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Frequently asked questions

What makes GSAL Sixth Form special?

Students have a number of sixth forms to choose from in this area, however there are many features which make the GSAL Sixth Form distinctive – excellent exam results, a comprehensive extracurricular programme and our outstanding staff who are dedicated to helping students achieve their goals.

The central aim of the sixth form is to create well-educated, articulate and independent students with a sense of value and purpose, who look beyond their academic subjects to broaden their skills.

GSAL recognises that the sixth form experience needs to reflect that students are studying at a high level and are maturing as young adults. To this end, students have their own Sixth Form Centre with dedicated facilities such as a study centre, café and higher education resource base.

How many students are in the teaching groups?

Our sixth form class sizes range from 2 to a maximum of 20, with class sizes typically being between 10 and 16. Class sizes are larger at the beginning of Year 12, when all students are taking four A-levels. From the spring term of Year 12 most class sizes will become smaller, with Year 13 currently operating on an average class size of 11. These small groups also enable us to create a highly interactive and stimulating learning experience to help students develop the independent study skills they will need at university.

Which subjects are available at A-level?

We offer 26 A-level options and full details can be found in our Sixth Form Prospectus 2023.

How many A-levels can I study?

Three good grades at A-level is the entry requirement for the majority of universities, so for many students the best approach will be to focus on three subjects only. To help students feel confident in their choices, in Year 12 all students start by choosing four subjects and most will reduce to their preferred three subjects at the end of the first term.

However, some students may wish to continue with four A-levels, whether to pursue a particular interest, keep their options open or aim for a higher total of UCAS points. In this situation we will support a student continuing with four subjects as long as we consider it to be the best route for that student.

What A-level combinations are available?

It’s important that students can choose a combination that suits their interests and passions, because in our experience this helps to motivate the students to do well. GSAL students are not constrained by having to choose from a fixed combination list, so each student’s timetable is truly individual.

We will advise students on choosing a suitable path that both plays to their strengths and helps them to progress to the next stage of education or work, whether they already have clear career ambitions or wish to keep their options open.

What is the EPQ and will it help me get into university?

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a research project worth up to 70 UCAS points or half an A-level. It gives students the opportunity to study a topic of their choice in depth, enabling them to develop key skills such as independent research, extended writing and self-evaluated learning.

While the EPQ is not usually a requirement for university entry, it provides excellent preparation for the demands of undergraduate study and can help distinguish an applicant from others applying for the same course. Some universities may include the EPQ in the terms of their offer, for example by offering an A-level grade lower than their standard offer together with a good grade in the EPQ.

How do your exam results compare?

We recognise that academic achievement is one of the key reasons for choosing GSAL for sixth form. Our students achieved significant success in 2021 A-levels, with 72% of grades awarded at A* or A and 88% at A* to B (compared with national figures of 44% and 70% respectively).

Visit A-level results for further figures and a breakdown of grades by subject.

What support do you provide for students applying to university?

While the majority of our upper sixth progress to university we will offer support and guidance on planning your future whatever your ambitions.

Our experienced careers and higher education team will advise you on course choice and the UCAS applications process, as well as practical issues such as finance, and will provide talks on a range of topics to help you prepare for student life. Our dedicated careers adviser can assist you with planning your future career path, whether or not you intend to study for a degree first.

A high proportion of our students are successful in gaining places at Oxbridge each year, indeed the Sutton Trust identified GSAL as the number one school in Yorkshire for Oxbridge entrants. This is due to excellent exam results and the specialist advice and support that students receive through the admissions process. This support includes a dedicated Oxbridge coordinator, talks by visiting admissions tutors and attending specialist Oxbridge information fairs.

I’m not sure that I want to go to university after A-levels so what other options are available?

Students have a number of choices available once they’ve finished their A-levels. Whilst the majority of our students progress to university we provide full support to any student who wishes to follow another route. We have dedicated careers staff who can advise students on the range of options available post A-level including apprenticeships, employers’ in-house training schemes and gap year opportunities.

What does the GSAL sixth form provide outside the academic curriculum?

We recognise that achieving excellent grades is only one aspect of securing a university place and subsequent employment, therefore in addition to their A-level studies our students will follow a programme of enhancement and enrichment activities to complement their academic skills and knowledge.

Sixth form students can of course continue to participate in the full range of co-curricular activities available throughout senior school, with the opportunity to take on leadership roles in many of these. The house system in particular allows sixth form students to hold leadership positions, taking responsibility for organising activities, and brings together students from all year groups across the school.

I’m not currently at GSAL so what support do you provide for new students joining the sixth form?

Each year a number of new students join the GSAL sixth form from other schools, and we take care with arrangements that will ease the transition for each new student.

Each student will be in a form with on average just 13 other students and one of their classmates will be assigned to help them find their way round school. In addition the head boys and girls have specific responsibility for ensuring that new students are welcomed and settle in quickly. The Head of Year 12 also organises a number of social activities and induction meetings to enable students to make friends and get to know staff. Within a few weeks, the new students feel an integral part of the sixth form due to the friendly atmosphere of the school.

What are your sixth form entry requirements?

We make offers to candidates from other schools conditional upon a minimum of six grade 6’s at GCSE. Each A-level course has subject specific entry requirements and we will work with applicants to find the most suitable course choices in light of their achievement at GCSE.

As well as academic achievement, we will take into account an applicant’s contribution to school life, disciplinary record, attitude and work ethic, which we assess through interview and a reference from the current school.

Find out more about our entry requirements and how to apply

How do I apply for sixth form?

Applying is very straightforward. Simply complete the short online application form and submit with the application fee. We will then ask you to provide a short personal statement to give some background on your reasons for applying and your subject choices. An interview will be arranged with the Director of Sixth Form and Head of Year 12 in the spring term to allow you to receive your predicted grades based on your mock GCSE examinations. Following the interview and receipt of your current school report, we will advise you whether we can offer you a place in sixth form, conditional upon your GCSE results in the summer. We take applications throughout the year for the following September, but the earlier you apply the more chance you have of securing your choice of subjects.

We hope that this answers most of the questions you may have about applying to GSAL Sixth Form. For any further enquiries, please contact our Admissions Manager, by email or by telephone on 0113 228 5121.



Or, if you prefer to chat to someone please call our admissions team. For Senior School call 0113 228 5121 and for Primary School call 0113 228 5113.