Choosing your courses

You need to think carefully about the courses you are applying for. Maybe you already have an idea of the kind of career you wish to pursue at 18. Perhaps you have in mind a university course. If so, you need to ensure that you choose the courses which support your plans. If you are in doubt you can talk to a careers adviser or Mrs Valentine ( in the sixth form area.

  • To join us at Sackville for level 3 study (A level or equivalent) you usually need the minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 or higher, including English and maths. This is known as the level 2 threshold. Some courses will also have specific entry guidelines of their own, though we will always look at students on an individual basis if they are close to achieving the entry guideline. Once you have achieved the level 2 threshold, there are two types of course you can choose from:
    1. A levels: these are the traditional ‘academic’ qualifications which may well be what your parents experienced.
    2. Vocational qualifications (for example BTECs, Cambridge Nationals and Technicals): these qualifications are equal to A levels in the eyes of most universities. They are, however, more vocational courses which means they are focused on particular activities such as business, ICT and media. They are assessed with extended tasks of the kind likely to be met in the world of work, and some written exams.
  • Students are required to choose three subjects to study over two years. These can be a mixture of A levels and vocational qualifications. For students with very strong GCSE grades, four subjects may be chosen.
  • Our experience suggests that students who achieve mainly 4s at GCSE are best suited to the vocational qualifications. If you think this is likely to be you, try not to choose more than one traditional A level. It is also possible to mix both types of course when choosing a post-16 programme.
  • Of course, every year there are students who do not achieve the level 2 threshold. For such students we offer a different level 2 course which, alongside retaking GCSE English and/or maths, includes either Level 2 Child Development OR Level 2 Travel & Tourism and a Level 2 Certificate in Financial Education. 
  • Any student who does not achieve a grade 4 in English or maths will be required to study the subject again.
  • Sixth form teaching can take place during lesson 6 (3-4pm).
  • Sixth form tours/taster sessions are available all year. Please email Mrs Plumb –
  • If students have additional educational needs please contact Mrs Hunt (SENDCo), to discuss their post-16 studies


Key Dates

Read sixth form prospectus: November, year 11

Attend sixth form open evening: November, year 11

Complete and return application form: Christmas, year 11

Attend sixth form returners’ evening for students and parents: summer, year 11

Enrolment: beginning of September, prior to the start of year 12

Please note – listed courses will only run if a sufficient number of students opt for them

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