BA AS-Level Qualification Update



Bourne Academy AS-Level Qualification Update

Dear Parent/Carer 

After much discussion and with so much uncertainty in education at the moment, i.e. surrounding the issuing of examinations grades, we have taken the decision not to enter students at Bourne Academy for the planned AS-Level qualifications this summer. It is clearly important that we share with you the reasons behind this decision and why we feel that this is in the best interests of students. 

You may already be aware that the vast majority of secondary schools do not enter students for AS-Level qualifications and that Bourne Academy is in the very small minority of schools that do still enter students for these examinations, with our reason being that we have always recognised and viewed the AS-Level qualifications to be a valuable learning experience. The transition to Post-16 study can be a big jump for many students and the AS-Level qualifications give students an important opportunity to consolidate the first year of study and re-focus on exam technique at a more advanced level.  

This is the main reason for entering students into the AS-Level qualifications, with the actual qualification itself being superseded by the A-Level result at the end of Year 13.  

However, at this current time when the whole country is dealing with COVID-19 and with the closure of schools this benefit is now completely lost to students.  

Our concerns for Year 12 in claiming a AS-Level qualification at this stage include: 

The PPE mock examinations always come much sooner relatively in the course than either GCSE’s or A-levels.  At GCSE for example students are nearing the end of two years of study (and in some core subjects five years), as is the case at A-level. In Year 12 however students have studied for only four months before undertaking mock exams. Therefore, grades in mock exams are often quite low. This is usually fine, we understand that the mock exams are a springboard to begin the journey towards the summer exams. However, in these very unusual circumstances that we find ourselves in we would have to use these mocks as a basis for making firm predictions and submitting these to the DFE. This is problematic as there is a huge variation between students in progression from a mock result to a final exam result. 

Where students have AS-Level results universities take these into account when offering places. Our fear would be that without substantial information our forecasts could not be as accurate as in the GCSE or A-level qualifications. Therefore, students may be awarded a lower grade than they could have achieved. It is important that both students and parents appreciate the exam bodies have made it clear that they will not simply award whatever grade we forecast – we can’t simply forecast all students a good grade. 

We feel that by not claiming AS-Level qualifications we will be in a far better position to support students in a true refection of positive predicted grades for UCAS applications, or indeed for other routes, rather than risk them being held back by AS results that do not reflect their ability. 

I hope that you understand and agree with our decision not to enter students for this round of the AS-Level qualification. 

We are conscious of the impact that this time away from school is having on our Year 12 students. Whilst the online work that is being set cannot fully replace normal lessons, we hope that they are helping students to keep on track as far as possible.  

Please be reassured that we will be working very hard to ensure that as this cohort of students enter Year 13 they are fully supported to achieve the very best results that they can and secure progression onto the next stage of their lives, whether that is university, an apprenticeship or any other route. 

If you have any questions about this information, please contact me at the school by using the Destinations email tab, set up to support KS4 and Post 16 progression enquiries: 

Destinations@bourneacademy.org 

Kind regards, 

Tom Martin 

Executive Deputy Headteacher – SLATrust 

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