
  • A formal end of year examination schedule will be in place for Year 12. Students will have study leave over the exam period.
  • Following Year 12 exams a review of a student’s potential and decisions about the number of A Levels they will continue to study will be made. In exceptional cases students may be invited to re-sit their end of Year 12 examination before a decision about continuance is finalised.
  • In exceptional circumstances we will allow subjects to be dropped in Year 12 to a minimum of 2 A Levels. These few students will then pick up an enrichment course.
  • Students beginning with 4 A Levels can drop to 3 A Levels but will not take an AS in the dropped A Level.
  • Any changes of A Level course have to be made by the 26th September 2019

How do I choose which A Level subjects to study?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I enjoy?
  • What do I want to study at university?
  • Look at courses you may be interested in on the UCAS website, and look at the entry requirements:
  • The Unifrog and U-Explore websites can also help:
  • Look at prospectus and other information in the careers section of the Learning Hub.
  • If you are not sure about what career you would like you can request a careers interview which will help you decide.