Progress Portfolio

Dear Parent

We are delighted that your child has chosen to attend Hall Cross Sixth Form. Given the breadth of our curriculum offer, we pride ourselves on building a programme of study for each student which will enable them to enjoy their academic endeavours, and progress onto whichever career pathway they choose beyond the Sixth Form.

The following guide will provide information about your child’s programme of study in the Sixth Form, and includes information about;

  • Target grades.
  • How we inform you about your child’s progress.
  • The nature of assessment in various qualifications.
  • The UCAS tariff.

It is important to note that Post 16 education is experiencing ongoing reform, and due to our broad curriculum, it could be the case that your child’s programme of study involves different types of qualification (or even different types of A-Level), which will be assessed and graded differently, and which might be worth different amounts in terms of the universities’ admission tariff (UCAS points).

If you have any questions or enquiries please do not hesitate to get in touch. Contact details are available on the back page of this document.

Yours faithfully

Nick Watts
Head of Sixth Form

Contents

A Level Reform

You might be aware that the government has reformed AS and A Levels. These reforms have been staggered which means some subjects have been reformed whilst others await reform.

The key change involves a ‘de-coupling’ of AS-Levels from A-Levels. In reform subjects, the AS-Level has been de-coupled, meaning the points that a student would have accrued in their AS-Level, would not have counted towards the full A-Level score at the end of Year 13.

This year, as the vast majority of AS-Levels have been de-coupled, and after extensive consultation, we have taken the decision not to enter students for AS-Levels in reform subjects. This means that if your child is studying a ‘reform A-Level’, they are starting a linear, two year A-Level in which the summative assessment will take place at the end of Year 13.

The remaining non-reform subjects retain an AS-Level that counts towards a student’s final A-Level grade. We have therefore taken the decision to enter students for AS-Levels at the end of Year 12, if they are studying a non-reform subject.

Importantly:

  • Universities will not discriminate against subjects based on their being reform or non-reform.
  • Your child should not choose or seek to change subjects on the basis of their being reform/non-reform.
  • Your child will not be at a disadvantage if they do not have an AS-Level in reform subjects.
    The following table outlines which subjects are reform/non-reform, outlines when the summative assessment takes place, and indicates how we determine student suitability for Year 13 study.

Reformed Subjects

Subjects Information
Art & Design
Biology
Business
Chemistry
Computer Science
Economics
English Language
English Literature
History
Physics
Psychology
Sociology
Dance
Drama & Theatre
Geography
Modern Foreign Languages
(French, German, Spanish)
Music
Physical Education
Philosophy and Theology*
Formally assessed at the end of Year 13.

 

Students will not study or be awarded with an AS-Level.

 

Suitability for progress into Year 13 will be determined through in-school assessments during Year 12, the most important of these being the summer mock examination.

 

 

Non-Reformed Subjects

Subjects Information
Design and Technology
Further Maths
Geology
Government and Politics
Maths
Media Studies
Music Technology
Half of the assessment will take place at the end of Year 12.

Students will be awarded an AS-Level at the end of Year 12.

The AS-Level will constitute half of the total A-Level score, but an AS grade will receive 40% as a stand-alone qualification in terms of UCAS points.

The second half of the course (A2) is taught and assessed in Year 13.

At the end of Year 13, the Year 12 AS grade, contributes to the Year 13 overall A-Level score.

At the point the AS grade is factored into the overall grade and the student is awarded an A-Level – the UCAS points awarded match that of a Reform A-Level.

*Philosophy and Theology will be taught as a Cambridge Pre-U as of September 2017.

Cambridge Pre-U

The Philosophy and Ethics department have taken the decision to enter students for a Cambridge Pre-U course instead of an A-Level, as of September 2017. Cambridge Pre-U courses are linear with exams at the end of a two year course. Introduced by the University of Cambridge, Pre-U (or Pre-University) courses are designed to be academically rigorous and fully prepare students for academic study in higher education. Cambridge Pre-U courses carry the same weighting as A-Levels in terms of UCAS points, although the grading is broken into bands of Distinction, Pass and Merit. The course is recognised and held in extremely high regard by top universities including those in the Russell group. If your child chooses to study the Pre-U in philosophy and theology, the assessment schedule will be the same as an A-Level. The fact that the subject is a Cambridge Pre-U, should not cause a student to switch subjects.

BTEC Nationals

National Diploma Qualifications are exam and coursework based courses involving a vocational element. This may involve a work experience placement or engagement with skills that prepare students for the workplace. National Diplomas provide an excellent pathway for students aspiring to competitive universities, higher apprenticeships and industry training schemes. A Diploma is worth either 1, 1.5 or 2 A-Levels in terms of UCAS points, depending on the other subjects and qualifications your child studies.
Importantly, if your child has chosen a National Diploma qualification, in Year 12 – there will be examination and coursework components that count toward the final grade at the end of Year 13. Subject to student numbers, courses are available in:

  • Science
  • Sports Science
  • Business
  • Information Technology
  • Health and Social Care

Extended Project

The Extended Project Qualification or ‘EPQ’ assesses the independent study skills required to succeed at university. It carries UCAS points equivalent to 50% of an A-Level which means it is worth more points than an AS-Level. The EPQ is recognised by top universities as a course which challenges students to employ graduate level study skills. Many universities accept EPQ as part of a points based UCAS offer.

Students will be advised on whether EPQ should form part of their programme of study at interview, or during their transition to Year 13. If your child is studying four A-Levels (or the equivalent of four A-Levels) in Year 12, they will not be able to study the EPQ.

The UCAS Tariff

The table below outlines the UCAS points that each grade is worth across our curriculum qualifications.

AS Level A Level Cambridge Pre-U Nat Dip EPQ
  A* 56 D1 & 2 56 D*  56 A*  28
A    20 A    48 D3  52 D    48 A    24
B  16 B     40 M1 44 M   32 B    20
C   12 C   32 M2 40 P    16 C   16
D 6 D 24 M3 36 D   12
E 4 E 16 P1  28 E     8
P2  24
P3 20

Target grades

At Hall Cross Sixth Form we set aspirational target grades for our students based on their GCSE average point score. We believe these targets are achievable if students embrace their learning and take full advantage of all the wider opportunities available to them.

How do we report your child’s progress?

The academic year is punctuated with Tracking Points. During Tracking, subject teachers are invited to enter a Most Likely Grade or ‘MLG’. This is a prediction of your child’s likely attainment outcome in the summer examinations. For Year 12 students, the MLG grade refers to either the end of year AS-Levels or the crucial mock exam in each subject.

Tracking data will be published electronically along with the learner profile. As a parent you will be provided with protected login access to your child’s assessment records. You will receive a text alert when these are updated. Students are also provided with an emailed copy during academic reviews.

The following table will be included on the reverse of data published, and can be used to determine what action your child can take to improve both their learner profile and academic outcomes.

Subject Target MLG Learner profile
English B A Outstanding
History B B Good
Politics B C Inconsistent

Learner Profile

1. Outstanding

Approach to learning is outstanding and regularly demonstrates a commitment that exceeds expectations.

2. Effective

Approach to learning is effective and demonstrates a commitment that is in line with expectations.

3. Inconsistent

 

Approach to learning shows a commitment in line with expectations but this is inconsistent.

4. Unacceptable

Approach to learning is unacceptable and exhibits attitudes and behaviours that will not lead to success.

Literate Understands why literacy is important across all subject areas and the importance of speaking according to audience and context and works pro-actively to develop their own skills. Understands the importance of literacy across the curriculum and the importance of speaking according to context and audience and will follow guidelines to improve skills. May understand the importance of literacy across the curriculum and adapting speech according to context and audience but  does not actively take steps to improve. Takes little interest in developing literacy skills and doesn’t adapt speech according to context and audience.
Creative Thinks creatively when facing problems or barriers to learning. Displays resilience and tries different solutions. Will usually try to find solutions to problems and often displays resilience when faced with problems. Can sometimes display resilience when faced with problems or barriers but is inconsistent. Offers very few solutions and gives up on tasks easily or fails to attempt them.
Team Player Works exceptionally well as part of a group, encourages others and takes on different roles, including leadership. Works well as part of a group and takes on different roles,  but rarely leads. Can  work as part of a group but rarely takes on different roles and does not involve themselves in decision making. Does minimum/nothing to contribute to tasks and lacks cooperation in group work.
Respectful Always treats the classroom as a learning environment. Is respectful to peers and staff. Behaviour has positive impact on others. Usually treats the classroom as a learning environment.  Often respectful to peers and staff and behaviour does not affect the learning of others Sometimes demonstrates disrespectful behaviour to peers and staff which can sometimes disrupt the learning of others. Often demonstrates disrespectful behaviour to peers and staff which often disrupts their own and others’ learning.
Independent Always takes responsibility for own learning. Knows their own strengths and areas to develop; regularly evaluating their own performance. Uses their time and skills effectively. Usually takes responsibility for their own learning. Acts on feedback to address areas to develop. Usually uses time and skills effectively. Sometimes takes responsibility for their own learning and attempts to address areas to develop. Sometimes meets deadlines and can use skills and time effectively. Fails to take responsibility for their own learning, often does not use skills or time effectively.
Motivated Always gives their best and displays high levels of motivation, participating actively in class. Regularly gives their best and displays good levels of motivation, participating effectively in class. Occasionally displays an adequate level of motivation but is often happy to settle with the minimum required. Limited levels of motivation, frequently off task and reluctant to participate in class activities.
Proud Always displays pride in their work ensuring it is the best it can be. Is proud of own achievements and is happy for others when they succeed. Usually displays pride in their work and the achievements of themselves and others. Work is sometimes lacking in pride and often appears rushed. Attitude to achievement is inconsistent. Work lacks pride and little consideration or care is given to the achievements of themselves and others.

Assessment Points

The academic year is punctuated with five standardised Assessment Points. Each of your child’s subject teachers will enter a grade for a particular piece of work or assessment that has been completed during that half term. The grade recorded might therefore reflect components of the course rather than the end of year grade. The most important Assessment Points are therefore mock exams, which will include content from the whole course. Your child’s Academic Tutor will discuss Assessment Point data at Academic Review. Importantly, your child’s success in Assessment Points will be the main factor in determining suitability for Year 13 study.

Academic Review

Following key assessment dates, Academic Tutors and subject teachers will meet with students to conduct an Academic Review. An Academic Review is a ‘one to one’ meeting in which tutors and students discuss attainment levels, study skills and independent study. The aim is to help students fulfil their potential by identifying any barriers to further progress, and put in place strategies to get the best results.

Three or four A-Levels?

We recommend that students begin Year 12 studying four A-Level subjects (or the equivalent size of BTEC), with the intention of determining which course they want to drop as soon as possible. Ideally, this should take place in advance of the Christmas break in Year 12. Students should aim to complete three full A-Levels over two years. You can be reassured that top Universities will not discriminate against your child for not having completed and ‘banked’ an AS-Level.

Key Dates

Sep 2017

Sixth Form Induction Day (Year 12)

6th September 2017

Year 12 Induction Day will take place on Wednesday 6th September.  Students should arrive at 8:45 a.m. and go to the main Hall.

Year 13 Students Return

11th September 2017

Students start term on Monday 11th September and should go straight to the hall for an assembly at 9:15 a.m. Lessons will start from Period 2 onwards.  Students will have their timetables e-mailed to them in advance of the beginning of term. It is vital that students note their weekly Academic Tutor session and ensure they attend.

Contacts

In the first instance, direct your enquiries to the relevant Year Manager:

person

Mr J Stewart

Enrichment Coordinator KS5

Mr Stewart is responsible for the academic and extra-curricular enrichment programmes. He coordinates this activity and supports students in securing opportunities which will advance their Career goals.

person

Mrs S Humble

Sixth Form Administrator

Mrs Humble is the Sixth Form administrator and coordinates much of the Induction activity. She organises prospective student interviews and responds to most enquiries about the Sixth Form.

person

Miss E Kelly

Key Stage 5 Phase Leader

Miss Kelly is responsible for supporting students in achieving their full academic potential. Miss Kelly also manages the Academic Tutor team and advises students about subject choices and university applications.

person

Mrs D Stokes

Year Manager - Year 13

Mrs Stokes is responsible for the pastoral welfare of Year 13 students. She monitors student attendance levels, and works to support students in removing barriers to learning. Mrs Stokes also coordinates Work Experience across both year groups.

person

Mrs A Chapman

Year Manager - Year 12

Mrs Chapman is responsible for the pastoral welfare of Year 12 students. She monitors student attendance levels, and works to support students in removing barriers to learning. Mrs Chapman also oversees the UCAS process, and ensures students’ applications to university are made in a timely manner.

person

Mr N Watts

Assistant Principal (Head of Sixth Form)

Mr Watts is responsible for the Sixth Form at Hall Cross and works to ensure students receive outstanding provision in all aspects of their learner experience.

A paper copy of the information on our website is available on request to the School.