With Government reforms of the A Level qualifications beginning to take effect from September 2015, there are two formats of assessment at A Level.
Current AS and A2 assessment format: The qualification is examined as two distinct halves. The AS represents the first half, typically divided into two or three units depending on the subject. Units are externally examined at the end of the Lower Sixth. The results can form a stand-alone qualification or can be carried forward to the final qualification. The A2 forms the second half of the full A Level. This is obtained by taking two or three more externally examined units in the Upper Sixth. AS units can be re-taken at the end of the Upper Sixth. This is described as having a modular format.
Revised A Level assessment format: The A Level will no longer be examined in two distinct halves but in one final assessment at the end of two years. The AS qualification will still remain but will not be regarded as equivalent to half an A Level and will not contribute to the A Level grade. There will be no external assessment for A Level pupils in the Lower Sixth, all assessment taking place at the end of the Upper Sixth. This is described as having a linear format. The new exams will also include more extended writing and more maths in subjects other than Mathamatics itself.
Consequences of examination reform: the phased introduction of the new format means that for three years pupils could be taking a mixture of modular and linear courses. It is anticipated that the new A Levels will be more academically demanding and this needs to be considered when deciding how many subjects to study in the Lower Sixth. Our recommendation is that pupils electing to take mainly modular courses can continue to select four for the Lower Sixth with a view to reducing to three in the A2 year. However, pupils who are electing to take mainly linear courses are advised to take three and to add breadth by completing the Extended Project Qualification in the Lower Sixth.
Summary of the A Level Programme:
- The Lower Sixth - either 4 x AS subjects or 3 x A Level subjects and the EPQ. Pupils will only sit AS examinations at the end of the Lower Sixth year for the current modular format.
- The Upper Sixth - 3 x A Level subjects
- UCAS Points will be awarded for both the A and AS qualifications gained
The subjects currently on offer for A Level are:
- Business Studies
- Critical Thinking
- Design & Technology – Product Design
- Drama & Theatre Studies
- English Literature
- Further Mathematics
- Philosophy & Ethics
- Physical Education
A Level pupils are encouraged to take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Warminster was quick to adopt this important and highly regarded qualification. The EPQ promotes independent learning; it involves pupils investigating in depth a topic of their choice from the full range of A Level and IB subjects. The process of research and completion of the EPQ are fantastic learning experiences and the qualification is endorsed by leading British universities.
Most Departments at Warminster School arrange Sixth Form trips to lectures, plays, films or exhibitions. Such visits and experiences outside School provide stimulation and interest, and we encourage as many Sixth Formers as possible to attend.
In both the IB and the A Level courses, we provide a wide range of subjects to choose from and a good selection of subject combinations. We also provide pupils with thorough and up to date careers advice to ensure they choose subjects to match their university or career ambitions.
Set sizes in the Sixth Form are relatively small so pupils receive the individual attention that is often key to success. We do expect our pupils to take more responsibility for their work in the Sixth Form and to study with a greater degree of independence. At the same time we understand that study at this level is challenging and pupils will be fully supported throughout the two years.