A-Level Reforms

A level reform: Our approach at Skinners’ Academy

From the September 2015 academic year, the way A levels are being delivered and taught is changing. In previous years you would first sit an AS (Advanced Subsidiary) in a subject and then continue on to the A2 in year 13, completing both would mean that you had an A level in that subject.

From 2015, in a number of subjects, the AS level is now a stand-alone qualification and not worth half the A level. In essence this means that to gain a full A-level you will sit all of your exams at the end of two years of study.

Nationally this looks as if it will create a trend towards schools asking students to just select 3 A levels that they will specialise in from year 12.

At Skinners’ Academy we are aiming to maintain the breadth of choice by asking the majority of students to select 4 subjects to begin with and then dropping one at the end of year 12. In order to make this work we will be entering all students for the AS qualification at the end of year 12 and then selecting which one they will drop from the outcomes of those assessments. The benefits of this system are:

  • the way that the government has time tabled the roll out of these changes means that there will still be the old style of A levels taking place at the same time as the new ones for 2015-16 (see below for the list). As there will be a combination, for this year only, it seems appropriate that all students sit the AS exams in both the old and new specifications
  • most exam boards have designed the courses so that you can ‘co-teach’ the AS and then the A2
  • we maintain the breadth of choice
  • currently students apply to university with their AS grades, the majority of universities would prefer students to continue to sit AS as it will provide accurate data for applications

As I am sure you can appreciate this is a landscape that is changing quickly and as such all of this is subject to change. Every attempt will be made to ensure that these changes are conveyed to students and parents quickly and clearly.

First teaching new syllabi in 2015:

English language, English literature, English language and literature, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, art and design, business studies, computing, economics, history and sociology.

First teaching new syllabi in 2016:

Mathematics, further mathematics, modern foreign languages (MFL), ancient languages, and geography.