The Sixth Form Curriculum at Glenalmond enables pupils to choose either A Levels or Highers.
Pupils generally choose either three A Level subjects or five Higher subjects to study in the two years of the Sixth Form. For more information please take a look at the Guide to the Sixth Form - A Levels and the Guide to the Sixth Form - Highers which list all the subjects available.
Glenalmond College offers an academic curriculum based on the English model which remains the curriculum of choice for the vast majority of independent schools in the UK.
We believe that A levels provide a balance between depth and choice that is unrivalled by any of the alternatives. Some schools offer a choice of curriculum as well as subject; to us the concentration on a single curriculum adds cohesion, focus and direction to pupils and staff alike in the demanding two years of the Sixth Form.
The ability to select from 24 A level subjects at Glenalmond provides unrivalled possibilities in tailoring a Sixth Form programme to the needs and aptitudes of each individual pupil. The selection of four subjects in the first year from which three subjects are taken on into the second year, gives the A level candidate the best of both worlds: a high degree of breadth, followed by the flexibility to add a refinement and further degree of specialisation in the second year of the course. The flexibility of the A level system has a further advantage in that it allows the very strongest candidates to add additional components and subjects whilst also making it possible for some weaker candidates to reduce the number of subjects.
The depth and specialisation of work in the second year of the two year A level course allows a level of study that is desired and required by universities. It is our firm belief that the ability to specialise in three subjects offers not only proven preparation for the rigours of university study, but also offers a level of academic and intellectual challenge and rigour which would not be possible under alternative systems of greater breadth. This potential for individualised study programmes combined with the flexibility of choice and the potential for specialisation underpins the great strength of the A level system which is seen as a universally strong qualification for entry to world class British, European and North American Universities.
At Glenalmond all of this is supplemented by additional learning and extension work that is flexible, current, topical and challenging.
Glenalmond has taken the opportunity to expand its curricula provision in the Sixth Form by reintroducing SQA Higher qualifications. This provides an additional pathway through the Sixth Form that retains a greater breadth of study.
Both A Levels and Highers represent alternative pathways to university applications. Following the A Level reforms, the UCAS tariff weighting of SQA qualifications also changed significantly. The new relative weighting of Highers against A Levels should be considered carefully based on each pupil’s anticipated grades. A copy of the new UCAS tariff can be found later in this booklet. We will offer a two year Higher programme - the route favoured by independent schools who offer both Highers and A Levels.
In the week following half term, current pupils at Glenalmond will be given the opportunity to recomplete a Sixth Form subjects option form if they wish to study Highers rather than A Levels next year.
A large proportion of a pupil's time in the Sixth Form is spent on the chosen A Level or Higher subjects, so it is extremely important to arrive at a coherent choice of course. Highers are considerably more demanding than GCSE and will require much more private study and background reading. The pupil should have a real interest in the subjects to be studied as well as a good level of competence in them.