The New Kings' Diploma: What is it, and Why?

Kings' Al Barsha announced last month it would be launching a new sixth-form in September 2017, yet that wasn't all the news. In addition to the 23 A Level courses, the school will also be offering a new and 'bespoke' Kings' Diploma too...
The New Kings' Diploma: What is it, and Why?
By C Hoppe
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Kings’ Al Barsha plans to open its brand new sixth-form in September 2017, however the school wont just be offering prospective students 23 basic A Level options. Kings' has customised its offering with the addition of  an additional ‘in-house,’ qualification called the Kings' Diploma. met with sixth-form coordinator- Rebecca Coulter to find out more… 

 Can you explain the components of the Kings Diploma programme?
The Kings’ Diploma is in essence a bespoke suite of qualifications which will ensure our students are able to win competitive places at the top universities around the world. It will comprise three sections: The Extended Project Qualification; Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and ​Kings' Community.

Through the Kings' Diploma, students will have the opportunity to further develop The Kings’ Learner Behaviours that​ are so ​central to our students’ education.  These behaviours focus on collaboration, critical thinking, leadership, emotional intelligence and enquiring minds. Our Sixth Form students will continue to develop these essential skills in order to prepare themselves for the world of​ higher education and work. 

Why do you feel Kings’ A Level students require this additional programme alongside their traditional A Levels?
Kings' students will win places at top universities worldwide. Providing our students with the opportunity to complete the Kings' Diploma alongside their A level subjects will give them academic confidence and provide a head-start for university. The diploma helps students stand out. It shows university admissions that our students have the passion, skills and determination to carry out additional academic enrichment and it distinguishes them from other students. It also helps develop skills that employers value in the workplace.

How many hours do you think the Kings Diploma will add to the workload for a student on the Kings Diploma?
Successful Sixth Form study depends on excellent time management. The transition from Year 11 to Year 12 is not to be underestimated and is one of the most challenging experiences in a students' education. The Kings' Diploma will require a degree of commitment and dedication. Both the EPQ and the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award are both accredited and carry valuable UCAS points. However, as each component is flexible in terms of deadline, students do not need to expect to add more than 2-3 hours a week in total to their A level schedule.

Can you outline your previous experience and why you want to create and implement the Kings Diploma Programme at Al Barsha?
Sixth Form is undoubtedly the most challenging two years that a student will spend in education. The pressure to study hard and perform well in order to satisfy admissions criteria at universities worldwide can be daunting. ​Having prepared students for university entry for over 10 years as a Sixth Form leader in the UK, I have seen just how important qualifications such as the EPQ are in securing entry to university. In fact, I have seen many students receive university offers based on their EPQ alone (supported by secure A level grades of course).

Our students are ambitious and have high aspirations. By creating the Kings' Diploma, they will have the opportunity to access places at top universities, not only by securing excellent academic grades at A level, but through the development of the "softer skills" that are so fundamental to success at university and beyond.  

Some might say the addition of the Kings' Diploma to the standard A Level offering could be viewed as Kings' attempting to add a more IB 'feel' to the qualification, do you agree? Can you explain? 
In essence, there are similarities. We have not based our Kings' Diploma on the IB model per se, but essentially both models have the same goal, which is to ensure that students are not only academically prepared for university studies, but equipped with the essential skills (communication, teamwork, problem solving, initiative, self-management etc.) required to succeed at university and beyond. 

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