Sixth Form Curriculum | St Helen's
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Students in the Sixth Form follow one of our flexible and powerful ‘Pathways’, enabling them to design a bespoke and personalised curriculum of either three or four A Levels selected from the thirty subjects we offer.

The flexibility and scope of the curriculum at St Helen’s offers a unique and bespoke Sixth Form experience. It also ensures that our pupils are able to study their subjects in the depth and detail required by linear A Levels, and receive the best possible preparation for Higher Education.

Amongst the A Level subjects currently offered at St Helen’s are: Art & Design (Fine Art), Biology, Business, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Classical Greek, Computer Science, Design & Technology (Product Design), Drama & Theatre, Economics, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, German, History, History of Art, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Spanish.

Our students choose to follow one of three pathways within the Sixth Form curriculum:

  • Pathway A: 3 A levels + EPQ + Academic Enhancement + ‘St Helen’s Programme’
  • Pathway B: 3 A levels + 2 year AS Level (chosen from a restricted range of subjects) + 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*

*Students who are undecided on their best choice of 3 A levels may commence 4 A levels and will be offered two opportunities during Year 12 where one of these A levels may be dropped and a student will switch to Pathway A.

We regard Pathway A as our ‘core offer’, as in almost all cases universities make offers based solely on the outcomes of three A Levels, and students who start three A Levels often find it highly advantageous to focus on maximising their achievement in three academic subjects. For students taking three A Level subjects within Pathway A, a wide choice of non-examined Academic Enhancement courses, taken in the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 12, provides breadth and encourages the development of interest in subject areas beyond their core A Levels. Typically, Academic Enhancement courses include Sports Science, Child Psychology, Coding and Justice.

All students who start three A Level courses have the opportunity, through the EPQ, to complete a piece of extended research which enables them to broaden their studies beyond the A Level syllabi, or to engage more deeply with a specific area within an A Level subject. 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 follow our unique St Helen’s Programme, which comprises PE, the Sixth Form Lecture programme, PSHCE, ‘UniPrep’ and the Personal Impact Programme.

The Personal Impact Programme helps students to build the necessary confidence and skills to present themselves successfully in professional contexts in preparation for their applications to Higher Education and the world of work. Pupils are further supported in their preparation for Higher Education by UniPrep sessions, led by a subject specialist, which challenges pupils to engage with their chosen university subject well beyond the confines of the A Level syllabus and helps them to create a compelling application.

As well as the core skills programme and optional courses, all members of the Sixth Form participate in a lecture series which aims to broaden horizons and encourage debate and discussion on a wide range of topics. Physical Education is a compulsory part of a balanced Sixth Form curriculum which encourages students to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle.

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. 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 contribution to sports teams, music ensembles, CCF, societies and clubs at school; and through their involvement in community service and charitable work.