Our Lady's Abingdon - Sixth Form Curriculum

Sixth Form Curriculum

Teaching and Learning

A typical Sixth Form programme will include three A-levels and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The EPQ is optional but we encourage all our Lower Sixth students to do this as it encourages independent thought and good study skills.

Ideally students should choose to do an EPQ on something they are passionate about. It can complement their A-level subject choices but could be something entirely different. It is a great opportunity to study a topic that they did not necessarily want to take to A-level or for which an A-level does not exist.

Top 100 schools for A-Level Value-added

Did you know that we are in the top 100 schools for A-Level Value-added. This is where scores measure student progress as opposed to pure exam achievement.

Traditional exam result league tables usually rank schools by the percentage of exam entries achieving A*-A grades. Naturally, the more academically selective schools tend to top the tables, this feeds demand, and the cycle continues. Value-added scores are calculated by the UK government. Based on students’ exam results at the start of A-levels (and decades of historical data) an expected level of progress is predicted. Final A-level results can then be compared with the predictions.

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Students are encouraged to see learning in Sixth Form as a partnership with teachers.

Study comes easier to some than others and the transition to independent learning is supported with study skills sessions and supervised study periods.

Work in study periods takes place in a dedicated Sixth Form section of the well-stocked library, at one of the many computers in our spacious Sixth Form study or in one of the individual study carrels.

Sixth Form students should be spending at least five hours a week of their own time on each subject, which may be doing some set homework tasks but should also include reading over their notes from lessons, supplementing their notes from further reading and practising skills.

Teachers will guide students on how to spend this time in their subjects.

You can find out more about the curriculum for each A-level subject using the subject links on this page, or download the subject information booklet and register for the OLA 6th Virtual Experience.

PSHE and Enrichment Programme

The PSHE and Enrichment Programme is an integral part of the Sixth Form curriculum and this is delivered predominantly during weekly sessions on Wednesday and on Monday afternoons in the Lower Sixth.

The PSHE and Enrichment Programme aims to provide students with opportunities to consider both personal issues and those issues concerning them as citizens in the wider community – at the local, national and global level.

The programme involves a number of outside agencies, or speakers, coming in to school to speak to small groups or larger numbers of students.

An integral part of the Enrichment Programme is an Active Service experience for all Lower Sixth students. Although Physical Education/Games remain a compulsory part of the timetable for students, they have greater input into the choice of activity.  As well as the traditional range of sports, students can also choose to participate in new activities such as aerobics, body combat, fencing, judo and ice skating for which we use specialised instructors.  We also have an arrangement with a local gym that enables students to work out in their Games sessions at an advantageous rate.