A Levels applications - MK College

MK College sees hundreds flocking to sign up for A Levels

Staff at Milton Keynes College have been blown away by the number of students interested in signing up for its new A Level courses, starting in September. It seems many young people are attracted by the special pathways designed to help them towards specific sectors in employment or university.

The four pathways give students the chance to work on subjects which will help them specialise in particular areas.  There’s a Green Pathway, which includes environmental science and biology; a Social Science Pathway comprising psychology and sociology; the Creative Pathway features English Language and Literature and Media Studies; and the Digital Business Pathway has Computer Science and Business.  Whichever the students choose, they’ll take a third A Level, choosing from English, maths, business, psychology or law.

“We’ve been inundated with requests for more information and applications,” says Marc Hulbert, Head of A Levels at Milton Keynes College, who has more than thirty years’ experience at one of the country’s largest and oldest sixth form colleges.  He was Director of Academic Achievements and Progression, with a focus on helping high achievers perform at their best.

He says, “It’s important for people to realise that coming to college isn’t going to be an easy option.  They’ll need grades every bit as high as those expected by schools, so competition for places will be fierce.  If you want to do maths A level, for example, you’ll need a grade seven at GCSE, because the A Level is really tough.  To be accepted onto the Green Pathway you’ll have to have a six at maths and a double six in science.  It’s far from easy.”

Marc has strong connections with some of the top universities in the country including Oxford and Cambridge, and he will welcome students who want to aim really high.

“The A level programme at Milton Keynes College will certainly be academic. In addition to three A Levels, students will be able to take the Extended Project Qualification, a 5,000-word dissertation that universities really value, as well as an introductory Latin course, great for those studying biology, law or English.  A Levels at Milton Keynes College are going to be all about helping people make the best of their abilities and maximise their life chances.  After all, why shouldn’t someone who studies here go to Oxford or Cambridge?  We certainly don’t see why not.”

Marc says he’s putting together an incredibly strong team of teaching staff.  “We already have a lot of lecturers here with significant experience teaching A Level and I’m hugely encouraged by the amount of interest it’s provoked among staff.  We’ve got people who’ve taught at that level in maths, law, English, the sciences – a really broad range.  There are some serious academic high fliers among them too, with quite a few Master’s degrees and PhD’s between them.”

Marc says there’s something else the staff have which sets them apart from many other teachers.

“If you teach in schools, your time tends to be spread around the age groups and you’ll work more with year sevens, eights and nines than you’re likely to with sixth formers.  College lecturers spend the vast majority of their working lives with sixteen-eighteen year olds, and that’s a whole different ball game.  That greater understanding of the sixteen plus age group will make a big difference. Furthermore, the college environment gives you a new start and much more independence than you would experience in a school sixth form. It’s the perfect stepping stone to university.”

The College is still recruiting staff, partly to make sure class sizes are kept low.  “We’re making sure students will be in similarly sized groups to those in a school sixth form.  We want to make sure nothing detracts from their learning opportunities.”

The College is also well-placed to help pupils when it comes to applying for university, if that’s what they choose to do.  “We have about four hundred students going through the UCAS process every year, many more than in a school sixth form, so our experienced Careers and Progression team know exactly how the system works and offer wonderful advice and guidance.”

Young people taking GCSEs this year are still being encouraged to get in touch and to consider applying to study their A Levels at the College.  Marc says, “If you’ve got the ambition and you think College life might be right for you, just drop us a line and we’ll show you exactly what’s on offer.”

You can register your interest in studying A Levels at Milton Keynes College at https://mkcollege.ac.uk/a-levels/