And…….we are back! Actually we have been back a couple of weeks, but there is exciting news:
We have decided to offer students the chance to study three subjects in year 12 (from September 17) where we have previously always insisted on four. Why such a change? You may well ask.
Actually, it isn’t that much of a change. We still believe in the power of four. Four is the strongest option for a number of reasons. Students can try out subjects and then decide which they will stop after AS and which they will continue. This gives them options and choice. It also gives them more UCAS points, if those matter to them, and many universities still like it; particularly in the sciences. If something goes awry then there is the option to reduce to three subjects.
The counter argument is that four is more work, which is true, and some students (and their parents) believe that by focusing on three the student will be under less pressure and will have more time to commit to their studies. Furthermore with the new linear A Levels, if studying three subjects, then the only big exams are at the end and that allows a different teaching approach. The new A Levels are undoubtedly harder too, so that also plays to the three is more manageable argument.
Now, most colleges are going fully linear with nearly everyone doing 3 subjects and no AS levels: and no other option (except an extended project in yr 13, which we do too.). We want to offer people choice: that’s what we do here, so students will be able to opt for three or four subjects at the start of year 12. Of course, I hope that the majority will stick with 4 as that’s the most powerful way to go forwards, but three will undoubtedly be best for others.
The biggest unknown for a student choosing three A Levels is the fact that there is no wiggle room. They must stick with those subjects, through thick and thin until the end of the course. It will therefore be extra important that the three subject students are ultra-confident in their subject choices. We will of course help with this; starting with our interviews in the coming weeks.
Regardless of this, there are times in year 12 when some students feel that they simply cannot continue with a subject. Sometimes they are correct, other times, with a bit of support they push on and do well. Pushing on is often more bearable if there s a contingency though, and Three-subjecters won’t have that. They must continue whatever. We can’t drop to two, so there is no other way.
This will undoubtedly take courage from the student and support from both college and parent. Despite what you may read in the press about ‘the youth of today’, at Yateley we seem to be lucky to have loads of spirit in our young people. They know what they want to do, and they reach out to achieve it and they will do whatever it takes. Three-subjecters: that’s the spirit!
(On a serious note: please get in touch if you would like to discuss the best option for you, or for your son or daughter. We would be very happy to help.)