Academic FAQs

How many A levels do students need to take?

Students should take a minimum of three A levels and one AS level.   Some students take four or more, but there is a danger of students over-stretching themselves if they attempt too many.

Why does Concord suggest that students start their studies by taking as many as four A levels and two AS levels?

We do this to allow students to get a taste of a range of subjects before they decide which subjects to study.  This approach also allows students to keep their options open for longer with regard to university choices.

How many A levels do the top universities like students to have? 

The majority of universities ask students to get only three subjects.  UCL routinely asks students to get three A levels and one AS level.  A few courses ask students to get four A levels, but this is fairly unusual.

What is the best way to prepare for applying for Oxford or Cambridge?

It is important to understand that good A level results are merely the starting point in the application process.  These universities are looking for students who not only achieve highly, but who are genuinely and demonstrably interested in their subjects.

How many pupils go on to Oxford or Cambridge? 

This varies from year to year, but 15 would be average.

What assistance is given to students in the university application process?

There is a programme of talks, events and visits which begins in January each year.  There are trips to the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick and Birmingham and the four top London colleges (LSE, Imperial, UCL and King’s) send representatives to speak to our students at Concord every year.  Dedicated staff act as University Counsellors in key subjects including Medicine, Engineering, Mathematics, Economics, Architecture, Law and Finance/Accounting.  In addition, personal tutors guide students individually through the application process.

When does the School need to know AS subject choices?

We prefer students to choose these at least nine months before arriving at Concord.

Why does Concord do A levels and not the IB or Pre-U?

We have looked at these alternative options carefully and have decided that A levels suit the skill set of our students the best.  IB is good for students who are equally good at a range of subjects, but it perhaps does not allow enough room for depth of study in a student’s favourite subjects.  It is not generally known, but IB accounts for only 3% of university entries.  Pre-U is still relatively new and untested and we are watching carefully to see how the qualification progresses.

Does Concord follow the GCSE or IGCSE curriculum? How closely does Concord follow the National Curriculum?

Individual Heads of Department are given responsibility for deciding which qualification is best for our students.  At present about 50% prefer GCSE and 50% opt for iGCSE.

When do pupils make their subject choices for GCSEs?

New students should let us know at least six months before arrival.  Current Form 3 students are asked to decide during the Spring Term.

What subjects are studied in Form 3 (first year)?

Students study Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Computer Studies, Art, Music and Drama.  Students who need extra English support are withdrawn from French, Spanish and History for extra lessons.

What are the average class sizes? 

Our target is a maximum of 14 at A level and 16 for GCSE.  A few classes are bigger than this, but a larger number are smaller.

What provision is there for Personal and Social & Health Education?

Sixth form students get a weekly programme of talks and guest speakers.  Lower School students are given one dedicated lesson of PSHE each week, delivered by their form tutor.

How is work monitored?

Students sit two or three tests each Saturday morning which gives teachers a clear view of how well students are absorbing the lesson content.  Upper School student have a test in each A level subject every two weeks and Lower School students have a test for each subject every three weeks.

How do parents find out about their son’s or daughter’s progress? 

Most parents find out about test performance directly from their children, but the end of term report includes the mark for every test for every subject.

Concord College, Acton Burnell Hall, Acton Burnell,
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY5 7PF, England.

Telephone. +44 (0)1694 731631
Fax. +44 (0)1694 731389
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