Sixth Form Curriculum
King’s College, like all schools, finds itself navigating its way through a changing post-16 educational landscape. For a number of years now the structure and content of A levels has been tinkered with by successive governments. The new look A levels, the first tranche of which came into force this year (2015), are in many ways a step back to the past: A levels are once again two-year, linear courses, examined terminally, with no interim modules and no re-takes possible. By and large this reversion is to be welcomed, not least because it restores a whole term of teaching – the summer of the Lower Sixth Year will no longer be taken up with AS exams.
Although there are alternative post-16 qualifications on offer, we remain convinced that A levels are the best choice for the majority of pupils in the King’s Sixth Form, offering depth and rigour. Their flexibility allows us to construct individual courses to suit each student. Together with the broader King’s enrichment and extra-curricular programmes, A levels are an appropriate preparation for the good universities which are the next step for most of our leavers. The students at King’s receive one of the broadest educations imaginable; and this breadth is not prescribed, but rather developed to suit the interests and talents of each individual.
We now also offer the level 3 BTEC in sport as an alternative to A level study and this is a course well worth considering for those thinking about a career in sport – teaching, coaching, playing or managing. Our course offers excellent teaching, first-class facilities and strong links to professional sports clubs in the south west. Like A levels, though, it is a tough and demanding option, not to be taken lightly.
The main features of the Sixth Form curriculum are explained in the introduction which follows this foreword. We believe that students should choose either three or four A levels at the outset, with the majority of students ultimately taking three through to their conclusion. It is clear from recent discussions that universities still want to see three strong A level grades.
We offer the Extended Project Qualification, a major piece of research culminating in an extended essay. It encourages independent thinking at an advanced level and has proved useful to students preparing for university application. Details can be found towards the end of the booklet. The Project is optional, but we hope that the majority of our students will elect to do it as part of their Sixth Form studies.
We are determined to stretch and challenge all our students, whatever their abilities. While success in exams is of great importance we encourage our teachers to go beyond what is prescribed wherever possible. I believe that inspiring a love of learning for its own sake is one of our most important tasks.