Programmes of Study

Students in The Polesworth School Sixth Form @ Tomlinson Hall follow a Level 3 programme of study. We offer courses at Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS), full A Level and some BTEC courses.
Full A Level and BTEC courses involve two years of full-time study while AS courses are usually taken after one year of full-time study.

A Level Reform

A Level courses are changing. September 2015 marked the first of a three year programme of government reform of all A Level courses with the introduction of new A Level specifications in ten of the subjects offered in The Polesworth School Sixth Form @ Tomlinson Hall. From this September, new courses will be introduced in a further six subjects. All remaining subjects will be reformed by September 2017.
The main features of the new qualifications are:

  • Assessment mainly by exam with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills.
  • Generally increased subject content.
  • AS and A Levels decoupled: AS results no longer count towards full A Level grades.
  • AS and A Levels assessed at the end of the course with AS assessments typically taking place after one year of study and A Levels after two; courses no longer divided into modules; AS results discounted if a student takes that subject on to full A Level.
  • AS Levels can be designed to be taught alongside the first year of A Levels in order to provide a ‘back-up’ qualification or to give breadth to a student’s study programme.

It is up to schools to decide which qualifications are offered and how they are delivered. At The Polesworth School Sixth Form @ Tomlinson Hall all students take four A Level subjects at least until the end of Year 12 and at least three subjects to full A Level in Year 13. In this way we are able to offer students a flexible programme of study and the possibility of taking different levels of qualifications.
From September 2016 all reformed A Level subject areas will be offering students one of the following options:

  • AS for all in Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.
  • Full A Level only: a 2 year course with all externally assessed examinations taken at the end of Year 13.
  • Full A Level for the majority of students with the possibility of students transferring to AS if appropriate; this may be either at the end of Year 12 or Year 13 and only in consultation with student, parents, other subject leaders and Director of Post-16.

Sixth Form students must recognise that A Level courses are two year courses although some subjects may offer the possibility of an AS qualification as an alternative to the full A Level qualification.

The different A Level programmes now offered by The Polesworth School Sixth Form @ Tomlinson Hall are summarised below.

The reformed A Levels

Art (AQA): full A Level with the possibility of students transferring to AS if appropriate.

Biology (AQA): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

Business Studies (AQA): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

Chemistry (AQA): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

Economics (AQA): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

English Literature (OCR): Full A Level only (2 years with all externally assessed exams at the end of Year 13).

French (AQA): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

Geography (Edexcel): Full A Level only (2 years with all externally assessed exams at the end of Year 13).

German (AQA): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

History (OCR): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

PE (AQA): full A Level with the possibility of students transferring to AS if appropriate.

Physics (AQA): AS for all students at the end of Year 12 followed by full A Level in Year 13.

Psychology (AQA): full A Level with the possibility of students transferring to AS if appropriate.

RS, Philosophy & Ethics (AQA): full A Level with the possibility of students transferring to AS if appropriate.

Sociology (AQA): full A Level with the possibility of students transferring to AS if appropriate.

Theatre Studies (AQA): full A Level with the possibility of students transferring to AS if appropriate – but only in Year 13.

Non-reformed A Level subjects

The following subjects are not reformed until 2017 and therefore students taking these subjects in September 2016 will automatically take AS examinations at the end of Year 12 followed by the A2 units at the end of Year 13:

Classical Civilisation, Design & Technology, Fashion & Textiles, Further Mathematics, Government & Politics, Home Economics, IT, Mathematics, Media Studies, World Development.

Vocational Subjects

Music and Travel & Tourism are both vocational subjects offered at Level 3 (A Level equivalent) and are coursework based.

Music offers the RSL Music Practitioner (Rock School London) course leading to a Subsidiary Diploma in Music. This is a 2 year course. If students leave after a year, they leave with credits or an equivalent Level 2 (GCSE level) Award.

  • Travel & Tourism similarly leads to a Subsidiary Diploma after 2 years. Any student completing only one year of the course is awarded a Level 3 Certificate in Travel and Tourism worth 90 credits instead of a full 180 credits.

Re-sit GCSE Mathematics

While we expect students to achieve at least a grade C in Mathematics at GCSE, some Level 3 courses are still open to students who narrowly miss this and these students will re-sit this qualification as a compulsory component of their programme of study.