A Levels

Our A Level programme is taught over two years (September start) and 18 months (January start). There is also the option for students to transfer to Padworth for the final year of A Levels, provided there is alignment with subjects studied in Year 2.

Students without a pass at Grade 5 in GCSE or IGCSE English Language or with an IELTS score below 6.5 overall must join the IELTS course for the duration of their first academic year. This is timetabled alongside A Level lessons.

2021 A Level Pass Rates

Grades

A*

A*-A

A*-B

A*-C

A*-E

Padworth College31%59%78%89%100%
National Average19%45%70%89%100%

Course Details and Entry Requirements

Course Start Dates and Duration

September (2 year programme)

January (18 month programme)

English Requirement

Minimum CEFR Level B2 (IELTS 5.5), or equivalent level qualification.

Prospective students are required to sit an online Password English test administered by the College, as proof of English level.

Qualifications Requirement

5 GCSE passes at Grade 5 or equivalent, with the following recommendations by subject:

Subject

Recommendations

AccountingGrade 4 or higher in GCSE Mathematics
BiologyGrade 7 or higher in GCSE Biology/Science and Grade 5 or higher in GCSE Maths and English
Business StudiesGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics
ChemistryGrade 7 or higher in GCSE Chemistry and a proven competency in Mathematics and English Language
EconomicsGrade 5 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics
English Language & LiteratureGrade 6 or higher in GCSE English
Fine ArtGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Grade 6 in GCSE Art or equivalent drawing and painting ability
FrenchGrade 5 or higher in GCSE French, or be a native speaker
Further MathematicsGrade 8 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics
GeographyGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics and Grade 6 or higher in GCSE Geography
Graphic CommunicationGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Grade 6 in GCSE Art or equivalent drawing and painting ability
HistoryGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and History, but well-motivated and capable students who have not studied history at GCSE will be able to succeed on this course
ICT – Cambridge Technicals Introductory Diploma in ITGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English, Mathematics and ICT
MathematicsGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics
MusicGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Music. Instrument or voice to the equivalent of Grade 5 exams (e.g., ABRSM and Trinity) and some keyboard or piano skills are desirable. It is also preferable that students have passed Grade 5 theory
PhotographyGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Grade 5 in GCSE Art or equivalent drawing and painting ability
PoliticsGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics
PhysicsGrade 7 or higher in GCSE Physics (or Additional Science) and Mathematics. IELTS score of 6.5
PsychologyGrade 4 or higher in GCSE English, Mathematics and Science

Age Requirement

16-18 years old on entry

Subjects Available

Accounting

Accounting

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Give students an understanding of key concepts, principles and techniques of accounting that they can apply to real-life scenarios.
  • Develop the ability to solve problems logically, analyse data methodically, make reasoned choices and communicate effectively.
  • Provide students with the confidence and skills needed to run their own organisations in the future.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Bookkeeping (principles, transactions and documents)
  • Divisions of ledger / books of prime entry
  • Bank reconciliation statements
  • Financial statements of sole trader and limited company
  • Financial ratios
  • Budgeting and marginal costing

YEAR 2

Same as for Year 1, plus:

  • Incomplete records
  • Partnerships and limited companies
  • Interpretation of accounting information
  • Accounting regulations and ethics
  • Marginal, absorption, activity based and standard costing
  • Decision making and capital investment appraisal

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Financial Accounting (3 hour written paper)
  • Paper 2 – Management Accounting (3 hour written paper).

CORE TEXT

Accounting for AQA A Level Year 1 and Year 2 by David Cox.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Professional accountancy is vital for economies to prosper whilst remaining fair and transparent. As such the profession is very highly valued, and graduates with accountancy are in high demand within the global financial services industry. Alongside traditional accountancy careers, studying the subject can enable you to progress to careers in banking and finance. You will also have a unique opportunity to apply your skills across a wide range of industries.

Biology

Biology

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject of Biology and how they relate to each other.
  • Develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods.
  • Develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills.
  • Develop students’ interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject.
  • Understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 7 or higher in GCSE Biology/Science, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education and Grade 5 or higher in GCSE Maths and English or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Biological Molecules.
  • Cells.
  • Organisms Exchange Substances with their Environment.
  • Genetic Information, Variation and Relationships between Organisms.

YEAR 2

Same as for Year 1, plus:

  • Energy Transfer In and Between Organisms.
  • Organisms Respond to Changes in their Environments.
  • Genetics, Populations, Evolution and Ecosystems.
  • The Control of Gene Expression.

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Written exam of 2 hours (Units 1-4).
  • Paper 2 – Written exam of 2 hours (Units 5-8).
  • Paper 3 – Written exam of 2 hours (Units 1-8 and an essay).
  • Practical Assessment (Pass/Fail).

CORE TEXT

AQA A Level Biology 2nd Edition – Oxford – Toole & Toole

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Biology is a very versatile A Level, giving a grounding that will allow students of the discipline not only access to Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary pursuits, but also provide the skills required to attend disciplines in the other sciences, and mathematical skills and English skills to take up careers outside of the sciences.

Business Studies

Business Studies

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Give students an understanding of four key elements of business performance: finance, marketing, personnel and logistics.
  • Encourage students to use their knowledge of business models and theory to explain the behaviour and success or failure of real businesses around the world.
  • Provide students with the confidence and skills needed to run their own organisations in the future.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • What is business?
  • Managers, leadership and decision making
  • Decision making to improve marketing performance
  • Decision making to improve financial performance
  • Decision making to improve human resource performance

YEAR 2

  • Reinforcement of year 1 knowledge
  • Analysing the strategic position of a business
  • Choosing strategic direction
  • Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies
  • Managing strategic change

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Written exam of 2 hours (33.3% of final grade).
  • Paper 2 – Data Response (as Paper 1).
  • Paper 3 – Case Study (as Papers 1 and 2).

CORE TEXT

Business for A Level by Ian Marcousé.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The individual elements of the Business Studies course give students the chance to decide whether they would like to pursue a business career in finance, marketing, personnel or logistics. The A Level course gives students a sound grounding in each of these career areas. More holistically, the subject should equip students with the skills that they need in later life to become entrepreneurs themselves or managers of departmental areas within a company or corporation.

Chemistry

Chemistry

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Develop interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.
  • Develop an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject.
  • Develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other.
  • Develop the student’s ability to recognise patterns in chemistry and recognize their interrelationship.
  • Develop and demonstrate a profound appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods.
  • Develop a competence, and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical, linguistic and problem- solving skills.
  • Understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.
  • Use theories, models and ideas to develop a scientific explanation of reality as currently understood.
  • Use scientific evidence and understanding to pose pertinent scientific questions, define scientific problems, present scientific arguments and scientific ideas.
  • Use appropriate methodology including ICT, where appropriate to answer scientific questions and solve scientific problems.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 7 or higher in GCSE Chemistry and have a proven competency in Mathematics and English language to be accepted on the course.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Year 1

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

  • Atomic Structure
  • Amount of substance
  • Bonding and Structure
  • Chemical Energetics
  • Chemical Equilibria, Le Chatelier’s Principle and Kc
  • Redox; balancing redox equations

INORGANIC CHEMISTRY

  • Periodicity
  • Group 2
  • Group7

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

  • Introduction to organic chemistry
  • Alkanes
  • Halogenoalkanes
  • Alkenes
  • Alcohols
  • Organic Analysis

Year 2

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

  • Chemical Thermodynamics
  • Rate Equations
  • Equilibrium constant Kp for homogenous systems
  • Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells
  • Acid/Base Equilibria

INORGANIC CHEMISTRY

  • Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides
  • Transition Metals
  • Reactions of ions in aqueous solution

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

  • Optical Isomerism chemistry
  • Carbonyl Compounds
  • Carboxylic acids and derivatives
  • Aromatic chemistry
  • Amines
  • Polymers
  • Amino acids, proteins and DNA
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • Chromatography

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Relevant physical chemistry topics, inorganic chemistry and relevant practical skills. Written exam – 2 hours (35% of final grade).
  • Paper 2 – Relevant physical chemistry topics, organic chemistry and practical skills. Written exam – 2 hours (35% of final grade).
  • Paper 3 – All content and relevant practical skills. Written exam – 2 hours (30% of A Level).

CORE TEXT

Advanced Level Chemistry (AQA approved) by Ted Lister, Janet Renshaw

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The nature of Chemistry in terms of pattern recognition and their relationship allows a quality to develop in students who have followed the discipline in depth to have a large repertoire of transferable skills that are not only very useful to Medicine and veterinary science, but a vast number of scientific subjects as well and non-scientific areas also.

Students studying Chemistry may go on to study medicine and conduct research at prestigious universities. Along with Engineering, these are the best-paid science related jobs. Chemical engineers develop novel materials that improve our quality of life and new batteries to fuel our various electrical devices. Chemists work for pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs to cure diseases and help fight bugs that would destroy crops. Molecular biologists want to understand the way living cells operate and study DNA, Proteins and their reactions. Analytical chemists can be involved in forensic investigations and help keep sports drug free. Environmental sciences involve a great deal of chemistry, including ways to reduce pollution and ways that our waste can be recycled.

Economics

Economics

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Give students an understanding of the intricate relationships between households, governments and businesses.
  • Encourage students to use their knowledge to combine analytical models with an awareness and consideration of the real world limitations.
  • Provide students with the chance to understand the interactions of global forces which affect our everyday lives.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 5 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

Theme 1: Markets and Market Failure: Economic problem, types of markets, market mechanism, market failure and government intervention in markets

Theme 2: The UK economy: How macroeconomy works, economic performance and measurement, macroeconomic policy.

YEAR 2

Same as for Year 1, plus:

Theme 3: Business Behaviour and Labour Market: Behaviour economic theory, distribution of income and wealth, poverty and inequality.

Theme 4: Global Perspective: Globalisation, Trade, Exchange Rate, balance of payments

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Markets and Market Failure.
  • Paper 2 – National and International Economy.
  • Paper 3 – Economic principles and Issues.

All papers are 2 hour written papers for 80 marks each.

CORE TEXT

AQA A Level Economics 1 & 2 by Ray Powell and James Powell.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The study of Economics is seen as a rigorous preparation for a wide variety of careers in both the public and private sector. Within the public (government) sector, students can go on to work as economists at the Treasury, at the Bank of England or with the European Commission. Economics graduates are employed directly by large companies as economic forecasters and market advisors. Economics is also seen as a good grounding for careers in accountancy, banking and law.

English Language and Literature

English Language and Literature

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Help students develop and apply their knowledge of literary and linguistic analysis and evaluation.
  • Engage students both creatively and critically with a wide range of texts.
  • Explore ways in which the historical, social and political context affects the production and reception of texts
  • Help students develop their own skills as producers and interpreters of language.
  • Promote independent learning and critical thinking.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 6 or higher in GCSE English, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Remembered places – the representation of place is explored through an anthology of non-fiction.
  • Imagined worlds – point of view and genre in prose is explored through the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.
  • Poetic voices – the forms and functions of poetic voice are explored with Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry.
  • Methods of language analysis are integrated into all the activities.

YEAR 2

  • Writing about society – the role of the individual in society, and re-creative writing based on the novel, The Kite Runner.
  • Critical commentary – evaluating own writing.
  • Dramatic encounters – conflict in drama explored through All My Sons.
  • Methods of language analysis learnt during first year are built on in the second.

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Written exam of 3 hours (40% of A level).
  • Paper 2 – Written exam of 2 ½ hours (40% of A level).
  • Paper 3 – non- examined assessment (20 % of A level).

CORE TEXT

  • The Handmaid’s Tale.
  • Poetry Anthology.
  • Paris Anthology.
  • The Kite Runner.
  • All My Sons.
  • A literary and non-literary text of the student’s choice.
  • Careers and Opportunities

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

As well as further study at university and later work in academia, English A Level teaches a wide range of skills well-suited to roles that use the English language and its facets on a day-to-day basis. For instance, the subject is a good choice if you want to pursue a career in journalism, writing, advertising, marketing or linguistics. What’s more, it is important in fields such as politics, performing arts, law, foreign languages, design and media too. If you are thinking of studying humanities at university, the skills it teaches you will be of great use, whatever you study, thanks to its focus on communication and textual analysis.

Transferable skills developed studying English A level include:

  • Research skills.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Essay writing.
  • Analytical skills.
  • An attention to detail.
  • Crafting arguments.
  • Communication skills.

Fine Art

Fine Art

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Help students improve drawing skills, painting and mixed media techniques and develop these according to the student’s potential.
  • Encourage students to use their knowledge of artists’ paintings and art theory to explain and expand their own ideas.
  • Provide students with the confidence and skills needed to develop their own ideas effectively using a range of media

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education and Grade 6 in GCSE Art or equivalent drawing and painting ability.

COURSE STRUCTURE

This is a practical subject focused on drawing, painting and mixed media. Students may also produce work in three dimensions. Students will be encouraged to gain skills and use their knowledge to expand their own creative ideas. Researching and analysing the work of artists is also an important part of the course.

YEAR 1

  • Drawing and recording from observation.
  • Researching and understanding works of art.
  • Developing own ideas in a range of media.
  • Producing final artwork.

YEAR 2

Same as for Year 1, plus:

  • Written analysis for a personal art project of between 1,000 – 3,000 words with artwork.
  • Completed personal art work project.
  • Exam project.

ASSESSMENT

  • Personal project with written work.
  • Exam project.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The individual elements of the Fine Art course give students the chance to decide whether they would like to pursue a career in fine art, architecture, museum curation or teaching art and design. More holistically, the subject should equip students with the skills that they need in later life to apply creative ideas and artistic skills.

French

French

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Develop and build on the skills acquired at GCSE level.
  • Enhance employment prospects.
  • Facilitate foreign travel.
  • Provide an insight into another culture and society.
  • Provide students with a sound basis for further study.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 5 or higher in GCSE French, or be a native speaker.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Students study technological and social change, looking at diversity and the benefits it brings. They will study highlights of French-speaking artistic culture, including francophone music and cinema and learn about political engagement and who wields political power in the French-speaking world.

Students also explore the influence of the past on present-day French-speaking communities. Throughout their studies, they will learn the language in the context of French-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them. Students will study texts and film and have the opportunity to carry out independent research on an area of their choice.

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Listening, reading and writing. Written exam lasting 2.5 hours. 50% of A Level.
  • Paper 2 – Written response to works and translation. Written exam lasting 2 hours. 20% of A Level.
  • Paper 3 – Speaking. Oral exam lasting 21-23 minutes. 30% of A Level.

CORE TEXT

AQA A Level French (includes AS) by Casimir d’Angelo, Jean-Claude Gilles and Rod Hares.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Some modern language graduates work on a self-employed basis as interpreters or translators. However, many others choose careers not directly related to their subject, but where there is an opportunity to use their language skills, for example, working for companies who trade or offer services internationally or to non-English speaking customers and suppliers. This means that language graduates work for a huge variety of employers and sectors, including: teaching and education; government and public administration; business services; museums and libraries; tourism; media and the Internet; science, engineering and technology; transport and logistics; and charity and voluntary work.

Further Mathematics

Further Mathematics

EXAM BOARD: PEARSON EDEXCEL

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Give students a deep insight of Pure Maths (Algebra, Calculus, and Trigonometry) and its applications to Mechanics, Statistics, Further Pure Maths and/or Decision Maths.
  • Challenge students to stretch their knowledge by enhancing their problem solving skills.
  • Provide students with the confidence and skills needed to succeed in careers such as Engineering, Physics or Mathematics, since after completing the Further Maths course they will be familiar with most of the content they will have to face in the first year of these subjects at university.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Further Mathematics A Level is aimed at talented students with excellent maths skills and abstract thinking abilities, who have a clear intention of studying Maths, Physics or Engineering at university.

Students should have Grade 8 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

The course consists of a common Core Pure Maths component and students can then choose between Further Pure Maths, Mechanics, Statistics or Decision Maths.

During the course, students will have to deal with very challenging problems that will demand from them the ability to be creative, make deductions, link concepts from different topics and reason to a high level with a very reliable number manipulation.

YEAR 1

CORE PURE 1

In this section, students will start studying the foundations of complex numbers, linear transformations and matrices and will stretch their algebra and geometry knowledge.

FURTHER PURE 1 (OPTIONAL)

Introduction to the study of conic sections, Taylor Series and further Numerical Methods, combined with the study of one of the most powerful mathematical tools: differential equations.

FURTHER STATISTICS 1 (OPTIONAL)

A more detailed approach to hypothesis testing, as well as new distributions, such as the Poisson and the geometric distributions.

DECISION MATHS 1 (OPTIONAL)

In Decision Maths we study algorithms, linear programming or graph and networks and how these can be applied to real life cases.

FURTHER MECHANICS 1 (OPTIONAL)

In Mechanics we study in depth some of the topics covered in GCSE which are key in Physics, such as the conservation of energy in different contexts, collisions in 2D and 3D and the study of Hooke’s Law.

YEAR 2

CORE PURE 2

Here we move forward in the study of complex numbers, series and differential equations and start studying methods in calculus for integration and differentiation of special functions.

FURTHER PURE 2 (OPTIONAL)

Perhaps the most demanding area in terms of abstraction, this second year of Further Pure Maths ranges from number theory and groups to matrix algebra and advanced techniques of integration.

FURTHER STATISTICS 2 (OPTIONAL)

The statistics course is completed in the second year with the study of topics such as linear regression and correlation, continuous distributions or further hypothesis testing with which A level Maths students should already be familiar.

DECISION MATHS 2 (OPTIONAL)

In the second year of Decision Maths, students learn how to solve efficiently transportation and allocation problems. In addition, there is an introduction to game theory and dynamic programming.

FURTHER MECHANICS 2 (OPTIONAL)

Students learn to apply their Maths knowledge to deal with circular motion and centre of mass problems, as well as to gain skills to solve problems on dynamics (Simple Harmonic Motion and Gravitation)

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Written exam of 1.5 hours (25 % of final grade) on Core Pure Maths.
  • Paper 2 – Written exam of 1.5 hours (25 % of final grade) on Core Pure Maths (same as Paper 1).
  • Paper 3 – Written exam of 1.5 hours (25 % of final grade) on either Further Pure, Further Statistics, Further Mechanics or Further Decision Maths.
  • Paper 4 – Written exam of 1.5 hours (25 % of final grade) on either Further Pure, Further Statistics, Further Mechanics or Further Decision Maths (same as Paper 3).

CORE TEXT

For this course we use the Pearson Edexcel AS and A Level Further Mathematics set of textbooks (Series Editor: Harry Smith; various authors), consisting of the following:

  • Core Pure Mathematics (1 and 2).
  • Further Pure Mathematics (1 and 2).
  • Further Statistics (1 and 2)
  • Further Mechanics (1 and 2)
  • Decision Mathematics (1 and 2)

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

At the end of the course, students will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in the first year of any degree course in Maths, Physics or Engineering, since they will already be familiar with most of the traditionally hard topics such as complex numbers, number theory, advanced integration, proof, matrix algebra, etc.

Mathematical experts are in demand across all types of industries around the world. Students studying Maths have access to career opportunities that they may never have even considered, including specialised fields such as law and medicine. However, a large number of maths careers are still based within business or science and technology-related sectors, with maths graduates able to purse a range of career opportunities, including accountancy, computing, engineering, management, surveying, teaching and town planning.

Geography

Geography

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • To excite students’ minds, challenge perceptions and stimulate their investigative and analytical skills.
  • Understand the role of decision makers in the physical and human environments

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education. It is recommended that students have Grade 6 or above in GCSE Geography.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Water and Carbon Cycles
  • Coastal Systems
  • Global Systems and Global Governance
  • Geographical Skills

YEAR 2

  • Geography Fieldwork Investigation
  • Changing Places
  • Contemporary Urban Environments
  • Hazards

ASSESSMENT

  • Component 1 – Physical Geography: Written exam of 2 hours (40 % of final grade).
  • Component 2 – Human Geography: Written exam of 2 hours 30 minutes (40% of final grade).
  • Component 3 – Geography Fieldwork Investigation: 4,000 words (20% of final grade).
  • Question types: Short answer, levels of response and extended prose.

CORE TEXT

A/AS Level Geography for AQA Student Book by Ann Bowen, Andy Day, Victoria Ellis, Paul Hunt, Rebecca Kitchen, Claire Kyndt, Garrett Nagle, Alan Parkinson, Nicola Walshe, Helen Young.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Geography combines well with both arts and science subjects as it is a broad-based subject that really fits well for future progression at university and beyond. It leads to a variety of careers in sustainability, urban regeneration, retail location, managing the effects of hazards and climate change. Careers in law, human rights, politics and welfare benefit from studying aspects of Geography, such as ‘Global Development’ and ‘Migration, Identity and Sovereignty’ for instance. Other career options include cartography, surveying, teaching and landscape architecture.

Graphic Communication

Graphic Communication

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Help students improve drawing and digital skills and techniques and develop these according to their potential.
  • Encourage students to use their knowledge of designers’ work and design theory to explain and expand their own ideas.
  • Provide students with the confidence and skills needed to develop their own ideas effectively using a range of media.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education. It is recommended that students have Grade 6 or above in GCSE Geography.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Drawing and recording from observation.
  • Researching and understanding works of art and design.
  • Developing own ideas in a range of media.
  • Producing final digital artwork.

YEAR 2

Same as for Year 1, plus:

  • Written analysis for a personal graphic art project of between 1,000 – 3,000 words with artwork.
  • Completed personal art work project.
  • Exam project.

ASSESSMENT

  • Personal project with written work.
  • Exam project.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The individual elements of the Graphic Communication course give students the chance to decide whether they would like to pursue a career in graphic design, illustration, marketing, computer graphics, animation or teaching art and design. More holistically, the subject should equip students with the skills that they need in later life to apply creative ideas and digital skills.

History

History

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Help students understand the significance of historical events, the role of individuals in history and the nature of change over time.
  • Help students gain a deeper understanding of the past through political, social, economic and cultural perspectives.
  • Provide students with the knowledge and skills required to succeed as AS and A Level historians.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English. Ideally students will have achieved Grade 4 or higher in GCSE History, but well-motivated and capable students who have not studied history at GCSE will be able to succeed on this course.

Students must be prepared to undertake significant reading and be willing, and able, to write at some length.

COURSE STRUCTURE

The topics and key areas covered during the course are as follows:

THE MAKING OF MODERN BRITAIN, 1951-2007

We will study in depth the key political, economic, social and international changes which helped to mould Britain in the second half of the 20th Century. We will explore concepts such as government and opposition, class, social division and cultural change. This course encourages students to reflect on Britain’s changing place in the world as well as the inter-relationship between political policies, economic developments and political survival.

1H TSARIST AND COMMUNIST RUSSIA, 1855–1964

Students will study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:

  • How was Russia governed and how did political authority change and develop?
  • Why did opposition develop and how effective was it?
  • How and with what results did the economy develop and change?
  • What was the extent of social and cultural change?
  • How important were ideas and ideology?
  • How important was the role of individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?

ASSESSMENT

There are two examinations, each lasting 2.5 hours, worth 80 marks apiece. In addition, students will submit a 3,500 word personal research paper worth 40 marks.

The personal research paper covers an analysis of hundred years of history on a topic negotiated between the teacher and the student; the work will be questioning, will examine an issue of controversy between historians, and will, involve the scrutiny and deployment of primary evidence. The personal study will be rigorous with a full bibliography and written in the appropriate academic style.

CORE TEXT

2S The Making of Modern Britain, 1951-2007
Authors: J M A Hugh. Series editor: Sally Waller
Publisher: Oxford University Press (including Nelson Thornes)
ISBN-13: 978-0-1983-5464-2

1H Tsarist and Communist Russia, 1855-1964
Authors: Chris Corin, Terry Fiehn
Publisher: Hodder Education
ISBN-13: 978-1-4718-3780-7

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

A significant number of students studying History at undergraduate degree level enter the legal profession, where their analytical and critical reasoning skills are highly valued, as well as library, information and archivist careers, where their research expertise and ability to select, manage and organise information comes to the fore.

Other career options include politics, publishing, journalism, media and writing in all its forms, together with business and commerce, public sector administration and the charity and voluntary sectors.

ICT

ICT

CAMBRIDGE TECHNICALS INTRODUCTORY DIPLOMA IN IT
(SPECIALIST PATHWAY – EMERGING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY PRACTITIONER)

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Give students an understanding of the essentials of IT and Cyber Security.
  • Give students an insight into the IT sector as they investigate the pace of technological change, IT infrastructure on a global scale, and the importance of legal and security considerations.
  • Develop the transferable skills required by universities and employers such as communication, problem solving, time management, research and analytical skills.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English, Mathematics and ICT, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

Unit 1: Fundamentals of IT
Unit 2: Global Information
Unit 3: Cyber Security

YEAR 2

Unit 3: Cyber Security (cont’d.)
Unit 4: Virtual and Augmented Reality
Unit 5: Internet of Everything

ASSESSMENT

  • Unit 1 – externally assessed exam taken in January of Year 1.
  • Unit 2 – externally assessed exam taken in June of Year 1.
  • Unit 3 – externally assessed exam taken in January of Year 2.
  • Unit 4 and Unit 5 – internally assessed assignments.

The 3 externally set examinations make up 65% of the grade and the internally assessed assignments 35%.

CORE TEXT

Cambridge Technicals Level 3 IT – Mo Everett, Saundra Middleton, Victoria Ellis and Graham Manson – Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1-471-87491-8.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The Cambridge Technicals is a vocational qualification and will educate you in the knowledge and skills required for employment and for the community. The course will help you develop the behaviours and attributes needed to progress and succeed in education and work. The chosen pathway focuses on the use and development of virtual and augmented reality, and emerging technologies for application across a range of sectors which include mobile technology, digital marketing and the visualisation of Big Data.

Mathematics

Mathematics

EXAM BOARD: PEARSON EDEXCEL

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Give students an understanding of key concepts of Pure Maths (Algebra, Calculus, and Trigonometry) and its applications to Mechanics and Statistics.
  • Encourage students to stretch the knowledge they acquired in GCSE by developing their thinking skills (to last for the rest of their academic life and beyond).
  • Provide students with the confidence and skills needed to succeed in their future Advanced Maths degree courses at university.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

The course is divided in Pure Maths and in Applied Maths (Statistics and Mechanics).

YEAR 1

PURE MATHS

Students will consolidate and stretch their knowledge from GCSE on algebra, coordinate geometry, calculus, trigonometry and vectors. Additionally, more demanding and challenging topics such as proof and binomial expansion are introduced at this point.

STATISTICS

Topics such as how to handle data, find probabilities, statistical distributions and hypothesis testing will allow students to have a wide approach to the study of statistics and its applications to fields such as Science or Economics.

MECHANICS

Students will combine their knowledge of Maths with some essential Physics concepts to understand and solve problems on constant velocity motion, accelerated motion (constant and variable acceleration) and Newton’s Laws.

YEAR 2

PURE MATHS

Student will have a closer look at the concepts learnt in Year 1 about algebra, calculus, trigonometry and vectors, stretching the scope of applications, in combination with new topics such as parametric equations and numerical methods.

STATISTICS

In the second year of the course, students will not only study further applications of what they learnt in the previous year, but they will also start further data analysis, regression and distribution of discrete and continuous variables.

MECHANICS

With more mathematical tools acquired during the first year, students will approach more challenging mechanics problems, where the maths used is more sophisticated as well as some concepts regarding Newton’s Laws. Students will have the opportunity to study projectile motion (where accelerated and not accelerated motion work at the same time in different directions) and the application of vectors in the study of 2D and 3D motion.

ASSESSMENT

A Level Mathematics is assessed by 3 examinations:

  • Paper 1 – Written exam of 2 hours (33.3% of final grade) on Pure Maths.
  • Paper 2 – Written exam of 2 hours (33.3% of final grade) on Pure Maths (as Paper 1).
  • Paper 3 – Written exam of 2 hours (33.3% of final grade) on Applied Maths (Statistics and Mechanics).

CORE TEXT

Pearson Edexcel A Level Mathematics (Series Editor: Harry Smith; various authors).

There are also textbooks for Pure Maths and Applied Maths (Statistics and Mechanics) – one each per year.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

A Level Mathematics is of enormous benefit as preparation for higher education courses such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineering and Physics. It can also broaden your experience of how the subject relates to the world in general. It is, simply, a very useful qualification to possess.

Mathematical experts are in demand across all types of industries around the world. Students studying Maths have access to career opportunities that they may never have even considered, including specialised fields such as law and medicine. However, a large number of maths careers are still based within business or science and technology-related sectors, with maths graduates able to purse a range of career opportunities, including accountancy, computing, engineering, management, surveying, teaching and town planning.

Music

Music

EXAM BOARD: PEARSON EDEXCEL

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Further develop technical and musical skills in order to become an even more accomplished musician.
  • Undertake composing projects to become a competent writer/arranger.
  • Expand students’ knowledge of music theory.
  • Learn musical history in terms of composer, genres, and style and develop an ability to critically analyse different works in detail.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Music, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education. Instrument or voice to the equivalent of Grade 5 exams (e.g., ABRSM and Trinity) and some keyboard or piano skills are desirable. It is also preferable that students have passed Grade 5 theory.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Performing – Solo performance
  • Composition – Free composition
  • Appraising – Schumann, The Beatles, Bach, Vaughan Williams

YEAR 2

  • Performing – Ensemble performance
  • Composition – Brief composition
  • Appraisal – Batman Returns, Shankar, Debussy, Saariaho, Stravinsky

ASSESSMENT

  • Performance — 30 % of the total mark.
  • Composition — 30 % of the total mark.
  • Appraisal Paper — 40 % of the total mark.

CORE TEXT

Pearson Edexcel – A Level Music.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Students may study Music in higher education as a performer, composer, and/or musicologist. There are also vocational courses available such as the BTEC National Music and Music Technology. Students can also find employment opportunities in a related sector as a performer, composer, arranger sound engineer and/or music producer.

Photography

Photography

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Help students improve drawing and photography skills and techniques and develop these according to their potential.
  • Encourage students to use their knowledge of photographers’ work and design theory to explain and expand their own ideas.
  • Provide students with the confidence and skills needed to develop their own ideas effectively using a range of media.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education and Grade 5 in GCSE Art or equivalent drawing and painting ability.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Drawing and photography from observation.
  • Researching and understanding works of photography and design.
  • Developing own ideas in photography and other media.
  • Producing final photographic images.

YEAR 2

Same as for Year 1, plus:

  • Written analysis for a personal photography project of between 1,000 – 3,000 words with own photographs.
  • Completed personal photography project.
  • Exam project.

ASSESSMENT

  • Personal project with written work.
  • Exam project.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Students may go on to study Photography at university, or combine it with other creative subjects, such as Advertising, Fine Art, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Multi-Media, Video Production or Web Design. Potential careers within photography include Advertising, Fashion, Film, Media and Photographic Professional Practice.

Physics

Physics

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the A Level Physics course is for students to successfully study the physical world and gain a unique insight into how our universe functions.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

In order to be able to cope with the academic rigours of study at this advanced level, students should have Grade 7 or higher in GCSE Physics or Additional Science and Grade 7 in Mathematics. If you are not a native English speaker, an IELTS score of 6.5 will enable you to access the course.

COURSE STRUCTURE

You will have covered many of the A Level Physics topics at GCSE, including forces, waves, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism.

At A Level, you will look at these areas in more detail and find out how they are interconnected. You will also learn how to apply maths to real-world problems and explore new areas such as particle physics, quantum mechanics, cosmology and medical physics.

Year 1

  • Foundations of Physics
  • Energy and Power
  • Charge and Current
  • Resistance
  • Circuits
  • Optics
  • Waves
  • Motion
  • Momentum
  • Work, Energy and Power
  • Laws of Motion
  • Materials

Year 2

  • Development of Practical Skills
  • Simple Harmonic Motion
  • Thermal Physics
  • Gases
  • Quantum Physics
  • Electric Fields
  • Magnetic Fields
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Radioactivity
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Capacitors
  • Particle Physics

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – 85 marks.
  • Paper 2 – 85 marks.
  • Paper 3: Section A (45 marks).
  • Plus one Optional Unit from below, 35 marks awarded:
    • Paper 3: Section B (Astrophysics – option).
    • Paper 3: Section B (Medical Physics – option).
    • Paper 3: Section B (Engineering Physics – option).
    • Paper 3: Section B (Turning Points in Physics – option).
    • Paper 3: Section B (Electronics – option).

In addition, there is an assessment of practical skills, assessed by completion of a series of practical activities completed throughout the course.

CORE TEXT

AQA A Level Physics text book; ISBN-13: 978-0-19-835187-0 and practical handbook ISBN 9781292245300.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Perhaps more importantly, you will develop skills that can be transferred to just about any other area of work, from setting up a business to saving the planet. Even if you don’t go on to become a physicist, learning to think like one will help you get to the root of any problem and draw connections that aren’t obvious to others. Physics won’t give you all the answers, but it will teach you how to ask the right questions.

By studying Physics, students are opening the door to a wide variety of rewarding careers. As well as learning about how the universe works, students will get a broad training in skills that all employers value – an ability to grasp concepts clearly, a determination to find coherent answers, plus problem-solving, analytical, mathematical and IT skills. An ‘A’ Grade in Physics is highly valued by leading British universities. Careers in physics may be versatile, but if you have decided to pursue a career in architecture, engineering, IT or medicine, or even management and finance, the skills developed by studying Physics are highly regarded.

Politics

Politics

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Develop knowledge and an informed understanding of contemporary political structures and issues in their historical context, both within the UK and globally.
  • Develop a critical awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes.
  • Develop knowledge and an informed understanding of the influences and interests which have an impact on decisions in government and politics and of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups.
  • Develop the ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgements.
  • Develop an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Year 1

Overview and introduction to:

  • Government and politics of the UK.
  • Government and politics of the USA and comparative politics.
  • Political idea

Year 2

Detailed study of a number of specific issues drawn from the three main topics, with an explicit consideration of theoretical approaches (structural, rational and cultural) and a requirement to engage with a synoptic style when writing essays.

ASSESSMENT

The A Level is assessed with three two-hour examinations, equally weighted using a mixture of medium-length ‘explain’ and essay style questions.

CORE TEXT

  • UK Government and Politics, published by Hodder Education.
  • US Government and Politics, published by Hodder Education.
  • Political Ideas (Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism and Nationalism), published by Hodder Education.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Politics combines very strongly with a number of subjects including English, History, Economics and Sociology. Students who have studied Politics often go on to study Humanities subjects at university or study for a Law degree. Students with an A Level in Politics are to be found working in the civil service, local government, universities, schools, legal firms, newspapers, the broadcast media, parliament and in administrative, promotional and personnel roles in a range of commercial organisations.

Psychology

Psychology

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Provide students with insight into a range of psychological concepts and topics, including those applied to the contexts of research and practice.
  • Outline key issues and debates in psychology with discussion of these issues in relation to topics covered.
  • Equip students with various skills that will be beneficial to them in both psychology and wider areas of study, including essay writing, critical analysis and evaluation.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English, Mathematics and Science, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Approaches in psychology
  • Introduction to research methods
  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology

YEAR 2

  • Biopsychology
  • Research methods and statistical testing
  • Issues and debates
  • Options in psychology: Relationships; Eating Behaviour; and Addiction.

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Introductory Topics in Psychology; Social influence, Memory, Attachment, Psychopathology.
  • Paper 2 – Psychology in Context; Approaches, Biopsychology, Research Methods.
  • Paper 3 – Issues and Options in Psychology; Issues and Debates, Relationships, Eating Behaviour, Addiction.

Each assessment is a 2 hour written exam; 96 marks in total; 33.3% of the final grade.

CORE TEXT

YEAR 1

AQA Psychology for A Level Year 1 and AS Student Book, 2nd Edition. ISBN: 9781912820429 – Cara Flanagan, Matt Jarvis, Rob Liddle.

YEAR 2

AQA Psychology for A Level Year 2 Student Book, 2nd Edition. ISBN: 9781912820467 – Cara Flanagan, Matt Jarvis, Rob Liddle.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

An insight into mainstream psychology will open up opportunities to pursue higher education in various disciplines of psychology, including counselling, forensic, sport and clinical domains, as well as careers in academic research. This course also provides detailed consideration of the many ways that psychology is relevant to everyone, in everyday situations, therefore being advantageous for a variety of careers, including any people-facing roles, such as education, business and medical environments.

Sociology

Sociology

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Provide students with the opportunity to understand how society works, with knowledge development of society’s structures and processes through sociological theories, perspectives and methods.
  • Encourage the ability to recognise and evaluate the research conducted by sociologists that contributes to our knowledge of society.
  • Enable the ability to discuss the theoretical and methodological perspectives and debates that exist within sociology across the different structures explored in the course.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English and Mathematics, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Families and Households
  • Education
  • Research Methods

YEAR 2

  • Crime and Deviance
  • Theory and Methods
  • The Media

ASSESSMENT

  • Paper 1 – Education with Theory and Methods.
  • Paper 2 – Topics in Sociology; Families and Households; The Media.
  • Paper 3 – Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods.Each assessment is a 2 hour written examination; 80 marks in total; 33.3% of the final grade.

CORE TEXT

YEAR 1

Sociology for AQA Volume 1: AS and 1st Year A Level. ISBN: 9780745691305 – Ken Browne.

YEAR 2

Sociology for AQA Volume 2: 2nd Year A Level. ISBN: 9780745696942 – Ken Browne, Jonathan Blundell and Pamela Law.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Studying Sociology at A Level will provide opportunities to pursue higher education in sociology, philosophy, psychology, politics and law, as well as careers in academic research. This course also provides a deep understanding of the processes and structures that exist within society, relevant to a range of careers and industries, including law enforcement, education, media and various other public and private sectors.

Textile Design

Textile Design

EXAM BOARD: AQA

AIMS

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • awareness of the elements of textile design, such as shape, line, scale, colour, texture, pattern, contrast and/or repetition in relation to the chosen area(s) of textile design.
  • awareness of intended audience or purpose for students’ chosen area(s) of textile design.
  • ability to respond to an issue, concept or idea, working to a brief or answering a need in the chosen area(s) of textile design.
  • appreciation of the relationship of form and function and, where applicable, the constraints of working to a brief.
  • understanding of a variety of textile methods, such as: fabric printing, mono-printing, relief printing, screen printing and laser printing; tie-dye and batik; spraying and transfer; fabric construction; stitching, appliqué, patchwork, padding, quilting and embroidery.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education and Grade 6 in GCSE Art or equivalent drawing and painting ability.

COURSE STRUCTURE

YEAR 1

  • Students are introduced to a wide range of textile techniques which might include: exploring stitching to enrich the surface through hand and machine embroidery, variety of print techniques, applied fabrics, appliqué, weaving, quilting, photo-reactive surfaces, devoré, batik, tie dye and space dyeing, laser cutting, felting, pleating.
  • Students explore a range of materials such as: fabrics, mixed media, recycled materials, plastics, papers, resistant materials.
  • Students are introduced to research techniques and use critical and contextual analysis to support the development of ideas.
  • Throughout the course students should learn how to use a sketchbook effectively and select and present their work.
  • Written analysis for a personal art project of between 1,000 – 3,000 words with artwork.

YEAR 2

  • Completed personal art work project.
  • Exam project

ASSESSMENT

  • Personal project with written work.
  • Exam project.

CAREERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The elements of the Textile Design course give students the opportunity to decide whether they would like to pursue a career in garment and textile export houses, textile and fabric manufacturing, branded fashion showrooms, television and film industry, stylist, boutiques, retail chains and knit-wear design.