Sixth Form

Sixth Form Curriculum

“Education makes us what we are”  Claude Adrien Helveticus

Our small class sizes are a vital foundation for success. Our aim is to nurture but challenge individuals who are educated, cultured and have a zest for learning. With our wide range of courses, experienced and dedicated teaching staff and strong sense of community, we help students achieve the best possible results. We ensure every student has a bespoke timetable tailored to meet their individual aptitudes, needs and goals. 

Students who are aiming for Oxbridge entry, for strongly contested courses such as Medicine or Veterinary Science, or for Russell group universities are invited to weekly Academy lessons. These lessons are designed to challenge students by extending their knowledge and understanding through academic topics and current issues outside their A level studies. 

Students at Alton Sixth Form join a community committed to success. Students cope better with increased personal responsibility and freedom if they are guided by teachers they already know and who know them. A personal tutor is in close daily contact with students and each student shares a private study room. All students attend weekly PSME lessons to support and enhance their social development as they explore and discuss moral issues. 

Subjects on offer

Art Courses


Art matters because it helps us see the world from different perspectives.  it gives us empathy and helps us understand people, places, periods of history, and issues with which we may otherwise be unfamiliar.  It comforts us in grief and energises us in celebration.  It is important because it can act as a catalyst for change… it can start a revolution!  Art ignites something in our brains that we would have to be a psychologist to explain, but what we do know is it is essential for life.

Studying Art at A-level will be beneficial to you in whatever path you take.

Art History

History of Art A-Level is suitable for those with an academic interest in art and design who do not necessarily want to create any practical work themselves.  Students will benefit from a broader understanding of art in the context of the world around them, challenging their preconceptions about art, and be able to recognise its role in history and society.  A History of Art A-level can help lead to careers in curatorship, restoration, research, academia, fine art, fashion, architecture, advertising and many others.  The curriculum is focused on establishing a framework for exploring aspects of western art and architecture from 500BC-2000AD.

Art – Photography

We work with digital and analogue photography and study the work of artists, photographers, writers and musicians for informed intellectual guidance.  Photography changes the way we see things.  Suddenly you notice light, shapes, colours, textures, people, buildings, trees, flowers… everything around you looks different when you start to see the world as a photographer.

It is very important that you have your own digital camera and that this has a resolution of above seven mega pixels. Your camera does not need to be a digital SLR but it is advisable that it is a good make, such as Nikon, Sony or Canon and that it has manual or programmable settings such as adjustable shutter speed and aperture rather than only automatic picture modes. Optical zoom length is also an important consideration with anything above 8X Zoom being a more useful option.  A USB pen in addition to the cameras memory card is also extremely useful, to store, back up and transport images.

In school students will be taught how to use Photoshop CS3 image manipulation software in the school’s Media Suite. It is useful but not essential for students to have a copy of either CS3 or Photoshop Elements at home.

Students will be introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of photographic media, techniques and processes. They will be made aware of both traditional and new technologies.  Students will explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to a range of art, craft and design, from the past and from recent times, including European and non-European examples. This should be integral to the investigating and making processes. Students’ responses to these examples must be shown through practical and critical activities that demonstrate their understanding of different styles, genres and traditions.

Students will use sketchbooks/workbooks/journals to underpin their work where appropriate. They may wish to develop their drawing skills in order to produce storyboards, thumbnail sketches and/or diagrams, where appropriate.  Students may use traditional methods and/or digital techniques to produce images.

Art – Textiles

Students will be introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of textile media, processes and techniques. They will be made aware of both traditional and new media. Students should explore the use of drawing for different purposes, using a variety of methods and media on a variety of scales. Students should explore the potential for the use of colour. Students may use sketchbooks/workbooks/journals to underpin their work where appropriate.

Students will explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to a range of art, craft and design, from the past and from recent times. This should be integral to the investigating and making processes.

Students’ responses to these examples must be shown through practical and critical activities that demonstrate their understanding of different styles, genres and traditions.

Students are required to work in one or more area(s) of Textile design, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas:

  • Fashion textiles / costume design
  • Costume design
  • Digital textiles
  • Printed and/or dyed fabric and materials
  • Domestic textiles and wallpaper
  • Interior design
  • Constructed textiles
  • Art textiles


What will I learn in A level biology?

  • Basic biochemistry and cell organisation
  • How chemical elements are joined together to form biological compounds
  • Cell structure and organisation
  • Biodiversity and physiology of body systems
  • Evolutionary history and adaptations for gas exchange, transport and nutrition
  • Energy for life
  • Importance of ATP, photosynthesis, respiration and microbiology
  • Population size and ecosystems and human impact on the environment
  • Continuity of life
  • Evolutionary history, reproduction, inheritance and genetics
  • Requirements for life
  • Adaptations for gas exchange, transport and nutrition
  • Homeostasis and the kidney
  • The nervous system
  • Immunology and Disease
  • Core concepts
  • Contains topics which are fundamental to the functioning of living organisms

Why should I study Biology A level?

Biology is the science of life. Biologists are needed to continue to make breakthroughs in many disciplines including genetics and medicine and to further understand the natural world around us. MRSA, stem cell research, swine flu, GM foods… These are only a fraction of the current hot topics in the media. Biological research makes discoveries on a daily basis and the study of Biology at Advanced level will help you to understand the scientific advances being made around us.  Biology is required for studies in many subjects including natural sciences, medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, veterinary science, botany, zoology, physiotherapy, psychology and genetics.

This core subject is held in high regard by universities and employers because as a science it equips its students with a logical mind and many transferable skills.

Business Studies

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” is a phrase attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson in the late nineteenth century. The phrase is actually a misquotation of the statement: “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”

That is what businesses aim to do from the Sole Trader to The Public Limited Company, from the domestic to the global scale.  The full A level in Business Studies is made up of four themes and the assessment consists of three externally examined papers of two hours each at the end of the second year of the course.

  • Theme 1: Marketing and people
  • Theme 2: Managing business activities
  • Theme 3: Business decisions and strategy
  • Theme 4: Global business

In Business Studies you will develop transferable skills that will support a wide range of subjects at university and eventually employment.  Higher education courses such as Business and Management degrees or degrees in Business and Economics which are available in combination with a modern foreign language and may allow or a year of study overseas or a work placement in the UK or another country.


We follow the OCR course, the four principal branches are:

  • Physical
  • Inorganic
  • Organic
  • Practical Investigation

The teaching of practical skills is integrated with theoretical topics and assessed through written papers and practical endorsement.  The aims of the chemistry course are for students to develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject.

  • Develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific method
  • Develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills.
  • Develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject.
  • Understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

The first four modules are covered in the AS year and are, practical skills, foundation chemistry,

periodic table and energy and core organic.


Why should I study Chemistry at A level?

Chemistry is a fascinating, challenging and hands-on subject. Chemists will have had a hand in creating every modern commodity you will ever use. The careers Chemistry can lead to are endless – not just medicine, dentistry, veterinary and nursing, but chemical research and development, chemical engineering and so on. In addition, due to the academic rigour of the subject, many professions welcome candidates who have studied Chemistry.


Classical Civilisation examines the very foundation of western art and culture and encompasses literature, philosophy, art, culture, politics and metaphysics.  Each student must study one choice from each of three sections:

The World of the Hero

One of Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid

Culture and the Arts

One from:

  • Greek Theatre
  • Imperial Image
  • Invention of the Barbarian
  • Greek Art.

Beliefs and Ideas

One from:

  • Greek Religion
  • Love and Relationships
  • Politics of the Late Republic
  • Democracy and the Athenians.

How will I be assessed?

Each topic will be assessed by a single examination taken at the end of Year 13.

  • The World of the Hero, 2hr 20m paper 40% of total mark.
  • Culture and the Arts, 1hr 45m paper 30% of total mark.
  • Beliefs and Ideas, 1hr 45m paper 30% of total mark.

Why should I study Classics?

Classical Civilisation examines the very foundation of western art and culture. It is the study of the history, politics, self-representation and thought of the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. It is amongst the most inter-disiplinary A levels and universities look favourably on students who have experienced the rigour, enrichment and mental versatility that they will find in a Classics A Level.


This A-level reflects both historical and current dance practices, making it extremely interesting and relevant, and inspiring a lifelong passion and appreciation for dance. It gives you the opportunity to acquire experience performing, choreographing and engaging in critical thinking about dance. You will also have the opportunity to see live professional performances which will inspire your own choreography and performance.

A-level Dance is a dynamic qualification which encourages you to develop your creative and intellectual capacity, alongside other transferable skills such as team work, communication and problem solving. The expertise you will develop are very desirable amongst higher education institutions and employers, helping you to stand out in the workplace whatever your choice of

What will I learn?

You will learn to create imaginative dances with an understanding of current practice, whilst drawing on the conventions and traditions of the past. You will perform and interpret dance ideas, demonstrating an understanding of appropriate technical and expressive skills. The course also involves showing detailed knowledge and understanding, in written form, of choreographic and performance processes, both in your own work and professional repertoire.  Finally, you will learn to show detailed understanding of the contexts in which dance is created and comment perceptively and critically on the significance of contextual influences upon dance performance and choreography.



This A level is designed to give you a thorough understanding of drama and theatre, including critical concepts and specialist terminology that will enable you to integrate theory and practice. It will also enable you to develop your understanding and appreciation of the significance of social, cultural and historical influences on the development of drama and theatre.


This course is designed to give you a well-rounded experience of the medium of theatre.  You will develop skills that are not just essential for drama and theatre, but applicable to a wide range of higher education subjects and the workplace.

Amongst many other thins, A level Drama and Theatre will help to develop your:

  • independence, confidence and maturity
  • collaborative skills
  • analytical and evaluative thinking

Whatever the future holds, students of A level Drama and Theatre emerge with a toolkit of transferable skills preparing them for their next steps.


Every day when you look at the news and current events you will see the impact of economic decisions and policies which affect how you and your family go about their daily lives.  Society makes choices for current and future producers and consumers based on, amongst other things, the application of economic principles and models to empirical data.  Governments, structures such as the EU, and businesses consult economists on the potential outcomes from their actions, and each of us as individuals constantly make economic choices in both our work and leisure.

If you choose to study for an A Level in Economics you will use your acquired knowledge and understanding of the subject to demonstrate an awareness of economic theory, and current economic events and policies.

What will I learn?

The A level is made up of four themes and the assessment consists of two externally examined papers of two hours each at the end of the second year of the course.

  • Theme one is an introduction to markets and market failure.
  • Theme two looks at the UK economy, its performance and Government economic policy.
  • Theme three studies business behaviour and the labour market.
  • Theme four examines a global economic view.

Higher education courses such as economics degrees with a focus on theory, or degrees in applied economics such as environmental economics, labour economics, public sector economics or   monetary economics.

Alternatively, you may choose to study business economics, mathematical economics or for a business degree. All of which can lead you to a wide range of potential careers including finance, banking, insurance, accountancy, management and consultancy, maybe becoming a professional economist or entering teaching.


We currently follow the AQA English Literature A specification for A Level.  This two year course covers poetry, drama and novels and is assessed via three units at the end of Year 13. In Paper 1 we study Shakespeare’s Othello, a variety of ‘unseen’ poetry, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and an anthology of pre-1900 love poetry.

In Paper 2 we focus on the modern literature option, with the post-2000 novel The Help, Sylvia Plath’s collection of poetry Ariel and Tennessee Williams’ drama A Streetcar Named Desire. There is also a teacher devised anthology of extracts from modern texts that is used to introduce students to wider ideas and literary, historical and social contexts concerning the post-1945 era at the start of the course.

The third paper is coursework: after a comparative study of two novels, students have free range in choosing two texts and devising a thematic question to write on. They develop their 2,500 word essay through a process of drafting, workshopping in lessons, and redrafting. The also learn how to use footnotes and format a bibliography, so it really is an excellent preparation for university study, as well as an exciting intellectual endeavour in and of itself.

English Literature A level is a valuable subject. Not only does it provide excellent opportunities for delving further into the world of books and ideas, but it also develops a host of transferrable skills. It is viewed by universities as a ‘facilitating subject’, meaning that it is recognised and respected as a challenging course of unquestioned academic merit.

The choice of English Literature at A level can lead on to almost any university course and a wide variety of careers.



10 good reasons to study French:

  1. A world language – More than 200 million people speak French on the five continents.
  2. A language for the job market – a knowledge of French opens the doors of companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and North and sub-Saharan Africa).
  3. The language of culture – French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, arts and architecture.
  4. A language for travel – France is the world’s number one tourist destination and attracts more than 70 million visitors a year.
  5. A language for higher education – speaking French opens up study opportunities at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world.
  6. The other language of international relations – French is both a working language and an official language of the UN, the EU, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee and the International Red Cross.
  7. A language that opens up the world – after English and German, French is the third most used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish.
  8. A language that is fun to learn – French is an enjoyable language to learn. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable for children and adults alike. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French.
  9. A language for learning other languages – French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian)
  10. The language of love and reason – first and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language, often called the language of love.


“There has never been a better or more important time to study Geography. The rate at which the world’s environment and society are changing, combined with growing interest in issues such as climate change… means that Geography is one of the most relevant courses students can choose to study.” Rita Gardner, RGE-IBG Director, 2011

Geography is a dynamic and exciting subject to study at A level and it combines well with Sciences, the Arts and other Humanities. It is regarded by Russell Group University as a ‘facilitating subject’ when looking ahead to University study, and Geography graduates become some of the most sought-after graduates by employers for their transferable skills and awareness and understanding of global issues.

The A level course covers major global contemporary themes, such as water and energy security, the geography of health and human rights.  Students will also complete an independent investigation for which they prepare through a comprehensive fieldwork programme throughout the first year of study.


Why should I study German?

  • To improve your academic profile for university application.
  • To enhance your employment prospects in multinational companies.
  • To facilitate your future private and business foreign travel.
  • To gain an insight into another culture and society.
  • To fulfil application criteria for free undergraduate and graduate programs at German universities.
  • To be able to apply for one of the over 60,000 international exchanges that Germany finances.

Core Content

  • Social issues and trends
  • Political and artistic culture
  • Grammar


  • Works: Literary texts and films


Why should I study A level History?

  • Employers and universities value and respect History as a rigorous and academic subject.
  • The skills developed at A level History are invaluable in work, study and life.
  • History can help you understand why humans behaved as they did – and may again in the future. This can be vital in relations with the most complex factor in any job – your colleagues!
  • History helps to develop the arts of oral debate and expressing a clear personal point of view – essential skills at any job or university interview.history

What will I learn?

Edexcel History A level is designed to provide a detailed and skills based qualification that not only focuses on the learning of History but also transferable skills that are valued by employers and universities. Students will be studying a range of history from a period of at over 200 years comprising of a British Unit, a non-British unit, a 100 year thematic period study and an individual coursework unit.

Topics include:

  • Britain, c1785-c1870: Democracy, protest and reform
  • The Unification of Italy, c1830-70
  • Rebellion and Disorder Under the Tudors, 1485-1603

A coursework unit looking at Oliver Cromwell.



Besides being excellent fun in itself (think the mental gymnastics of a fiendish Sudoku or Rubik’s Cube puzzle for the language work, with the added fun of layers of meaning), a Latin A Level will also put students in the strongest position to go on to study Classics at university. If not Classics, it will provide an unbeatable bedrock to any humanities or language degree or a first-class complement to any science or creative arts degree.  Classics is one of the most varied and interdisciplinary subjects and universities look favourably on students who have experienced the rigour, enrichment and mental versatility that they will find in a Latin A level.

In studying Latin at advanced level, you will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding of the Latin language as well as to read and enjoy ancient texts in the original language.   An interest in, and enthusiasm for, literary, historical and cultural features of the ancient world is at the heart of a Latin A level. Students will be able to develop an appreciation of literary technique, style and genre in both prose and verse texts and an ability to apply analytical and evaluative skills which show direct engagement with the original texts. Through discussion, wider reading and independent research, students should also develop their ability to make informed and sensitive personal responses to the texts.




To opt for A Level Mathematics is to choose to study one of the most challenging, but intellectually stimulating subjects.  Mathematics applies to many disciplines and complements a wide range of A level option choices combinations.

The A-level Mathematics course if OCR H240.  This is a linear course with examinations at the end of the two years and you will study topics covering pure mathematics, statistics and mechanics.  Each of the three examination papers are equally weighted and are two hours in length.

  • Paper 1 covers pure mathematics topics only.
  • Paper 2 examines mathematics and statistics
  • Paper 3 examines pre mathematics and mechanics.

The A-level Further Mathematics course is OCR H245.  This is also a linear course with examinations at the end of two years.

For the further Mathematics course pure mathematics is studied in greater depth, with two examination papers of ninety minutes focussing on this area of study.   A further two ninety minute papers examine two areas chosen from statistics,  mechanics, discrete mathematics and additional pure mathematics.  All four papers are equally weighted.

For both the Mathematics and Further Mathematics qualifications students are expected to apply the overarching themes and demonstrate associated mathematical thinking and understanding across the whole of the subject content.


Music is a varied subject which covers a wide range of skills such as discipline, organisation, listening, interpretative and analytical skills.

Music at A level is held in high esteem by universities and will provide a broad and satisfying experience for those who want to conclude their musical studies or want to pursue music at a higher level.

The A level specification of the AQA examination board is taught.



An A level Physics course will satisfy the curiosity of students who experience the wonder of the world about us. It helps the student to develop skills which will be indispensable in the world of work. The course provides a body of interesting and essential knowledge. It plays a part in the formation of the student so that she can make a contribution to society.


The course (OCR Advancing Physics H157H557)  is divided into six modules:

  1. Development of practical skills in physics
  2. Fundamental data analysis
  3. Physics in action: Communications, Designer materials
  4. Understanding processes: waves and quantum behavior; space, time and motion
  5. Rise and fall of the clockwork universe: Rules and Randomness, ideal clockwork, celestial clockwork, matter very simple and matter hot or cold
  6. Field and particle physics: Electromagnetic Machines, Charge and Field, Fundamental Particles, Radiation and Risk and Probing deep into matter.

The Lessons

The style of lesson will vary to suit the work to be done. There will be ‘Chalk and Talk’, computer based assignments, practical work, research sessions, (library, internet), interchanges with other schools via the internet, discussion and team work. The course is designed to build on the students’ existing skills and develop new skills.


Qualifications in Physics can lead to careers in: many branches of medicine and medical research, Engineering, Estate Management, Patenting, Forestry, Teaching, Environmental Work, Administration.



No prior knowledge of politics is required to study A-level Politics but a healthy interest in current political events and the news is a great help. The course, over two years, provides a balanced political education, giving an opportunity to be really well informed about how the British system works. The Politics A-level is a linear course where the examinations are sat in the summer of Year 13.

The first year of the course introduces central ideas of politics – citizenship, democracy and participation, and examines them in the context of the political process within the UK. Topics will include ideas such as what is politics? Why are political participation and democracy important? Developing an understanding for citizenship and the role of political participation in preserving the rights and freedoms of the individual.  A knowledge of the main features of the British representative system – political parties, elections, pressure groups.

Do elections guarantee democracy? What is the role of political parties? We will also look at concepts such as providing an introduction to the major institutions of UK government, examining their relationship and considering their effectiveness. How adequate is the UK constitution?

What is the role and the significance of Parliament? How powerful is the Prime Minister? Do judges deliver justice and defend freedom?

The second year of the course introduces students to the subject of political ideology, examining their key ideas, historical development and current influences. We will also be looking at political systems outside the United Kingdom such as in the United States of America and European Union.

This syllabus is in the process of being updated by the exam board but we will continue to keep students informed of any developments.


The study of Psychology allows you to understand the behaviours and motivation of individuals and groups in society. The course brings together explanations from different psychological approaches and issues and debates in contemporary psychology. This course will allow you to apply your knowledge and understanding rather than just acquiring knowledge, developing your transferable skills of analysis, evaluation and critical thinking.



Religious Studies

If you find yourself wondering about why we are here and what sense to make of life, and if you really want to explore these questions in depth and discuss them, then A-level Religious Studies may  well be a good choice for you. It will develop your essay skills, your ability to think independently and critically, and help express yourself logically and coherently – skills that are highly valued by  employers and Russell Group and Oxbridge Universities. Religious Studies students often go on to study Theology, Law or Humanities subjects that require a high level of critical analysis and logical thinking.

We will study the AQA A-level course which is made up of three sections:

Philosophy of Religion

  • Arguments for God’s existence
  • Problems with the idea of God’s existence – suffering and evil
  • Whether religious experience is a good basis for belief in God.

Ethics and Religion

  • How to make a moral decision – different theories
  • Human life and death – embryo research, abortion, euthanasia
  • Non-human life and death – animals as food, cloning, blood sports.


  • Whether the Bible is a reliable source of authority
  • Ways of understanding God (including feminist perspectives)
  • Self, death and the afterlife
  • Christian ethics – including war, status of the embryo and the environment
  • Whether Christianity and Science are compatible.


  • Having a language on your CV shows that you can master a highly academic, multi-skilled subject.
  • If you speak a language you are much more employable
  • Learning Spanish gives you access to travel, work and study opportunities all over Latin America and Spain
  • Understanding Spanish gives you a whole new artistic world to explore and truly enhances your cultural life

Core Content

  • Social issues and trends
  • Political and artistic culture
  • Grammar


  • Works: Literary texts and films




BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Business

This is an ideal course when combined with A levels to progress on to University or other work related employment.

Two mandatory 90 GLH units: Exploring Business and Developing a Marketing Campaign

  • One mandatory 120 GLH unit: Personal and Business Finance
  • One Optional 60 GLH unit from a choice of five:
    • Recruitment and Selection Process
    • Investigating Customer Service
    • Market Research
    • The English Legal System
    • Work Experience in Business.

Exploring Business

Internally assessed assignment, features of businesses, stakeholders and communication. Business organisation and objectives and external environment. Different types of market and to investigate innovation and enterprise.

Developing a Marketing Campaign

Externally set assignment it introduces the principles and purposes of marketing.  Develops and understanding of the rationale behind a campaign before considering how a campaign is planned. This unit can be completed in January or May. You will be provided with a case study two weeks before a supervised assessment period in order to carry out your research.

The supervised assessment period is a maximum of three hours and can be arranged over a number of sessions in a period timetabled by Pearson. The task comprises two activities, the first on the rationale and the second on the marketing campaign plan.


Physical Education

This is an inspirational new course which replaces the A level PE syllabus. It comprises a number of units of which students have to sit seven. Three of the units are compulsory and the remaining four can be chosen depending on areas within sport that students are interested in. An example of some of the units are:

  • Practical team sports
  • Working with children
  • Fitness Testing and exercise
  • Leadership in sport plus many, many more.

All units are assessed on 100% coursework which enables students to gain the highest grades through careful guidance in producing a final assignment.

Assignments can also vary in their structure from producing a powerpoint, to teaching a lesson, creating poster work or producing a leaflet. This course enables students to get a really hands-on feel within the world of sport where they are physically involved in dealing with sporting tools. This will prove invaluable in any later sport based career.

When considering applications, Universities consider the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma as equivalent in level to A-level.