Upper School Curriculum

The Upper School curriculum aims to provide an outstanding all-round education to prepare our young people for success in a fast-changing world.

Pupils entering the Sixth Form must first decide which pathway they will follow, the A Level programme or the IB programme.

A Level Linear Programme and Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Those opting for the A Level route will chose three subjects (Further Mathematics counts as a fourth) as well as the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). 

The A Level subject options available to study in September 2017 are:

Art History
Biology History of Art
Business Latin
Chemistry Mathematics
Computer Science Further Mathematics
Design Music
Economics Photography
English Language Physical Education
English Literature Physics
Film Philosophy
French Politics
Geography Spanish
Greek Theatre Studies
 

Our Sixth Form curriculum guide details the contents of all courses and subjects available to study at A Level:

Sixth Form Subject Choices September 2017
 

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The EPQ is a personal research project that is largely self-directed and self-motivated. The project may take the form of:

  • a research-based written report
  • a production (e.g. charity event, fashion show or sports event)
  • an artefact (e.g. piece of art, a computer game or realised design).

The EPQ is awarded UCAS points and therefore provides huge support to a university application. You can find out more about the EPQ on the AQA website.

The EPQ represents an important opportunity to undertake genuine academic research as a pupil would do at university, and enables the development of transferable skills such as time management, independence, public speaking, as well as vital interpersonal skills (e.g. through conducting interviews).

EPQ titles have been impressively diverse in recent years with last year’s including: Managing an investment portfolio during difficult market conditions; The effect of Crossrail on the London property market; Designing a ‘green’ home in Hong Kong; Investigating slapstick comedy through directing OZ by Don Zolidis and To what extent is the Black Panther Party a terrorist organisation?.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

For the IBDP, pupils are required to study six subjects (three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level) along with the core elements; Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS).

Higher Level courses are more difficult and pupils will spend more time on these than the Standard Level courses. All subjects are worth 7 points, with the Core being worth a further 3 points, making a total of 45. To pass the Diploma, pupils must gain at least 24 points.

The subject choices available for the IBDP from September 2017 are:

  Higher Level Standard Level
Group 1

English Literature

German Literature

English Language & Literature

German Literature

Group 2

French

German

Latin

Spanish

French

German

Latin

Spanish

Italian ab initio

Group 3

Economics

Geography

History

Psychology

Art History

Economics

Environmental Systems / Societies*

Geography

History

Group 4

Biology

Chemistry

Computer Science

Physics

Chemistry

Computer Science

Environmental Systems / Societies*

Physics

Group 5 Mathematics

Mathematics

Mathematical Studies

Group 6

Film

Music

Visual Arts

Theatre

 

Or a second subject from Groups 2,3 or 4

Film

Music

Visual Arts

 

 

Or a second subject from Groups 2,3 or 4

 

*Environmental Systems and Societies meets the requirements of Groups 3 and 4 through the study of a single subject. This means an additional subject must be chosen to make a total of six. This can be taken from Groups 2, 3, 4, or 6.

The Core - International Baccalaureate

To be awarded an IB Diploma, a pupil must fulfill three core requirements, in addition to passing their subject examinations.

  1. Extended Essay

The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay due by September of the Upper Sixth. The topic must be linked to one of the Higher Level subjects taken.

This EE allows pupils to pursue an area of interest with one-to-one supervision from a member of the teaching staff. The EE gives our pupils a distinct advantage when they get to university as they have already undertaken an extended piece of research.

Example essays from last year’s cohort included: How does Nabokov seduce the reader in Lolita? (English), Has the plastic bag tax reduced pollution levels in Bradfield, England? (Economics) and To what extent does Dominica’s claim to be the nature island and an ecotourism destination apply? (Geography).

  1. Theory of Knowledge

Theory of knowledge encourages pupils to consider how we learn, how we know what we know and how the acquisition of knowledge varies across different subjects.

Pupils are required to think critically and to analyse all information and knowledge. ToK is assessed through an essay and presentation carried out in the Upper Sixth.

  1. Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

The CAS Programme lies at the heart of the IBDP. Pupils have the opportunity to fulfil the three requirements (Creativity, Action and Service) through co-curricular activities, and the College’s charities and community services programme.

  • Creativity – arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking
  • Action - physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the IB Diploma Programme
  • Service - an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student

Find out more about CAS and the IB programme more generally in our IB Booklet:

IB Booklet September 2017