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Our Sixth Form curriculum supports the academic ambitions of our students and ensures they have strong applications when it comes to applying for university or a job.
In response to the recent A Level reform, we adapted our Sixth Form curriculum in the best interests of the students. We therefore focus on the three A Levels required by even the most selective universities. However, there is an opportunity for the most able mathematicians to take a further mathematics A Level as a fourth option.
This is a particularly demanding course and is only available to those who are especially gifted in maths and intend to study a degree course with high mathematical content. We always give close consideration as to whether a student can manage the pace, complexity and volume of material studied.
By transforming our approach to the A Level system, our Sixth Form students also benefit from increased contact time for each subject. They have six lessons each week which is an increase of around 20% on our previous curriculum.
Our aim is to maximise the teaching time available to help students achieve the best results in their three three chosen A Level subjects. Furthermore, specialist subject experts and small class sizes of around ten mean every student at our Sixth Form has access to increased individual attention and assistance in and outside of the classroom.
Since the reform, all Sixth Form subjects have been examined under more rigorous, linear qualifications. In order to maintain our A Level success as the best school in Teesside and County Durham, we require motivation and initiative to conduct independent research and background reading from all of our students. Progress into Upper Sixth is not automatic and only those who demonstrate an appropriate level of achievement and commitment during Lower Sixth will continue.
In line with our ethos to educate for life, we provide an effective enrichment programme to further support our dynamic A Level curriculum and enhance the personal statements of our students. Students also engage in the wider community and learn skills important in real life. We put a particular emphasis on careers advice and advice on living independently.
All of our students take part in SPaCE sessions (Social, Personal and Citizenship Education) to prepare them for the challenges of life. SPaCE is a part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education at Yarm School. Students build on the work they have done in First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth year around:
All of our Sixth Form students have one, 50minute SPaCE lesson each week, whether it’s a small group session or a talk to the whole year group. The programme also benefits from a superb mix of guest speakers.
ExCEL (Extensions, Culture, Enrichment and Learning) is an internally constructed programme of study for Sixth Form students which offers a range of short courses to help further develop cultural awareness and knowledge of current affairs.
Another important aspect of this programme is preparing students for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which is extremely valued by universities. The EPQ encourages students to pursue an independent academic interest, develop their research and presentation skills and produce a product that is authentic to the topic studied.
Graded from A* to E, EPQs are at Level 3 and are worth half an A Level in terms of UCAS points. They are welcomed by universities because of the skills required; evidence of project management and presentation skills account for 70% of the marks. This is qualitatively different to other subjects.
Admissions Tutors value the qualification enormously; some courses and institutions with highly competitive entry (such as medicine, dentistry and law; Oxbridge, London and red-brick universities) are likely to look at a candidate offering EPQ more favourably. Some universities are now also making EPQ part of their entrance offers.
For more information on our Sixth Form, including the subjects available, our enrichment programme and careers support, download our prospectus.
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