A Level Subjects
RGS Worcester Sixth Form offers a wide range of A Level subjects, a BTEC in Sport, which is equivalent to two A Levels and a Cambridge Technical Level 3 in Business.
The Art and Design course promotes independent learning, creativity and investigative, analytical and technical skills. Key features are practical learning with individualised teaching tutorials, group critiques, presentations by the students and visits to galleries and museums. The Sixth Form have their own studios in which they have the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of materials and processes in both two and three dimensions. After an initial skills programme, pupils develop their specialisms in media and subject.
Drawing is an essential foundation for any Art course, and at A Level this is an integral part of the artistic journey. An aspiring artist should have an eagerness to learn and research, to look beyond the studio for inspiration and to be visually aware. Pupils should be self-motivated to persevere and to accept the challenges of new media, scale and concept.
Students study a range of topics within the areas of Fashion, Construction, Printed Textiles and Interior Design. In each topic, essential skills such as drawing, analysing, reviewing and refining are taught practically and progressively to develop a detailed understanding of how the work covered in the classroom translates to a professional setting. External visits to exhibitions and fashion events, together with connections from the fashion industry, give students a first-hand experience for University applications.
Initially, the department sets projects where research, analysis and personal responses develop into a practical outcome. Students will select their area of study on which to base the Personal Investigation; students must be able to manage on-going projects and enjoy working to a deadline. Students choose one topic from eight options for the examination. All of the necessary design work is completed ahead of the three-day practical assessment. Many students enjoy the structure of the course, which allows preparation and working practically for the examination assessment.
Biology is a fascinating subject to study. The A Level course builds up from the chemicals of life, through cells, tissues and organs into whole organisms, ecosystems and concepts such as evolution and gene technology. Investigations follow the scientific method, including physiological and biochemical experiments, observations of animal and plant specimens and interpretation of microscopic material.
To succeed in A Level Biology, a student needs to have a natural and inherent interest in the world around them and be a proactive and diligent learner. Biology is different from the other Sciences, as it is a language-based Science. Students who are good at remembering facts and using key, biological terminologies are usually the students that do well in this subject.
Business is a dynamic subject examining the diverse nature of business enterprise and interdependence of the various parts of the business world. Students will explore business success and failure, investigate local, national and global business markets, and understand how businesses need to adapt and respond strategically to the changing environment in which they operate to survive and grow. This constant evolutionary process makes Business a fascinating subject to study at A Level. Trips include a visit to Jaguar Land Rover in Solihull. Students are encouraged to participate in the Student Investor Challenge competition both within the Sixth Form and against other schools nationally.
The subject is assessed in three separate examinations at the end of the linear course in which writing essays plays a significant part. Skills of analysis, evaluation and application are needed, and a great deal of focus is placed on supporting and developing them throughout the course.
The Cambridge Technical in Business is a vocational qualification for students in the Sixth Form. Designed with the workplace in mind, the Level 3 qualification provides a high-quality alternative to the A Level. It is about developing the character and attributes needed to progress and succeed in further education and the workplace. The Business course covers five units, with the first three being ‘The Business Environment’, ‘Working in Business’ and ‘Customers and Communication’. There will be a variety of trips contained within the course focusing on the application of the specific modules studied.
There are examinations which will require the students to retain and recall core knowledge and deploy it under timed conditions, which involve writing essays. However, there is a significant segment which requires students to complete Non-Examined Assessment, which will require individual motivation and drive, the ability to meet strict and frequent deadlines. Many students from RGS go on to read Business in one form or another, be it at university or through an apprenticeship scheme.
Chemistry is the study of matter and energy and the interaction between them. It is known as the “central science” because it connects physical sciences, like Maths and Physics, with applied sciences, like Biology, Medicine and Engineering.
A Level Chemistry extends on GCSE topics and introduces organic mechanisms which describe the reactions of alkanes, alkenes and alcohols. Practically we develop titration technique, explore more chemical tests for identification and synthesise pure alcohols. Chemistry helps you to understand and make informed decisions about the world around you. Students develop research, problem-solving, practical laboratory and analytical skills.
You should expect to work hard both in, but especially outside of lessons, have excellent organisational and time management skills and be resilient enough to solve problems and overcome the many challenges we will present you with.
Students will find Classical Civilisation extremely useful in informing their other studies; it is the contrasting, mind-broadening, analytical discipline that university departments are delighted to see their applicants pursuing. Classical Civilisation is respected as a challenging multi-disciplinary course, encouraging breadth of viewpoint, precision, analytical abilities and communication skills. During the course, you will explore Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, study the physical remains of Greek theatres and read a range of Greek dramas, and investigate how Love and Relationships were understood in the ancient world.
Classicist needs to have an enquiring mind and an empathetic outlook, as well as an interest in the ancient world. Enjoyment of reading is an advantage, as is the ability to communicate well in written form. Good classicists can analyse literary texts and produce responses which consider different possible interpretations of source material.
Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement and allows students to look at the natural world through a prism. This qualification aims to enable students to develop an understanding of, and the ability to apply, fundamental principles and concepts to analyse problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems to include programming. Topics studied include the comparison and complexity of algorithms, data representation, computer architecture, digital communication and networking, databases and the individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural opportunities and risks of digital technology.
The capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically are all highly recommended personal attributes for this demanding course.ﾠ
This exciting course offers students the opportunity to identify real market needs for new products and, using creativity and imagination, develop designs and make prototypes that solve real-world problems. Theoretical study is intertwined with practical problem solving using some of the latest technologies available including laser cutters, 3D printers and CNC (computer numerical control) machinery. The Design Centre is very well equipped to provide students with a very real insight into the world of design, manufacture and engineering. Students develop key skills in problem-solving, communication, ICT and working in a team as well as subject-specific skills.
Students should have a genuine interest in the world and how things work. The course requires learners to recognise design needs and develop an understanding of how current global issues, including integrated technology, impacts on today’s world. Students should be confident to innovate and produce creative design solutions both in the form of freehand sketching as well as CAD (Computer Aided Design).
Drama and Theatre is an exciting course which allows students to pursue their interests and develop their skills in a range of practical drama elements, as well as the theoretical and workshop study of several set plays and analytical and evaluative response to Live Theatre. Students have the freedom to choose both content and the form of the practical presentations at each Level. Students have the opportunity to travel on research and development residential weekends to support their devised stimuli and practitioner study.
Drama students need to have a passion for not only performance but a curiosity around why plays are written and a contextual understanding of how plays can be adapted to create relevance for a contemporary audience without losing what was originally intended. Students should have the confidence and creativity to develop their ideas for performance inspired by a stimulus and able to use a chosen practitioner as a focal point for the style in which the piece is created and performed.
Students will foster an understanding of Economic concepts and theories in a range of contexts and develop a critical consideration of their value and limitation in explaining real-world phenomena. As a result of following this course, students will be able to explain, analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the market economy and the role of the government within a market economy. Trips include an annual visit to the University of Warwick for the Economics in Action day of inspirational talks from leading economists. There is also the availability to participate in the Student Investor Challenge competition.
Students should be adept at both understanding new concepts and ideas as well as analysing and applying them. Consequently, a motivated and independent mind is required to revisit those new ideas and we would encourage frequent application to the context of the current UK and global economic news as a result of reading around the subject.
English in the Sixth Form involves the study of literature. Students will read a variety of texts, including drama, a novel and poetry. Titles of works vary from year to year: the aim is to offer a balance between established classics and modern works. Theatre visits and live screenings are organised wherever possible, and students have the opportunity to attend study days with guest speakers. The RGS Literary Society offers another outlet to enjoy and appreciate literature.
Successful English Literature students must, first and foremost, enjoy reading widely for pleasure and enjoy analytically discussing their reading. A willingness to participate in discussion and the ability to formulate and express ideas in writing are also essential for success at this level. Prospective students should relish the opportunity to write regularly, exploring ideas through written essays. We look for students with enquiring minds who are prepared to be flexible in their thinking and approach who enjoy more extensive reading and demonstrating independence and resilience when it comes to developing and enhancing their knowledge.
Geography is a dynamic, exciting and varied course, incorporating recent current affairs. If you are interested in learning more about the people and the world around you alongside contemporary issues – then A Level Geography is for you!
A Level Geography contains six topics, three of which are physical: Coastal Systems and Landscapes; Hazards and The Water and Carbon Cycles, and three are human topics: Global Systems and Global Governance; Changing Places and Contemporary Urban Environments. There is also a five-day residential Field Course during which you will collect data for your geographical investigation.
A successful Geography student will need to have an understanding of the world around them and the human and physical aspects. They should be able to challenge opinions and debate important global issues and have environmental and social awareness. Communication skills are essential both while working independently as well as part of a team. A successful Geography student will also need to be able to complete research and interpret data to enable them to be successful in completing fieldwork.
A Level History comprises three main areas of study. Tudor History, 1485-1603 and Germany between 1918 and 1945 investigates themes of government, society, ideas and national identity. The Crusades 1095-1204 offers the opportunity to learn about Christian and Muslim culture and History in the medieval period, as well as giving an introduction to political and military events of the time in Jerusalem and Outremer.
The discipline of History is both rigorous and fascinating. To succeed at A Level, students should start from a real interest in the past and how we can both learn about, and try to understand, the events and people living in very different times, places and cultures to our own. Reading widely, analysing text – both those contemporary to the time and historical interpretations – and then a desire to use the information acquired to argue a case are key skills that History students should be keen to develop.
Anyone studying Languages or Humanities will find Latin extremely useful in informing their other studies; Scientists and Mathematicians will enjoy the logical, systematic elements of the grammar of the language. It allows the opportunity to demonstrate their sensitivity and articulacy in responding to the sophistication of the literature. Latin is renowned as a marker of intellectual capability, fostering analytical and critical skills, greatly appreciated by university admissions’ tutors.
During A Level, students will develop their understanding of the language from GCSE, and improve their knowledge of grammar and syntax to the point where they can read original, unadapted Latin text. On the Literature side of the course, students have the opportunity to engage with an extended piece of literature in both prose and verse over a full Academic year, allowing a chance to get to grips with a particular author’s style. Successful Latin students combine a logical, thorough mindset with the ability to analyse textual sources critically and with empathy.
Mathematics at A Level is made up of compulsory material and covers the range of the subject from Pure concepts to the Applied ideas of Mechanics. The Pure elements extend the GCSE topics of Algebra and introduces the higher-level ideas of Calculus and Logarithms. The Applied courses cover the Statistics and Mechanics topics and these build on the GCSE topic of probability and the mechanics parts of Physics.
Students choose to study Mathematics with a wide range of motivations; taking the opportunity to see how the topic grows in complexity and technical difficulty or as a fresh topic in contrast to other A Level subject.
Students need to have a willingness to commit to this demanding course. The complexity of the material means that students need to be prepared to tackle abstract concepts and subtle techniques.
This course looks to bridge the gap between Sixth Form study and the demands of university courses with high Mathematical content. The course introduces concepts and techniques which will prepare the ground for study at university with subtle abstract ideas (group theory, complex numbers) and accurate Applied techniques in mechanics, decision and statistics topics.
One of the great features of the Further Mathematics course is the enormous flexibility that it offers and implicit in this is the requirements for students to be willing to guide and lead their independent studies. Students can fine-tune the course to suit their individual needs so they will need to have the drive and organisation to stay on top of their own module choices. The course requires students to work at a tremendous pace and to have a natural flair.
Studying a foreign language at A Level enables you to get an insider’s perspective into the culture and society of that country. Over the next two years, you could analyse the roots of French cinema, explore the lasting impact of the Spanish Civil War or discover the variety and significance of festivals in Germany. During small group speaking sessions, you will discuss the historical events, current affairs and changes unfolding in France, Germany or Spain and learn to communicate more confidently in a foreign language.
As a modern languages student at A Level, you love to discover. When you visit a different country, you’re interested in the differences: the food locals eat, the way people dress, the story of their nation, their books, cinema and art. A successful languages student discovers through communicating – you love to talk but also to listen. You will have strong analytical skills which help you deduce meaning and spot patterns, both of which you then use creatively to communicate.
Music A Level is built from three strands: performance, composition and analysis. The course hones pre-existent skills in performance and composition, culminating in two compositions and a ten-minute recorded recital. The course’s third unit – listening and analysis – involves the study of Music for Media, Music for Theatre and Western Classical Music in the Baroque, Classical and Romantic styles. Students study harmony, consider how music relates to extramusical ideas and learn how to write about music. This A Level equips students with both creative and academic skills through study of, and in, the unique and beautiful language that is music.
Music students need to be intrigued by how music works on creative and technical levels. An almost mathematical ability to see patterns is advantageous, as is an interest in the resulting aesthetic quality of sound and musical layering. Candidates must be able to perform to at least Grade 5 standard on their first instrument, or voice, at the point of A Level entry and have an awareness, and ideally fluency, in the reading of notation in the treble and bass clef.
Studying this course will give students the ability to think critically and to employ philosophical method to understand the world around them. This course examines what we can know and the limits of our knowledge, how we might make an ethical decision and the problems with the language of ethics, whether or not we can ever prove that God exists, and explores who we are and the limits of the human mind and perception.ﾠ
To succeed in Philosophy, students must have an interest in the world around them and an enquiring mind. They must be willing to push the way in which they think and entertain concepts and ideas that they may not have considered before, and may go against their own views. This is a highly academic course which explores some of the most challenging questions ever posed. Although an essay subject, philosophical writing is analytic, logical and pithy and students must read regularly and respond positively to feedback.
Studying Physical Education will give a fantastic insight into the amazing world of sports performance. Not only will you have the chance to perform or coach a sport through the non-exam assessment, but you will also develop a wide-ranging knowledge into the how and why of Physical Activity and Sport. The A Level comprises five components: Physiological Factors Affecting Performance, Psychological Factors Affecting Performance, Socio- cultural Issues in Physical Activity and Sport, Practical Performance and Evaluating and Analysing Performance for Improvement. External visits, including to Universities and a revision conference give students first-hand experience for University applications.
Students of A Level Physical Education need to have a passion for Sport and be intrigued by how key theory applies to practical performance to succeed. It will be a challenging Academic learning experience where students will need to be prepared to work on the scientific elements of the course, along with the contemporary and psychological. The personal attributes that are required and further developed throughout the course include decision making, psychological understanding of people, independent thinking, problem solving and analytical skills as well as thinking and acting under pressure.
Physics as a subject has the potential to unlock many career opportunities and is required for courses in Engineering and Physical Sciences at university. Skills are developed in asking key questions together with problem solving. Following the AQA A Level specification, topics studied include Mechanics, Materials, Waves, Electricity, Fundamental-particles, Quantum-phenomena, Thermal, Fields, Nuclear and Astrophysics. There is also the potential of a visit to CERN and the Large Hadron Collider to see how the fundamentals of the universe are being discovered.
A Level Physics is a standalone subject, but there is a significant mathematical element to the course and Physicists in the Sixth Form will almost always support their study in the subject by taking Mathematics; the more robust a student’s mathematical foundations, the better. It is essential to commit fully to studying the course and beyond as well as having an enthusiasm to discover ‘why’.
Politics A Level is the study of the political events unfolding around us and offers an introduction to some of the key ideologies that inform modern democracies and government. Two of the three papers focus on the UK. Component One looks at democracy and participation, exploring political parties, pressure groups and elections as well as conservatism, liberalism and socialism. Component Two investigates the institutions that create our political framework, such as the Cabinet and the Houses of Parliament, and includes the case study of nationalism. Component Three spotlights the study of US politics and government.
Students do not need to have any prior knowledge of politics. However, to succeed in Politics, a student must have an interest in the world. Politics explores up-to-the-minute happenings in elections, referendums, leadership races and Supreme Court cases. It aims to place them in their wider context, both in time and geography. Following these events on the mass media – from TV debates to newspapers to social media – is a crucial part of the work of a Politics student. The information found then needs to be synthesised and evaluated in extended writing, based on the student’s own ideas. By the end of the course, Politics students should be aiming to show a holistic understanding of key events and the ability to compare the UK and US political system
Psychology is a fascinating study of the brain and behaviour. The A Level course takes a scientific perspective when considering many aspects of human behaviour, such as social influence, attachment, memory, aggression, addiction and sleep. Atypical behaviour is also thoroughly explored through the study of psychopathology, which specifically considers explanations for and treatments of schizophrenia, phobias, depression and OCD. In the Upper Sixth, students will weigh up evidence for and against many of the great debates applicable to human nature; Do we have free will? Is our behaviour caused by nature or nurture?ﾠ
Students will develop skills of statistical analysis, application and evaluation on this dynamic and interesting course.ﾠ
A successful Psychology student is hardworking and organised. There is a lot of research evidence to learn, so an enquiring mind is an asset; as is critical thinking and skilful evaluation of theories based on evidence.
Overall, success in Psychology is enjoyed by the interested and the engaged; those who work tirelessly to increase their knowledge and who never stop questioning the implications and applications of psychological theory.
Our course examines some of the most challenging questions that have dogged humanity throughout existence: Why is there something rather than nothing? What is our place in the universe? Is it possible to prove there is a God? Studying this course will give students’ the ability to understand the development of human ideas, how arguments work, and how to use philosophical principles to establish which theories about the universe and our existence could be true, and which are surely false. Students are given a thorough understanding of diverse philosophical arguments and ethical viewpoints. An in-depth Academic study of a religion offers students an overview of how religion has influenced everything in the world from politics to education.
To succeed in Religious Studies, students must have an interest in the world around them and an enquiring mind. The ability to critique and construct arguments and express them clearly and concisely means that this course helps to develop a range of skills, including problem-solving, communication skills, persuasive powers, and written skills.
For BTEC students, it is all about learning by doing and putting what they learn into practice straight away. With a focus on skills-based learning, the vocational course is designed around themed units that investigate various aspects of Sport Science, including; Anatomy & Physiology, Fitness Training, Psychology, Skill Acquisition, Business, Professional Development, Leadership, Coaching and Practical Performance. BTECs are assessed throughout the course using assignments set in real-life scenarios, where students develop and apply the knowledge and skills employers and higher education are looking for.
To excel on our BTEC course, students need to have an enthusiasm for all things Sport related and a desire to work or continue their future studies in a sport-related industry. The ability to perform or coach at a good level is beneficial, although not mandatory. To ensure deadlines are met, and students show their full potential, they need to be highly organised and have excellent ICT skills. Students will learn inside and outside the classroom, getting to grips with the theory behind Sport as well as playing and leading to get a well-rounded understanding. They will need to be confident in communicating with others, using initiative to solve problems and adapt to both lead and work as a team. Students are required to embark on external sporting opportunities, such as work placements and the Community Sports Leaders Award.
Before making your final choice of subjects at RGS Worcester Sixth Form, you might like to consider the following:
- Reflect on the information and advice given by Careers staff and through the presentations at Parents’ Evenings
- Read the subject-specific course descriptions
- Choose a sensible combination of subjects. It may help to consider which combination is most likely to produce the best results, transferable skills and supporting subjects and which combination of subjects is likely to be favoured by Universities
- Consider which subjects are required by Universities for courses you are likely to select and which are preferred. Which subjects will help your preferred course at University, even if they are not necessary for entrance to that course?
Degree/Career Opportunities requiring specific A Level Combinations:
|Maths* (some), (Art portfolio+ most)
|Biology, Chemistry or Maths or Physics
|Chemistry, (Maths or Physics+)
|Latin (some), Classical Civilisation (some)
|Computing & IT
|Chemistry, (two of Maths/Biology/ Physics+)
|Maths, (Physics, Chemistry+)
|Maths, (Physics, Further Maths+)
|French – Languages
|French, (Geography or Spanish+)
|Maths, Physics (or two sciences+)
|Maths (few), Geography preferred
|Maths, (Physics, Chemistry+)
|Chemistry, (Biology, Physics or Maths+)
|1 Class. or Modern Foreign Language
|Chemistry, (Biology, Physics or Maths+)
|Two sciences (few). Maths an advantage
|Chemistry, (Biology, Physics or Maths+)
* Most Universities also ask to see an Art portfolio
If you’re interested in joining our Private Sixth Form, read more about our Sixth Form admissions process.