Posted: 28th October 2020

Year 11 students around the country are starting to ask the question ‘What next’? and in an increasingly complex landscape of university and careers, setting each student on the path that suits them best is vitally important.

Many students find it hard to pick which subjects to continue, or start, in Sixth Form. The challenge of reducing a programme of nine or ten GCSEs into three or four can seem daunting. At this stage of your life and learning, the three most important things to consider are:

·      What subjects do you enjoy?

·      Which subjects do have the greatest ability in?

·      Which subjects support one another?

In addition to this you many want to consider whether there are particular subjects or grades you may need if you have a particular career, job, or further study in mind.

At Leweston we offer a choice of 21 different subjects and two different qualification types: A Levels and BTECS. Many people, often including parents, will be more familiar with A Levels. These are two-year long specialist academic courses which concentrate on one subject area. The alternative, BTECS are more careers based qualifications which focus on the practical skills and specialist knowledge required in a given field or subject area. They offer students an alternative to more theory-focused courses. If you have a clear idea of the future career you would like BTECs can often provide a more focused way to achieve this. For university applications, BTECs and A-Levels contribute equivalent points and they are accepted by the vast majority of universities.

We always advise students that for universities and employers quality is more important than quality. This why our recommendation is to opt for three subjects. Some students may follow four but this usually where both Mathematics and Further Mathematics are studied.

If you are concerned about narrowing your interests, then a good option is the Extended Project Qualification or EPQ. This is a standalone research-based qualification based on a self-selected project, and is an ideal way for you to study something you are interested in but is not part of your main curriculum. Alternatively, you could choose an area that will contribute to your university course or a future career. The EPQ carries significant UCAS value and is highly respected by universities because it helps to develop independent learning skills.

Staff are on hand throughout Year 11 to answer questions and provide advice on possible choices. All Sixth Form candidates, internal and external, have personal interviews with the Head of Sixth Form to explore what the right options are for them. We can also advise on a course of study if you have a particular university course or career in mind.

There is more information about finding the right academic programme on our website on this page which includes a list of recommended subjects for different university courses. You are also welcome to contact me for advice at [email protected]

Mrs Massey, Head of Sixth Form

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