City of London Freemen’s School has launched its own A-level bridging and pre-university skills courses to support pupils with their next steps in education.
In light of the cancellation of exams, the school created the six-week remote courses to ease pupils’ transitions from GCSE to A-level and from A-level to university.
So far, 92 of the school’s GCSE students have signed up to three or four courses each. Proving “hugely popular”, they will also be available to incoming, external sixth form students.
For the pre-university courses, 113 (out of 115) students have signed up to a total of 195 courses.
“Research has shown that students are more likely to flourish if they have both an understanding of what is to be expected of them and prior experience of work that is geared towards the demands of A-level study and undergraduate courses,” the school said.
The A-level bridging courses will encourage a more independent nature of study, and guide students through the complexity and volume of material they are expected to manage.
It will also allow students to explore their chosen A-level subjects before September.
These courses, coupled with ongoing pastoral support will undoubtedly provide Freemen’s students with the best possible preparation for their future education
The pre-university courses will enable students to look at material introduced at A-level related to what they wish to study at university in greater depth.
In addition, PSHE sessions will be delivered on topics related to the transition from school to university.
Roland Martin, headmaster of City of London Freemen’s School, said: “Rather than focusing on the disappointment of being unable to sit the exams for which they have worked so desperately hard for, our students will now be able to benefit from looking ahead to, and preparing for their ongoing studies.
“These courses, coupled with ongoing pastoral support will undoubtedly provide Freemen’s students with the best possible preparation for their future education.”
Freemen’s parent body have praised the school’s efforts, saying having their children “future focused again” will have a “positive psychological impact”.
Other independent schools have chosen similar strategies. Abbey College Manchester is giving year 11’s work to do on subjects they want to study at A-level to prepare them.
Principal Liz Elam told IE that this preparation is important because despite keeping learning going, “those students are going to be behind where previous cohorts wouldn’t have been because they haven’t done all that intensive learning that would have been done in previous years”.
For year 13’s, the school’s partner universities are sending over webinars on topics such as preparing for university, how to write notes and how to research, and there will be interactive sessions with tutors.