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Pre A-Level

The Pre-A Level course, accredited by NCFE and inspected by ISI, is designed for students who wish to progress onto an academic course such as A-level or Foundation.  The course, which aims to improve a student’s English, enables students to become familiar with vocabulary, culture and ethos of particular subjects and to familiarise themselves with key learning methods and texts.

Students, minimum age of 15 years, can start in either September or January and must have at least IELTS 4.0 for September entry or 4.5 for January entry to access the course.  IELTS teaching at St Andrew’s is very strong and most students progress by 1.5 grades by the end of the year.  What really makes the difference is the small class sizes so that every student receives significant attention and support.

All students study English (including English for Academic Purposes) and Maths and choose a particular pathway of interest from the arts, humanities or sciences.  Those who would like to take GCSE exams at the end of the course may do so.

Hours of Study (per week)

English Tuition 15 hours
Maths  5  hours
Two GCSE subjects of your choice 4 hours study for each subject
Daily personal tutor session

Key Information

September Intake

 January Intake

Minimum age 15 years Minimum age 15.5 years
Course length 1 year (3 terms) Course length (2 terms)
English requirement IELTS 4.0 English requirement IELTS 4.5
29.5 hours of study per week 35 hours of study per week

Pathway Subjects

Scientific Pathway Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Creative Pathway Art and Design, Photography, Music
Computing Pathway Computer science, Physics, Economics
Sporting Pathway Physical Education, Biology, Geography
Humanities Pathway Geography, Latin, Business
Business Pathway Latin, Business, Economics

In terms of assessment, all students take exams at the end of each term in the subject studied as well as mock exams at the end of each term.  Results for each subject or pathway are averaged to give a final percentage per subject or pathway and credits awarded accordingly.  The Art pathway will be reviewed at the end of each term the same as the other pathways and a mark allocated based on work completed at that point in time based on the brief for the term.  On completion of the results, each student will meet with his or her tutor and an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) put in place if applicable.

In addition to the internal exams students may also sit external GCSE / iGCSE in the subjects shown. English is examined via external IELTS examinations,

The table below will show the credits that can be awarded for each exam session:

Percentage Achieved Credits
80% + 50
70 – 79% 40
60 – 69% 30
50 – 59% 20
40 – 49 % 10
0 – 39% 0



For a student to progress to their chosen A-Level or Foundation course they will need to obtain the following credits and or exam results over the academic year:

Subject Credits Required
Maths 70
English 60
Pathway 60

The credit system is put in place to enable students to move freely between pathways and still achieve the progression required.

Support subjects

The Pre A-Level course is supported by the following non-examined subjects:

  • PSHE Personal Social and Health Education 
  • PE

The credits for the above are awarded if 95% attendance is achieved over the duration of the course.


Pass: To obtain at least 190 credits in the Pathways and support subjects

Attendance: Students must have a 95% or above attendance rate in order to receive an award.

Completion of work:  Students must complete all work on time.