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Curriculum - Can you offer too many A-Levels?

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by tomnorris, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. tomnorris

    tomnorris New commenter

    I have taken on responsibility for curriculum this year, which includes options process and timetabling.
    Our 6th Form Information Evening is approaching and I am considering the breadth of A-Levels we offer.
    Every year we have subjects that have insufficient numbers to run - not cost effective.
    If we offer every possible subject at this stage, am I making a rod for my own back as students choices could be too widespread to accommodate many students in the options process? i.e. lots of subjects wanted, but only 1 or 2 students in most of them, which then we can't offer, which leads to a loss of retention. Do I narrow the field early and limit choices?

    Any advice gratefully received!
    install likes this.
  2. pi r squared

    pi r squared Occasional commenter

    Limiting options is a hard choice to make, and possibly the most extreme form of "what's right for the kids" conflicting with "what's right for the budget". Presumably the subjects at risk of not running are fairly static from year to year? I'm always a big fan of transparency: offer all the subjects but caveat those that may end up not running, and encourage students to be sensible in their reserve choice(s). With an early enough options deadline, you should be able to identify early whether subjects are running or not, and if steps are in place to support students whose choice(s) have suddenly become unavailable, you should be able to do this without too much of a hit on retention.
    install likes this.
  3. karen387

    karen387 New commenter

    In my opinion you should continue to offer the subjects at this stage. You are likely to suffer a greater lack of retention if you indicate that you will not offer subjects now than if you keep them on board and have subject change conversations later on in the year.

    The biggest factor that will affect this decision is not numbers in the classes but staffing. For example if you have a psychology teacher employed that offers no other subject and only four students sign up then you would be advised to keep this running. It would not be worth losing the 18,000 that this could potentially cost in loss of students and this teacher would otherwise have lots of free time. Similarly numbers that you think are quite healthy may result in you having to recruit another teacher with the add-on costs that would come with it, for an indefinite period.

    You will have a much clearer picture on staffing later in the year.
    install likes this.
  4. tomnorris

    tomnorris New commenter

    Thank you, these views tie in with my current thoughts. Just a little anxious about how this will unfold over the year!
    install likes this.
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    You can offer as many A Levels as you want. But you may have to decide on a minimum number you want for each Course to run - for cost viability. Against that - each A Level student is worth a stack of money for the school too - so there might be a case of running Courses with only a few students in .

    Also think about grades needed to get on each Course - some might expect a 6 or a B at GCSE if they want the cream for A Level.

    Feel free to pm me for support:)
  6. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    It may be worth doing a quick survey amongst your Yr 11 pupils at the very beginning of this term (or Yr 10 at the end of the summer term) to get a rough idea of what students are currently considering
    install likes this.

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