Statement to Universities and Higher Education Providers
Dene Magna School opened its Sixth Form Provision in September 2019 as part of a wider initiative to raise aspiration and achievement in the Forest of Dean area. The Dene Magna Sixth Form Campus is situated in Cinderford, an area of high economic and social deprivation and a significant number are classified as meeting Quintile 1 (22 %) and Quintile 2 (49%) on the POLAR measurement. The central Forest of Dean is a semi-rural environment where no other secondary school has a post-16 provision; Dene Magna is the only provider of A-Levels. Until 2019, students who live in the area have had to travel some distance to access A-level teaching (into Gloucester, or out of county to Herefordshire or Monmouthshire) and this has had an historic negative impact on the aspiration of students to continue on to A-levels and then degree courses at University.
The majority of students take three A-levels and we do not offer vocational level 2 or 3 courses. Dene Magna is an ‘OFSTED outstanding’ school and with a successful culture of ensuring quality Teaching and Learning; the institution continues to support staff delivery of A Levels with regular CPD T&L sessions. A number of our teachers have become A-level examiners as part of their CPD. Subjects are taught by subject specialists, with the exception of Sociology, where financial pressure has limited the opportunity for recruitment: teaching is delivered by experienced post-16 teachers who operate in related disciplines with social sciences. Physics is delivered by only one teacher as the school currently has only one subject specialist. In Further Maths, the lead teacher was recruited specifically for this level and also provides assessment support to the rest of the mathematics department. Students studying Product Design and Art and Drama travel to another site to access facilities.
Students undertake wider study skills at the start of Year 12 and all students have access to an academic mentor for tutorials which focus on their learning and study habits - we emphasise training students to become independent in preparation for a successful continuation of their study at University.
Predicted grades are determined by a combination of regular internal assessment and trial examination. There is an end of Year 12 assessment under exam conditions, marked against pre-pandemic grade boundaries. Full A Level trials are then completed in the November of Year 13 - again, grade boundaries are in line with pre 2020. Grades are further calculated by careful target setting based on prior attainment and students are then supported to ensure they achieve or exceed these. By benchmarking standards against several other similar institutions to ensure that our targeting is realistic and achievable, we are confident that our predictions are an accurate reflection of the student's abilities.