A Levels in the UK

What are A Levels?

A Levels are also known as The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education. They have been the primary qualifications of further education in the UK for over half a century. They serve as a distinguishing factor for universities choosing students and are widely recognised across the world.

A Levels are split into two sections: AS (Advanced Subsiduary) and A2. Most students will study A Levels for two consecutive years, taking their AS examinations in their first year and their A2 examinations in their second year. However, at Ashbourne, students have a variety of options: they can choose to do their A levels in a single academic year, or in an 18-month course, or they can choose to go to Ashbourne to re-sit A Levels studied previously at another school. Most of the students at Ashbourne maintain the traditional two-year course.

Why A Levels?

The study of A Levels is entirely different to the study of GCSE which students will have previously been accustomed to; A Levels focus on a more concentrated study of fewer subjects (usually 3 or 4) as opposed to a broader but less-concentrated study of more subjects. Thereby, the A Level appeals to students who already know the areas in which they are interested and wish to pursue. Some organisations choose to teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) instead of, or alongside A Levels. Ashbourne does not offer the IB. There are many benefits to both A Levels and the IB; A Levels are sometimes criticised for a lack of breadth in terms of subject choice whilst the IB is often criticised for being too broad in its range and not allowing students enough choice.

Students at Ashbourne are generally passionately engaged with a few subjects which interest them. Ashbourne offers a wider range of A Levels than most secondary schools, giving the student the chance to pursue their own individual interests.