Rydal Penrhos: Sixth Form curriculum changes
June 19, 2020

Sixth Form Curriculum 2020 onwards at Rydal Penrhos

We are announcing some important developments which will be implemented in September regarding Sixth Form provision at Rydal Penrhos.

These changes are designed to add significantly to the academic provision for our pupils whilst simultaneously enhancing pupils’ wellbeing and progression to University.

For a typical Sixth Former, this will include over 250 hours of additional subject teaching by specialist teachers.

Presently our pupils follow the model which currently operates in England, introduced in 2014: they attempt three linear ‘A’ levels after two years’ study (in this respect linear refers to the fact that the whole ‘A’ level grade is dependent upon examination papers taken at the end of Year 13).

There are several disadvantages to this model which can hamper ‘A’ level choice, restrict the opportunity to re-sit examinations, detract from pupil wellbeing and complicate University applications.

From September the typical RPS pupil will select four subjects to study to AS level in Year 12 an (AS level is worth 40% of a full ‘A’ level and is a “stand-alone” qualification in its own right).

Typically, a Year 12 pupil will be taught for 28 periods of the week. In addition to specialist subject teaching, we will also be scheduling weekly lessons in PHSE and Physical Education, and a bi-weekly University Admissions lesson.

Applications to University are submitted early on in Year 13, so preparation in Year 12 is essential.

To support pupils and parents in making the right ‘A’ level choices, pupils will be assessed in early October (about five weeks into the AS study programme) followed by a parent/teacher evening so their AS level programme can be confirmed.

At the end of Year 12 pupils will sit AS examinations, (for which there is the possibility of a re-sit). Most pupils will then select three subjects to continue to ‘A’ level though for a small number of pupils, a fourth ‘A’ level will provide the stretch and challenge that they need.

Thereafter, pupils will study subjects to A2 during Year 13 (an A2 represents 60% of an ‘A’ level: therefore, an AS and A2 can be combined into a full ‘A’ level.)

The A2 covers the more difficult aspects of a subject and is based on the work covered in the AS.

In Year 13 at Rydal Penrhos, pupils will typically be taught for 25 lessons per week (again including PSHE and Physical Education) with additional personal study lessons supervised by teachers, and every pupil will be mentored by a senior member of the teaching staff.

This model means that when our pupils make an application to University, they will do so on the basis of their AS results and not the nationally unreliable ‘A’ level predictions, thereby reducing the risks associated with University applications.

This ‘A’ level model is the one which is currently used in Wales and we believe very strongly that this will raise the academic attainment of our pupils, enhance university applications and, very importantly, spread the academic load and improve pupils wellbeing.

Parents and pupils will be aware that over the past five terms we have continued to evaluate the provision for our pupils. We have spent much time considering our Sixth Form provision and these changes have the strong support of our ‘A’ level teachers and the full support of Governors.

In addition to the additional 250 hours of specialist subject teaching we have reduced the fees in Years 12 and 13 by over £2,000 a year and, as you are aware Rydal Penrhos school will also be including the cost of GCSE, AS and A2 examination entries within the fee.

We continue to focus our energies in ensuring that the financial resources we have are used in ways which have the best impact on our pupils.

Clearly, we would have much preferred to be able to speak to parents and pupils face to face. However, if any parents or pupils wish to speak to us please contact Mrs Bramhall (cbramhall@rydalpenrhos.com) and a mutually convenient time will be arranged for a conversation via FaceTime or other such media.

Mr John Waszek

Executive Principal