A Levels are at a crossroads. The government have decided that major changes are necessary which will be phased in. There has never been a more important time for guidance – this is one of our core purposes in the Stephen Perse Foundation
If you have any questions about the forthcoming changes, please do contact us.
All the subjects are now reformed (from September 2017) and will therefore be assessed in a linear format, at the end of the Upper 6th year.
Reasons for the change as given by Ofqual are:
- There are too many resits
- Too many assessments disrupt teaching
- Negative effect on other subjects (due to modular exam structure)
- Modular system isn't giving students a broad range of knowledge
What's happening to AS and A Levels?
- AS qualifications and A Levels are 'decoupled'
- Both AS and A Levels will be examined at the end of the course
- AS level will be exam-only (no practical examinations in science or coursework in other subjects, except for art and design).
- Please note, we will not be offering any subjects at AS Level, unless with exceptional circumstances.
What is changing and what isn't?
Until September 2015, all A Levels were made up of a combination of modules. AS Levels (typically done in the L6th) plus A2 Level (done in the U6th). This is a stepped approach to the rise in difficulty and is known as a modular system because work is examined in component parts which can be repeated if necessary.
The new system breaks the relationship between AS Levels and A Levels (known as ‘decoupling’). Reformed A Levels will be linear courses, assessed at the end of the Upper 6th year. AS Levels will become standalone qualifications and will not contribute to the full A Level. The changes have been staggered over the past few years and all subjects are due to be reformed by September 2017.
Students will have 7 lessons per week for each A Level subject.
How many subjects do students take?
We expect that many of our students will choose to take and continue with four full A Levels.
However, some may choose the option of dropping a subject. Individual guidance will be offered to all students given the nuanced nature of decisions.
How flexible is the curriculum?
We believe in the importance of maintaining a breadth of study. This is why all students in our 6th Form study a course in Theory of Knowledge (this is not examined if you are taking A Levels).
You will also take 2 sessions per week of ‘enrichment’ in which you can choose from a wide range of activities. Included in this choice is the chance to take an Extended Essay and to gain the certificate from the International Baccalaureate (IB) which will be recognised as an academic qualification in your university application. There are other, overtly academic, enrichment options including studying a twilight course in Japanese or taking part in the Model United Nations group.
How will universities respond to these changes?
A Level reform marks a significant change to the higher education landscape and some universities are going to have to adapt as they will no longer have full sets of AS Level module scores on which to base their decisions.
Cambridge is affected more than most. Universities will continue to review their processes and will probably make greater use of GCSE results, aptitude testing and possibly interviews. It is also worth remembering that UK universities recruit from all over the world so they are used to considering different qualifications. In our references to universities, we shall provide details of an individual’s progress. As is the case for our IB students, tests and rigorous internal examinations will provide some of the information to substantiate our comments and grade predictions.