Q&A's

As you may be aware, Post Sixteen education is in the process of being reformed at the moment and this means that the educational landscape that students have been used to is changing. Here, we have tried to outline these changes to help students choose the most appropriate courses and pathways. We will of course let you know about developments as more information becomes available. The courses described on this website are based on the information available in September 2016.

Changes to A levels and how these reforms will affect you.

The government is in the process of changing the A level system, with the first wave of changes commenced in September 2015 and a second in September 2016, with the final round of changes for September 2017. You may therefore study a combination of sudjects where some courses will be new, whilst others have been in place before.

Why should I choose Samuel Ward Academy Sixth Form?

We know that the move to Sixth Form study is a big step for students. Research tells us that they thrive best and achieve more if they feel secure and supported in a community of learners they know, but are also challenged to achieve their potential. That is why years 12 and 13 have their own purpose built accommodation and resources, have tutors they know and access their own leadership and support programmes. From this secure base they are challenged by highly trained and skilled teachers, and supported through engagement with many external organisations, with further opportunities arising from strong university links with institutions such as the University of East Anglia and Cambridge University. A student’s decisions at this stage are important. Success in their chosen courses will determine the opportunities that are open to them in the future. Students should research courses well, ask questions, then make their decision.

How are the ‘new’ A levels different?

The new A levels will now be assessed only at the end of a two-year course and all examinations will be available only in Summer 2018. This means that students no longer have to take units at the end of Year 12 and all external assessment takes place at the end of the two-year course.

What other changes are being brought in?

The government is also keen to change the breadth of subjects studied and part of this is that they would like to encourage as many students as possible to continue with their study of Maths beyond GCSE if they are not taking Maths A level. This has led to the creation of the Core Maths course.

Are BTECs affected by any of the reforms?

BTEC qualifications are affected in some ways by the changes. Overall, the BTEC framework remains the same, but there have been changes to the way in which BTEC students submit and amend their assignments. All of our BTEC courses, except for Public Services, feature on the government’s new list of ‘Applied General Qualifications’, this means that they are officially recognised on school performance measures along with Technical Levels and A levels. We will continue to offer BTEC Public Services to our students as we know from our experience that this is a popular course which is well-received by employers in the sector and with Universities offering policing related courses in particular.

How many subjects should I study?

Most students will study 3 A Level courses or BTEC equivalents as their core offer. Some students, typically those who achieved A*-A/B grades at GCSE, will study four.