P16 FAQ

How does the raising of the school-leaving age affect my son/daughter?
Very little has changed since the raising of the school-leaving age to 18. As there are national examinations at 16 students will move onto more specialised courses and no institution can provide the full range of courses to suit every student. We will tailor our courses to provide for as many DCA Year 11 students as possible, however those who we cannot cater for will have intensive Careers support to make sure they are on the correct pathway.

How many students are there in Post-16?
142 in Year 12 and 132 in Year 13.

How many students progress from Year 11 at Dixons?
In an average year around 70% of our students progress from Year 11 to Post-16. The other 30% enter employment, training or further education elsewhere. This leaves 30 to 40 places for students from other schools.

What is the mix of students?
As with lower school there is a mixture of students in terms of gender and ethnicity.

Do Post-16 expectations differ from lower school?
No – the three way partnership between the Academy, students and their guardians is as strong as in lower school. We expect excellent attendance and punctuality and involve parents and guardians in any decisions we make with regard to students. We also pride ourselves on the availability of staff for consultation at all times.

What is the length of time for a Post-16 Course?
Students will sign up for two-year courses.

What types of qualifications are available?
A-Levels
. These qualifications are now 2 year linear courses with all final exams accurign at the end of 2 years of study. In all subjects the AS and A-Level components have been de-linked. This means that AS marks will not go towards final A-level grades as they do currently. Some subjects may choose to put all students in for AS examinations to allow them to decide whether or not to drop the subject. Make sure that you read the individual subject prospectus for each subject to ensure that it is the correct course for you. This is essential if you think you may want to drop the subject at the end of Year 12.
BTEC Certificate, Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma and OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma – these courses have been redesigned and are now equivalent to an AS, 1 or 2 A2 levels. They are just as taxing as A Levels, just a different way of studying –all coursework - and often a different focus (more to do with the world of work).
Personal Financial Studies – This is an AS/A level equivalent course. It is designed to teach important aspects of financial services, including money management, financial products and risk. Of the three exams in each year, two adopt a multiple choice format.
Level 3 Extended Project - A qualification that is worth half an A Level. Students produce an extended piece of work on a topic of their choice. The project can take pretty much any form and is accompanied by a production log.
Maths and English GCSE – Students who do not have these qualifications are legally required to take them, whilst in school, until they achieve a grade C.

What's the point in Post-16 Education?
Entrance to university
 – most Dixons City Post 16 students progress on to higher education of some kind, normally to undertake an undergraduate degree course (BA/BSc). Entrance is based on grades received or by a point system, calculated by grades gained. These are known as UCAS points.
Apprenticeships & Sponsored Degrees – learning on the job is becoming more popular especially during these austere times. The Careers Department is proactive in directing students to these opportunities when they arise.
Entrance to employment – some students choose to enter employment at 18. Having A Levels and two years extra maturity is a distinct advantage in many areas of the job market.
Emotional maturity – benefits other than material. It is a safe secure place to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. Although Dixons prides itself on its excellent academic record, it is also committed to 'creating talented citizens'. This goes beyond qualifications.

Is there any financial support for Post-16 students?
The Post-16 Bursary Fund which replaced EMA is available for those students whose household income is below £25,000. Application for these funds will be made in September but students and parents should be aware that the allocation we receive is limited and well below the amount of money that was distributed as EMA.

How is Post-16 Education different to lower school?

- Although no longer optional to remain in education students still have an extremely wide choice of options following their GCSE examinations. At Dixons City Academy students, parents and the Academy enter into a new agreement based on consent by all.
- Students have more rights – a dress code rather than a uniform, own study area, own computer area, own social area, more flexibility about times of attendance
- Organise their own non-contact time for study, rather than being taught in a formal classroom situation all the time
- More choice of what to study. Most subjects are optional
- Emphasis – rights with responsibilities
- Different relationships with teachers
- Wider range of extra-curricular activities both in and outside the Academy

What support is available for Post-16 students?
A lot!

Form tutor – daily contact. Regular formal interviews
Individual Needs – either self-referral or referred by Post-16 Manager if concern is voiced by staff. The IN Dept may deal with any area of concern, academic, social, health or financial. Advice for students is available from trained counsellors on issues both in and out of College.
Careers Service – in-house Careers department which gives expert and up to date advice on all aspects of careers progression .
Post-16 Management Team – open door policy for any concerns. Constant academic monitoring and close communication with parents/guardians.
Teachers – an incredibly committed staff who form positive relationships with students.
Community - Close links with community organisations and industry - extremely useful for students.

What are the results like at Post-16?
Very good, with our results being significantly above national average for boys and girls. There has been a year upon year improvement in Post-16 results. Last year the pass rate for A Level was 99% with over 55% at Grade B or above.

What do most students study?
The individual needs of a student are assessed when they apply and also after they receive their results. Advice is then given on what would be the most suitable pathway for that student. All students study 3 A levels or there equivalent.  Most universities do however expect students to study a minimum of 2 subjects to Advanced Level, rather than study lots of subjects just to AS Level.

Any student that gains less than a C in English or Maths GCSE will have to retake, either in one year or two.

The new Post-16 funding arrangement with the DFE means that students have to complete a minimum of 600 hours in each of Year 12 and 13. This includes all pastoral and enrichment activities that are timetabled and organised by the Academy. If students are taking four full subjects plus General Studies in Year 12 and then drop to three full subjects in Year 13 this allocation will be reached easily. Students who only take three full subjects in Year 12 will be monitored, on an individual basis, to ensure that they complete their allotted hours. This may mean that they have to complete extra qualifications or have extra lessons timetabled throughout the year.

Minimum Entry Requirements
Each subject has its own minimum entry requirements and this information is contained in this pack. Our offers to study in the sixth form at Dixons City are conditional on students achieving these requirements and it is rare for a student to progress onto a course without achieving them. We have these requirements to ensure that students are best prepared for success at KS5 and are on courses best suited to their ability. It is very important to note that there is a huge gap between the difficulty of subjects at KS4 and KS5 and that this gap is widening as the new A-levels are being brought in.

How many periods a week are students formally taught?
Most Advanced Level subjects are taught for 9 hours over two weeks. To be successful students are expected to commit themselves to the equivalent amount of time outside the classroom. General Studies is taught in 3 periods over a fortnight.

What else is on offer apart from their main subjects?

- An intensive induction programme at the start of the course
- An extensive Careers and Guidance programme that lasts throughout the two year programme of Post-16 study
- The opportunity to become a Student Manager
- The opportunity to be on the Post-16 Student Council
- A work experience programme in Year 12
- Guest speakers
- An enrichment programme
- A First Aid course
- Foreign language courses
- A voluntary service programme

- A Peer Drugs Educator
- Community Sports Leader Award – if staffing allows
- Duke of Edinburgh Award – if staffing allows
- Outdoor Education
- Trips

So why Post-16 at Dixons City Academy?

- Results
- Success of our students after Post-16 education – last year over 90% progressed on to Higher Education (with 27 students going to Russell Group/Premier League Universities), the rest went into employment, further education or training. This year applicants have as usual received favourable offers, not just because of their expected results but also because of personal statements
- High level support in all areas
- On-going academic monitoring and communication with family
- Chance to mature in a supportive environment

What do we expect from our students?
See Code of Conduct and Post-16 Agreement on the Academy Website.
In sum, commitment, hard work and mutual respect