In addition to providing students with thorough preparation for Pearson Edexcel AS and A2 unit examinations, the Sixth Form at The British School of Kuwait aims to bridge the gap between the levels of academic and social maturity of students finishing Year 11 and the levels required by top universities worldwide.
This is achieved by offering a breadth of experience that goes far beyond the classroom. Students' timetables are constructed in such a way that they spend a fair proportion of their time in the Sixth Form Centre, a self-contained area of the school containing private work areas, a common room, a careers and university library and their own kitchen. The Sixth Form is a community of senior students, working together towards common ends.
In Kuwait, compulsory education ends after Year 11. Kuwaiti students in private schools following the National Curriculum of England sit GCSE/IGCSE examinations towards the end of Year 11, and some universities in Kuwait and abroad admit students to undergraduate courses on the basis of those results.
However, most quality universities cannot admit students directly from Year 11 because the first year of their undergraduate programmes start at a significantly higher academic level. Such universities, when admitting students from the British education system, will require them to have completed additional Sixth Form qualifications before they can be admitted. Sixth Form, so-called because it historically followed the fifth year of secondary level education, is the collective term for Year 12 (the Lower Sixth) and Year 13 (the Upper Sixth).
In Year 12, students typically study four Advanced Subsidiary (AS Level) subjects. In Year 13, students typically take three of their AS Level subjects forward to a higher level, known as A2. Some students also broaden their studies by taking an additional AS Level subject in Year 13. AS and A2 unit examinations are held in May or June.
Compatible AS units may be combined (a process known as cashing in) to complete certifiable AS Level qualifications. Compatible AS plus A2 units may be cashed in to complete certifiable Advanced Level (A Level) qualifications.
Statements of provisional examination results are released in August. Certificates of final qualification results are issued in October.
Students may graduate either from Year 12 with AS Levels or may continue to Year 13 and gain full A Level qualifications, the results of which will determine the types of universities to which they may be able to enter.
Subject to availability, option block arrangement and uptake, the following AS and A2 subjects may be offered:
The AS Level option blocks are optimised each year to minimise clashes for Year 11 BSK students who are intending to enter the Sixth Form and who are likely to meet the entry requirements.
Each year, we make every effort to carry the AS option blocks forward to create the following year's A2 blocks, in order that students who complete AS Level courses can, if they meet the entrance requirements for Year 13, also complete full A Levels in those subjects.
A Level examinations are administered through a series of examination boards. There are currently six such boards: Pearson Edexcel (Edexcel), Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), AQA, CCEA, OCR and WJEC. Some of these boards also offer AS/A Level qualifications to international students. The British School of Kuwait offers Edexcel AS and A Level qualifications, with the exception, from 2015-16, of CIE Computer Science.
BSK's Strategic Management Team (SMT) has welcomed the UK government and Ofqual decision, effective from 2013-14, that AS and A Level qualifications become more linear, with only May/June unit examinations. BSK will not facilitate November CIE or January Edexcel examination entry and has decided to continue offering Ofqual-regulated GCE Pearson Edexcel AS/A Level wherever possible. The only current exceptions are Edexcel Physics and Biology, for which the alternative to practical units are only available within Edexcel's International Advanced Level.
To be eligible for entry to BSK's Year 13, SMT has decided that all Year 12 students must enter AS Level examinations in May/June. The Year 13 entry conditions for 2016-17 will reflect this policy.
A full-time Sixth Form Coordinator (SFC) leads the Sixth Form students. His office is within the Sixth Form Centre and his role includes the team-building required to enable the Sixth Formers to develop real independence.
As well as providing career, academic and pastoral guidance, the SFC assists students through the sometimes tortuous process of university selection and application: UCAS for the UK, Common Application for the USA, and other combined and individual application systems worldwide. BSK hosts around fifteen university visits annually – ranging from individual visits by Kuwait and GCC universities through to full-scale university fairs of 25 or 30 UK, US or Canadian university representatives.
The SFC can also advise students on ToEFL, IELTS, SAT, BMAT, UKCAT, LNAT, ELAT, TSA and other additional certifications which may be required for university entrance. The SFC endeavours to prepare students for university interviews and in some cases can even assist with suitable accommodation and support when students travel overseas for interview.
It should be noted, however, that BSK will not support university applications through unofficial third-party agents, or provide any documentation to such agents or agencies.
To better prepare students for the rigours of university life and the ability to make wise decisions without their parents’ direct involvement, Sixth Form students at BSK opt into one or more student committees, membership of which helps to develop the required independence, planning skills and respectful interpersonal approaches. These include:
In addition, BSK offers an extensive range of afterschool programmes, including:
Recent students have been supported to establish an environmental charity, exhibit and sell their artwork, promote youth awareness programmes in Kuwait, write articles and have them published in the Kuwait press, give media interviews on a range of topics, write press releases, give presentations and attend international conferences – among others. Sixth Formers are encouraged to find and pursue their own interests, especially when others may also benefit.
Many Sixth Form students are appointed as prefects. Year 13 students may be appointed as Senior Prefects, whose primary role is to train, monitor and appraise Year 6-13 Prefects. The Head Boy and Head Girl, assisted by the Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl, lead the Senior Prefect Team and implement the Secondary Prefect System effectively. The Head Boy and Head Girl report directly to the Sixth Form Coordinator.
All BSK students belong to one of four Houses: England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. The House system provides opportunities for students to develop personality, morality, creativity, knowledge and skills. Students' identification with a House and participation in House activities contribute to excellence in academic, social, sporting and cultural fields, inculcating fair play, teamwork, citizenship, initiative, perseverance, resilience and self-discipline.
Sixth Form students are appointed each year as House Captains. Their role is to bond, motivate and organise the activities of students within their House. This is a significant leadership role and there is strong competition to become a House Captain.
A Sixth Form education prepares students thoroughly for the academic and social demands of even the most prestigious universities worldwide. The most popular destination for BSK's Sixth Form graduates is the UK, with Canada second, followed by the USA and then Australia. Western universities with satellite operations in GCC countries are also gaining in popularity.
Sixth Form students have lower drop-out rates and can complete their degrees to a higher level, within shorter periods of time than can students who enter university courses when younger, from a lower level of education and without having benefited from the opportunities to gain significant leadership experience.
Dr Clifford Cheung
Sixth Form Coordinator
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