Key Stage 5 - Years 12 and 13
Key Stage 5 in the UK is the platform for University entry. Key Stage 5 is a two year programme of study with examinations at the end of Year 12 (AS) and Year 13 (A2). Although Middle Eastern Universities accept students with AS level examinations, it is advised that students take a full two year programme as this will enable them to enter university with a greater understanding of independent study and with a greater maturity.
To be able to proceed to advanced level studies, students must first have followed GCSE / IGCSE courses. To begin the advanced level programme, students will need to achieve a minimum of 5 GCSE / IGCSEs at Grade A* to C. Entry to any particular course is at the school’s discretion, however it is expected that a student would have achieved at least a grade B at IGCSE with the exception of Mathematics where a grade A is required.
VES offers a wide range of subjects at AS and A level including: Mathematics, English, Biology, Chemistry. Physics, Arabic, French, Geography, History, Business Studies, ICT and Art.
GCE AS / A2 (Yr 12 – 13)
A levels will be fully linear, with students sitting their exams at the end of the two-year course. From January 2014, there is no longer a January assessment window. This change applies to current A levels as well as the new ones in development.
AS levels will be stand-alone qualifications and will no longer contribute to an A level grade. Their purpose will be to encourage curriculum breadth and they will remain broadly at their current standard. The AS level may be designed to be co-taught with the first year of the A level.
General Certificate in Education (GCE) Advanced Level is a 2 year course.
Students beginning A level courses will study a minimum of 3 subjects and a maximum of 5 subjects in the first year. Some students who opt for 4 or 5 subjects may opt to reduce to only 3 subjects at the end of the first year. Students who successfully complete the first year will receive a certificate for an AS level only.
Independent learning and critical thinking are vital skills that all students at Post 16 level must develop. Here at VES we prepare students not only for public examinations, but also for the transition to learning in higher education and employment. Independent learning is an important aspect of life in the Sixth Form. It is expected that students will work with their teachers by meeting deadlines, carrying out additional work and reading to complement their lessons. Students may have study periods; these are lessons which are unsupervised by teachers. It is expected that they would use the Resource Centre, the ICT facilities and the common room to carry out private study.
Students often find the transition to Key Stage 5 difficult as a result of the detailed content and higher level skills required. Independent study is required to consolidate and extend understanding of content. This requires students to develop high levels of organisational and time management skills both in school and at home as part of the transition process.
Throughout Key Stage 5 all students will undergo formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment at advanced level study is ongoing and will take a variety of formats including essays, written and verbal tests, projects, presentations and examination style questions. These assessments provide indicators for both students and teachers of where the student is at a moment in time and what they need to aim for enables students to set their own targets for improvement. Students will sit both internal and external examinations throughout the year.
College and University
At VES we are accustomed to sending our students to the best universities all over the world. During the first part of Year 12, students work closely with their form tutor and Key Stage Coordinator to research courses and universities so that they become aware of the requirements for entry to their chosen course of study and produce their personal statement. University advice and application is a joint process between the school, the student and the student’s family.
Beyond the classroom
Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13) is often referred to as the Sixth Form. The move into the Sixth Form is an exciting transition. We want students to enjoy their time at VES and to take away a wealth of academic and extra-curricular skills. Sixth Form life acts as the focus for the academic, sporting and social life for sixth formers at VES. We will expect students to play a role in the school community acting as role models to younger students and contributing to the success of the whole school. There will be opportunities to organise and take part in activities; to take a part in house events, be part of the student council, school fetes and open days, be involved with helping younger children through peer mentoring and take on supervision responsibilities. Students can also participate in the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, this is highly regarded on University applications. Work experience is strongly encouraged, especially in the field of study a student wishes to pursue at university level.
Sixth Form life is voluntary and students can put in as much time as they feel able. Contribution to Sixth Form life will be recognised in the application process when students move into either higher education or employment, as the information they are able to give about their developing personality and character will form the basis of their personal statements and curriculum vitae.