Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below many of the frequently asked questions about the application and enrolment process. 

 

Applications and Enrolment

When do applications open?

How do I apply?

When will I receive a response?

How do we decide whether to offer a place?

What are the entry criteria?

What if I have my GCSEs but don't have Maths or English at GCSE?

What happens if I don't get the grades I want?

Is there an enrolment fee?

When do students finally decide on which courses to take?

What are the  main differences in studying AS courses and BTEC courses?

How many AS courses will I study in the lower 6th?

What is the Welsh Baccalaureate?

 

Results and Progression

What were the College results in 2016?

How do I find out about individual course results?

How many students progress to university?

 

College Life

What happens when I don't have lessons?

What facilities are there for private study during the College day?

Am I expected to stay on site when I don't have lessons?

Is there a uniform?

How do students travel to College?

What facilities are there for eating?

I'm a bit concerned that I won't know anyone if I come to St David's

 

Attendance and Parent Feedback

How is my attendance monitored?

Will my parents be informed if my attendance starts to slip?

How important is attendance?

How will my parents receive feedback on my progress?

What is the Parent Portal?

 

Teaching and Learning

What will my timetable be like?

Will I have to do RE?

Do I have a personal tutor and will I be registered by them daily?

Will I need to buy textbooks for my courses?

What role does the Learner Coach play?

Do I have a say in the way that I am taught?

How will I be supported if I have any additional learning needs?

What mechanisms are in place to ensure that I reach my expected/target grade?

How often will I receive homework?

How quickly will I receive my assessment back with written feedback?

 

Applications and Enrolment

 

When do applications open?

Applications open on November 16th 2016 for entry in September 2017.

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How do I apply?

Students make applications online through our website. For students without access to a PC, a paper application form is available by calling 02920 498 555.

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When will I receive a response?

You will receive an email to say that your application has been received. You will then be sent a letter inviting you for interview.

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How do we decide whether to offer a place?

We make a judgement on your suitability for study at sixth-form by a number of criteria including your attendance record at school, attitude to study as well as how motivated you are to come to St David’s. We will also advise on alternative colleges if we are unable to meet your course or subject requirements.

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What are the entry criteria?

Students who achieve 5 GCSEs or equivalents A* - C will be offered a place on our vocational courses. Students who achieve 6 actual GCSEs A* - C will be offered a place on our A Level courses.

Courses will also have their own entry criteria such as to study A level Mathematics students need to have sat the higher tier paper and achieved at least a grade B.

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What if I have my GCSEs but don't have Maths or English at GCSE?

You will be able to study level 3 courses as long as you meet the individual course entry requirements.

All learners can have the opportunity to resit their GCSE Mathematics, English or Science alongside their Level 3 courses (AS or BTEC). Great importance is placed upon achieving a grade ‘C’ in GCSE Mathematics and GCSE English so we ensure that classes are available to all learners. Some learners need to achieve a grade ‘B’ in these courses due to the university entry requirements so we allow learners to enrol for GCSE resit classes in these instances too.

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What happens if I don't get the grades I want?

We will have a limited number of BTEC courses for some students who have been unsuccessful in gaining the entry criteria.

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Is there an enrolment fee?

No, unlike other colleges we don’t charge students for enrolment.

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When do students finally decide on which courses to take?

Students attend enrolment during the first week of September and receive final course advice based on their GCSE qualifications. All students will study the Welsh Baccalaureate.

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What are the  main differences in studying AS courses and BTEC courses?

The method of assessment is the main difference with AS courses largely being examined through external examinations and BTEC courses being assessed through assignments which are internally marked and externally moderated.

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How many AS courses will I study in the lower 6th?

This will depend on your GCSE profile on entry. The vast majority of Lower 6 learners will undertake 3 AS level courses alongside the Welsh Baccalaureate at Advanced Level. Learners with a very strong GCSE profile may choose to study four AS Levels alongside the Welsh Baccalaureate with a view to dropping to 3 A Levels in Upper 6.

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What is the Welsh Baccalaureate?

All advanced level students study the Welsh Baccalaureate within the pastoral programme. At Level 3, the Welsh Baccalaureate is graded A* - C at A Level and worth up to 56 UCAS points. Students participate in four challenges over a two year period. These challenges include: the Enterprise and Employability Challenge, the Global Citizenship Challenge, the Community Participation Challenge and an Individual Project.

To get the qualification at level 3 students need also to have achieved at least two A level or vocational equivalent passes.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is graded at A level from A*-C depending on the student’s performance in their individual investigation.

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Results and Progression

 

What were the College results in 2016?

At A level, the college achieved 31% A* - A grade, with 97% of learners gaining A-E grade.

Value-added which is measure of how well learners perform relative to their GCSE qualifications on entry, places the college in the top 20% of colleges in the UK (ALIS system of value-added).

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How do I find out about individual course results?

These are available on the website under ‘course information’.

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How many students progress to university?

In 2016, 422 students went to university, with 28% progressing to the top Russell Group universities.

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College Life

 

What happens when I don't have lessons?

Where free periods are at the beginning of the day students don’t need to arrive at college until their first lesson. When free periods are at the end of the day students are free to go home.

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What facilities are there for private study during the College day?

The learning resource centre has 50 available PCs for working online. There are also study carrels and desks for collaborative working.

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Am I expected to stay on site when I don't have lessons?

We ask that all learners attend their timetabled lessons and attendance is monitored through an electronic registration system. When learners do not have timetable lessons they are free to leave the college site. The important thing is that learners have full attendance in their lessons.

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Is there a uniform?

No there is no college uniform but we do have expectations in relation to slogans, images, and decency. No hoods or hats are allowed in lessons.

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How do students travel to College?

Students from the Vale of Glamorgan travel for free on Vale buses paid by the Vale council. The college also operate four dedicated bus routes covering each area of Cardiff for a cost of £28 per month. 

There is a car-park for students to bring their own cars or motorbikes. There are also facilities for securing bikes.

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What facilities are there for eating?

The college has a coffee shop which sells a variety of drinks and snacks. The canteen sells a variety of hot and cold food at lunchtime.

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I'm a bit concerned that I won't know anyone if I come to St David's

We recruit students from over 30 high schools each year. Students are placed in mixed tutor groups and encouraged to socialise with students from all partner schools. In this way sixth-form is a good preparation for university. We can however if you wish pair students together if it helps them settle in. 

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Attendance and Parent Feedback

 

How is my attendance monitored?

Attendance is monitored via an electronic registration system. Attendance data is collated and this data can be assessed through the Student eILP (electronic Individual Learning Plan) and the Parental Portal.

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Will my parents be informed if my attendance starts to slip?

Yes, parents will be contacted either by the subject teacher or the Learner Coach. Parents can also monitor attendance via the Parental Portal.

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How important is attendance?

It is extremely important. St David’s has exactly the same expectations with attendance as your previous high school. Research shows that every 5% of attendance lost accounts for half a grade at A level. We expect all learners to aim for 100% attendance, with 95% being the minimum expectation.

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How will my parents receive feedback on my progress?

Parents can receive feedback on learners’ progress in a variety of ways. The Parental Portal is a valuable tool that allows parents to access information relating to attendance, assignment completion, achievement, effort, target grades on an on-going basis. If a parent wishes to have a discussion with a member of staff they can email the learner’s Learner Coach. Parents receive a written report once a year, in December and this is closely followed by a Parents’ Evening.

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What is the Parent Portal?

This allows parents to access a range of information relating to their son/daughter’s curriculum. Parents can gain information including their son/daughter’s timetable; examination timetable; attendance across their various courses; assessment information, including assignment feedback; target grades; effort grades and they can have online dialogue with their son/ daughter’s Learner Coach.

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Teaching and Learning

 

What will my timetable be like?

It will of course depend on what you choose to study. Students can expect to have between sixteen and twenty periods a week, with periods being one hour. Students resitting GCSEs in English and Maths will have additional time on their timetables. This means students will have some free lessons.

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Will I have to do RE?

All students admitted to the college are required to attend one period of religious education per week. This will be on your timetable and forms part of what we call the ‘St David’s Core’.

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Do I have a personal tutor and will I be registered by them daily?

St David’s doesn’t have daily registration with a form or personal tutor. Instead students are registered by their classes in each lesson and their Learner Coach will monitor your attendance. Students meet with their Learner Coach for three hours a week.

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What role does the Learner Coach play?

The Learner Coach monitors performance across a learner’s programmes of study. They monitor a learner’s attendance on a weekly basis and will contact parents if there are issues relating to a learner’s progress. Learner Coaches deliver the pastoral programme which includes elements of the Welsh Baccalaureate, an overarching qualification which attracts up to 56 UCAS points.

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Will I need to buy textbooks for my courses?

In the vast majority of courses there will be no need for learners to purchase text books since course materials are provided. However, there are a few exceptions such as ‘A’ Level English courses where learners are expected to annotate their texts. Course material is also available through Moodle. If a learner is experiencing financial hardship in purchasing essential books, they can apply for additional funding to help them.

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Do I have a say in the way that I am taught?

Each course has Learner Representatives who attend course team meetings. This enables learners to be involved in discussions and decisions related to the delivery of the course. In addition, learners have an opportunity to provide feedback to their teachers about the course through online questionnaires and focus group meetings.

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How will I be supported if I have any additional learning needs?

The College has a facility called ‘The Learner Support Centre’ where learners can go to receive additional support. Teachers can direct learners to this facility and learners can drop-in, if they wish. Learners access this support if they need help in a range of areas including literacy, numeracy, time management, essay writing, etc.

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What mechanisms are in place to ensure that I reach my expected/target grade?

We have a comprehensive monitoring system to ensure that all learners reach their full potential. All assessment feedback that you receive will relate to your target grade. The target grade is based on your GCSE profile on entry and your assessed work to date. The target grade is a ‘live’ grade that can change through the year, based on your performance. Whilst target grades are aspirational, they should be realistic and achievable. Achievement grades on the eILP should be in line with the target grades and where this is not the case, intervention strategies will be used.

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How often will I receive homework?

Each course sets a minimum of one hour formal written assessment per week. Assessment is marked work and does not include activities such as further reading, completion of class notes, research and revision. Assessments replicate external assessment and are graded using external grading criteria provided by the examination boards.

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How quickly will I receive my assessment back with written feedback?

All assessed work is returned to learners within two weeks of the work being submitted.

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