All A Level qualifications are being changed at a national level. The AS qualification, which used to comprise 50% of the complete A Level, is being decoupled from A Level. This means that, whilst AS qualifications will still exist, they will not contribute to the overall A Level any more - they will be completely stand alone qualifications. The new A Levels will be linear courses, which means that exams for them will all be at the end of a two year course.
This change is not all happening at once. Subjects are being moved to this linear model over a period of 3 years, according to the schedule below, so there will be a mix of old and new for a while. All subjects will be following the new linear syllabuses by 2017
- 2015: Art, English, Economics, Business, History, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics
- 2016: Geography, Theatre Studies, DT, French, German, Spanish, Music, Latin, Greek, RS
- 2017: Ancient History, Politics, Maths, Philosophy
Abingdon opted to move to an entirely linear approach for its Sixth Form in September 2015, regardless of whether a subject was ‘reformed’ or ‘unreformed’. Thus boys choose 4 subjects to pursue in the Lower Sixth until at least the summer of L6th. They then decide whether to drop a subject for U6th and take 3 or 4 subjects through to A Level in U6th. We do not offer stand-alone AS qualifications.
We are tremendously excited by the opportunities this offers our sixth form curriculum. We carefully considered all the possible models and consulted with schools that are similar to us in terms of academic strength and size. We are certain that the route we chose gives Abingdonians the best of all worlds - a breadth of rigorous academic study within a framework that has been freed from the limiting nature of the bite-sized, modular system we have been operating under for over a decade. Once again, sixth form pupils have the space and time to explore their subjects properly without the spectre of an exam coming at them over the horizon almost as soon as they’ve started, which has been forcing them to stop exploring their subjects creatively and to start worrying about exam technique at far too early a stage. It is the triumph of ‘education’ over ‘exams’.