Why A Levels & not IB or Pre-U?
The A Level exam system has been undergoing a period of reform in recent years, and this has given us a very good opportunity to review all that is on offer as a potential Sixth Form academic curriculum. There are a number of reasons why we continue to offer A Levels at St Catherine’s, rather than IB or Pre U, or a mixture, but chief amongst these is that they continue to be the best guide to potential. University admissions tutors have told us that they like the fact that A Level students have studied topics in depth.
The A Level structure also offers students much more flexibility and personal choice; for example, in IB you may not study all three sciences together, which many girls wish to do at St Catherine’s, and indeed do so with great distinction. We believe students about to enter the Sixth Form are already highly qualified at GCSE across a broad range of subjects; they are more than capable of making well-informed choices, fully ready to focus on subjects they enjoy and which will prepare them for Higher Education and potential career choices. Girls can choose freely from 28 subjects. Additional languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian are also available by arrangement. It may be possible to pick up GCSE Italian in the L6.
Alongside the A Level subjects, the Sixth Form curriculum also includes SCOPE (St Catherine’s Ongoing Programme of Enrichment), which is an hour-long session each week, designed to complement academic study.
Education encompasses more than specialised areas of study and in SCOPE lessons you will encounter a broad range of topics, which will help you to approach the challenges of adult life, the world of work and university study. As part of this programme, students are given an overview of higher education, work experience, Gap Year information, student finance, interview techniques and careers guidance, as well as specialist support with their UCAS or overseas applications via the BridgeU online resource.
The programme also covers a select range of healthcare and citizenship issues. Topics include advice on personal safety, sexual health, alcohol and drug awareness, safe driving, digital skills and other relevant subjects, which will be useful as you gain independence.
SCOPE incorporates visiting lecturers, cultural and current affairs sessions, and is excellent pre-university experience.
House study / Subject ‘clinics’
On Tuesday - Friday, a supervised House Study period of 30 minutes allows you to begin your prep in the Speech Hall Library or access subject clinics. You may also be asked to help lead in clinics and teach younger girls, consolidating your own subject knowledge and confidence as you do so. Subject mentors particularly enjoy this opportunity.
You will take part in a general programme which takes place on Tuesday afternoons each week. A range of interesting activities is offered, designed to encourage you to think in terms of exercise and fitness for fun and for life. The sports facilities at St Catherine’s are second to none.
The Chapel at St Catherine’s offers a quiet place for reflection and contemplation in an otherwise busy environment. All Sixth Formers attend a short weekly Chapel Service conducted by our very popular Chaplain, Rev’d Dr McNair Scott.