We offer a very broad range of subjects at A Level. All A Level qualifications are now linear, which means that the final grade awarded is based on performance in the examinations and other forms of assessment taken at the end of the two-year course. Some subjects (not all) will be offered at AS Level and we will be in a position to release a list of confirmed AS subjects in due course and before students make their choices. Please note that we no longer offer any AS courses studied over one year. Choosing the most appropriate subjects In January 2019, Year 11 girls currently at St Helen’s will take their GCSE Mock Examinations. Following this, they will have discussions with Heads of Department, subject staff, careers staff and Tutors about their options. Information from these meetings will enable them to make an informed choice about which subjects to study. They will then be given an options form setting out all the choices very clearly on which they will be required to indicate which subjects they wish to study in the Sixth Form.
From September 2018 we updated our Sixth Form Curriculum offer to reflect the changes to the A Level landscape and to ensure that our pupils receive the best possible preparation for Higher Education. Our dual aims were to make more teaching time available to enable students to study their subjects in the depth and detail required by the new linear A Levels, and to safeguard the flexibility of approach and scope of the offering at St Helen’s, which make for a unique and bespoke Sixth Form experience.
We have created three Pathways within the Sixth Form curriculum from which our students choose:
- Pathway A: 3 A levels + EPQ + Academic Enhancement + ‘St Helen’s Programme’
- Pathway B: 3 A levels + 2 year AS level + EPQ + ‘St Helen’s Programme’
- Pathway C: 4 A levels (which may include Further Maths) + ‘St Helen’s Programme’. The EPQ is optional within this Pathway
All girls who start three A Level courses will have the opportunity, through the EPQ, to complete a piece of extended research which will enable them to broaden their studies beyond the A Level syllabi, or to engage much more deeply with a specific area within an A Level subject. The EPQ will be optional for girls who study four A Levels. The EPQ qualification is an excellent way to develop independence of thought and scholarship, as well as to demonstrate perseverance and passion. Universities are increasingly giving their backing to the EPQ, and many are now making it a part of a more favourable offer. We have devised a year-long programme, led by a dedicated group of teachers, which will build the skills required for university study in general and will support girls in choosing, researching and developing their EPQ project.
Whichever Pathway they follow, all Sixth Form students will follow our unique St Helen’s Programme, which comprises PE, the Sixth Form Lecture programme, PSHCE, ‘UniPrep’ and a Personal Impact Programme which will help the girls to develop confidence, responsibility and independence. The St Helen’s Programme as a whole will ensure that pupils are able to present themselves effectively and will prepare them for the rigours of university study. In addition, the St Helen’s Portfolio records and celebrates the full and impressive range of skills, qualifications and co-curricular experiences of each girl throughout her time in the Sixth Form. These are invaluable to success at university and in professional life. The St Helen’s Portfolio records the additional experiences, skills and qualifications achieved through an Academic Enhancement course or through qualifications pursued outside school. In addition, the Portfolio recognises the skills acquired through participation in national schemes such as Young Enterprise or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme; through the students’ appointments to positions of responsibility; through their leadership of teams, orchestras, CCF, societies and clubs at school; and through their contribution to community service and charitable work.
The Personal Impact Programme
The Personal Impact Programme aims to help students to build the necessary confidence and skills to present themselves successfully in professional contexts. Through the programme students will develop their networking, branding, presentation and interview skills in preparation for their applications to both Higher Education and the world of work. They will have further opportunities to consolidate these skills through networking opportunities at Futures Evenings and the Networking Breakfast in Year 12. As well as the core skills programme and optional courses, all members of Year 12 and 13 participate in a lecture series which aims to broaden horizons and encourage debate and discussion on a wide range of topics.
Physical Education in the Sixth Form is a compulsory part of a balanced curriculum which aims to encourage girls to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle.