The Curriculum offering and Student Programmes of Study
The College is a large provider of comprehensive sixth form general education – (3,200 students - full time 16-19).
In the 2020-22 academic cycle (linear A Levels) the College offered an extensive and challenging range of examination subjects and courses. In creating their Programmes of Study students have the choice of over 50 A Level and Applied General subjects and a variety of other courses leading to GCSE and other qualifications. A one-year Level 2 ‘improvement’ (Advanced Foundation) programme is also offered. In 2019-21the final cohort of IB students completed their studies at College.
Of the eight Applied General qualifications offered by the College (equivalent in size to one A Level), all are delivered and assessed on the reformed subject specifications. Students taking Applied General qualifications complete the Certificate qualification in Year 12 and take the Extended Certificate/ Diploma in Year 13.
Our Additional Studies and extra-curricular programmes offer students over 80 options each year and provides enrichment and skills development opportunities and considerable scope for the broadening of their education. The programme allows students to develop personal interests and individual skills alongside academic qualifications.
In the light of all A level subjects now being delivered and assessed on reformed linear specifications and funding for post-16 education, the 2020-2022 cohort has, in general, followed a programme of 3, 2-year, linear A Levels and/ or Applied General Certificate and Extended Certificate qualifications with the opportunity to add additional qualifications in Year 12 or Year 13 e.g. Mathematical Studies, Financial Studies or an EPQ. The majority of students will have added additional qualification-based or enrichment activities to their programme of study over the 2 years of their sixth form experience.
Our students were subject to an altered timetable for the whole of the academic year 20-21. As a very large provider, operating under FE guidance, we were unable to offer full time face to face provision outside of lockdown periods (unlike school sixth forms and some other A level providers.) From September to December 2020 students engaged in a blended learning experience. 55% of learning was delivered on site, face to face, and the remaining 45% comprised remote learning activities. In the period 4 January to 8 March 2021 (National lockdown 3) all teaching and learning was delivered remotely. From March to July 2021 students returned to the blended learning model.
The majority of students embraced the opportunities offered by College and have risen to the challenges, responding successfully to the demands of the blended learning approach with resilience and good humour. Large numbers, despite current difficulties and constraints, are engaging with additional extracurricular activities. Many students have adopted study habits and skills which will stand them in good stead in Higher Education.
From September 2021 students have returned to full time, on site, face to face teaching, being delivered in line with pre-Covid, March 2020, arrangements. It is worth noting that very few of the current cohort have taken any formal external examinations and that uncertainty remains over the assessment mechanisms and awarding of grades in 2022.