Sixth Form pupils follow a curriculum that is designed to stimulate the mind and equip them to think. Courses are structured around learning rather than assessment, but in a way that enables pupils to achieve the best possible examination results.
The curriculum is sufficiently flexible to give all pupils the opportunity to excel. The examined and non-examined strands of the curriculum are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Through the curriculum we wish to ensure satisfactory progression to further education.
All pupils are asked to choose four examined subjects for study in the Sixth Form. It is a requirement of the School that each pupil takes at least three A levels or Pre-U subjects. Pupils may choose to study one of their four subjects to the end of the Lower Sixth only, which may end in the award of an AS level. An AS level is a qualification which is based on half of the A level syllabus and half of the assessment.
Cambridge Pre-U stands for a ‘Pre-University’ course, and from September 2015 the School is offering the Pre-U in seven subjects: Chemistry, English, German, History, History of Art, Italian and Physics.
Pupils will be asked during the Lower Sixth to identify which subject (if any) they wish to take to AS Level only. A final choice on the subject taken to AS only is made during the Easter Quarter of the Lower Sixth.
In addition to the mainstream examined subjects, the School offers a choice of extension courses. Pupils are required to opt for one extension course. Their purpose is to offer the possibility of support, enrichment and challenge tailored to each pupil’s needs. Extension courses run during the Lower Sixth only. Pupils either opt for an individual project, leading to the AQA Extended Project Qualification, or they take Oundle’s internal Quadrivium course. In addition to these options, small numbers of pupils may consider Mathematics with Further Mathematics in the extension block. For others, Study Assistance will be an essential part of their Sixth Form academic experience.
All pupils take this course in the Upper Sixth: it is based on lectures given by eminent guests on a wide range of topics, and includes discussion periods in mixed groups.
Past speakers have included two foreign secretaries, President Kaunda of Zambia, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Lord Tebbit of Chingford, Baron Patten of Barnes, Baron Heseltine of Thenford; James Watson, the discoverer of the structure of DNA, and two other Nobel Prize winners; the ex-Head of the KGB in Britain and Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, Head of MI5; Professor Stephen Hawking, Professor Robert Winston and Professor Richard Leakey; Natalie Clein, Craig Ogden and Jeremy Menuhin; Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Winchester and Ian Hislop; John Simpson, Michael Buerk and Martin Bell, Lord Sebastian Coe, Gary Lineker, Henry Winter, Hugh McIlvanney and Michael Atherton.
A Sixth Form concert and a ‘Concept of Remembrance’ lecture are held annually, as are memorial lectures in honour of Sir Peter Scott and Joseph Needham, two of our most prominent Old Oundelians.