This section contains questions we are often asked. The questions are divided into general categories.
The following questions are available in this section:
We do not have registration at the start of each day. Registers are taken electronically in every lesson. Your tutor will have the details of your attendance each week and so, if you are absent from a lesson, they will follow this up with you. Your parents can check your attendance via the parent portal and you will be able to see your attendance record via the student intranet.
Generally, those students who have qualified to study an A level programme will study four subjects, or the equivalent BTEC course, in the lower sixth and usually concentrate on three in the upper sixth. The exams taken in the lower sixth are AS exams.
Occasionally, our extremely able students decide to study five subjects in their first year, but this makes for a very heavy workload. It may also be possible to study just three subjects if a student has a weaker profile of GCSE results.
By September 2015 a number of A level subjects will have changed in line with reforms required by the Department for Education. This will mean that there are now two different types of A level; the new linear and the current modular A level. It will still be possible to combine ‘new style’ with ‘old style’ A levels in a programme of study.
The new linear A level will be examined at the end of the two year course. We will, however, be encouraging all our students joining us in September 2015 to sit an AS exam at the end of the first year in all subjects, although it will not contribute to their final A level grade. This will ensure that students can make an informed choice when considering which subject to discontinue after their first year. It will also help Tutors when predicting A level grades for University applications.
The new linear A level subjects include: Art & Design, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English Language, English Language & Literature, English Literature, History, Physics, Psychology and Sociology.
Students who are taking BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, who have a strong GCSE profile, may be able to study one AS subject alongside this course.
Students studying BTEC Diploma in IT, Business and in Sport will probably be taking two AS subjects alongside these courses.
Students taking the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/Certificate in IT, Business, Music Technology or Performing Arts should consider taking three AS subjects alongside these courses.
For those students on our Level 2 programme, there are a variety of options. Please see the course details for more information.
For each of your chosen A level subjects you are taught for five lessons a week. A lesson lasts for 55 minutes. In addition to this, you have two sessions with your tutor and tutor group a week; each tutorial session is for thirty minutes. You will also have a regular one-to-one review with your tutor.
All students are required to attend regular subject workshops, the Symonds Lecture Programme and to register for a class from our Enrichment Programme.
Our normal college day is from 8.30 a.m. until 4.35 p.m.
You will have several study periods throughout the week. During these periods you do not have to remain on the campus. If your timetable does not begin until later on in the day, you do not need to arrive on campus until then; equally if your timetable finishes before the end of the day you are free to go. However, you will be set an extraordinary amount of work to do in your own time – between four and five hours per week per subject – so it is best to use this time wisely in our Learning Resource Centre!
Every student’s timetable will look very different and you will not know what yours will look like until you start with us in September.
Yes, although we expect you to take responsibility for yourself and for your learning once you are at college. Absence reports and progress reports will be available via the parent portal to keep your parents aware of your progress and attendance. If we believe there to be a problem with either of these, your parents will be invited to a parents\' evening where we can discuss areas of weakness and support you with your learning going forward.
No. All tutor groups and class lists are put together randomly which means that all students are in the same situation. We pride ourselves in bridging the gap between school and, for the majority of our students, university, and meeting new people in a new environment is an important part of this. We do have a communal morning and lunch break when you can meet with your friends.
If you are successful with your AS examination, then it is possible for you to start on the A2 course, assuming the Exam Board confirms the compatibility of your AS specification with our A2 specification. However, with the change to A levels in September 2015 this may not be possible in those subjects becoming linear. If it is possible, this A2 course will start in the middle of June when our new Upper Sixth return to start their full A2 programme. It does sometimes mean that you are coming into college when you haven’t quite finished your GCSE exams.
We only suggest that you continue onto an A2 subject in your lower sixth if you are likely to achieve an A in your AS exam. This is because it is generally the more able students who study an AS early and we want them to be able to maximise their chances when applying to, probably, the top universities.
All students are allocated a tutor who is responsible for your pastoral care whilst you are with us. However, unlike most schools, you only meet with your tutor twice a week, with the rest of your tutor group. Your tutor will also meet with you on a one-to-one basis regularly to make sure that you are ‘on track’ and that you have no worries or concerns about college life. Tutors will also check your progress and attendance.
This is not normally possible. We will consider each application on an individual basis and only accept students onto an A2 programme in very exceptional circumstances e.g. moving into the area. Entry will only be possible if there is room in classes and will be subject to us receiving satisfactory references from your previous college. Please note that A2 courses will begin in mid-June when you will be expected to start College with all other A2 students.