Entry criteria and ‘admissions score’ for applications


Overview of admissions entry criteria for A level courses:

(Please see the Admissions Policy for further details)

Our minimum entry criteria are as follows:

  • a GCSE profile broadly equivalent* to four subjects at grade 6 and four at grade 5, including English Language and Maths
  • the specific grade requirements for chosen A level subjects, as specified in our prospectus and here.
* The equivalence of GCSE profiles is based on our ‘admissions score’, as detailed below.

How we calculate and use our ‘admissions score’

In response to the Government’s introduction in schools of its ‘attainment 8 scoring system’ and numeric GCSE grades, from 2019 the College adjusted the way it measures the overall academic strength of each application to determine whether an applicant is qualified for their course.

We do this through our own ‘admissions score’, which closely resembles the Government’s Key Stage 4 ‘attainment 8 score’. For applications, this ‘admissions score’ will be based on the estimated grades provided by the applicant’s school (and any actual grades at this stage, if applicable). For enrolment, this ‘admissions score’ will be based on actual grades.

In common with the ‘attainment 8 score’ our ‘admissions score’ will be calculated by adding together ten numeric grades, on the 1-9 scale, for full GCSEs/IGCSEs as follows:
  • English Language GCSE (grade counted twice)
  • Mathematics GCSE (grade counted twice)
  • The applicant’s best six other grades.
1. Up to two GCSEs can be replaced in our ‘admissions score’ by level 2 vocational qualifications of equal size to a full GCSE, using the following conversion of vocational grades to numbers: Distinction*=8; Distinction=7; Merit=6; Pass=4.
2. Unlike ‘attainment 8’, we shall not also require the inclusion of three further ‘English Baccalaureate’ GCSEs, in addition to English Language and Mathematics, in our ‘admissions score’.
3. To be fair to all applicants, we do not take account of level 3 qualifications in our ‘admissions score’, as these are not available to most applicants.
4. Where special circumstances have resulted in an applicant taking fewer than the eight qualifications which contribute towards our ‘admissions score’, we shall make an individual judgement to determining an appropriate ‘admissions score’ for them.
5. A tool to help you work out your admissions score is available via the following link: admissions score calculator.

To clarify the calculation of our ‘admissions score’, we have provided the following illustration. Consider an applicant whose estimated grades are as follows:

 Subject  Estimated grade
 English Language  GCSE grade 5
 Mathematics  GCSE grade 6
 English Literature  GCSE grade 4
 Biology  GCSE grade 5
 Chemistry  GCSE grade 6
 Physics  GCSE grade 7
 Art  GCSE grade 2
 Geography  GCSE grade 3
 French  GCSE grade 8
 BTEC Business  grade 7 (converted from a Distinction)

As ten grades are included above, but only eight are needed for our ‘admissions score’, the two weakest grades (3 and 2) do not need to be used. The resulting ‘admissions score’, with English Language and Mathematics shown counting twice in brackets, is: (5+5)+(6+6)+8+7+7+6+5+4 = 59

As indicated in the above overview, our minimum GCSE profile for entry is broadly equivalent to four subjects at grade 6 and four at grade 5, including English Language and Maths. This corresponds to an ‘admissions score’ in the range 54-56, depending on whether the doubled grades for English Language and Maths are 5 or 6. On this basis, our minimum ‘admissions score’ – as referred to in Section 3.1 (iii) of the College’s Admissions Policy – is expected to be about 56. An admissions score of at least 56 is expected to be one of our criteria for a guidance meeting in 2020, though a slightly higher minimum score might need to apply for offers.

Note about STEM subjects:

Section 3.3 of the College’s Admissions Policy goes on to indicate that higher ‘adjusted levels’ are set each year for STEM subjects (science, mathematics and computer science), and for other subjects as necessary.

The ‘adjusted levels’ for science subjects and computer science depend on that year’s application pattern, but are expected to be at least equivalent to four GCSE subjects at grade 7 and four at grade 6, and to a minimum ‘admissions score’ of at least 66. The ‘adjusted level’ for mathematics is expected to lie within or close to the admissions score range 56 to 66, and higher still for double mathematics, which can only be taken as part of a four A level programme.