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IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING THE SCHOOL’S POLICY ON AS RESITS, UCAS PREDICTIONS AND TRANSITION TO YEAR 13
THE BOTTOM LINE: AS exams are best taken once! High grades maximise your chance of getting offers from the universities you apply to. Starting Year 13 with no re-sits to worry about reduces your stress levels. We will give you the best possible guidance if you do need to re-sit.
Many students in Year 13 tell us that they wish that they had taken their AS examinations more seriously. They find that some universities make offers on the basis that a student has sat each examination once only. They find that adapting to much harder A2 work is difficult, when they are trying to‘re-learn’ AS work in preparation for a re-sit exam. They find that doing both of these things at the same time as trying to apply to university, or arrange employment or training, is stressful. High levels of stress and effective learning do not go hand-in-hand. It is for these reasons that we strongly discourage students from viewing the May AS examinations as ‘mocks.’
However, we know that learning is not always linear; some students who work hard and effectively find that their progress is uneven. Many mature, intellectually, towards the end of their A level studies. Many find that the right re-sit examination gives them the chance to show what they can do.
It is for these reasons that we take a great deal of care before advising Year 13 students as to whether, and when, to re-sit particular AS examinations. Subject Leaders spend time during the summer, before the students return in September, considering each and every student’s position. They recommend particular re-sits using their professional judgement, their knowledge of the individual student, and their understanding of the demands of A2. Sometimes students will be advised to re-sit in January; sometimes a Subject Leader will know that the study of A2 material will reinforce learning at AS and recommend a May/June re-sit for this reason.
Where a student wishes to re-sit a unit that has not been recommended by the school, they will need to discuss this with the Head of Sixth Form, who will consult with the relevant Subject Leader(s) before deciding whether that particular re-sit may be taken at this centre.
THE BOTTOM LINE: In most cases, the AS grade you achieve at the end of Y12 will be the A2 grade we’ll predict you. We guarantee that in every subject, your A2 grade prediction will be at least as high as the AS grade you achieved in the summer.
In the autumn term of Year 13, almost all students prepare their application forms for university courses (the UCAS form). An essential part of this process is the submission to UCAS of each student’s predicted A Level grades. These are used by the universities to decide to which students they will make conditional offers. Long experience and our own detailed analyses show that AS grades are very close predictors of A2 grades so, at Boston High School, the predicted grades we provide for the UCAS process will usually be the AS grades achieved by each student, for those subjects that are being taken to A2. We will deviate from this model only when the relevant academic department feels that there is compelling evidence to do so. For this reason, too, the significance of the AS examinations and of hard work during Year 12 must be fully grasped by each student.
Before students return in September, academic departments will analyse all AS grades awarded, during a Staff Development Day. A student who wishes, on receipt of his or her AS grades, to make a case for one or more grade prediction to be higher than the awarded AS grade must write to me before the beginning of September so that their submissions can be considered by the relevant academic department, alongside all other relevant information, during the Staff Development Day meeting. Where, in the Subject Leader’s professional judgement, there is a case for the making of a grade prediction that is higher than the actual AS grade awarded, then that case will be made to me. The sole reason for my approving any request made by a Subject Leader will be that I am satisfied, on the basis of the evidence presented, that it is probable that the student concerned will achieve a higher A2 grade than that obtaining at AS. I will not sanction the alteration of UCAS grade predictions after the beginning of term unless I am presented with information which could not have been taken into account at the appropriate time, such as the subsequent result of any re-mark requested. I must emphasise that the predicted grades will not be influenced by what a student ‘needs’ to be predicted in order to be more likely to receive a conditional offer for admission to any particular institution or course of undergraduate study.
Students will receive formal confirmation of their UCAS grade predictions in the re-sit guidance letter that will be sent shortly after the start of Year 13.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Your place in Year 13 is guaranteed if you pass all of your AS levels with a grade D or above; if you don’t we’ll review your circumstances very carefully and support you if you need to think again. We will plan to run every AS course through to the end of A2 – even if the A2 numbers are low – unlike some course providers!
It is our expectation, and very much our wish, that every student who meets the published criteria for admission to our Sixth Form will commit to their studies and enjoy success in the summer AS examinations. That said, continuation, either with a particular subject into Year 13, or with Year 13 itself, is neither guaranteed nor a right.
When the AS results are published in the summer following Year 12, the school will look at each student’s results in conjunction with all the other relevant information we have, such as their targets and the records of their progress throughout the year against these. We are then able to consider whether or not each student has been successful in the transition from GCSE level work to Advanced level work. If a student’s AS results are particularly poor compared with their expected grades, we need to consider, very carefully and sensitively, and taking all the available information into account, whether that student is likely to benefit from continued study at Advanced level at Boston High School. Any student in such a position will be advised of the decision on, or very shortly after, results day and, as far as possible, will be supported and guided towards suitable alternative routes of study elsewhere. The starting point for any such decision is the ‘Progression Criteria’, which are set out below.
A student who meets the following criteria may progress to Year 13 without further consideration:
A pass in each subject taken at AS level, with at least three of these passes being awarded at grade D or above. We advise students to continue with a particular subject only if a grade D or above is achieved at AS level in that subject, and progression with a given subject should a student achieve a grade E in it at AS is possible only with the specific agreement of the school.
Where the criteria are not met, every case will be considered very carefully on its merits by the Leadership Team. This will include consideration of the totality of a student’s academic record in Year 12 – in particular their performance against their statistically predicted grades. Outcomes of this consideration include:
Every student who achieves transition to Year 13 must study no fewer than three subjects at A2 level.
Any parent or student who is not satisfied with our application of the above criteria may write to the Chair of Governors, who will review the decision.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you are able to demonstrate that you are ready to be responsible for your own time, after Christmas in Year 12 you can be eligible for leaving school at the end of Period 4 if you don't have a lesson during Period 5.
Additionally, we will allow you to book driving lessons during your study periods, up to a maximum of one per week. You will need to have attendance of at least 95% in the previous term to qualify for these privileges, and must be on target in all of your subjects and have no more than 10 lates recorded.
THE BOTTOM LINE: We want to give you more flexibility over how you learn. If you’re making good progress, you’ll get a lot more choice about how you choose to use your time outside of taught lessons once you’ve planned your post-18 future at the start of Year 13.
Young adults in Year 13 expect greater freedom over how they spend their time – and whether they go on to university or enter employment, they will need to learn to manage their time effectively with the minimum of external direction. Flexi-Study requires a student only to attend timetabled lessons and to meet with their Form Tutor during ‘form time’ once per week. All students will be able to apply for Flexi-Study from January of Year 13. In order to qualify, they will need to achieve:
Applications for Flexi-Study will be considered by the Director of Sixth Form Studies. Where academic concerns arise, or attendance drops below the required amount, the privilege may be withdrawn.