Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13)

The GES A Level Diploma Programme

Modern, high-quality post-16 education that opens the door to leading universities around the world

In designing the best possible curriculum for post-16 study, GES has combined the advantages of the flexibility and depth of study offered by A Levels with a modern, international approach that includes interdisciplinary studies, independent research, and a programme of sport and exercise for all. Our A Level Diploma Programme provides a passport to leading universities in Europe, the UK and around the world and equips students with the confidence and skills that they will need in a rapidly changing workplace and interconnected global environment.

What are A Levels?

Short for ‘Advanced Level Qualifications’, A Levels are subject-based qualifications that lead to university study, further training or employment. They are usually taken by students aged 16 – 19 and are offered by schools and colleges both in the UK and internationally.

Where can A Levels take me?

A Levels are recognised and respected by universities around the globe. Students with A Levels gain places at leading universities worldwide, including in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

How many A Levels do students usually take?

Students normally study three, or sometimes four, A Levels over the course of two years. The A Levels are assessed via a series of examinations and are graded A* - E. University offers are usually based on three A Levels. Alongside their A Levels, students may study other subjects and take other courses (e.g. languages), some of which may be examined.

What is the GES A Level Diploma Programme?

Our A Level Diploma Programme is made up of the following elements:

  • A Level studies: Most students choose four A Level subjects in the first year and then carry three of these through to the end of the second year.
     
  • Core studies: The compulsory core studies are designed to provide a breadth of educational opportunity and to facilitate the acquisition of important skills and attributes, such as confidence and creativity.

o   Breadth and Depth – an interdisciplinary course that will include philosophical enquiry, ethics, critical thinking, politics and current affairs.

o   Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education – a course that will include discussion of wellbeing and relationships, mental and physical health, financial literacy, the move from school to university, living away from home, and university application

o   Complementary studies – a range of broadening and enriching options in languages, arts and sciences, which complement the main A Level studies and add interest and variety;

o   Extended individual project – chosen by the student and mentored by a member of staff;

o   Sport and exercise – with opportunities for both individual and team sports.

How do I choose my A Level subjects?

Unlike other post-16 programmes of education such as the International Baccalaureate, French Baccalauréat or Swiss Maturité, there are no subject specific requirements for A Levels. This means that you are free to choose the subjects that you enjoy, that interest you the most, and in which you are most likely to succeed. In making your choices, you may be guided by the requirements for certain university degree courses or career paths. We can provide help and advice in making your choices.

How much flexibility is there for me as an individual?

There is considerable flexibility to cater for the needs and interests of individuals. For example, for some students, it may be appropriate to start the Diploma Programme with three A Level subjects, rather than four. Others may wish to pursue four subjects to the end of the second year and so finish with four A Level qualifications. This may be advantageous for certain university degree courses. The complementary studies offer a wide range of options and there is considerable scope for individuality in the choice of extended project.

What A Level subjects are available?

GES will do its best to cater for the needs of all students. The subjects available at A Level will include Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Drama, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, German, History, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physical Education, Physics and Spanish.

Tell me more about the complementary studies

An interesting range of courses is available to complement and enrich the A Level programme. There is a mixture of one-term and three-term courses, some of which are examined and certificated. The programme will change and grow as the School expands and may include options such as: DELF and DALF French, German, Italian, Chinese Mandarin, Spanish, Mathematical Studies, Design, Media Studies, Psychology, Environmental Studies, Creative Writing, Website Design, Robotics, Cooking and Food Science.

What is the individual project?

The individual project provides you with the chance to choose something that really interests you and to pursue it to produce an individual, worthwhile and satisfying outcome. Depending on your interests, you might write a short story, an essay or a play, design a website or computer game, produce a piece of artwork, design and make a model or artefact, or write a piece of music. Your project will require some independent research but you will be guided and advised by a member of staff, who will act as your mentor. It will normally be completed at the end of Year 12.

Is Sport and Exercise compulsory?

Yes! All the elements of core studies are compulsory elements of the A Level Diploma. We are strong believers in the value of physical exercise. ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’ – and it’s fun too, especially when you are given access to a range of choices that allow you to find the sport that really suits you.

What help and advice will I be given?

You will be part of a mixed Year 12 and Year 13 tutor group, looked after by one of the teachers, who will be your Tutor. Your Tutor takes an interest in your academic progress, your activities and projects, and in your general happiness and welfare. Your Tutor is the person to turn to whenever you have a concern or need some advice, and your Tutor will be the first point of contact between the School and your parents/carers. In addition, your subject teachers will always be on hand to offer help and advice, and there is a School Counsellor who can be spoken to in confidence. Careers guidance and university advice is available from the teaching staff, senior leadership team and external experts. We will provide you with the help you will need to prepare for any aptitude or other special tests for university entry (e.g. SATs for universities in the USA).

What else will I be able to do in Years 12 and 13 at Geneva English School?

We encourage you to get involved in as many activities as possible. There are plenty of lunchtime or after-school clubs and societies to join – and if the one you wanted to be in isn’t there yet, just start up a new one! You may want to get involved with music or drama at the School – and perhaps be part of one of our concerts or productions. We’ll also encourage you to consider the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Model United Nations, international competitions, entrepreneurship, work experience, community service, peer mentoring and the School Council or Eco Council. There’s always plenty to do at GES!

What will life be like in Years 12 and 13?

At GES, we pride ourselves on having a respectful, family atmosphere in which everyone plays their part and feels at home. As a student in Years 12 and 13, you will be a leader and senior member of that family, mixing with others in your year group but also working with students of all ages. In our public spaces and forums, pupils, parents and staff all mix easily and naturally in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Unlike in some schools or colleges, where the older students are separated, you will feel very much part of the whole school. GES is a place where every individual matters and is valued.

Why should I choose GES?

Choose GES for:

  • Fantastic teachers – all highly qualified subject specialists who communicate with passion and inspire their pupils
  • Modern teaching methods – pupil-centred, active and engaging, encouraging confidence and independence of thought
  • Flexibility and individual attention – and a friendly, respectful school community in which everyone is known and valued
  • A unique and innovative sixth form curriculum – in which the depth of gold-standard A Level qualifications is combined with choice and breadth of opportunity, opening doors to leading universities around the world
  • Fun, friends, enjoyment and participation

What grades or qualifications do I need to start the A Level Diploma Programme?
If you are taking GCSEs and/or IGCSEs at the age of 16, GES will normally require you to get at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 5. In addition, you should have at least a grade 6 in the subjects that you want to study at A Level. If you are not taking GCSEs, you will be required to reach an equivalent standard in assessments taken at the end of Year 11 (age 16).


How do I apply?
To join Year 12 in September 2021, you should make an application between the beginning of June 2020 and the end of May 2021. The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to be accepted – and the more likely it is that we will be able to accommodate your subject choices. Applications that arrive later than the deadline of the end of May will be considered, if possible. You should normally be under 17 years old on 31 August 2021.
To complete the online application form, you will need to have available an electronic copy of:

  • your passport;
  • a 250-word personal statement explaining why you would like to study at GES and outlining your interests and achievements, including hobbies and activities outside school.

For more details about the 16+ admissions process, or for further advice, please email Lucy Howen, Secondary Office and Admissions Administrator.
Email: secondary@geschool.ch 

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