A Levels

There are big changes taking place nationally in education, designed to raise standards.  This means that the A Level and BTEC Extended Diploma courses we offer are undergoing reforms.  All A level courses will be changed to the new specifications for the 2017/18 academic year.  This page provides detailed information about these changes, but you may also benefit from reading our Curriculum FAQ.

The Department for Education introduced new-style A Levels in three stages:  in 2015, 2016 and 2017.  The first phase of changes affected students starting their courses in September 2015 and the second phase impacts on students applying to start their post-16 education in September 2016.

What are these changes?

A Levels are becoming linear two-year courses.  This means you need to study for the full two years to obtain the qualification.  We will ask A Level students to choose three subjects to study, although very able students may do four subjects. Hand-in-hand with this, we are dedicating more teaching time to our A Levels, thus giving students more time with teachers to boost their learning experience.  As most universities and employers make offers based on a three A Level programme, we believe that the extra teaching time will help students achieve the best possible grades.

There will also be changes to the content of specific A Level courses, the amount of coursework, and to A Level examinations, not to mention more rigorous external assessment for BTEC courses.

What is changing?

  • A levels are becoming linear 2-year courses – this means you need to study for the full two years to get the qualification.
  • Coursework is being removed in all but exceptional cases and those courses that retain a coursework element will see it reduced from 40% to 20% of the final mark. In Sciences, assessment of practical work will not contribute to the final A level grade, but will receive a separate certificate of endorsement.
  • A levels will include more synoptic assessment and a greater variety of questions will be asked.
  • Examinations will be sat at the end of the two year course, not spread out over both years. Because of this, we cannot guarantee that re-takes will be available, as students will have to re-sit as external students, but we will try to support students who wish to re-take exams as much as we can. Please note that exam boards charge re-sit fees for each exam.
  • There will also be changes to the content of the new  A level courses and these are explained on our website on the specific course pages.

What A level courses are available?

Click on any of the courses below to read more about what is taught on each course and whether there are any subject-specific entry requirements:

* These courses are BTEC Subsidiary Diplomas/WJEC Applied level 3 certificates, equivalent to one A level, and able to be studied as part of an A level programme.

Why are these changes happening?

The Department for Education is aiming to raise standards by changing A level and BTEC qualifications. Changes are also happening to GCSEs from 2017, with this same aim in mind.  These new qualifications should better enable our young people to attain skills, knowledge and understanding comparable to the standards reached by the best of the rest of the world.

Courses you may be interested in:

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Paige Cartwright

Paige Cartwright joined The Sixth Form College, Solihull from one of our partner schools, Light Hall School. She studied A…

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