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Curriculum

Our Sixth Form offers a wide and varied curriculum of over 28 subjects. Whilst class sizes tend to be around 8 – 10 students per teaching group, there are many subjects with much smaller classes, and never over 15 students. Unlike many schools, we can run subjects at A Level even if there are only a very small number of students.

Read our 2020/21 Guide to the Sixth Form here:

2021 Guide to the Sixth Form

Sixth Form students generally study three subjects in Year 12, although some may begin with four for the first term while they make a decision about what subjects are the best fit for them. In exceptional cases a student may do four subjects to A-level, but students must discuss this with Ms Ford, the Deputy Head Academic to ensure this is a sensible course of action for their Higher Education plans.

In addition, all students complete an independent research project in Year 12 on a topic of their choosing. This is designed to enable them to develop their independent learning and research skills and help with the transition to how they will be required to learn at university. Students who have made sufficient progress will then have the opportunity to develop this into an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) in Year 13, which is a Level 3 qualification equivalent to an AS level.

Please read our Sixth Form Curriculum Guide here

Subjects on offer

The following A Level subjects (see below) are available for students entering our Sixth Form in 2021.

In addition, all students take part in an extensive enrichment programme which allows them to develop their skills beyond their A-Level studies. They also enjoy a diverse menu of other enrichment options which they can sign up for depending on their interests and higher education plans.

Art, Craft and Design

Examination Board: Edexcel

Composition of the department: Mrs L Broad (Head of Department), Mrs J Clauser, Mrs H Evangeli. The department is additionally supported by a full time technician.

Why Art? Art allows you develop creativity and artistic style that reflects who the student is as an individual. An A Level in this subject will build on the creativity and skills gained at GCSE but in a more independent, personal, in-depth and exciting manner. Students build a very personal and continually evolving body of practical work that is supported by contextual studies. By exploring and developing ideas core skills are strengthen and new techniques developed. Creative subjects are additionally core to developing a range of unique but transferable skills that can be utilised in all aspects of life. Being able to respond creatively to different situations often allows you navigate through the challenges and be resilient to the obstacles encountered.

Subject Entry Requirements: Grade 7 at GCSE in Art

Course Content:

Students follow an integrated practical, critical and theoretical study of art using a variety of media and processes. They are encouraged to develop their own personal responses to their experiences, environment and culture in both practical and contextual activities.

Component 1, coursework, starts with a series of structured activities around a common theme and this is developed into more individual work culminating in a variety of personal responses. Students work in a diverse range of two and three dimensional media including; traditional media (pencil, pen, paint etc.), print, textiles, ceramics and mixed-media. Individual artistic strengths are taken into account when students decide on the direction for their work and as the course progresses they are encouraged to pursue their work with increasing independence. Students develop this work in response to an idea, issue, concept or theme of their own choice. As the Personal Investigation concludes the work must show greater knowledge, understanding and skills than in Year 12 and show a sustained personal journey that is fully realised. The Personal Investigation, Component 1, additionally requires a critical written element, Personal Study, of around 2000-3000 words which must link to and be informed by the practical work completed.

Component 2 is the Externally Set Assignment, which commences from the February of Year 13. Working from a given broad-based thematic starting point (set by the examination board) students are expected to produce a clearly defined body of work which will lead to a resolved piece or pieces. The final personal response is completed during a 15 hour examination.

How is it assessed?:

Assessment is completed internally by the Art Department teaching staff before moderation by an external moderator from Edexcel.

Component 1 is worth 60% of the total A Level marks Component 2 is worth 40% of the total A Level marks

Commonly used modes of learning:

The subject is taught with mini skills projects at the start of Year 12, before a more personalised tutorial led learning as the work develops greater independence. Independent work is encouraged and own ideas are essential for the work to evolve supported by the teacher. The Art rooms are available for independent work outside of the timetabled lessons.

Enrichment opportunities:

The themes of the work can be focused on areas of personal interest and enable students to explore ideas or themes that are of interest. These can link across subjects or be more personal. Examples include Gender identity and cells.

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Art provide?:

Entry to Foundation courses in Art and Design. Direct entry onto degree courses either art based or others such as architecture and product design. The subject helps prepare students for work in the media and creative industries. Art demonstrates aesthetic understanding and dexterity, important skills for a career in dentistry or surgery. Art also shows diversity and creativity in thinking which can benefit a more academic route at university if chosen.

What have students that have studied Art A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Medicine, Art, History, Architecture, Photography, Law

Biology

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Dr J Edwards, Dr N Haughey, Mrs A Stockwell, Mrs K Taylor (Head of Department)

Why studying Biology?

The best reason to study Biology is that it fascinates you.  At A level you get to study a wide range of material in more depth, helping you to begin to gain a deeper insight into concepts you learned at GCSE and a wider appreciation of how your own bodies and the world around you works.  

Another good reason to study Biology, is that doing so supports your university or career aspirations, whether this is for Medicine, Natural Sciences, or one of the many other Biology and Biology related careers and courses. 

A third reason to take Biology A level, is that studying biology helps to develop a wide range of transferrable skills, from research and analytical work to group work and presentation skills.

Subject Entry Requirements: 

The minimum requirements are: an OP entry point score of 7.0 or more, a 6 at GCSE Maths, a 7 in Biology and 6 in Chemistry or 7,7 in GCSE Combined Science.

 

Course Content:

Practical work is integral to the course and Module 1: Development of practical skills in biology, will be taught throughout both years. 

There are five theory modules in A level Biology. 

  • In the Foundations in biology module (Module 2) you will study cells and their membranes, biological molecules, nucleic acids (e.g. DNA) and enzymes.
  • During the Exchange and Transport module (Module 3) you will look at gas exchange in mammals, insects and fish, and transport systems in animals and plants. 
  • In Module 4 you will study diseases, disease prevention and the immune system. You will also look at classification, variation and evolution. 
  • During Module 5 you will study the processes of photosynthesis and respiration. You will also study physiology looking at homeostasis, excretion, the nervous system, hormones and muscles. 
  • Module 6 includes inheritance, cellular control, cloning and biotechnology.  In this module you will also study populations and consider the issues of sustainability.

 

How is it assessed?:

There are three written papers at the end of year 13. 

 

Paper 1: Biological processes is a 2 hour 15 minutes paper worth 37% of your ‘A’ level

Paper 2: Biological diversity is a 2 hour 15 minutes paper worth 37% of your ‘A’ level

Paper 3: Unified biology is a 1 hour 30 minutes paper worth 26% of your ‘A’ level

 

These papers will include an assessment of some practical skills. 

 

In addition to the written examinations you will complete a Practical endorsement in biology over the two years. This assessment of your practical skills does not count towards your ‘A’ level grade but is reported at the same time.

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

These can be very varied, but would usually include listening to and giving presentations, discussing ideas, creating different sorts of models, interactive quizzes and games, watching video clips, role plays, past paper question practice and a lot of practical work.

Enrichment opportunities:

There are many enrichment opportunities including stretch and challenge work, and an optional visit to Biology Live, a day of lectures with cutting edge speakers. The Year 12 & 13 are encouraged to attend Biology Society which is will enable them to develop both their practical skills and their knowledge beyond the syllabus. Students are also encouraged in taking up external enrichment courses, such as Open Learn, and are supported in applying for Nuffield Head Start and Nuffield Research placements.

Students also regularly enter prestigious national competitions, including the Newham College Cambridge essay competition, the Intermediate Biology Olympiad in Year 12, and the Biology Olympiad in Year 13.  

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Biology provide?:

Studying Biology to A level provides a wide range of possible university and career opportunities.  This would include the biological science based courses e.g. natural sciences, biology, marine biology, biochemistry, biotechnology and genetics as well as the biomedical strands of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary science and biomedical sciences.

 

What have students that have studied Biology A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Students who have studied A level Biology at Old Palace go onto study a wide range of courses at University.  In the medical and allied fields many students have gone on to study Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing Studies, Health care Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Psychology and Neuroscience, and Pharmacy.  Other students have gone on to study Natural Sciences, Biology, Biological sciences,  Animal Behaviour,  Animal Science, Zoology, Environmental Science, Conservation, Marine Biology, Forensic Science, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, and Genetics degrees

Chemistry

Examination Board: OCR 

Composition of the department: Mrs K Ball (Head of Department), Mrs C Mills, (Head of Science), Miss C Sandhu  

Why Chemistry? This subject will equip you with a wide range of transferable skills which are valued by many employers within and beyond the scientific field. 

  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely. 
  • High level of numeracy and literacy. 
  • Ability to plan and modify procedures. 
  • Ability to work to high levels of accuracy and precision. 
  • Ability to analyse and evaluate. 
  • Ability to think logically, make connections and reason. 
  • Ability to problem solve. 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team. 

Chemistry is challenging and has a high intellectual demand but is also immensely rewarding as it gives you a greater understanding of the world around you.  Virtually every product that we use relies on some sort of chemical process and Chemistry is key to developing new, sustainable materials. 

Subject Entry Requirements: OP entry point score of 7.0 or more, A or 7 in Chemistry or AA (7,7) in double award Science, B or 6 in Mathematics 

Course Content: 

Content is split into six teaching modules: 

  • Module 1: Development of practical skills in chemistry 
  • Module 2: Foundations in Chemistry 
  • Module 3: Periodic table and energy 
  • Module 4: Core organic chemistry 
  • Module 5: Physical chemistry and transition elements 
  • Module 6: Organic chemistry and analysis 

 

How is it assessed? 

There are three written papers at the end of year 13.  

  • Paper 1: Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry is a 2 hour 15 minutes paper worth 37% of your ‘A’ level 
  • Paper 2: Synthesis and analytical techniques is a 2 hour 15 minutes paper worth 37% of your ‘A’ level 
  • Paper 3: Unified chemistry is a 1 hour 30 minutes paper worth 26% of your ‘A’ level 

 

These papers will include an assessment of some practical skills.  

 

In addition to the written examinations you will complete a Practical endorsement in biology over the two years. This assessment of your practical skills does not count towards your ‘A’ level grade but is reported at the same time. 

Commonly used modes of learning: 

  • Class discussion / Question and Answer sessions. 
  • Practical work – individually and in pairs. 
  • Problem solving activities. 
  • Quizzes. 

 Enrichment opportunities: 

  • The Chemistry Society is well attended by our Sixth Form students, providing an opportunity to explore fascinating reactions and applications of the subject beyond the requirements of the specification. 
  • Competitions: Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (Y12); Chemistry Olympiad (Y13);  

RSC Schools Analyst  

  • Visits and conferences (subject to approval by school and availability of places): Chemistry in Action; Chemistry Conference at Queen Mary University London; Spectroscopy Day at UCL 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Chemistry provide?:  

Source: Royal Society of ChemistryWebsite: https://edu.rsc.org/future-in-chemistry/   

What have students that have studied Chemistry A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: 

Chemistry, Pharmacy, Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Biology, Physics, Psychology, Maths, Geography, Business and Finance.   

 

Classical Civilisation

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department:

Miss S Funnell, Mrs K Hargraves (also Drama), Ms N McCabe, Mr W Nolan (Head of Department)

Why Classical Civilisation?

Classical Civilisation allows students to explore a wide aspect of the cultures of classical Greek and Rome. The modules we study cover Greece and Rome and look at mythology, literature and politics. Discussing and researching these areas of the subject allows students to think more deeply about modern British literature and culture their own beliefs.

Students always enjoy studying Classical Civilisation and often enjoy the wide range of material that they read and analyse.

Subject Entry Requirements:

GCSE Classical Civilisation grade 6 OR GCSE English grade 6

Course Content:

We study three modules:

H408 11 – The World of the Hero. In Y12 students read one of Homer’s epic poems (the Iliad or Odyssey) and in Y13 students read Virgil’s Aeneid. This module explores themes of heroism, gender expectations, war, refugees and mythology across Greece and Rome. 

H408 21 – Greek Theatre. Mostly covered in Y12 with revision sessions in Y13, the students read three plays, the tragedies Oedipus (Sophocles) and Bacchae (Euripides) and one comedy Frogs (Aristophanes). Students also examine ancient Greek vases that show scenes from Greek drama.

H408 33 – Politics of the Late Republic. Mostly covered in Y13 with introductory sessions in Y12, the students explore the decline of the Roman Republic from Sulla to Augustus. The course examines how a political system dominated by an out of touch elite can be subverted and overthrown by charismatic populists. 

 

How is it assessed?:

Module Code Content of paper Percentage of qualification
The World of the Hero 11 Questions on Odyssey/Iliad and Aeneid. 100 marks, 2 hours 20 minutes 40%
Greek Theatre 21 Analysis of Geek plays and art. 75 marks, 1 hour 45 minutes 30%
Politics of the Late Republic  33 Analysis of Roman politics and history. 75 marks, 1 hour 45 minutes 30%

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

A variety of learning approaches used. There are ample opportunities for independent study, especially in literature modules. Students produce presentations based on specific areas and engage in extensive research. 

Small class sizes (normally 3-6 students) allows for significant one-to-one support and means that language revision sessions can be tailored for the needs of students in the group.

A significant level of independence is expected of students, especially when it comes to reading primary and secondary literature.

 

Enrichment opportunities:

The Classics department prides itself on the enrichment opportunities offered to students. Students of all classical subjects are members of Symposium. This is a sixth form society that meets once a term. The society read a text or review material evidence from an area of the ancient world not covered in examination requirements. There is then a discussion after school in the long gallery attended by all classical students and teachers. This society allows students to explore more unusual areas of the ancient world and provides them with skills they will use at university. 

The department also run theatre trips throughout the year, day trips to museums and galleries, trips to lecture days designed to support specific modules and internal and external essay competitions.

The sixth form subject prefects also take the responsibility of running a classics club for younger students.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Classical Civilisation provide?:

Classical subjects are recognised by universities and employers as rigorous and challenging subjects that set students aside from the rest both on paper and at interview. Classical Civilisation students can go on to study classics, law, history, politics, medicine, modern languages or anything else. Classics opens many doors and closes none.

When it comes to career opportunities, the wide range of skills developed through studying Classical Civilisation, prepares students for an extensive range of employment opportunities. People who study classics at university go on to become lawyers, politicians, authors, teachers, accountants, translators etc. A wide spectrum of careers is open to those who study classical subjects.

What have students that have studied Classical Civilisation A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Classics, Medicine, English, History, Wild Animal Biology, Accounting and Finance, Psychology, Modern Languages, Archaeology.

Classical Greek

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Miss S Funnell, Mr W Nolan (Head of Department)

Why Greek? Classical Greek at A-Level allows students to achieve linguistic mastery of this challenging language. By the end of Y13, students are able to independently translate extended passages of prose and verse as well as translate complex English sentences into Classical Greek. Alongside the linguistic aspect of the course, students explore the Greek World through literature. Developing skills learnt at GCSE, students will translate, analyse and discuss verse and prose literature. By exploring the mythological poetry of Homer’s Odyssey and the philosophy of Plato, the students gain an in depth understanding of the Greek psyche that has been so influential in modern British literature and thought.

Subject Entry Requirements:

Grade 7 in GCSE Classical Greek

Course Content:

Language (50%): Students develop their understanding of Greek Language. They develop unseen translation skills to allow them to fully understand challenging passages by authors such as Xenophon and Euripides. They also develop prose composition skills introduced at GCSE.

Literature (50%): Students read, analyse and discuss the works of two authors, one verse one prose. For students sitting A-Levels in 2023, they will study books 1 and 6 of Homer’s Odyssey as their verse text and Plato’s Symposium for prose.

 

How is it assessed?:

Module Code Content of paper Percentage of qualification
Language 1 

(Unseen translation)

01 Two passages to translate. 

100 marks, 1 hour 45 minutes

33%
Language 2 

(prose composition or comprehension)

02 Either a passage to be translate into Latin or a comprehension. 

50 marks, 1 hour 15 minutes

17%
Prose Literature  03 Translation, comprehension and essays based on Plato text. 

75 marks, 2 hours.

25%
Verse Literature 04 Translation, comprehension and essays based on Homer text. 

75 marks, 2 hours.

25%

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

A variety of learning approaches used. There are ample opportunities for independent study, especially in literature modules. Students produce presentations based on specific areas and engage in extensive research. 

Small class sizes (normally 1-2 students) allows for more one-to-one support and means that language revision sessions can be tailored for the needs of students in the group.

A significant level of independence is expected of students, especially when it comes to vocabulary learning and consolidation of literature notes.

 

Enrichment opportunities:

The Classics department prides itself on the enrichment opportunities offered to students. Students of all classical subjects are members of Symposium. This is a sixth form society that meets once a term. The society read a text or review material evidence from an area of the ancient world not covered in examination requirements. There is then a discussion after school in the long gallery attended by all classical students and teachers. This society allows students to explore more unusual areas of the ancient world and provides them with skills they will use at university. 

The department also run theatre trips throughout the year, day trips to museums and galleries, trips to lecture days designed to support specific modules and internal and external essay competitions.

The sixth form subject prefects also take the responsibility of running a classics club for younger students.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Classical Greek provide?:

Classical subjects are recognised by universities and employers as rigorous and challenging subjects that set students aside from the rest both on paper and at interview. Greek students can go on to study classics, law, history, politics, medicine, modern languages or anything else. Classics opens many doors and closes none.

When it comes to career opportunities, the wide range of skills developed through studying Greek, prepares students for a wide range of employment opportunities. People who study classics at university go on to become lawyers, politicians, authors, teachers, accountants, translators etc. A wide spectrum of careers is open to those who study classical subjects.

 

What have students that have studied Classical Greek A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?

Classics, Modern languages

Computer Science

Examination Board: OCR 

Composition of the department: Mr R Dunham (Head of Department), Mrs B Plummer

Why take A – Level Computer Science? Almost every aspect of modern life is affected by computers from running our personal and social lives using the internet, mobile devices and home appliances, to complex programs that help businesses and public services run smoothly. Vast networked systems of computers control global communication, trade, finance, social media, entertainment, gaming and transportation, and much more besides.

Studying Computer Science will open a window for you to discover how computers work and enable you to design and determine what they do. You will need a good grasp of Maths and be willing to learn the language of code. Once you crack it though you will be able to deconstruct it and build up your own vocabulary. 

You will also become a doctor of problem solving and be able to analyse and break down problems to find the most efficient and effective solutions. After a while you will apply these skills to your everyday life not just to technical problems.

Subject Entry Requirements:

OP entry point score of 7.0 or more 

Grade 6 in GCSE Computer Science 

 

Course Content: A-Level students cover computer systems (01) and algorithms and programming (02). Students also complete their own programming project (03 or 04). Throughout both courses students will receive intensive practical training in high-level programming languages, such as Python, SQL and Javascript.

Unit 1: Computer systems (01)
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is essentially the nerve centre of a computer through which all information flows. You will examine how this works and how processors differ; for example desk top computers and mobile devices. You will find out how to identify different data types, work out how programs integrate through data exchange and develop your own software using sophisticated coding languages. Privacy, sharing, hacking and the environment are just some of the legal and ethical issues you will consider in the development of software and its applications in current and future technologies.

Unit 2: Algorithms and programming (02)
In this unit you will become the doctor of problem solving by learning to recognise, analyse and break down ‘problems’ in order to create solutions that the computer will be able to understand. Here you will discover how invaluable algorithms are in helping you describe and resolve complex problems. Algorithms are step-by-step instructions that lead to a final outcome and they exist not only in a scientific context but all around us. Following a cake recipe is just a basic real life example of an algorithm. Algorithms are also responsible for an enormous range of complex activities from codebreaking to financial market management, predicting behaviour, crime prevention and social networking.

Programming project component (03 or 04)
Go ahead and wow the world with an innovative program using all the problem solving techniques, skills and programming language fluency you have perfected over the course. Now’s your chance to show how you can analyse problems, design and develop solutions and evaluate your own work. The topic of this extended project is your choice, and some previous students have decided to focus on programming a sophisticated game, with scrolling, animations and complex character 

How is it assessed?:

Unit 1 Computer systems (01)

A-Level written exam: 2hr 30mins, 140 marks, 40% of overall result.


Unit 2 Algorithms and programming (02)

A-Level written exam: 2hr 30mins, 140 marks, 40% of overall result.

 

Programming project component (03 or 04)

A-Level non-exam assessment: 70 marks, 20% of overall result.

 

Commonly used modes of learning: One to one and class discussions, presentations, group activities, independent learning, blended and flipped learning.

 

Enrichment opportunities: Involvement in the Digital Leaders programme and Future Tech Girls Club

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Computer Science provide?: You can go on to study degree courses in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Software Engineering, Cyber Security and Computer Games Programming, to name just a few. Computer Science also offers students the opportunity to explore other pathways: music production; digital art; architecture – computer aided design and modelling; smart fabric design for fashion, healthcare and other industries; communication networks; sports analysis; crime investigation; weather and financial forecasting; 3D printing; virtual reality; audio-visual special effects; and data engineering. A-Level Computer Science is the epitome of a future-proof qualification!

What have students that have studied Computer Science A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence

Dance

Examination Board: AQA

Composition of the department: Ms L Khan (Head of Department), Mrs J Barber (Responsible for 6th Form Dance). 

Why Dance?

A-level Dance is a dynamic qualification which encourages students to develop their creative and intellectual capacity, alongside transferable skills such as team working, communication and problem solving. All of these are sought after skills by higher education and employers and will help them stand out in the workplace whatever their choice of career. This specification reflects both historical and current dance practices, making it more relevant, and inspires a lifelong passion and appreciation for dance.

Subject Entry Requirements: Dance GCSE – Level 7 or above or advanced training in vocational grades. 

Course Content: 

Component 1: A practical examination worth 50% of the A Level, comprising two areas of study set by the exam board, and the reflection and understanding of own choreographic and performance practice. 

Section A 

  • A Solo performance linked to a specified practitioner within an area of study
  • A Quartet performance performed in a specific dance genre and style 

Section B 

  • A group choreography task based on set questions pre-released by AQA

 

Component 2: A written examination (2.5 hours) worth 50% of the A Level and comprising of two sections. The written paper has three sections: 

  • Section A – short answer questions (25 marks) and one essay question (25 marks) on the compulsory set work/area of study. 
  • Section B – two essay questions on the second set work/area of study (25 marks for each essay)

How is it assessed?:

The practical components are assessed by an external AQA examiner. 

Component 1 (practical element) is worth 50% of the total A Level marks
Component 2 (theoretical element) is worth 50% of the total A Level marks

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

Students will take part in teacher led sessions developing strong dance technique and performance skills. Research and choreography tasks will be set in order for student’s to enhance their independence and creative skills. Students will regularly work alongside other students through both practical and theoretic tasks. Many performance opportunities will be presented, as well being provided the opportunity to take part in professional workshops and watching different works at the theatre. 

 

Enrichment opportunities:

At A Level, students must develop and apply knowledge, understanding and skills required to perform dance, as a soloist and with others in a quartet. Students therefore study physical and interpretative skills through practical and theoretical exploration to develop secure dance technique as appropriate to the style of work. Safe practice is key and focus is on the training of dancers, including anatomy and physiology, psychological aspects of training and the development of style.  Another key area is the dancers’ need for healthy lifestyle choices, for example diet & nutrition, fitness, and injury prevention.  In the written examination, the practical knowledge that is developed of a variety of practitioners is required in order to provide examples from own practice to illustrate the theoretical concepts explored. Therefore there is a constant two way dialogue between theory and practice throughout the course.

Students study two set works and their corresponding areas of study which provide an appropriate focus for students to critically engage with dance and understand the interrelationship between the creation, presentation and viewing/appreciation of dance. Through this course of study students are required to gain knowledge and understanding of dance style, technique, influences, key practitioners, professional repertoire and the communication of dance ideas.

Students develop critical skills for the analysis of choreography and performance within their own work and in professional repertoire.  Essay writing skills are developed during the course, as the examination requires descriptive, analytical, and evaluative styles of writing, drawing examples from in-depth understanding of both the professional set works and their corresponding areas of study.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Dance provide?:

Direct entry onto degree courses either in Dance or The Performing Arts. The subject helps prepare students for work in the Arts and the creative industries.  Dance demonstrates imagination, resilience, teamwork and confidence, important skills needed in the field of work. 

 

What have students that have studied Dance at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Dance, Dentistry, Foreign Languages and Geography.

Design Technology

Exam Board: AQA (7552)

Composition of Department: Mrs D Osborne, Mrs C Solari (Head of Department), and Mr R Downer (DT technician) 

Why Design and Technology, Product Design? As technology evolves at an ever-increasing rate in a Modern technological world, it is vital students are prepared and equipped with the skills required to join the work force and in particular the world of Design and Engineering. 

The subject Design and Technology certainly helps to do this in the broad spectrum of topics covered, from Knowledge on materials and manufacturing processes, business initiatives, through to global and environmental issues.

It is a subject where students are free to explore creativity and innovation in a hands on practical way where problem solving is the foremost important factor in deriving functional solutions to design opportunities.

The combination of combining the academic side of the subject to a freer design and make approach is unique to this subject. Students experience and gain a variety of transferrable and soft skills which complement their other subjects. This stands them in good stead at a later stage at university and the workplace, with regard to any career path they wish to follow.

The subject promotes opportunities for Engineering, which is becoming more popular in today’s society.

Subject Entry Requirements: B or 6  in DT: Product Design

 

Course content: This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries. This specification has been carefully put together by a number of teachers and assessment experts ensuring it is up to date and relevant to the world of design and technology.

 

Theory Students will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing prototypes of their choice.

Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.

Coursework Students will apply their practical skills and theoretical knowledge to complete a ‘design and make’ task based on the design process, solving a design challenge from start to finished manufactured prototype.

How is it assessed?:

The course is a 2 Year A Level course. 

  • 50% Theory (2 written exams. Paper 1: 2.30hr. Paper 2: 1.30hr )
  • 50% NEA coursework

The NEA (coursework) is internally marked and standardised, externally moderated by AQA. Written examinations taken with all other public exams and AQA assessed.

The final A Level grade is the result of coursework mark and written examination marks put together.   

Common modes of teaching

Lessons involve explanations and examples of new concepts followed by tackling increasingly difficult problems. IT is used with PowerPoints and videos are used to illustrate and discover different manufacturing processes in the course. There is practical hands on experience in the workshop investigating materials and construction methods, and handling collections of products and materials to explore possibilities and used in Product analysis.

You will develop your ability to work independently well in this subject and there is ample opportunity for independent student research on individual topics followed up by short presentations to the class. Further reading material can be supplied or recommended by teaching staff

 

Enrichment opportunities: The department makes the most of the opportunities available on their doorstep, and students are support to visit a wealth of museums, Galleries and Exhibitions in central London: The V&A museum, The Design Museum, Royal Academy, Tate Modern & Britain and many more. 

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying DT provide?: DT provides an ideal foundation for students going on to study any design related degree at University. For example, students might consider a 1 year Art & Design foundation course at Art college, or as part of an Art and Design degree. Higher and Degree Apprenticeships with bigger design and manufacturing companies becoming more popular as a route to qualification and working simultaneously, guaranteed job at the end.

After university a design degree opens up a wide variety of career opportunities: 

  • Arts, Crafts and design careers; from Animator, Set design to Product and interior design.
  • Engineering, construction and manufacturing; from Design and Engineering in vehicles and products to design in the medical and dentistry fields including opportunities in new and modern materials and designing modern equipment and prosthetics. Structural and Aerospace engineering
  • Broadcast media, performing arts
  • Journalism and Publishing
  • Marketing, Business, and advertising

 

What have students that have studied DT A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: A-level students frequently go on to use their design skills at university taking courses such as Urban Planning, Design and Management, Civil Engineering 

 

Drama and Theatre Studies

Examination Board: Edexcel

Composition of the department: Miss J Berk (Head of Department), Mrs K Hargraves (also Classics) and a peripatetic LAMDA teacher.

Why study A Level Drama and Theatre? Students completing the course will hone their analytical and creative skills; develop a thorough understanding of Drama and Theatre; and an ability to communicate effectively with others. The course will prepare students to study a wide range of subjects at university, including: Drama and Theatre Studies, English, Journalism, Classics, Communication and Media or Technical Theatre. The course also encourages students to use theatre to explore societal issues and will prepare students to be engaged global citizens and theatre makers. Finally, this qualification allows students to develop transferable skills that will prove useful in careers such as law, advertising, psychology, academia, medicine and technology.

Subject Entry Requirements: Candidates will have achieved 6 or above in GCSE Drama. If the candidate has not taken GCSE Drama, a 6 or above in GCSE English is required.

Course Content:

  • Component 1: Devising
  • Component 2: Text in Performance
  • Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice

How is it assessed?:

Component 1: Internally Assessed – Devised Piece – 40% of A Level

Students devise an original performance piece using one key extract from a performance text as a stimulus and in the style of a significant theatre practitioner. This component is internally assessed by a portfolio of 2500-3000 words (60 marks) and the devised performance (20 marks).

Component 2: Externally Assessed – Group performance and monologue/duologue – 20% of A Level

This component is assessed externally by a group performance of one key extract from a performance text (36 marks) and a monologue/duologue from a different performance text (24 marks). 

Component 3: Externally Assessed – Written Exam – 40% of A Level

This component is an externally assessed written examination. The paper is 2 hours and 30 minutes and consists of three sections – Section A: Live Theatre Evaluation (20 marks); Section B: Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text (36 marks) and Section C: Interpreting a Performance Text (24 marks). In preparation, students see and study a live performance for Section A. Students write about a set text from the perspective of a performer and designer in Section B. In Section C, students study another text set by the exam board and consider their own production interpretation of this text.

Commonly used modes of learning: Theatre visits; professional workshops; independent research; practical performance and design activities; written essays; digital resources about theatre production; collaboration; engagement with cross-curricular links.

Enrichment opportunities: Theatre visits; professional workshops; backstage tours; Q&A panels with industry professionals; participating in school productions as performers, student directors and designers; clubs; student voice and leadership groups; peripatetic LAMDA lessons; external links with WAVPA and productions at Whitgift school. 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying A Level Drama and Theatre provide?: A Level Drama and Theatre provides students with the skills and knowledge to study various theatre courses at university, as well as transferable skills for other subjects. On the course, students will learn about different UK theatre companies; engage with working theatre professionals and academics; and be given support on Drama school and BA applications.

What have students that have studied A Level Drama and Theatre at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Drama and Theatre Studies, English, Law, Anthropology and Psychology. 

Economics

Examination Board: Edexcel (Specification A)

Composition of the department: Mrs C April (acting Head of Department), Mr J McGrath, Mrs N Ojukwu (mat. leave 2020-21)

Why Economics? Studying economics will help you develop problem-solving skills that you can apply to real-life situations. Economics will enable you to have a better understanding of how decisions taken by households, firms and governments can have far-reaching implications both locally, nationally and internationally.  The study of Economics endeavours to find solutions to common concerns such as scarcity of resources, unequal distribution of wealth, and the role of the State in correcting market failures.  Economics A level should give learners the knowledge and appetite for contributing to discussions on real life word issues.  As a result, Economists are frequently called upon as advisors and consultants within Business, Banking and the Government. 

Subject Entry Requirements: 

OP entry point score of 7.0 or more 

Grade 6 in Mathematics

Course Content:

Theme 1: Introduction to markets and market failure.

This theme focuses on microeconomic concepts. Students will develop an understanding of the nature of economics, how markets work, why markets fail and government intervention.

Theme 2: The UK economy – performance and policies 

This theme focuses on macroeconomic concepts. Students will develop an understanding of measures of economic performance, macroeconomic objectives and policy instruments. 

Theme 3: Business behaviour and the labour market 

This theme develops the microeconomic concepts introduced in Theme 1 and focuses on business economics. Students will develop an understanding of business objectives, revenues, costs and profits, market structures and the labour market. 

Theme 4: A global perspective

This theme develops the macroeconomic concepts introduced in Theme 2 and applies these concepts in a global context. Students will develop an understanding of international economics, poverty and inequality, emerging and developing economies, the financial sector and the role of the state in the macro economy.

How is it assessed?:

Paper 1: Markets and business behaviour

Microeconomics (questions will be drawn from Themes 1 and 3)

2 Hours

 

Paper 2: The national and global economy

Macroeconomics (questions will be drawn from Themes 2 and 4)

2 Hours

 

Paper 3: Microeconomics and macroeconomics

Students are required to apply their knowledge and understanding, make connections and transfer higher-order skills across all four themes.

2 Hours

 

Commonly used modes of learning: Discussions, Flipped learning, presentations (teacher and student led), Group activities, Independent learning

Enrichment opportunities: Economics Society, Business Enterprise club

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Economics provide?: Students of Economics are employed in a range of posts which may, or may not, be related to the discipline they studied. They work in finance and accounting, manufacturing, transport, communications, banking, insurance, investment and retailing industries, as well as in government agencies, consulting and charitable organisations.

What have students that have studied Economics A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: PPE, International Business, Economics and Geography, Economics and Finance related courses, Development Economics, Economics and Politics

English Language

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Miss G Addison, Mr. A Seddon (Head of Department)

Why English Language: English Language will open your eyes to the ways the language choices you make in speaking and writing are subtly adapted according to context. You will explore how gender and power impact language, examining linguistic studies and theories and evaluating their findings. You will consider how language has changed across history and how children learn to speak. You will also get the chance to hone skills of writing according to audience, purpose and text type. 

The coursework unit will give you to freedom to research in depth a topic which is of particular personal interest. 

Subject Entry Requirements: Minimum grade 6 in GCSE English Language and English Literature.

 

Course Content: For the examinations you will study the many ways of categorising units of meaning in English, from the smallest sound to extended discourse structure. You will apply your learning to unseen texts, both spoken and written modes, analysing language choices and considering contextual factors at play. You will study the how linguistics have sought to understand the influence of gender and power on discourse. You will study the process of language acquisition in children. You will also study how the English Language has changed over time. In your coursework project you will research in depth a language-related topic of personal interest.

 

How is it assessed?:

80% of marks for two examinations.

20% for coursework project. 

Commonly used modes of learning: Class discussion, group work and projects, videos and podcasts, presentations.

Enrichment opportunities: Plans for trips to the Old Bailey, visiting speakers

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying English Language provide?: English/Linguistics is a highly regarded degree subject in its own right, as well as supporting applications to study subjects such as Law and Journalism.

English supports a huge range of careers, from teaching and writing-based professions, to areas such as the civil service, law, media and advertising.

English graduates include the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, actor and activist Emma Watson and the multi-award winning author Zadie Smith.

English Literature

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Miss N Adams, Miss G Addison, Mrs A Beech, Mrs K Parker, Mr A Seddon (Head of Department), Mrs I Sinclair (Deputy Head Pastoral)

Why English Literature: English Literature will allow you to explore the richness and complexity of novels, poetry and drama. You will explore a wide range of texts, considering the contexts they were written in, and how readers have responded to them over time.

Subject Entry Requirements: Minimum grade 6 in GCSE English Language and English Literature. 

 

Course Content: For the examinations you will study the poetry of Christina Rossetti, the play A Doll’s House, Shakespeare’s great political play Coriolanus, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and a unit on unseen writing. For coursework you will study three modern texts, all post 1900 and one post 2000. 

How is it assessed?:

80% marks for two examinations. 

20% marks for two coursework essays. 

Commonly used modes of learning: Class discussion, group work and projects, videos and podcasts, presentations. 

Enrichment opportunities: Recent trips include day trip to Belfast as part of coursework unit on Northern Irish writing, trip to A Level student conference in London and theatre trip to Lyric Hammersmith. 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying English Literature provide?: English is a highly regarded degree subject in its own right, as well as supporting applications to study subjects such as Law and Journalism.

English supports a huge range of careers, from teaching and writing-based professions, to areas such as the civil service, law, media and advertising. 

English graduates include the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, actor and activist Emma Watson and the multi-award winning author Zadie Smith. 

What have students that have studied English Literature A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

A huge range of subjects from English to Medicine! 

Further Mathematics

Examination Board: Edexcel

Composition of the department: Mrs E Adamson, Ms H Ford (Deputy Head Academic), Mrs J Goddard, Mrs L Inal, Mrs E Morris (Head of Department), Mrs H Stevens

Why Further Mathematics?

If you enjoy mathematics, Further Mathematics is a brilliant choice of A Level. You get to spend more time doing mathematics in sixth form. You are also more likely to achieve a higher grade in your Mathematics A Level if you take Further Mathematics as it enhances your understanding and complements the course.

If you are considering taking a degree course in a mathematically-rich subject, it is extremely useful to study A Level Further Mathematics. Some prestigious university degrees and higher apprenticeship programmes prefer students to have taken Further Mathematics. It can also help you with the mathematical admissions tests for some of these universities.

Even if your mathematically-rich university course doesn’t require Further Mathematics, it will give you a competitive edge over other applicants. It can aid in a successful transition to higher education. Topics met in Further Mathematics will be much easier and quicker to learn when they are covered at university if you have studied them in sixth form.

Some universities will make lower offers if you are taking Further Mathematics as they recognise the excellent preparation it gives you for many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related courses. 

Subject Entry Requirements: Grade 8 in Mathematics GCSE

 

Course Content: The Further Mathematics A Level is made up of three parts, Core Pure, Further Mechanics and Decision. 

Core Pure builds on the Pure from A Level Mathematics and you will be learning: advanced proof; complex numbers; matrices; further vectors, calculus and functions; polar coordinates; hyperbolic functions; and differential equations.

Further Mechanics looks at: momentum and impulse; work, energy and power; elastic strings and springs; and elastic collisions. 

Decision Mathematics is an algorithm based branch of mathematics. You will learn about: algorithms and graph theory; critical path analysis; and linear programming.

 

How is it assessed?: The course is examined at the end of year 13. There are two Core Pure papers, one Further Mechanics and one Decision. All papers are 1 hour 30 minutes long and are equally weighted.

 

Commonly used modes of learning: Lessons involve explanations and examples of new concepts followed by tackling increasingly difficult problems. IT is used with PowerPoints and graphical packages to illustrate and discover different concepts in the course. There are computer room lessons for learning about the Large Data Set using Excel spreadsheets. You will learn to use more advanced calculators with statistical and algebraic functions. Examination questions are gradually introduced in order to grow familiarity with the requirements of A Level. You will develop your ability to work independently well in this subject.

 

Enrichment opportunities: You will have the opportunity to take part in the Senior Mathematics Team Challenge. This is a competition against the best mathematicians in other schools in small teams. The rounds are fun and challenging and we prepare during lunch time practice sessions. 

To prepare for mathematical entrance tests and additional qualifications that some universities ask for such as STEP (Sixth Term Extension Papers), we run an after school course in the spring term. Students from across the borough come to our school to attend these classes and as one of our students, you will get first choice of the available places. As well as helping you prepare for these assessments, the sessions provide an opportunity to improve problem solving skills and to work collaboratively on challenging mathematics.

You will be entered for the Senior Mathematics Challenge, run by the UKMT. This is a test involving multiple choice problem solving questions. You can earn a certificate if you perform well and in exceptional cases go onto harder rounds, competing with the most able mathematicians from across the country.

You can help a younger student who is struggling with mathematics by volunteering to be a “Maths Buddy”. This is a very rewarding thing to do and it helps to develop your ability to explain mathematical concepts.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Further Mathematics provide?: Further Mathematics will significantly improve your chances of success in mathematically related fields. Subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Economics and Computer Science require or prefer Further Mathematics and many will give lower offers if you are taking this A Level.

 

What have students that have studied Further Mathematics A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Mathematics, Economics, Accounting and Business, Physics, Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry

Geography

Examination Board: OCR

 

Composition of the department Mrs C Ansell, Miss H Richards (Head of Department)

 

Why Geography?  Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.  

Geography is a broad based academic subject which will open up options for you in your future. Employers and Universities see geography as a robust academic subject rich in skills, knowledge and understanding. As a subject linking the arts and the sciences it is highly flexible in terms of what you can combine it with. If you choose to take geography on to university there are literally hundreds of courses to choose from and the range of career areas accessed by graduates of geography will probably surprise you. 

“More than ever we need the geographer’s skills and foresight to help us learn about our    planet – how we use it and how we abuse it” – Michael Palin

 

Subject Entry Requirements: 7 or A at GCSE

 

Course Content: Your A Level geography course will cover both the physical and human environments and the complex interaction of processes that shape our world. It will also, importantly, show the applied side of the subject – how human intervention affects the environment and how people adapt and mitigate the effects of processes on their environment. This is complex and dynamic and varies from place to place depending on people’s resources, technology and culture.

 

The topics you will study are:

Human Geography Physical Geography Geographical Debates
Changing spaces, making places Dryland landscapes The future of food
Migration & Human Rights Earth’s life support systems Disease dilemmas

 

Fieldwork will also be an essential part of your A Level course and Year 12 students go on a residential trip to experience a very different environment to the one where you live.  This trip also helps to prepare you for your Non Examined Assessment.

 

How is it assessed?:

Students take 3 exams:

Physical Geography 22%
Human Geography 22%
Geographical Debates 36%

 

The Non Examined Assessment is undertaken in the summer of Year 12.  This equates to 20% of the A level. 

 

Commonly used modes of learning: You will learn in a wide variety of ways such as by using maps, GIS skills, data analysis, photos, videos, podcasts, reading articles. You will be encouraged to frame your own questions using higher level thinking skills and read widely around the subject.  This will enable you to demonstrate your grasp of complex issues through essay writing.  

 

Enrichment opportunities: In addition to the residential fieldtrip, students are provided with the opportunity to attend lectures from leading Geographers through the Royal Geographical Society and Geographical Association.  

 

The department runs optional overseas trips annually.  Recent examples include Tanzania, Iceland, China, Italy & Morocco.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Geography provide?: You may already be thinking ahead to potential university and career choices so it is worth bearing in mind that geography is a broad based subject that really fits well for your future progression. For example, for careers in sustainability and green issues, urban regeneration, energy supply, retail location, managing the effects of hazards and climate change geography is an obvious choice. For careers in the world of business an understanding of global economics forms an important part of geography. If you are thinking of a career in law, human rights, international relations or welfare then geography gives you the opportunity to consider relevant issues such as ‘How do we measure development?’ What are the consequences of migration on societies? If you are aiming at a future course in Medicine or Vet Med then geography is a good choice to give your A Level options the breadth that universities like as you will gain a clear understanding of how the environment affects health and survival of people, animals and ecosystems as well as enhancing your skills of writing essays and extended reports. 

 

Of course many A Level students do not yet have a clear idea of what kind of career they might want to pursue so if this is you then remember that geography as an A level gives you the chance to keep your options open as it covers both arts and science components. It is quite likely that when you choose geography your classmates will all be doing different combinations of A Level subjects – this adds to the interest when it comes to discussions on issues as everyone will have very different ways of thinking and expressing their opinions.

 

Geography is a desirable subject for many careers.  The understanding of geography is central to industry and the commercial sector has an increasing need to employ people who understand the interaction between environment and society.

 

There are many options and potential careers for geographers. Geography teaches students a wide-range of useful skills for the marketplace. Employers value the wide-ranging computer, research, and analytical skills that geography students bring to work as employees. Most geography graduates are numerate, literate, good team workers, can think analytically and critically, and are highly computer literate. 

 

Geography consistently attracts large numbers of high quality students with excellent A level grades and a wide range of A levels often including at least one other science subject. The nature of the discipline combined with the training geography students receive at university make graduate geographers employable.  In fact, the most recent HESA survey of university graduates showed the unemployment rates for geographers to be among the lowest recorded.

 

What have students that have studied Geography A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Here are a few examples of the destinations of some of our students over the last few years:

  • Geography (Glasgow, Durham, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Kings, Newcastle)
  • Human Geography (LSE, Leicester)
  • Physical Geography (Southampton)
  • Geography & Urban and regional planning (Birmingham)
  • Urban Planning, Design & Management (UCL) 
  • Environmental Science (Sheffield)
  • International Relations (Birmingham)
  • Geography & Economics (LSE)
  • International Development (Kings)
History

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Miss K Espie, Mr. E Fuller (Head of Department) and Dr. J Furniss

Why study History? History offers students the opportunity to explore a diverse range of exciting topics whilst developing key skills such as evaluation, analysis, composing an argument and establishing the provenance of information. 

Subject Entry Requirements: 6 or above GCSE History. For students who have not studied History then a 6 in English Literature may be accepted in exceptional cases.  

 

Course Content: 

Unit 1: Later Tudors (1547-1603),

Unit 2: The Cold War in Asia (1945-1993), 

Unit 3: Civil Rights in the USA (1865-1992) 

NEA (coursework)

 

How is it assessed?: 3 exams at the end of the course on the 3 taught units. 20% of the grade is the NEA/coursework – this is internally marked and externally moderated. 

Commonly used modes of learning: Source studies, discussion, debate, essay planning, lectures/seminars, video clips, past papers

Enrichment opportunities: History society, current affairs club, various trips (planned)

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying History provide?: History is a subject that is valued by all HE providers. It is particularly useful for careers in law, journalism, civil service and management. 

What have students that have studied History A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: History, archaeology, politics, PPE, international relations and more 

Latin

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Miss S Funnell, Ms N McCabe, Mr W Nolan (Head of Department)

Why Latin: Latin at A-Level allows students to achieve linguistic mastery of this challenging language. By the end of Y13, students are able to independently translate extended passages of prose and verse as well as translate complex English sentences into Latin. Alongside the linguistic aspect of the course, students explore the Roman World through literature. Developing skills learnt at GCSE, students will translate, analyse and discuss verse and prose literature. By exploring the mythological poetry of Virgil’s Aeneid and the forensic oratory of Cicero, the students gain an in depth understanding of the Roman psyche and are able to evaluate modern Britain in comparison to ancient attitudes.

Subject Entry Requirements:

Grade 7 in GCSE Latin.

 

Course Content:

Language (50%): Students develop their understanding of Latin Language. They develop unseen translation skills to allow them to fully understand challenging passages by authors such as Livy and Ovid. They also develop prose composition skills introduced at GCSE.

Literature (50%): Students read, analyse and discuss the works of two authors, one verse one prose. For students sitting A-Levels in 2023, they will study Virgil’s Aenied book XII as their verse text and Cicero’s pro Cluentio for prose.

How is it assessed?:

All modules are examined in Summer of Year 13:

Module Code Content of paper Percentage of qualification
Language 1 

(Unseen translation)

01 Two passages to translate. 

100 marks, 1 hour 45 minutes

33%
Language 2 

(prose composition or comprehension)

02 Either a passage to be translate into Latin or a comprehension.

50 marks, 1 hour 15 minutes

17%
Prose Literature  03 Translation, comprehension and essays based on Cicero text. 

75 marks, 2 hours.

25%
Verse Literature 04 Translation, comprehension and essays based on Virgil text. 

75 marks, 2 hours.

25%

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

A variety of learning approaches used. There are ample opportunities for independent study, especially in literature modules. Students produce presentations based on specific areas and engage in extensive research. 

Small class sizes (normally 2-3 students) allows lots of one-to-one support and means that language revision sessions can be tailored for the needs of students in the group.

A significant level of independence is expected of students, especially when it comes to vocabulary learning and consolidation of literature notes.

 

Enrichment opportunities:

The Classics department prides itself on the enrichment opportunities offered to students. Students of all classical subjects are members of Symposium. This is a sixth form society that meets once a term. The society read a text or review material evidence from an area of the ancient world not covered in examination requirements. There is then a discussion after school in the long gallery attended by all classical students and teachers. This society allows students to explore more unusual areas of the ancient world and provides them with skills they will use at university. 

The department also run theatre trips throughout the year, day trips to museums and galleries, trips to lecture days designed to support specific modules and internal and external essay competitions.

The sixth form subject prefects also take the responsibility of running a classics club for younger students.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Latin provide?:

Classical subjects are recognised by universities and employers as rigorous and challenging subjects that set students aside from the rest both on paper and at interview. Latin students can go on to study classics, law, history, politics, medicine, modern languages or anything else. Classics opens many doors and closes none.

When it comes to career opportunities, the wide range of skills developed through studying Latin, prepares students for a wide range of employment opportunities. People who study classics at university go on to become lawyers, politicians, authors, teachers, accountants, translators etc. A wide spectrum of careers is open to those who study classical subjects.

 

What have students that have studied Latin A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Classics, Medicine, Law, Languages, History

 

Mathematics

Examination Board: Edexcel

Composition of the department: Mrs E Adamson, Ms H Ford (Deputy Head Academic), Mrs J Goddard, Mrs L Inal, Mrs E Morris (Head of Department), Mrs H Stevens

Why Mathematics?

Mathematics is a fundamental subject to understanding and interacting with the world. Studying Mathematics at A Level improves your problem solving skills and increases your knowledge and understanding of mathematical techniques and their applications. It is a stimulating and challenging course. 

As well as being interesting, A Level Mathematics opens doors to a huge variety of university courses and careers. Research has found that having A level Mathematics has the biggest impact of all subjects, even if it’s not required for a degree course. 

Many other subjects have a large mathematical component, so taking mathematics can enhance your grades in these. Many university courses, such as engineering, medicine and teaching, require applicants to take an additional admissions test, with mathematical content. Employers often use numeracy tests to filter applicants. If you study mathematics beyond GCSE you will be better prepared for these kinds of tests. 

A large study in 2016 found that on average people earn 11% more by having an A Level in Mathematics and this is consistent with previous research. No other subject attracted such a wage premium.

 

Subject Entry Requirements:

Grade 7 in Mathematics GCSE

 

Course Content: The Mathematics A Level is made up of Pure and Applied. The Pure component consists of proof, algebra and functions, coordinate geometry, sequences and series, exponentials and logarithms, trigonometry, numerical methods, vectors and calculus. This makes up two thirds of the content. Applied consists of Statistics and Mechanics, which is the remaining third of the course. Statistics includes sampling, data presentation and interpretation, probability, distributions and hypothesis testing. Mechanics looks at quantities and units, kinematics, forces and Newton’s laws and moments.

 

How is it assessed?: The course is examined at the end of year 13. There are two Pure papers and one Statistics and Mechanics paper. Each paper is two hours long and is equally weighted.

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

Lessons involve explanations and examples of new concepts followed by tackling increasingly difficult problems. IT is used with PowerPoints and graphical packages to illustrate and discover different concepts in the course. There are computer room lessons for learning about the Large Data Set using Excel spreadsheets. You will learn to use more advanced calculators with statistical and algebraic functions. Examination questions are gradually introduced in order to grow familiarity with the requirements of A Level. You will develop your ability to work independently well in this subject.

 

Enrichment opportunities:

To prepare for mathematical entrance tests and additional qualifications that some universities ask for such as STEP (Sixth Term Extension Papers) and MAT (Mathematics Admission Test), we run an after school course in the spring term. Students from across the borough come to our school to attend these classes and as one of our students, you will get first choice of the available places. As well as helping you prepare for these assessments, the sessions provide an opportunity to improve problem solving skills and to work collaboratively on challenging mathematics.

You will be entered for the Senior Mathematics Challenge, run by the UKMT. This is a test involving multiple choice problem solving questions. You can earn a certificate if you perform well and in exceptional cases go onto harder rounds, competing with the most able mathematicians from across the country.

You can help a younger student who is struggling with mathematics by volunteering to be a “Maths Buddy”. This is a very rewarding thing to do and it helps to develop your ability to explain mathematical concepts.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Mathematics provide?:

There are a great many university subjects that use mathematics. These include Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Business Studies, Economics, Computing, Psychology and Sociology. 

Your career options are greatly broadened with a Mathematics A Level, and most jobs will require you to use mathematics in some way. It is particularly useful in job families like accountancy, banking and finance, management, environmental sciences, construction, engineering and manufacturing, medical technology, computing and science and research.

 

What have students that have studied Mathematics A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Dental Surgery, Optometry, Pharmacy, Bioveterinary Science, Biology, Marine Biology, Biochemistry, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Forensic Science, Accounting and Finance, Actuarial Science, Economics, Business, Law, Psychology, Geography, Computer Science, Aerospace Engineering and Civil Engineering.

 

Modern Foreign Languages

Examination Board: AQA (French, Spanish, German), Edexcel (Italian)

Composition of the department: Miss D Finotti (Italian), Mr. P Le Berre (German, Head of Department), Ms S Pietragalla (Spanish), Mrs. C Poirier (French), Mr S Talleux (French, Head of Sixth Form), Miss A Trompetas (Spanish)  

 

Why study an MFL (or two)? 

Studying an MFL will be the perfect combination with any other subject to give you the flexibility to work in any type of environment in future and this does not necessarily mean working abroad. 

 

The study of Modern Foreign Languages is known for stretching the mind in terms of problem-solving and adaptability and language graduates are sought after in many high profile professions such as consultancy, banking or the law. Other linguists prefer to specialise in lines of work more traditionally associated with languages such as translation and interpreting, teaching, the travel industry or opera singing. 

 

Journalism, fashion, cinema and literature, architecture, research, marketing, sales, project management and the hospitality industry are amongst other popular outlets for students with a language degree. 

 

Subject entry requirement: 

A or 7 in the language you wish to study at A level. 

Course contents: 

The A level course is subdivided into 4 main Units: 

  • Social Issues and Trends  
  • The artistic culture of the country 
  • Immigration  
  • Current political issues  

Some topics can vary depending on the language and you could be studying the role of charities in French Speaking countries, the Berlin cultural life in German, Latin America societies in Spanish or the division between North and South in Italian. 

Two texts are studied during the duration of the A level course, generally a film and a book. 

 

The speaking examination is mainly based on the presentation of an individual research project which takes place after the prepared analysis of a topic or a transaction card. The research project should be related to an aspect of the topics studied in class or on a prescribed text, which has not been taught as part the literary works studied in class. 

 

The final examination at the end of Year 13 assesses the three main units as follows: 

Unit 1: written examination involves some listening, reading exercises as well as summary and translation tasks for the writing and amounts to 50% of the A level mark. Examination time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (40 % of the mark and 2 hours in Italian). 

 

Unit 2: includes two essay-writing tasks ( about 350 words each ) on the two works studied in class and amounts to 20% of the A level mark. Examination time: 2 hours (30% of the mark and 2 hours and 40 minutes in Italian). 

 

Unit 3: includes a prepared transaction card based on one aspect of the language topic work and an Individual Research Project which can be based on topic work or a text from the prescribed which has not been taught in classThis unit amounts to 30% of the A level mark. Examination time is 21-23 minutes including the preparation time.(The length of the examination is the same in Italian but the prepared transaction card is replaced by the discussion of a topic from the Unit 1 language test) 

 

Commonly used teaching methods: 

As a linguist, you will be expected to work from the textbook covering all aspects of the course but also to study independently using MP3 files, newspapers or online articles in the target language as well as videos and literary works in the target language. You will be expected to read independently and research and, for the most ambitious linguists, to tackle whole novels in the target language but this can be done in guided conditions in the various clubs and societies offered by the department, including the MFL Oxbridge club. 

 

All A level MFL pupils benefit from a 30 minute conversation lesson a week with our foreign language assistants on top of their regular teaching allocation. 

 

Enrichment opportunities: 

The MFL department offers many opportunities to further our students’ desire to expand on their knowledge of the languages we offer as well as the cultures and societies of the many target language countries. 

Translation, grammar and film clubs are offered during the school term as well as outings to the cinema, the theatre or competitions taking place amongst the best schools in London.  History, the Arts, poetry and literature feature prominently on the MFL Oxbridge club agenda. 

 

Outside term-time, many trips are organised and we strive to offer meaningful study programmes abroad as well as opportunities to discover the rich culture of our neighbours through insightful and sometimes off the beaten track tours. 

 

Higher Education Opportunities  

As mentioned before, languages at A Level prepare you for a wealth of opportunities and many students who studied MFL at Old Palace have continued to MFL at Oxford, Durham, Bristol, St Andrews and other prestigious universities as a single subject or in combination with another subject. 

 

 

Music

Examination Board: Edexcel

Composition of the department: Mr J. Griffiths (Head of Department), Miss C Orr and a team of 20 peripatetic music teachers

Why Music? Music Education enhances learning skills, communication skills, creativity, teamwork, discipline, cultural awareness, respect for others, and self-esteem through personal accomplishment. Research indicates a positive relationship between studying music and developing spatial skills necessary for maths and science learning revealing that students who take music courses score significantly better than their non-musical peers. Research also shows that the study of music affects students positively in other areas of their lives, especially in four areas:

  1. Success in School
  2. Success in Developing Intelligence
  3. Success in Society
  4. Success in Life

Subject Entry Requirements: A or 7 in Music, Grade 6 ABRSM or equivalent standard on an instrument or voice and membership of an ensemble or choir. A grade B or 6 may be accepted based on potential of the student, should special circumstances exist. Students who have not studied GCSE Music may be accepted if they have work from Years 7-9 which shows evidence of creative flair and ability.

 

Course Content: 

A Level Component 1: Performing

A public performance in a live recital of one or more pieces lasting a minimum of 8 minutes.  This may be solo or ensemble and may be in any musical style.  Minimum performance standard is ABRSM Grade 6 level.  To be recorded between 1 March and 1 May in the examination year.

 

A Level Component 2: Composition

Two compositions are submitted.  One must be from a list of briefs relating to the Areas of Study, or a free choice, and last at least 4 minutes.  The second must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique (harmony and counterpoint) and last at least 1 minute.  The total submission length must be more than 6 minutes.

 

A Level Component 3: Appraising

18 set works will be studied from 6 different Areas of Study covering music from a wide variety of genres and periods.  Section A of the written exam will consist of a recorded extracts of the set works with written responses required as well as aural dictation of a short passage of music (from the set works).  Section B requires an extended written response.  Essay one asks students to draw links from their study of the set works to an unfamiliar extract played on CD.  Essay two gives a choice of three questions that asks students to evaluate the musical elements, context and language of one set work. Each option will be from a different area of study.

 

How is it assessed?: All components are externally assessed

Commonly used modes of learning: Performance in class; Composition using specialist music software; Listening, analysing and appraising music; theory worksheets; practice of aural skills, group presentations and discussions. 

Enrichment opportunities: Performance opportunities are provided to all students regularly. Compositions are performed by professional musicians, including recently members of the London Mozart Players. There is an extensive programme of extra-curricular music ensembles for students to join. 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Music provide?: A music degree may lead to careers in music technology, Arts Administration, theatre, film, television, broadcasting, performing, teaching, librarianship, music therapy, law, accountancy, journalism, media. In fact the list is almost endless!

What have students that have studied Music A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: A-level students frequently go on to study music at university (including Oxbridge) or have gained places at music colleges or conservatories. Music A-level also sits well with any combination of Art, Humanities or Science subjects because of the wide range of transferable skills it requires.

Photography

Examination Board: Edexcel 

Composition of the department: Mrs L Broad (Head of Department), Mrs J Clauser, Mrs H Evangeli. The department is additionally supported by a full time technician.

Why Photography? Photography allows you develop your creativity and reflect through the use of a camera on the world we are in.  Students build a very personal and continually evolving body of practical work that is supported by contextual studies.  By exploring and developing ideas core skills are strengthen and new techniques developed.  Creative subjects are additionally core to developing a range of unique but transferable skills that can be utilised in all aspects of life. Being able to respond creatively to different situations often allows you navigate through the challenges and be resilient to the obstacles encountered.   

Students will follow an integrated practical, critical and theoretical study of photography using a variety of media and processes focused within photography – lens and light-based media. They are encouraged to develop their own personal responses to their experiences, environment and culture in both practical and contextual activities. Students use photography as a means of personal enquiry and expression involving the selection and manipulation of images.  Students must employ creative approaches to show their ideas going beyond mere observation and recording.

 

Subject Entry Requirements: No specific subjects required, but a good grade in a creative subject is recommended

 

Course Content: Disciplines students will work in include; film based photography, digital photography, mixed media and have the option of film/animation. It is encouraged that they will also explore and develop their ideas with the use of print and other more traditional ‘art’ medias to further extend and develop their ideas.  Students will use industry standard digital manipulation software, Photoshop and must have access to a digital camera.  Students will learn and document the technical terminology and skills required to understand the photographic process, manipulation of images and realisation of prints.

Component 1, Personal Investigation, coursework, starts with a series of structured activities around a common theme and this is developed into more individual work culminating in a variety of personal responses students will produce within the photography endorsement. Work will be focused around darkroom, computer and mixed media based activities.  The learning of new skills, principle of photography and understanding of process is fundamental to enabling the students to develop their own ideas with creativity. Individual strengths are taken into account when students decide on the direction for their work and as the course progresses they are encouraged to pursue their work with increasing independence.   Students develop this work in response to an idea, issue, concept or theme of their own choice. As the Personal Investigation concludes the work must show greater knowledge, understanding and skills then in Year 12 and show a sustained personal journey that is fully realised.  The Personal Investigation, Component 1, additionally requires a critical written element, Personal Study, of around 2000 – 3000 words which must link to and be informed by the practical work completed.

Component 2 is the Externally Set Assignment, which commences from the February of Year 13. Working from a given broad-based thematic starting point (set by the examination board) students are expected to produce a clearly defined body of work which will lead to a resolved piece or pieces. The final personal response is completed during a 15 hour examination. This utilisers the learning, exploration and skills developed in Component 1.

 

How is it assessed?:

Assessment is completed internally by the Art and Photography Department teaching staff before moderation by an external moderator from Edexcel.

Component 1 is worth 60% of the total A Level marks
Component 2 is worth 40% of the total A Level marks

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

The subject is taught with mini skills projects at the start of Year 12, before a more personalised tutorial led learning as the work develops greater independence. Independent work is encouraged and own ideas are essential for the work to evolve supported by the teacher.  The Art rooms, including the Darkroom and specialist computers are available for independent work outside of the timetabled lessons. Leading industry Adobe Creative Suite software is available for students to work with, in addition to the fully equipped Darkroom.

 

Enrichment opportunities:

Throughout the course ideas are developed within the photography endorsement, encouraging the individual pursuit of creativity. The sketchbook and supporting studies are an important element in both components.  It is essential students explore ideas coupled with seeing lens and light-based media in action such as in galleries and with this in mind the department organises visits and encourages visits to various galleries both locally, virtually and further afield. 

The themes of the work can be focused on areas of personal interest and enable students to explore ideas or themes that are of interest.  These can link across subjects or be more personal.  Examples include Gender identity and light. 

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Photography provide?:

Entry to Foundation courses in Art and Design. Direct entry onto degree courses either photography/digital media based or others such as architecture. The subject helps prepare students for work in the media and creative industries.  Photography demonstrates aesthetic understanding and dexterity, important skills for a career in dentistry or surgery. Photography also shows diversity and creativity in thinking which can benefit a more academic route at university if chosen.

 

What have students that have studied Photography A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Medicine, Art, History, Politics

Physics

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Mrs N Aubeeluck and Mr C Taruwona (Head of Department)

Why Physics? Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, with the A level course encompassing the very small (quarks), the overwhelmingly large (galaxies and the universe), and everything in between. It helps to develop a range of skills –such as problem-solving, reasoning, numeracy, practical proficiency and communication – that can be applied in many areas, both scientific and non-technical. The intellectual rigour as well as the transferrable nature of the skills gained make learning the subject excellent preparation for university, and for any area of work.

Subject Entry Requirements:

Old Palace entry score of 7.0 or more

A or 7 in Physics or AA (7,7) in Double Award

B or 6 in Maths

 

Course Content:

Module Content
1 Development of practical skills in physics
2 Foundations of physics 
3 Forces and motion
4 Electrons, waves and photons
5 Newtonian world and astrophysics
6 Particles and medical physics

 

How is it assessed?

There are three examination papers, sat at the end of the two year course:

  • Modelling Physics (2 ¼ h)
  • Exploring Physics (2 ¼ h)
  • Unified Physics (1 ½ h)

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

Calculations and problem-solving, practical activities, teacher-led discussion, research, presentations, practical work both individually and in groups, experiment write ups, independent and collaborative learning.

 

Enrichment opportunities:

Physics Society, Engineering Prep, trips and visits, talks by alumni.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Physics provide?

The Physics course prepares students for the world of work in a wide variety of careers. It opens up a world of opportunity in various engineering courses such as structural, civil, electrical and aeronautical engineering. Many other opportunities exist in studying to be a geophysicist, forensic scientist, medical physicist, radiologist, music technician and astronomer, among a host of other careers. The analytical skills gained make physicists versatile and adaptable, meaning that they also often thrive in careers outside the sphere of science. 

What have students that have studied Physics A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Physics, Astrophysics, Aeronautical engineering, Electronic engineering, Civil engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Electrical and electronic engineering, Mathematics, Mathematics and Philosophy, Medicine, Pharmacy, Radiography, Biology, Film, Biological Sciences, Accountancy/ finance

Politics

Examination Board: Pearson

Composition of the department: Mr. E Fuller (Head of Department), Dr. J Furniss

Why Politics? Politics is an interesting and important course that teaches students to evaluate systems of power and understand the world around them. In addition to interesting content on UK politics and government, ideologies and the politics of the USA, the politics A level course will teach students how to analyse sources and apply models of comparative politics. 

Subject Entry Requirements: B or 6 in an essay based subject (English, History, RS, Classics)

Course Content: 

Paper 1: Politics of the UK and Core-Ideologies, 

Paper 2: Government of the UK and Non-Core Ideologies 

Paper 3: The Politics and Government of the USA

 

How is it assessed?: Three exams of two hours at the end of two years

Commonly used modes of learning: Discussion and debate, lectures, source evaluation, past papers, discussing current events

Enrichment opportunities: debating society, current affairs club, trip to the UK Supreme Court

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Politics provide?: Politics is particularly useful for anyone interested in pursuing a career in journalism, international aid and development, local and national government, the civil service and legal professions. 

What have students that have studied Politics A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Politics, international relations, PPE, Politics and American studies

 

Product Design

Exam Board: AQA (7552)

Composition of Department: Mrs D Osborne, Mrs C Solari (Head of Department), and Mr R Downer (DT technician) 

Why Design and Technology, Product Design? As technology evolves at an ever-increasing rate in a Modern technological world, it is vital students are prepared and equipped with the skills required to join the work force and in particular the world of Design and Engineering. 

The subject Design and Technology certainly helps to do this in the broad spectrum of topics covered, from Knowledge on materials and manufacturing processes, business initiatives, through to global and environmental issues.

It is a subject where students are free to explore creativity and innovation in a hands on practical way where problem solving is the foremost important factor in deriving functional solutions to design opportunities.

The combination of combining the academic side of the subject to a freer design and make approach is unique to this subject. Students experience and gain a variety of transferrable and soft skills which complement their other subjects. This stands them in good stead at a later stage at university and the workplace, with regard to any career path they wish to follow.

The subject promotes opportunities for Engineering, which is becoming more popular in today’s society.

Subject Entry Requirements: B or 6  in DT: Product Design

 

Course content: This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries. This specification has been carefully put together by a number of teachers and assessment experts ensuring it is up to date and relevant to the world of design and technology.

 

Theory Students will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing prototypes of their choice.

Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.

Coursework Students will apply their practical skills and theoretical knowledge to complete a ‘design and make’ task based on the design process, solving a design challenge from start to finished manufactured prototype.

How is it assessed?:

The course is a 2 Year A Level course. 

  • 50% Theory (2 written exams. Paper 1: 2.30hr. Paper 2: 1.30hr )
  • 50% NEA coursework

The NEA (coursework) is internally marked and standardised, externally moderated by AQA. Written examinations taken with all other public exams and AQA assessed.

The final A Level grade is the result of coursework mark and written examination marks put together.   

 

Common modes of teaching

Lessons involve explanations and examples of new concepts followed by tackling increasingly difficult problems. IT is used with PowerPoints and videos are used to illustrate and discover different manufacturing processes in the course. There is practical hands on experience in the workshop investigating materials and construction methods, and handling collections of products and materials to explore possibilities and used in Product analysis.

You will develop your ability to work independently well in this subject and there is ample opportunity for independent student research on individual topics followed up by short presentations to the class. Further reading material can be supplied or recommended by teaching staff

 

Enrichment opportunities: The department makes the most of the opportunities available on their doorstep, and students are support to visit a wealth of museums, Galleries and Exhibitions in central London: The V&A museum, The Design Museum, Royal Academy, Tate Modern & Britain and many more. 

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying DT provide?: DT provides an ideal foundation for students going on to study any design related degree at University. For example, students might consider a 1 year Art & Design foundation course at Art college, or as part of an Art and Design degree. Higher and Degree Apprenticeships with bigger design and manufacturing companies becoming more popular as a route to qualification and working simultaneously, guaranteed job at the end.

After university a design degree opens up a wide variety of career opportunities: 

  • Arts, Crafts and design careers; from Animator, Set design to Product and interior design.
  • Engineering, construction and manufacturing; from Design and Engineering in vehicles and products to design in the medical and dentistry fields including opportunities in new and modern materials and designing modern equipment and prosthetics. Structural and Aerospace engineering
  • Broadcast media, performing arts
  • Journalism and Publishing
  • Marketing, Business, and advertising

 

What have students that have studied DT A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: A-level students frequently go on to use their design skills at university taking courses such as Urban Planning, Design and Management, Civil Engineering 

Psychology

Examination Board: AQA

Composition of the department: Mrs S. Smith (Head of Department)

 

Why Psychology?Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. Psychologists use the scientific method to help understand the human experience and then apply the findings to help people in their everyday lives. Studying Psychology will help you develop a wide range of transferable skills which are vital in the workplace including: interpersonal skills, critical thinking and data analysis. 

 

Subject Entry Requirements6 or B in English, Mathematics and Science

 

Course Content: 

A-level Introductory topics in Psychology
  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathy
Psychology in Context
  • Approaches in Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Research methods
Issues and Options in Psychology
  • Issues and debates in Psychology
  • Gender
  • Schizophrenia  
  • Forensic Psychology

 

How is it assessed?: 

Assessment Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology 2 hrs 

Paper 2: Psychology in context 2 hrs 

Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology 2 hrs

 

Commonly used modes of learning: 

Teacher led discussion. independent research, group work, participating in practical psychological experiments, examination question practice, fun revision games and quizzes

 

Enrichment opportunities: 

Develop leadership skills by running a Psychology club for younger students, join Psychology film club, start an awareness campaign, attend external lectures, visit Bethlam Hospital Museum and Archives, Freud’s Museum 

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Psychology provide?:  Studying Psychology can lead to a wide range of career and higher education opportunities. The skills gained are valued by universities and employers. There is a wide range of psychology degree courses available including: clinical, child, educational, occupational, forensic, counselling, sports and health. In addition, Psychology is a perfect complement to other disciplines leading a huge variety of higher education and career opportunities.

What have students that have studied Psychology A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Psychology, Medicine, Pharmacy, Biology, Economics, Business, Law and many others

Religious Studies

Examination Board: OCR

Composition of the department: Dr.E Nettel (Head of Department) and Mrs. G Talleux

Why study Religious Studies? The OCR A-level in Religious Studies is a wide ranging course, in which students address some of the central questions of Philosophy and Theology.

 

You’ll tackle a whole host of foundational questions, such as: must the universe have had a cause? Are there any facts about how we ought to live? What were the true intentions of the authors of Genesis? What did Plato think about death? Would Jesus have been a Marxist? Is our sense of morality just our subconscious playing tricks on us?

 

This is a subject in which students are given the resources to answer these questions for themselves, and not simply accept answers on authority. That’s because it also gives them the resources to analyse and criticise some of the arguments made by humanity’s greatest minds—from the great Ancient philosophers, to Freud; from Augustine to Bertrand Russell.

 

Subject Entry Requirements: Grade 7 or above in either Religious Studies or English at GCSE. You do not need to have studied Religious Studies at GCSE to take it at A-level.

 

Course Content:

The course is composed of three elements:

 

Philosophy of Religion: This includes modules on: Plato & Aristotle, the nature of the self, arguments for the existence of God, the philosophy of language (especially religious language)

 

Ethics: This includes modules on: Ethical Theory, Meta-ethics (the foundations of ethical thought and language), Ethical issues (business ethics, assisted dying, and sexual ethics)

 

Developments in Christian Thought: This includes modules on: Marxism, Feminism, Human Nature, and the person of Jesus. 

 

How is it assessed?: The A-level assessment is composed of three exams, one for each element, each of which last two hours. In these exams you are required to write three essays from a choice of four questions. 

 

Commonly used modes of learning: Religious Studies is, fundamentally, a discursive subject, and so requires students to actively engage in academic debate and discussion. Students are assessed on their research essays and their timed essays. Research essays are writing projects that the students complete at home and constitute the student’s own exploration of the philosophical and theological issues under consideration. The timed essays are set in preparation for the examination. 

 

Enrichment opportunities: Students of A-level Religious Studies are invited to attend the Old Palace Sceptics’ Society, the biweekly philosophy club at Old Palace. Over the course of the year, students are also encouraged to attend at least one, but hopefully more, of the free, professional-level philosophy talks that are held in various venues in central London—including the Aristotelian Society and the Royal Institute of Philosophy, both of which are located in Bloomsbury. They are also supported in writing submitting to the numerous philosophy essay competitions run by universities for Year 12 students, as well as the Old Palace Prize for Outstanding Writing in the Humanities. They may also want join the Oxbridge Philosophy & Theology preparation courses run by the department.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Religious Studies provide?: An A-level in Religious Studies furnishes its students with a number of valuable skills which are prized across a broad range of disciplines. It most obviously supports an application at university for Philosophy or Theology. Philosophy, in particular, combines with many subjects at degree level, such as Modern Languages, Mathematics, English, Politics and Economics. Religious Studies trains students in analysis and valuable writing skills—it requires students to be able to express complex and often abstract ideas clearly and forcefully. It also furnishes students with an ability to understand complex ideas, and effectively assess the arguments of others. In honing this ability in argumentation and analysis, it would clearly support any ambitions in the legal professions, policy work, and analytical professions. 

 

What have students that have studied Religious Studies A Level at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Those who study Religious Studies have gone on to study subjects across the range of Humanities and the Liberal Arts. Classicists have benefitted from the study of Ancient Philosophy that is done during the A-level, and we have had a number of girls recently applying to do combined degrees such as Philosophy and Economics, and Philosophy and German. It has also been a natural gateway into PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics), and into the study of Law. 

Other available courses include

 

Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award

Examination Board: DofE

Composition of the department: Mrs A Smith, Mrs K Fowler. In addition, candidates will have to make contact with an AAP (Approved Activity Provider) to arrange the expedition required to complete the Gold Award.

Why Gold DOfE? 

For the hundreds of thousands of young people who take part each year, the benefits of achieving a DofE Award at any level are endless. DofE is about helping you along the path to a productive and prosperous future. As many of our participants say, it’s life-changing.

Achieving an Award will give you skills, confidence and an edge over others when you apply for college, university or a job. Beyond your academic achievements, universities want to see evidence of so called ‘soft skills’ that you have developed through extra-curricular activities, such as communication, commitment, leadership and teamwork. Your DofE Award is a fantastic way to demonstrate and evidence these skills in practice.

You’ll also make a difference to other people’s lives and your community, be fitter and healthier, make new friends and have memories to last you a lifetime. You are investing in your future.

You can expect to develop in the following areas:

  • Self-belief and self-confidence
  • A sense of identity
  • Initiative and a sense of responsibility
  • A real awareness of your strengths
  • New talents and abilities
  • The ability to plan and use time effectively
  • Learning from and giving to others in the community.
  • Forming new friendships
  • Problem solving, presentation and communication skills
  • Leadership and teamworking skills.

Course Content:

The Gold DofE Award is split into five sections. A brief outline of each section and its time scale are given below.

Volunteering 12 months
Skills 6/12 months *
Physical 6/12 months *
Expeditions Plan, prepare for and undertake a 4 day, 3 night venture
Residential Undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for 5 days and 4 nights

* You must complete 12 months in either the Skill or Physical Section.If you did NOT do Silver, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills Sections.

How is it assessed?:

The Award is based on continual assessment through an eportfolio. Each section must be approved by an assessor and this is then verified by the DofE organisation. 

 

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Examination Board: AQA

Composition of the department: Centre Co-ordinator: Miss S Funnell

Other members of staff are involved in the teaching of taught skills, and each student is assigned a supervisor to support and give guidance on their work.

Course Content: 

All students will be taught the critical research skills required to be successful in the EPQ. Throughout the course students will develop skills of independent study and research, as well as honing their presentation and time-management skills. 

 

When conducting their independent research, a student may focus on any topic they wish as long as it does not fall within the content of any of their A-level courses. This makes it very much a student-driven course, and students are able to choose an area of personal interest, often which is linked to their Higher Education plans. Students can choose between writing a 5000 word essay or creating an ‘artefact’ for their final piece. 

 

How is it assessed?:  

The Project is assessed internally by the student’s supervisor, before being submitted to AQA for standardisation. 

 

Commonly used modes of learning: 

Students are free to carry out research as they find appropriate to their Project.  This is likely to involve reading documents online; consulting books in the library; watching relevant documentaries, podcasts and the like.  Students will take notes on what they have researched, and the final Project will involve evaluation of their sources and synthesis of the information they have gathered.  

Sometimes, where appropriate, a student may conduct primary research in the form of surveys; the taught skills will include material on the ethical points which they need to take into consideration.  

 

Enrichment opportunities:  

The EPQ is at heart an enrichment qualification. Since one of the requirements of the syllabus is that the scope of the Project does not overlap in any way with what the student is studying at A’ Level, the Project will inevitably broaden her knowledge.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will taking an EPQ provide?:  

The EPQ requires a very high level of research skills and the student is expected to have covered a significant body of material in doing her research.  For that reason, completing an EPQ gives the student a very good idea of some of the aspects of university study.  Skills involved in thorough and meticulous research, and the analysis of such research, are likely to be of use in many careers.

 

Many universities are recognising the benefits of the EPQ for students as they enter upon their degree courses, and some universities make offers of lower grades dependant on achievement in the EPQ.

 

Mathematics in Context

Examination Board: Edexcel

Composition of the department: Mrs E Adamson, Ms H Ford (Deputy Head Academic), Mrs J Goddard, Mrs L Inal, Mrs E Morris (Head of Department), Mrs H Stevens

Why Mathematics in Context?

Mathematics is a fundamental subject to understanding and interacting with the world. The skills developed in Mathematics in Context are in high demand from employers and universities.

You will be further developing the mathematics that you gained at GCSE. This course focuses on using and applying mathematics to solve problems drawn from other subjects, work and real life. It includes new content beyond GCSE such as statistics, finance and applying algebra.

Many non-mathematics courses in sixth form include mathematical content. It is likely that you will do better in other subjects by studying Mathematics in Context alongside them. Examples of subjects that would benefit include Psychology, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business and Economics.

Many university courses include admissions tests with some mathematical content. Employers often use numeracy tests to filter applicants. If you study Mathematics in Context you will keep your mathematical skills fresh and be better prepared for these kinds of tests.

 

Subject Entry Requirements:

Grade 6 in Mathematics GCSE

Course Content: You will learn through applying mathematical skills to scenario-based tasks, looking at topics such as social networks, sports, the clothing industry, creative arts, health, the economy, engineering and the environment. The mathematical content is made up of applications of statistics, probability, linear programming, and sequences and growth.

How is it assessed?: The course is a Level 3 qualfication (equivalent to half an A-level) The course is examined at the end of year 13 through two 1 hour 40 minutes papers. The first paper, Comprehension, is worth 40%. The second paper, Applications, is 60% of the marks.

Commonly used modes of learning: The course is based on scenario-based tasks, applying mathematics to real-life situations. You will use Microsoft Excel throughout the course for analysing data. There is also the opportunity for you to research the links between mathematics and different industries as you work through the topics.

 

Enrichment opportunities: This is an additional AS Level equivalent qualification, which will enrich and enhance your experience in the sixth form.

You will have the option to enter for the Senior Mathematics Challenge, run by the UKMT. This is a test involving multiple choice problem solving questions. You can earn a certificate if you perform well and in exceptional cases go onto harder rounds, competing with the most able mathematicians from across the country.

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Mathematics in Context provide?:

Mathematics in Context attracts up to 20 UCAS points, the same as an AS level qualification, which can help to achieve the entry requirements required for entry to an undergraduate degree course.

There are a great many university subjects that use mathematics. These include Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Business Studies, Economics, Computing, Psychology and Sociology. 

Your career options are greatly broadened by continuing with mathematics in sixth form, and most jobs will require you to use mathematics in some way. It is particularly useful in job families like accountancy, banking and finance, management, environmental sciences, construction, engineering and manufacturing, medical technology, computing and science and research.

Level 3 Certificate in the Arts (Gold Award)

Examination Board: Trinity College London

Composition of the department: Miss L.Khan, Mrs J.Barber

 

Why Gold Arts Award? Gold Arts Award is a qualification suited for young people who want to develop their skills as a creative arts leader. Students will improve their creativity, planning, communication, teamwork and leadership skills. This course will strongly support progression through any education, training or career pathway. 

Gold Arts Award is recognised on the UCAS Tariff system and provides 16 points. 

Subject Entry Requirements: Clear commitment to Dance as a subject. May have studied Dance Leaders/GCSE Dance, Extra-curricular Dance

 

Course Content:

Unit 1: Personal Arts Development, 

Students extend themselves as artists, explore the professional arts world and form a view on an arts issue.

  • Arts practice: Students gain experience of a new area of the arts working with a more advanced practitioner and produce new art work influenced by their new skills 
  • The wider arts sector: Students get involved in the arts world through placements, volunteering, training and research
  • Research and review: Students attend and review high quality arts events, reflect on how they influence their work, and also find out about the artists and their career paths
  • Forming a view: Students make the case for an arts issue that they care about, investigate the arguments around it and present their view and findings to others

 

Unit 2: Arts Project Leadership,
Students take charge of running an arts project, build their skills as an effective leader and deliver their project to a public audience.  The Student’s leadership project needs to show how they have taken independent responsibility for every aspect of the arts project, from the planning stages to delivery, followed by an in depth evaluation.  To complete this unit, students need to:

  • Plan: Prepare an arts leadership project, identifying aims and organising people and resources.
  • Do: Deliver their project, manage its production and share it with the public
  • Review: Collect feedback from participants, audience, and other stakeholders and evaluate the project accurately

 

How is it assessed?: Portfolio, 2 lessons per fortnight 

Unit 1: Personal Development, unit 2: Arts Project Leadership

The assessment method is through portfolio. The format of this portfolio is decided by the student to best suit the project/work and their preference.

There are two units and both have to be achieved for an overall pass. Each unit has distinct tasks and they all have to be evidenced.

 

Commonly used modes of learning: Research, independent learning, problem solving, collaborative and creative learning 

 

Enrichment opportunities: Work with guest practitioners, Theatre Enrichment trips, member of production team for performances,

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will studying Arts (Gold Award) provide?: Performing Arts, New Media, Event Management, Arts Management, Hospitality and Catering, Youth Arts, Youth Work, Creative Industries, Project management, Artists, Social Researcher.

 

What have students that have studied Arts (Gold Award) at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: Dance, Languages, Dentistry

 

Law Preparation

Composition of the department: Mr E Fuller

Why take Law Preparation? LawPrep is a great opportunity to see if a career in the law is suitable for you. We will look at the pathways to becoming a solicitor or barrister, investigate cases, plan for independent work experience, hold debates and public speaking contests and engage in a visit to a local court. 

The course will also help with preparation for the LNAT exam in Year 13

Subject Entry Requirements: An interest in the law

Course Content: Course content is flexible and bespoke to the needs of the students in the group

Commonly used modes of learning: 

  • Discussion
  • debates 
  • research
  • presentation

 

Enrichment opportunities: Visit to UK Supreme Court 

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will following Law Society provide?: 

Law degree, criminology, international relations 

 

What have students that have followed Law Society at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: 

Law, history, politics, philosophy, MFL

 

Medicine Preparation

Composition of the department: Dr J Edwards

Why Medical Preparation?

MedPrep is designed to help students who are hoping to go into the medical field. By the end of the course students have greatly enhanced their chances of gaining an interview and are exceptionally placed to achieve success.

 

Subject Entry Requirements: 

As many A*/9s as possible at GCSE (a typical candidate has 7-11).

Minimum requirements: 9 GCSE’s including GCSE Maths and English Language grade 6 (B), 66 (BB) in Double Science, or 66 (BB) in Biology and Chemistry.

 

Course Content:

MedPrep involves thorough preparation for applications, including many opportunities to practice a range of techniques for different types of interviews such as panel, group and MMIs. We learn about the structure, core principles and values of the NHS. Students learn how ethical decisions are made, read and review articles and how to get the most from work experience.

Support is given on how to write a medical personal statement, guidance on where to apply and how to prepare for the UCAT and BMAT admissions tests. 

 

Commonly used modes of learning:

Talks, student presentations, discussions, debates and role plays. Interview practice with staff and alumni medical students.

 

Enrichment opportunities: 

Students are supported with finding work experience, training courses, and links with medical professionals in the local area who can support and advise students on making a strong application. The school has strong links with Medic Mentors, a national organisation designed to support aspiring medical students: https://medicmentor.co.uk/ 

 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will following Medical Preparation provide?:

Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Optometry.

 

What have students that have followed Medication Preparation at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Biomedical sciences.

 

Philosophy, Politics and Economics Preparation

Composition of the department: Dr. E Nettel; Dr. J Furniss

Why take PPE Prep?

This is a comprehensive program that will help develop key skills that are sought in candidates applying for any combination of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, as well as related subjects. Attendees will have sessions on:

  • Essay prizes & independent research
  • Writing Samples 
  • Personal Statements
  • Assessment Test preparation.
  • Academic Interviews

Students will also acquire an application guide. This will include a reading list based on specific course choice; some Oxbridge personal statement tips; an outline of and advice on pre-interview assessments (subject tests, writing samples); advice on interview best-practice; and guidance on college choice.

Subject Entry Requirements: An interest in any of the following as part of student’s chosen degree: Philosophy, Politics, Economics, or related social sciences (e.g. International Relations, Human Social and Political Sciences). These sessions are particularly catering to those wishing to apply for such a degree at either Oxford or Cambridge, or any other institution that requires interview, testing, or pre-prepared writing samples.

Course Content: Course content is somewhat flexible, depending on the needs of the students. But it is primarily focused on preparing students for the application processes at Oxford and Cambridge involving the component PPE subjects.

Commonly used modes of learning: Discussion, interview practice, writing workshops, feedback opportunities.

Enrichment opportunities: These are many and varied; a successful application for these subjects at Oxbridge requires students to show their learning and passion in their chosen fields. This is what will be cultivated in PPE prep.

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will following PPEPrep?: This course will prepare students for the application processes at Oxford and Cambridge involving the component PPE subjects. It will also be of interest to those thinking about post-graduate, or academic, careers in the humanities. 

What have students that have followed PPE prep at Old Palace gone on to study at university?: This is a new program, but it clearly prepares students who wish to study Politics, Philosophy, or Economics, in a number of combinations, both with each other and with other subjects (e.g. Philosophy & MFL, History & Politics, International Relations, Human Social and Political Sciences, etc.)

Sports Leaders Level 3

Examination Board: Sports Leaders UK

Composition of the department: Mrs A Smith, Mrs K Fowler

 

Why Sports Leaders Level 3? 

Young people undertaking a qualification in Sports Leadership will learn and demonstrate important life skills such as 

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Planning and evaluative skills
  • Time management
  • Self belief
  • Self esteem
  • Confidence
  • Employability
  • Academic confidence
  • Social Skills
  • Community development and awareness

These skills are developed whilst learning to lead basic physical activities to younger people, their peers, older generations and within the community. Candidates will make a difference to other people’s lives and your community, be fitter and healthier, make new friends and have memories to last you a lifetime. You are investing in your future.

 

Sports Leaders L3 allows students to build on knowledge and skills acquired at Level 1 and 2 (although it is not a requirement to have completed these previously)

 

Sports Leaders L3 allows students to accumulate UCAS points through taking part in a hands on course and making a difference in the lives of others.

 

Course Content:

The course runs over a two year period, and lasts for a minimum of 126 hours, of which 60 hours are tutor contact hours. On top of this you will need to complete 30 hours of leadership demonstration, as well as independent research and planning.

The work is split over 7 compulsory areas as follows:

Unit 1: Developing Leadership Skills

Unit 2: Plan, lead and evaluate a sports/physical activity event

Unit 3: Lead safe sport/physical activity sessions

Unit 4: Plan, lead and evaluate sport/physical activity sessions in your community

Unit 5: Plan, lead and evaluate sport/physical activity sessions for children

Unit 6: Plan, lead and evaluate sport/physical activity sessions for disabled people

Unit 7: Plan, lead and evaluate sport/physical activity sessions for older people 

 

How is it assessed?:

The qualification is based on continual assessment by through a Learner Evidence Record completed by students, as well as tutor assessment and feedback. 

University Mathematics Preparation

Composition of the department: Mrs Morris

Why University Mathematics Prep? Competition is fierce for many STEM courses at certain universities and many universities require students to take one or more of the Mathematics admissions tests. Other universities will give lower offers based on the results students achieve in these tests. 

The questions in these tests are longer and less-structured than most A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics examination questions, and you will benefit from getting used to this style and gaining confidence in tackling them. By the end of the course you will have greatly enhanced your problem solving abilities and have looked at some mathematical topics in more depth, identifying links between different areas of the course. 

Students from across the borough come to our school to attend these after school sessions, and in recent years the demand for places has been greater than the number available. As an Old Palace of John Whitgift student, you get a priority place on this course.

Subject Entry Requirements: You must be taking Mathematics or Mathematics and Further Mathematics A Levels

Course Content: You will look at questions from the main university admissions tests for Mathematics; STEP, MAT, AEA and TMUA. Each week, we look at a particular topic and see what the exam questions are like for the different tests in that area. This year the topics were number, algebra, sequences, graphs and coordinate geometry, geometry, and combinatorics. The work goes considerably beyond the difficulty of A Level Mathematics, but the required knowledge is the same.

Commonly used modes of learning:

Each week, Mrs Morris will give you an introductory task that leads into the questions that you will be tackling. You work individually, in pairs or in groups on the challenging undergraduate-style problems, before feeding back your insights and solutions to the class. 

What Higher Education and Career opportunities will following the University Mathematics Preparation Course provide?:

These tests are required for Mathematics and other related subjects at university, such as Engineering, Physics and Computer Science at the following universities: Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick, Imperial. They are also accepted by these universities: Cardiff, Durham, Lancaster, LSE, Bath, Nottingham, Sheffield, Southampton, and many more. In the case of the latter universities, if you achieve highly enough in the tests, you will receive a lower offer to study there, but if you do not, then you do not have to announce that you sat the exam.

What have students that have followed Medication Preparation at Old Palace gone on to study at university?:

Mathematics, Economics, Accounting and Business, Physics, Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry