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Stance on A level Reforms - Year 12, 2019 - 2020

Gosforth Academy Sixth Form Response to A level Reform:

The government have recently reformed AS and A level qualifications, with the aim of making their assessment fully linear rather than modular, and with subject content that the universities feel is an appropriate preparation for Higher Education. 

With the above in mind we have made the decision to start Year 12 students joining Gosforth Academy Sixth Form in September 2019 on three A levels rather than four in the vast majority of cases. We have also removed the sitting of redundant AS exams at the end of Year 12 in all subjects except Further Maths. Examined modules in some vocational pathways still remain. We feel this stance has a number of advantages:

  1. Students will benefit from additional contact periods in each subject whilst completing three rather than four. This will allow for teachers to cover work thoroughly and give students the opportunity to grasp the more difficult content;
  2. Teachers can deliver the topics in a more logical way and in the linear manner in which the specifications were designed;
  3. Study programmes of Gosforth Academy students will be more in line with other schools (we have consulted with many other highly regarded schools who are also adopting the three A level model);
  4. UCAS have advised schools and colleges that the biggest barrier to accessing Higher Education courses is poor grades. We believe students can perform better whilst doing fewer subjects in which they achieve highly, rather than a wider range of subjects in which they are less successful;
  5. There will be less exam pressure for students in the first year allowing them to mature and develop both academically and personally.

There are a number of strategies the school puts into place to ensure that your son/daughter chooses the right A levels for them:

  1. Bridging course appointments with the Sixth Form team take place in the spring of Year 11, when one to one personal advice can be given;
  2. Following this we offer the Bridging Course in July where students can ‘road test’ up to five subjects. We will also give them general guidance during this week through tutorials;
  3. Official Year 12 enrolment happens in August, when students can get further advice and guidance from senior staff and the Sixth Form team, once they know their actual GCSE results;
  4. Bridging materials are issued on enrolment day so students can experience the level of difficulty of their chosen courses before September and get some immediate feedback from teachers;
  5. Within four weeks of the courses starting in September we have a course change day if students feel they have made the wrong decision and Initial Judgement Progress Assessment providing evidence from departments.

As always we continue to track and monitor students closely throughout the two years.