Admissions and Courses
Programmes of Study at Backwell Sixth Form
The standard programme of study for Year 12 students is three two-year courses at Level 3 (A Level or equivalent), plus the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Subject to approval, some students may choose to take an AS Level in a limited number of subjects, instead of the EPQ. In Year 13 students will have completed their EPQ or AS Level and therefore be able to focus on their three two-year courses. In a limited number of cases it may be possible to study four A Levels; decisions will be based on academic record and availability of subject combinations. Students who have yet to achieve a grade 4 in Mathematics or in either English Language or Literature must attend retake classes and continue to work towards these qualifications.
The standard time allocation for a two year course is eleven 50 minute lessons per fortnight. The Extended Project has an allocation of four 50 minute lessons per fortnight, plus a fortnightly lecture. Through studying towards the EPQ, learners will develop skills, knowledge and understanding that they will be able to use when tackling similar projects in future study or employment contexts. In addition to their academic courses, all students are required to attend four 20 minute tutorial sessions per week (between two and four in Year 13), plus a weekly assembly. Tutorials and assemblies are primarily focused on developing students’ independent study skills and preparation for future plans, but also cover aspects of Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education (SMSC).
All students are encouraged to participate in the wide range of extra-curricular activities and undertake some form of volunteering or work experience. Many employers and universities offer valuable training programmes, some of which take place during term time; where these fit in with a student’s future plans and are deemed appropriate, we will help them to apply and allow them time off school to attend. All students must attend a compulsory “Future Plans” week towards the end of Year 12, which will prepare them for higher or further education and employment, and enable them to meet employers and training providers. Extensive follow up support is available to ensure that all students have a clear plan in place for their time after Backwell.
Courses and Entry Requirements
Backwell School is both dedicated to academic excellence and fully committed to a comprehensive ethos. The curriculum and admissions policy of the Sixth Form reflect those values.
The breadth of the curriculum is shown in two ways. Firstly, by the large number of different subjects on offer, some of which are not available at other institutions. For example, we are proud to offer highly successful A Level courses in three Modern Foreign Languages and we offer three different Art A Level courses (Art, Craft and Design; Photography and Textile Design). The broad offer at Backwell is also shown by the different type of courses students can choose. While most courses are at A Level, we also offer the Extended Project Qualification and a range of Cambridge Technical and Level 3 Extended Certificate courses, as well as opportunities for retake GCSE courses in English Language and Maths. Full details of the courses offered can be found below in the ‘Sixth Form Courses Booklet’, which is updated annually by the beginning of Term 2.
The full admissions policy can also be found below. The basic requirements for A Level courses or equivalent are five or more GCSEs at grades 4 - 9, including English Language. Some courses have their own subject-specific requirements in addition: for example, to study Maths at A Level it is necessary to achieve at least a grade 6 in GCSE Maths.