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From September 2017 onwards, all A level subjects will be linear courses with the examinations taken at the end of the courses. An AS qualification will still be available and Birkdale will offer this in some subjects although the qualification is entirely separate from the A level qualification.
Birkdale remains committed to offering flexibility and choice to our students. We expect the vast majority of our students to choose to study 4 subjects at the beginning of the Lower Sixth. Further Mathematics may be studied as an additional A level. At Birkdale the timetable is arranged around the students’ choices rather than imposing a set of possible subject combinations on our students.
At the end of the first term, when students have adjusted to the demands of Sixth Form study, most students will drop one subject and continue with their studies of the remaining 3 subjects to A level. This ensures that students are making a wise and informed choice of subjects, allowing them to maximise their A level grades and ensure that they are able to pursue their chosen career. This is particularly important for students interested in studying A level subjects that they have not encountered at GCSE: these students can experience the new subject at Sixth Form level before committing to studying it for 2 years. A few students may choose to continue to study all 4 subjects to A level.
To complement academic study, there is a comprehensive Enrichment programme which provides students with the chance to cover a range of skills, values and practical experience to enhance their learning and equip them for life beyond school. Across four terms, from January of Lower Sixth to Easter of Upper Sixth, students will be able to select from the following courses:
• Skills for the future (to include: Life Skills and Creative Expression: Art History, Creative Marketing, Music Appreciation, Photography or Theatrecraft)
• Leadership/Responsibility (e.g. Sports leader Award, House activities, 6th Form Committee)
• Independent Learning (e.g. Study Skills; London Research, etc.)
• Citizenship (Politics/Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Charities Work)
• Preparing for Work/Higher Education (Higher Education & Post-18 Planning/Work Experience/Gap Years, PSHEE, Admissions tests, etc.)
In addition to the above all students will be able to undertake an Extended Project Qualification to complete a piece of independent research of their own choosing, if they wish. Beyond the curriculum there are also a large number of extracurricular opportunities for students to get involved with including: Sport, Music, Drama, Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, Community Action and many more.
The following A level subjects are usually offered:
Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Computing, Design & Technology- Graphics, Resistant Materials and Design Engineering , Drama & Theatre Studies, Economics, English Language, English Literature, French, General Studies, Geography, German, Government & Politics, Greek (Classical), History, Latin, Mathematics & Further Mathematics, Music, Music Technology, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies and Spanish.