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Curriculum

The Sixth Form curriculum is designed to ensure that Freemen’s students are well prepared for university entry and future employment.

We hope that the range of subjects available will allow all potential Sixth Formers to follow a programme that meets their interests, abilities and career aspirations.

For each Sixth Form student, the curriculum has the following elements:

  • A programme of three subjects studied at A Level 
  • An extended project on a topic of your choosing
  • A programme of appropriate games options on Wednesday afternoons
  • An enrichment afternoon
  • A course of careers guidance and personal, social and health education.

Although we do everything we can to ensure that students can study the subjects they wish the School reserves the right to withdraw a subject from the option list, for example when too few students choose the subject for it to be viable. All offers are conditional on the students meeting the entry requirements for admission to the Sixth Form and the subject specific requirements.

 


Sixth Form Options

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Extended Project Qualification

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a standalone, student driven qualification designed to extend and develop skills in independent research and project management. It is an opportunity for students to extend their abilities beyond the A level syllabus and to demonstrate an area of personal interest or activity outside their main programme of study.

The EPQ is regarded as excellent preparation for both university and a future career. It enables students to demonstrate a capability of working independently and under their own initiative, having the freedom and responsibility to select topics and projects in which they are really interested – it may be a topic that is connected with a new subject they wish to study at university, or one linked to a future career, or it might be looking into much greater depth a topic they are already studying at A level.

When completing a project qualification, students follow a clearly structured process: they plan and research their topic, and from that create a product. They are also given a supervisor to help them through the whole process. The product of their project can be in one of three formats: a research-based written report (5000 word essay), a production, (a charity event, fashion show, sports event) or an artefact (a piece of art, a computer game, a realised design), the latter two both supported by a written report of 2000 words.

This research process is all recorded in their Production Log and, finally, students deliver a presentation.

During the process, students develop as independent, reflective learners and acquire knowledge and transferable skills that are invaluable for further study at university and eventually in the workplace.

Students are assessed on the product of their project and on the whole research process itself. The EPQ is classed as a full AS level qualification – it is possible to gain an A* grade, which is equivalent to 28 new UCAS points.

What is the university position on The Extended Project Qualification?

The University of Birmingham have decided to follow the example of Southampton and give a ‘cash value’ for the EPQ from this year.

‘The University of Birmingham has reviewed its position on EPQ and for 2016 entry [and beyond] we will be including the EPQ in our offers where students are taking this in addition to 3 A levels.  Applicants who offer the EPQ and meet our offer criteria will be made the standard offer for their programme of choice and an alternative offer which will be one grade lower plus a grade A in the EPQ. For example where our standard offer is AAA, the offer would be AAA or AAB plus A in the EPQ. We believe that this recognises the importance of independent learning and the value of this qualification as preparation for Higher Education.’

Similarly, Leeds University recognises the value, effort and enthusiasm applicants make in the EPQ, identifying that some admissions tutors may wish to make an alternative offer to applicants, involving successful completion of the EPQ.

Oxford University state that ‘the EPQ encourages students to develop research and academic skills relevant to undergraduate study … you will be a more convincing applicant if you can demonstrate breadth of reading and independent research into your chosen subject, if you have pursued study beyond that required by your school syllabus.’

The London School of Economics recognises ‘the skills and experience gained by students who choose to undertake an EPQ, successful engagement with which can help to demonstrate a readiness to study a rigorously academic undergraduate programme. An EPQ can be a good way of demonstrating enthusiasm for a particular subject, especially if you are applying to study a subject you have not had the opportunity to study at school … the EPQ adds value to the admissions process.’

Manchester University too, understand the benefits of the EPQ and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. The university would strongly encourage students to draw upon the experience of producing an EPQ in their personal statement as it may well be taken into account when considering an application.

King’s College London consider that the EPQ is an excellent tool for supporting independent research skills and allows students to study a particular area in greater depth; this subject exploration could then be included in a personal statement.

And a student perspective …

The skills that you develop are exactly the skills you need at university. I went into the interview with knowledge of my subject beyond my A-Level syllabus and it meant that I could talk about something that I was passionate about and that I'd really enjoyed doing, and I think that genuine passion and enthusiasm comes across in the interview.

Please see the link below for a comprehensive guide to EPQ at Freemen's.

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