Applying to the Sixth Form

The transition at 16 from GCSE courses to A levels is a very important step in your educational career. We see the process of moving into the Sixth Form as very much a guided step, where we offer information, advice and guidance with your further destination in mind. We adopt the same process whether you are a student moving on from our own Year 11, or if you are an applicant from another school or college.

Entry Requirements

The entry requirement for entry to advanced level study is: grade 4 and 5 across English language and mathematics*. At least three other GCSEs at grade 4 or above.  Entry requirements into the Sixth Form and specific courses are non-negotiable. 
*This means if you achieve a grade 4 in English language you need to achieve a grade 5 in mathematics; if you achieve a grade 4 in mathematics you need to achieve a grade 5 in English.

This is very much a baseline qualification and many subjects strongly recommend or require higher grades if you wish to take their subject at advanced level: see the subject requirements table and subject descriptions in the prospectus. It is preferred for any student wishing to pursue advanced level courses to have at least a grade 5 in both English language and mathematics: these are an indicator that you will be able to deal with the literacy and numeracy demands of all A levels. Students with a 4 and a 5 in English and mathematics may move on to A level courses. This is the minimum requirement for applicants from other academies, schools and colleges. 

For all applicants, clear evidence of strong attitude to learning is required: for Keswick School applicants an ATL average of 3.5 minimum at the data capture from subjects closest in date to the student's Sixth Form Application Discussion; for external applicants at least "good" in each attitudinal category in the reference from their current school or college.

Our standard offer for advanced level study

All A levels have become “linear”: this means that assessment will take place at the end of the two years in final examinations. Although some A levels may retain a coursework element, this will usually form only a minor part of the overall assessment and the major weighting will be on the final examinations. Many subjects rely entirely on end of course examinations. 

Following the recent qualification reform, universities have made statements setting out their positions and following review of these, and analysis of the demands of linear subject specifications, our usual offer for a student’s programme of study in our Sixth Form will be:

3 A level courses and an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), or 3 A level courses and core maths.

All universities will make their conditional offers based on 3 A levels, and we see the EPQ as a way of giving our students an extra edge in their applications.

A small number of students may take 4 A levels.  This will need to be discussed with a member of the Sixth Form team before an application is made, and will be allowed at the discretion of the Head of Sixth Form only.

The Application Form/Process

Each student will be required to complete an application form which includes information on their course choices and a personal statement explaining his or her reasons for choosing to return to Keswick School or wanting to join Keswick School Sixth Form.

The applications process opens formally in February with the issue of the Sixth Form Prospectus: this is given out in school to our own Year 11 students and will be sent out to any students from other schools and colleges who wish to apply. It is also uploaded to the school website.

An Information Evening is held at the school in January: the date will be notified on the school website. The application form, with subjects in option columns, is issued in early February, with the closing date for the applications usually being the last day of school before the February half term holiday.

When applications have been received, applicants from Keswick School will be invited with their parents for a Sixth Form Application Discussion after school, whilst applicants from other schools and colleges will be invited to visit the school and have an Application Discussion during the school day.

Offers of places will be made by mid-May.   

Application form for September 2020

Application form (pdf)

Important staff in this process: Mr Simon Purdy, Head of Sixth Form, who manages the application process, along with the two Sixth Form Year Heads: Miss Sophie French and Mr Tony Foody.

Mrs Carol McIntosh, Sixth Form Learning Supervisor, who looks after the administration of applications from students already at Keswick School.

Mrs Christine Lennon, Sixth Form Learning Supervisor, who looks after the administration of applications from students who apply from other schools and colleges.