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Mid-Year Change To A Level Subjects Policy

We work with students from the point of application and through the induction process to ensure that all students begin on a curriculum route with a combination of subjects that will enable them to achieve success in their A Level subjects and allow future progression that match the student’s aspirations and values, including the most competitive courses and apprenticeships. As such, we hope that students will begin on the curriculum combination that they will complete with a high level of success. 


We acknowledge, though, that a student’s interests, knowledge and ambitions may change as they progress through their studies. All decisions are made within the specific context of the individual student requesting the change. We ask students to consider their motivation and aptitude for change by asking a core question: how do you know that this is the right decision for you and what have you done to prove it (to yourself)?


Summary of The Change To Curriculum Policy 


Our Core Curriculum Offer: Our compulsory core curriculum is three A Level subjects, an Extended Project Qualification (completed in Year 12), Social Wellbeing (non-examined), a timetabled elective (non-examined) and a ‘World of Work’ programme (five days, non-examined).


Four A Levels: Some students may take a fourth A Level subject. This is most often to take Further Mathematics, most successfully when sat in combination with Physics, Mathematics and a third related subject, such as Computer Science, Chemistry or Economics. The fourth A Level is an addition to the core curriculum and cannot replace an element of it. It should be considered in the same way as a hobby or enrichment activity: an activity the student chooses to do because it holds intrinsic value and enjoyment for them. With the exception of Further Mathematics, no university requires four A Levels; it is usually better for students to achieve excellence in three subjects than to achieve a broad spread in four.


Context For Changes: Students may wish to change their A Level subjects at various stages during their Sixth Form career and for various reasons, including perceptions of progress (‘too hard’), a mismatch of interests (‘not what I thought it would be’) or changing career aspirations (‘I need it to become a ….’). Changing subjects is hard to do successfully but it is possible. The later the change, the harder the challenge becomes. Late changes place considerable demands on time and the shift in focus of energy risks detracting focus and, as such, risks progress in the other two continued subjects. Students should also understand that changes to their A Level subject combination may also require a change of other classes and subject teachers. Students must still meet the essential entry requirements for the subject to which they wish to change: a late switch is not a way to bypass these.


Process For Changes: Before requesting dispensation, students should consider their reasons for wanting to change subjects and they should only request a change if their rationale is grounded in the best academic reasons (rather than, for example, ‘fit’ with a particular teacher, the choices of friends or an immediate response to a single assessment). They should discuss their thoughts with their subject teachers, their form tutor and their family to help them assess their motivation and ensure that the decision is a sound one, ultimately in their best interests.


The policy outlines the different stages and approaches in considering requests for curriculum changes depending on the stage and nature of the request:

  • Changes to one or more A Level subjects

  • Dropping a fourth A Level subject

  • Dropping from Further Mathematics to single Mathematics (from four to three A Levels)

  • Dropping from Mathematics to AS Mathematics

  • Extenuating circumstance changes to the core curriculum (from three to two A Levels)


In all cases, changes to curriculum will be made holistically, involving input from:

  • The student

  • The student’s parents or carers

  • The student’s subject teachers in the subject they wish to drop

  • The Head of Faculty in the subject they wish to begin

  • The student’s pastoral team (form tutor and/or Head of Year and Deputy Head of Year)

  • The Higher Education Coordinator (where appropriate)

All decisions about curriculum changes will then be given final authorisation by the Head of Sixth Form. 



For questions about Cherwell’s curriculum change policy, contact Charlotte Richer, Head of Sixth Form: 

For questions about requesting a curriculum change, contact Tina Surrage, Sixth Form Administrator: 

For advice on a student’s curriculum choices, contact their subject teacher(s), their form tutor or the pastoral Sixth Form team (such as their Year Leader or the Higher Education Coordinator).

Form - Change to Curriculum Request - Dropped A Level

Form - Change to Curriculum Request - Change in A Level Subjects

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