You will receive six lessons per A Level subject in the Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth per week. The step up from GCSE to A Level is significant and should not be underestimated. As well as completing set homework tasks you are expected to ‘read around’ your subject and go back through your notes and relevant sections in the textbooks.
Do not be afraid to ask for extra help and advice from your teachers if you need something clarifying – chances are you will not be the only person who doesn’t understand something. All departments run lunchtime clinics to help people through tricky parts of the syllabus.
Changing A Level Choices in the Sixth Form
You should be starting your A Level studies confident in the knowledge that you have properly researched the subjects you want to study, that you feel you are able to perform to a very high level in them, and that you will enjoy learning the subject material.
For a small number of pupils, the first few weeks of A Level may prove more challenging than they anticipated, and they may consider that a change to a different subject is advisable.
With 12 periods a fortnight devoted to each subject, and with A Level being effectively a five school term course, by October half term you will have finished 1/10 of your A Level studies in each subject, rising to 1/5 by Christmas.
For this reason, it is vital that if a change is to be made it needs to happen as soon as possible in the Michaelmas term.
In the week immediately after the half term break you will undertake a day of assessments in your chosen A Level subjects. This is an opportunity both for you and your teachers to gauge progress over the first six or seven weeks of the A Level course and a final chance to decide, based on how you perform in these tests, if the subjects you are studying are the right ones for you.
Our final date for changing subject is the 30 November, after which time you need to commit to the subjects you have chosen.
For those wanting to make a change of subject in the Michaelmas term we will do our utmost to accommodate requests, but obviously at this stage any request has to fit into the existing timetable and there be capacity within the classes that already exist.
Progression to Upper Sixth
In May of the Lower Sixth you will undertake internal examinations. These exams are spread over two weeks and will involve sitting two papers in each subject studied. This will be the closest you will come to replicate the experience of sitting your A Levels proper the following year. From those internal exams, UCAS grades will be derived (See section on UCAS Grade Prediction). We would also expect every pupil to be securing at least a grade D in subjects studied to be able to progress to the Upper Sixth in September.
Representing the School in Sport/Music/Drama and A Level Studies
At Warwick we encourage an all-round education, and as a member of the Sixth Form you will have the opportunity to participate in an array of extra-curricular activities. We fully support such participation and would want this to be integral to your Sixth Form experience. The expectation remains that all pupils selected for school events on weekends will participate throughout their time in the Sixth Form.
However, the priority remains your A Level studies. We expect all pupils to be up to date, to meet deadlines, and to organise their time such that they balance academic work with participation in extra-curricular activities.
When any member of the Sixth Form falls behind in his routine work commitments, he can expect to be withdrawn from extra-curricular activities including representing the school in sport, music or drama.
Homework in the Sixth Form
On entering the Sixth Form, pupils are expected to take greater responsibility for their learning. This not only means that work is done punctually, but also that you begin to develop a greater intellectual curiosity about the subjects you have chosen. At this level in the Sixth Form, it is expected that you undertake approximately 16 hours per week of academic study outside lessons. While most of this time will be taken up with homework (approximately two hours a night Monday to Friday and two hours on a weekend will be the norm), some of this time should be devoted to reading around the subject, attending appropriate lectures and undertaking work in private study.
Non-Examined Assessment (Coursework)
A number of A Level subjects now have a non-examined assessment (coursework) component that will count towards your final grade. While the opportunity to submit a piece of independent coursework provides a significant advantage in counting towards a final grade, there are a number of rules regarding the completion and timing of coursework that pupils must be aware of and plan their time appropriately from the start of the A Level course. In particular:
- Coursework timing - each subject will place its coursework within the A Level course at the point at which it will maximise the opportunity of doing well. This may, for example, be after a field trip, or after a certain unit of work, or when certain analytical and research techniques have been taught. Coursework also has to be finished in order to ensure that appropriate focus and time is left to focus on the final examinations, which for most subjects are worth substantially more in terms of marks than the coursework.
- Coursework deadlines – these are set by departments to place the coursework appropriately within the scheme of work. Deadlines must be adhered to and extensions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. All departments will provide clear guidelines on the timelines to be followed and pupils are expected to keep to the schedule provided.
- Coursework planning - it is essential that pupils plan for periods of coursework. If the end of the coursework coincides with other major commitments (for example university admissions tests) then pupils must plan accordingly and ensure the coursework is not left until the last minute, thereby jeopardising preparation for other important examinations or similar.
- Coursework help - pupils should be aware that the level of teacher assistance allowed with coursework varies significantly between exam boards and subjects. Teachers will be able to provide more detail at the appropriate time, but the overriding principle as set out in the regulations is that coursework is an individual piece of written work.
- Coursework clashes – given the need to place coursework at the appropriate point in the two year A Level cycle, it is inevitable that for some pupils taking more than one subject with a coursework component the coursework may run simultaneously. It is essential that pupils plan appropriately for this and apportion their time between different subjects.
- Completing work in non-coursework subjects – coursework must not be used as an excuse for not completing routine work in other subjects. Pupils need to plan and apportion their time such that equal attention is given to all their subjects throughout the A Level course
- Coursework timetable – below is an indicative timetable of the coursework schedule for those subjects at A Level that currently have coursework as a component of their assessment.
Lower Sixth Private Study
All Lower Sixth will be expected to attend and register on the top floor of the Sixth Form Centre when they do not have a timetabled lesson. Attendance at private study is monitored regularly, and sanctions will be given if you do not attend. As the year progresses, some Lower Sixth pupils will be told that using the top floor of the Sixth Form Centre is optional – this will be communicated via the Assistant Head of Sixth Form at different points throughout the year and will be based on academic performance and effort levels.
You must work in silence when working on the top floor of the Sixth Form Centre. We expect you not to be selfish and talk, as this will only disrupt others who are trying to work; Repeat offenders will be sanctioned.
Unless required (for example, by your work), use your mobile phones is prohibited and use of your mobile phone will attract a sanction. Using mobile phones may distract others and will result in you not making the most out of your study period. Furthermore, if you do require use of your mobile phone, you must ask Mrs Cox, the study supervisor on the top of the Sixth Form Centre, for permission.
Upper Sixth Private Study
Private study periods may be taken in the Library or 1st and 2nd floor of the Sixth Form Centre. Some Upper Sixth pupils will be told to use the top floor of the Sixth Form Centre for example if they are behind in some subjects, or their current attainment does not match their UCAS target grades. Some departments may allow you to work in spare classrooms (you must always seek permission first).
Advice In Planning Your Private Study
- Plan your time wisely.
- Identify the areas you may need to consolidate your learning in, or simply get a head start on your prep work which in turn will free you up to undertake further work or revision.
- Alternatively, you could do further work on your EPQ during these periods.
- If you feel that you have done everything required, I would urge you to read around your subjects. Having a good breadth and depth of knowledge are often essential components for success at A-Level and for university admissions.
Sixth Form Academic Clinics
All departments offer support to both Lower and Upper Sixth. Details on which days clinics are available will be released in September. Attendance at clinics is monitored, and from time to time we may make attendance compulsory for example if a pupil is working below their university offer grades.
The rest of your timetable is made up from the following:
- Assembly/Form Periods/Chapel – first session of the day
- Games – Periods 5 & 6 on Wednesday
- Activities –Periods 5 & 6 on Fridays
- Sixth Form PSSHE –Tuesdays during Period 4
- Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) – time schedules with your mentor and including study skills.
You may bring laptops and mobiles into school. There is pupil WIFI access. However, laptops must only be used for academic purposes and there is a separate policy for mobile phone usage. Please refer to the BYOD policy for further information about the specification of the laptops.
Parents must accept full responsibility for insurance, loss or damage.
You will be allocated a school email address. Please check this regularly as this is how Sixth Form staff will communicate important school information with you.
Employment Outside of School
Studying A Levels can very demanding on your time and it is important that you quickly learn to manage that time efficiently, putting your studies first but also building in appropriate periods of relaxation and opportunities to participate in other activities. We would strongly recommend that this does not include paid employment outside of school during term time.
While acknowledging that paid employment outside of school can provide many benefits apart from financial incentives - such as learning new skills and developing self-confidence – experience from previous sixth-form cohorts suggest that such jobs can quickly become very time-consuming and tiring and lead to conflicting demands over academic work. We would, therefore, ask that anyone wishing to take paid employment outside of school does so only in school holidays and certainly not on a school night during the week.
There may be some limited employment opportunities within Warwick Schools Foundation during term time as part of after school activities provision, subject to appropriate progress being made academically.