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Brighton College

    Brighton College

    A Level Reform

    What are the A level Reforms?

    The years spent studying A levels are incredibly important for our pupils.  This is the final step on the way to degree courses and career opportunities and it is both an exciting and rewarding time.  However, as many of you will be aware, the British government made some significant changes to the A level programme.  These changes were made to ensure the value of the A levels in the future and to better prepare pupils for university.  This has led to exam boards, in consultation with universities, reforming the courses they offer.  These changes will be phased in over several years.

    Phase One September 2015 – the first wave of subjects will be reformed.

    Phase Two September 2016 – a second wave of subjects will be reformed.

    Phase Three September 2017 – all A level courses will have been reformed.

    In short Ofqual (the exam regulator) have confirmed that the reformed A levels will not include AS level qualifications. New AS levels will be standalone qualifications, designed to offer breadth of curriculum.  The marks from the AS examinations will not contribute to an A level grade and AS levels will broadly remain at their current standard.

    Brighton College Abu Dhabi’s decision on A level reform

    This reform has left many schools and colleges with the decision of keeping AS examinations in all subjects, holding AS examinations only in unreformed subjects or delaying all examinations until the end of Year 13.  At Brighton College Abu Dhabi we have decided that AS examinations will only be held in Maths and Further Maths for 2016 and from the summer of 2017 we will not be holding AS examinations in any subjects.

    Which subjects have reformed?

    Reformed Subjects

    New reformed linear A levels Assessed by final examination (and coursework where specified) at the end of the two year A level course).

    • Academic PE
    • Art
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Computing
    • Economics
    • English Lang/Lit
    • English Literature
    • French
    • Geography
    • German
    • History
    • Photography
    • Psychology
    • Physics

    Unreformed Subjects

    Current modular A levels (not reformed for 2016) which will be assessed through AS examinations/coursework at the end of the first year of study, and A2 examinations/coursework at the end of the second year of study

    • Design and Technology
    • Further Maths
    • Maths

    How will this affect University applications?

    Most UK based universities have made it clear that an absence of AS level examinations will not disadvantage a pupil’s application.  This is further supported by the fact that universities are used to dealing with applicants who do not apply with examination results and instead rely on predicted grades and GCSE performance.

    Also, in addition to this, it is clear that the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a valuable stand-alone qualification which can help boost a university application.

    Final Conclusions

    This is an exciting time for our Sixth Form and our decision allows us to rethink our Sixth Form curriculum.  We have consulted with schools that are similar to us and we are confident that the route we are choosing ensures that our pupils gain a breadth of academic study that is rigorous in nature without the limiting nature of examinations so early into the course.  This means we can explore our subjects, complete enrichment activities and master the skills of the subject and truly encourage of love of learning.