Sixth Form Curriculum
The experience of Sixth Form at Christ’s Hospital is challenging, broadening, and supportive. It is also hugely rewarding and will provide an array of exciting challenges and experiences that not only prepare pupils for the rigours of A levels, but equip our pupils with key life skills, helping them to flourish regardless of career choice.
This two-year experience is shaped by a curriculum that frees pupils to i) explore and develop their personal talents and passions, ii) undertake scholarly research and exploration and iii) engage in critical thinking, reasoning, and debate of societal issues. Additionally, it offers scope to take more formal roles of leadership. The two years in the sixth form act as a bridge between the relative order of GCSE and the array of university and workplace opportunities beyond school.
SIXTH FORM CURRICULUM:
Pupils start with a selection of either four A levels or three A levels plus the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in the lower sixth.
Within the EPQ there is considerable scope for pupils to engage in a wide range of possible research pathways, all carried out independently, under the guidance of a supervisor. It challenges pupils to think critically, read carefully, write precisely in the development of a dissertation, or explore independent interests of an artefact or performance. This course allows pupils to manage a large piece of work over an extended period before evaluating the outcome.
All pupils, irrespective of A level options, engage in the unique Christ’s Hospital Learning for Life (L4L) programme, designed to combine critical thinking, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), and preparation for post-school life. There are segments of the L4L course on critical thinking, exploring what knowledge is, and how to make decisions on wellbeing, inclusion, ethics, politics, religion, personal finance, and money. These themes are designed to develop the kind of skills pupils need to make better decisions and so go on to be happier, more fulfilled and socially aware adults.
Participation in a wide range of societies, sports, and activities beyond the classroom – underpinned by the support of the pastoral network around them – is an essential part of the Sixth Form Curriculum at Christ’s Hospital.
A level selection:
All of the A levels offered at Christ’s Hospital are rigorous in nature and will support strong ambition in terms of entry into higher education courses, including subjects not offered at A level. The choice of subjects taken in Year 12 is an important one and should focus on the strengths and passions of the pupil. Chosen subjects should be their own unique selection, not one fuelled by conformity or pressure. It is acknowledged that certain careers do require specified combinations; however, the principles in choosing a subject should be determined by two specific factors: i) an individual’s academic potential to succeed in a subject and ii) enthusiasm to study it. If these factors are respected, it is entirely possible for pupils to flourish. If either are absent it is unlikely that the pupils will enjoy the course or make a success of it.
Christ’s Hospital actively encourages breadth in the choice of A level subjects where possible and the 3 or 4 subjects offer room for this.
We believe academic potential is well measured by high grades at (I)GCSE and, therefore, hope that pupils will achieve a Level 7 or higher at (I)GCSE in subjects which are continued to A level, or in related subjects for those not offered at GCSE. It should be noted that if a pupil opts for a subject in which they have not achieved at least a Level 7 Christ’s Hospital requires consideration of other subjects as choices for A level study.
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
An EPQ course enables pupils to broaden and deepen their learning by completing a project of their choosing. This provides pupils with the chance to take time to research a topic that is of interest to them, but which may not be related to their chosen courses.
A successful EPQ demonstrates the pupil’s ability to work independently and engage academically with scholarly work. This is excellent preparation for university and the world of work. Research has shown that producing a good EPQ can improve a pupil’s exam results in Year 13. The qualification itself is equivalent to half an A level, an A* is worth 70 UCAS points.
While most pupils elect to write an extended essay of approximately 5,000 words, there are other attractive options, such as completing a piece of scientific research, creating an ‘artefact’ (e.g. an artwork, a design project, a media project), or putting on a performance (e.g.dramatic, musical, dance, a speech, etc.).
There are four main elements of the course:
Pupils must plan how they will complete their project. They will learn how to manage their time and carefully consider the specific tasks they need to complete in order to create a successful product.
Pupils explore possible topics and, once decided, must engage with a wide range of sources and evaluate their significance. They must reference this research properly and ensure they accurately represent a diversity of views.
Development and Realisation:
Pupils will deliver on their plan. This process will differ significantly for different types of project, but for most will mean spending time writing and revising drafts of their essay. For others this will mean sourcing materials, completing sketches, rehearsals, and creating a final piece.
Reflection and Review:
Pupils end the process by reflecting on the successes and difficulties of their project. They deliver an oral presentation to a small audience to explain their project, whether or not it went according to plan, and also the way they have managed the challenges they encountered.
While the finished project is a piece of independent work, pupils will be supported by a supervisor responsible for a small group and will deliver essential skills such as referencing and academic writing. The supervisor will assess the work and guide pupils in the right direction at key moments in their project.
Learning for Life
Learning for Life takes a central place in supporting the ethos of the School and pupils’ personal development.
The guiding question in the course is: ‘how do I go about understanding the world around me?’, and examples of the kinds of questions we look at during it include: ‘how do I know when to use reason or intuition?’, ‘how do I make ethical choices?’, ‘how do I decide which course to study at university?’, and ‘how do I budget my money?’.
Learning for Life has essential PSHE topics at its core. Opportunities for critical reflection on, and practice of, values expand to include an engagement with the important spiritual, cultural and moral aspects of human experience, reflected in contemporary social and political issues and the traditions that inform them. These elements are complemented by a developing focus on wider activities such as outdoor education, preparation for university and the workplace and an exploration of the adult world.