A Level is a nationally recognised and well-respected two-year qualification, providing students with a route through to university or employment. At the College, a wide range of A Level choices allows students to develop a programme and timetable which best suits their needs, interests and aspirations, without timetable ‘clash’ restrictions. Most students will study 3 A Levels for two academic years – but some will study 4 courses. 

Sixth form academic study builds upon knowledge and skills gained at school and moves students through academic programmes, which normally culminate in written examinations. This is why your performance in GCSE examinations is a key interest to us, as we need to establish that a foundation of knowledge and skills is in place for us to build upon.

For an A Level programme of study, we normally require students to have a range of at least five to seven GCSE passes at grade 4 or higher, ideally including English Language (or English Literature) and Mathematics, but students must also satisfy the minimum entry criteria for each individual A Level subject (or equivalent). Entry onto certain subjects will require a specific GCSE subject at grade 5 or 6, or, in a small number of cases, a grade 7 or 8. For example, A Level Biology and Chemistry require GCSE grade 6 in two GCSE sciences and Mathematics. In the same vein, many ‘written’ subjects such as A Level English Literature or Philosophy require one (or two) GCSE grade 5’s in those GCSE subjects that demand a high level of written ability (English Language, English Literature, History or Religious Studies).

It’s important to note that, without a range of GCSE grades 5, or even 6 for many sciences, it will often not be possible to course an individual student upon any programme of study at the college, and all students, whatever their goals and aspirations, are very much advised to put in place an alternative “plan B”, especially in a situation where performance in key subjects is a concern.

It should also be noted that government expectation is that students should not undertake more than one alternative ‘Extended Certificate’ course as part of an A level programme of study.