The consequences of the end of January A-Level modules

For many sixth formers up and down the land this weekend will have been one of revision for January A Level modules – as it has been for the past 12 years, since the AS/A2 system became fully fledged in 2000/01. But, with this group of mainly 6.2s (in our case) sitting January modules, it is the last time that modules will be available in January. What will be the consequences? Four spring to mind – two that directly affect students’ choices and two which are more pertinent to school organisation. The pressure to perform up to scratch at the first sitting in the summer of your 6.1 year will increase. For those who were going to take a gap year anyway, the relatively painless re-take option post A Levels goes, as you would now have to wait a year to re-take your modules. As far as our organisation goes, not having January modules increases uninterrupted teaching time – a welcome change. Less welcome is the further impact that will be felt because of all the marking now being concentrated in the summer months when the marking has been less reliable than in January) and therefore yet more effort and time spent in trying to ensure that the quality of marking is what we need it to be. On balance, it is a welcome move, although the reliability of marking remains a big bugbear.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales School


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.