UCAS Reference Information Page
General Principles: 3 or 4 subjects
Birkdale remains committed to offering flexibility and choice to our students. We expect the vast majority of our pupils to choose to study 4 subjects at the beginning of the Lower Sixth. Further Mathematics may be studied as an additional A level. Timetable blocking will be arranged to facilitate this. [i.e. the blocking will remain unchanged in principle although the arrangement and number of groups will depend on demand from students].
Students who are convinced of their A level subject choices at this stage and who want the extra time to strive for academic excellence in all their subjects can choose to study three subjects.
Students whose GCSE profile indicates that tackling four subjects would be detrimental to their progress in the Sixth Form will be encouraged to study 3 subjects.
Students will also study AS General Studies and most will sit the AS examination in Year 12
In May/June of their Lower Sixth year, students will usually sit AS examinations in all their subjects.
After AS examination results in August, students will be interviewed to determine which subject, if any, they wish to drop. About 10% of our pupils choose to continue with four subjects.
Timetable blocks will remain unchanged, except where it is possible to easily combine Lower Sixth groups in a subject into a smaller number of groups. This usually only happens when two groups have been provided in the same block and these are reduced to one.
Whichever subject a student discontinues, the AS grade achieved will still count towards UCAS tariff points irrespective of whether it is a linear or an ‘old’ style AS.
Predictions of performance at A2 will be based on AS results together with teacher judgements on likely attainment, given the intellectual potential and work ethic of the individual student.
Upper Sixth Year
In their Upper Sixth year, students will continue with 3 or 4 subjects to A level. They also have the opportunity to gain A level General Studies, AS level Critical Thinking, Community Sports Leaders Award together with a range of skills from a number of non-examined extension courses such as Creative Marketing and Life Skills.
The Extended Project Qualification is offered to all students during the Easter Term of the Lower Sixth, with approximately 60% of the year group choosing to start one. It is completed by March of the Upper Sixth.
Qualifications Achieved by End of Upper Sixth
Most students will have achieved the following qualifications by the end of their Upper Sixth:
3 A level qualifications in subjects of their choice [some will achieve 4]
1 AS level qualification in a subject of their choice
A level qualification in General Studies
AS level qualification in General Studies plus:
- AS Critical Thinking qualification [optional]
- Extended Project Qualification [optional]
- Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award [optional]
The following subjects are usually offered:
Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Computing, Design & Technology- Graphics, Resistant Materials and Systems & Control, Drama & Theatre Studies, Economics, English Language, English Literature, French, General Studies, Geography, German, Government & Politics, Greek ( Classical), History, Latin, Mathematics & Further Mathematics, Music, Music Technology, Physics, Physical Education, Psychology, Religious Studies and Spanish.