Choosing A Levels… At Runshaw we will ensure that you gain the skills and experiences that will help you to progress to the best universities and the best jobs.

Still in a ‘different league’

  • FACT The only college in the North West to consistently achieve a B grade average at A Level*

  • FACT More than half of our A Level students gained A* or A grade(s) in 2016

  • FACT An Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ college for more than 20 consecutive years

  • FACT The top college in the North West for Oxbridge offers; more than 100 offers in 2012 – 2017

  • FACT 21 Oxbridge offers in 2017
  • FACT The top college in the North West for progression to elite universities; over 1400 in the last three years

  • FACT The UK’s BTEC Vocational Outstanding College of the Year

  • FACT The top college in the North West for 2016 for progression to medicine, dentistry and veterinary science; well over 100 offers in the last three years

* DFE performance tables, 2017 – Average grade achieved (rounded to nearest whole grade) in best three A Levels.

Every individual matters

Above all, we want you to be happy here and to achieve your full personal and academic potential. We have a great track record in supporting students. In our last three college inspections, our support for students was graded as ‘outstanding’. At a recent Best Practice visit from OFSTED they said Runshaw was in a league of its own”.

Browse all of our A Level courses

You can also download our Runshaw College Prospectus 2018/19.

Our A Level Options… Information for students and parents

In 2015, the government made some changes to A Levels. Local schools and colleges have responded to these changes differently. The purpose of this information is to explain the options available to students starting A Level courses at Runshaw.

Ever since A Levels were first introduced in England in 1951, the primary aim for students has always been to complete (at least) 3 full A Levels, with good grades, in subjects that are aligned to each individual’s future career aspirations. Our enrolment strategy for students taking A Levels has always been (and still is) designed to give our students the best possible chance of achieving this primary aim.

We are continuing to offer a fully flexible A Level programme with a range of 43 different subjects, from which you can choose either 3 or 4 subjects to make up your 2-year study programme (or 5 subjects in exceptional circumstances).

At enrolment in September:

  • Some students chose to focus on just three subjects from day 1; the subjects they need for their future career
  • Some students wanted to explore new opportunities and new subjects, keeping their options open, by studying 4 A Level subjects in year 1 of their studies, with the intention of reducing this to 3 subjects at a later stage
  • Some students (in particular those who really enjoy the academic challenges of studying a broad range of subjects) set out with a clear determination from day 1 to complete 4
    (or even 5) full A Level subjects

Whatever you decide; at the end of the first year you will complete formal internal assessments to measure your progress in each subject. The A Level examinations will then take place at the end of Year 2.   

The following table shows the options available to Runshaw A Level students from September 2017 and will hopefully help you to decide how many subjects to study: 

3

3 plus 1

4

You choose 3 A Level subjects to study throughout your 2-year course.

You choose 3 A Level subjects to study throughout your 2-year course, plus one other subject as an additional one-year, non-examined course.

If you later decide to change your ‘Plus One’ to an A Level course, we will be happy to arrange this for you.

You choose 4 A Level subjects to study throughout your 2-year course. (Or 5 subjects, by exception.)

Benefits

• If you are quite sure you know which 3 subjects you want to study at A Level, you may feel that a 4th subject is a distraction.

• Your timetable will include some extra study periods, giving you more time during the college day to complete your work.    

• You are able to take an additional subject that you may not have studied before, to broaden your learning, gain knowledge and to develop transferable skills. Many students find they enjoy, and are good at, these ‘fourth’ subjects.   

• If you have not yet made a final decision about your 3 A Level choices, you can be flexible and leave that decision until later.   

• You have complete flexibility to choose your 3 best subjects for A Level, following your first year study. This enables you to make better-informed, more mature choices about your area of specialisation and subsequent HE / career ambitions. It is also likely to maximise your final A Level grades.   

• You are able to take an additional subject that you may not have studied before, to broaden your learning, gain knowledge and to develop transferable skills. Many students find they enjoy, and are good at, these ‘fourth’ subjects.   

• You will achieve 4 full A Level qualifications, which will allow you to apply for a wider range of university courses.

Factors to consider 

• Once you have decided on your subject choices at enrolment, you are restricted to the same 3 subjects for the 2-year course.

• If you are quite sure you know which 3 subjects you want to study at A Level, you may feel that a 4th subject is a distraction

• You will be expected to meet the same high standards of attendance and progress in your “Plus One” as for your A Level courses.

• You will not receive external certification for any subject that you do not continue to A Level.

• If you are quite sure you know which 3 subjects you want to study at A Level, you may feel that a 4th subject is unnecessary.

• You will need to be committed to all 4 subjects for the full 2 years, and manage your time to complete all your work with fewer study periods than if you were taking 3 subjects.   

How it works 

Start Year 1 with:
Subjects A B C

Must finish Year 2 with:
Subjects A B C

Start Year 1 with:
Subjects A B C D

Option to finish Year 2 with:
Subjects A B C
Subjects A B D
Subjects A C D
Subjects B C D
or
Subjects A B C D

Start Year 1 with:
Subjects A B C D

Must finish Year 2 with:
Subjects A B C D

When you enrol at Runshaw in September, you will choose how many subjects you wish to study, and which ones. 

It is extremely important that you attend enrolment in person, so that you can make these decisions, taking full advantage of the advice and support available on the 2 dedicated days.

We hope you find this information useful in making an informed decision.

If you do have any queries about A Levels, or any other enrolment-related matter, please contact Tim Cahill (Assistant Principal – Schools Liaison) in the first instance.

You can also download our A Level Options 2017/18 (PDF, 340KB)