Choosing A Levels

At Sir Graham Balfour School we are proud to offer a wide range of courses suitable for all needs. 
It is important that students select the courses that are appropriate to their needs in terms of both their ability and their plans for the future.  THE IMPORTANCE OF GATHERING INFORMATION IN ORDER TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS CANNOT BE OVER EMPHASISED.

Courses on offer in the Sixth Form

There are three different groups of courses:

Advanced Courses ('A' Levels)

  • 'A' Levels are based on a specific and detailed subject content, e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Geography, etc. and are two year courses starting in Y12 with AS courses leading to A2 courses in Y13. 
  • To begin an 'A' Level course students must normally have at least five GCSEs at Grade C or above (to include Maths and English). 
  •  'A' Levels are usually taken in combinations of four subjects in Y12 and three in Y13, but this is dependent on GCSE level grades. 
  • Some subject require students to have Bs at GCSE: Maths, Modern Foreign Languages, Music, Physics, Chemistry and Biology

BTEC National Certificate

  • These are taken over 2 years and are equal to 2 ‘A’ Levels. 
  • You must have at least four GCSEs at Grade C or above. 
  • The courses are based on a vocation, for example Health, Business, etc. (at the Chetwynd Centre).
  • Level 3 BTEC courses satisfy university entry requirements.

BTEC First Diploma

  • These are generally taken over one year. 
  • The entry requirement for these courses will usually be 5 GCSEs at D and E level.
  • Students must also have shown a commitment to work in Year 11.  
  • Usually only one course is taken as each First Diploma will fill the student’s entire timetable. 
  • These then usually lead to a BTEC National Diploma. 
  • These are equivalent to 4 GCSEs, C or above