King Edward VI Aston School is a state funded, selective school for boys located in one of the most socially disadvantaged wards in Birmingham, with over 80% of households meeting one or more dimensions of deprivation. The social economic classification for the area indicate that over half of the residents are not working or are working class. The last census identified that just under 7% of adults held a university degree. The school provides additional support to those students who live in the B6 postcode or who may have joined the Sixth Form after taking their GCSE’s at a local secondary school, through its Albion Trust program. Across the whole school, around forty per cent of students are now classed as being from a disadvantaged background.
There are around one hundred and forty students in Year 13, with around 60 of them having joined the Sixth Form after very successful performance at GCSE at other schools across Birmingham. Students are able to take three or four A Level subjects depending upon their GCSE profile, with the vast majority taking three. All students can take the Extended Project Qualification, but criteria, including academic performance, are used to decide which students who apply can undertake it; around a third of students do so. The school did not enter any students for the new stand-alone A/S Level qualification at the end of Year 12.
The Sixth Form operates quite a flexible options system enabling students to combine the study of arts and sciences; they can choose from subjects they may have studied at GCSE such as English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Religious Education, French, German, Geography, History, Art, Music, Information Technology, Computer Science and Design Technology. In addition to these subjects, Economics, Further Mathematics, Psychology and Philosophy can also be studied. The school also collaborates with King Edward Handsworth Grammar School for Boys jointly teaching Art, Music, French, German and Government and Politics. A Level subjects follow specifications set by either AQA, Edexcel, OCR, whilst Information Technology follows the Cambridge Assessment International Examinations syllabus.
Predicted grades are formulated through two methods. Method one is used for the subjects that are following the new A Level syllabuses - this involves using a combination of the end of year internal exam grade, together with assessment data from tests throughout the year and the subject teacher’s professional judgement. Method two is used for subjects that still have external examinations at the end of Year 12 (Information Technology) – the external exam grade is predominantly used with assessment data from tests throughout the year and the subject teacher’s professional judgement then being influential for students who are borderline.