Academic Life

Within Wetherby Senior’s Sixth Form, our sixth formers follow three A Levels and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

Studying within our Sixth Form

Wetherby Senior’s Sixth Form provides a close-knit, supportive community that is a fantastic foundation for  boys to apply to top universities, in the UK and overseas, and to enjoy a successful future career.

Our small class sizes, dedicated teaching staff and strong pastoral care (with each boy having a tutor to guide and support him) ensures our sixth formers make excellent academic progress within their three chosen A Levels. (Sixth formers wishing to take a fourth A Level, for example Further Maths, should discuss this with our Head of Sixth Form).

Alongside A Levels and their EPQ, our sixth formers can take part in other initiatives within our Sixth Form, such as our range of Liberal Studies options. These additional courses, which range from art to psychology, and from history to German, help our young people extend learning beyond the syllabus of their chosen A Levels, building valuable sills and knowledge for future study and the workplace. Boys can also explore subjects linked to a university course that interests them and which they may wish to study further at university.

Hear more about life in our Sixth Form from Paul, our Head Boy 2023-24 .

Our current A Level offering

Art and Design

Why study A Level Art and Design?

A Level Art and Design is the course for you, if you have an imagination and a dedicated work ethic, and if you want to explore a range of disciplines and give visual form to their thoughts, feelings, observations and ideas.

How is A Level Art and Design structured?

Just like GCSE, our A Level is split into two components:
– Personal investigation (coursework): You will be required to identify an area of particular interest and formulate a personal challenge you wish to investigate. You will research, evaluate, analyse and establish coherent and sustainable links between your own artwork and that of historic and contemporary references. You will also write an extended essay that explores the themes you have chosen to investigate.
– Externally set assignment (exam): An externally set question paper will be released in February of Year 13. You will produce preparatory studies (research, written analysis, artwork) over eight weeks, culminating in the production of an unaided final piece completed within 15 hours under examination.


Why study A Level Biology?

Are you captivated by the animals on BBC nature programmes? Do you want to understand the causes of cancer or the potential uses of stem cells in medicine? Are you concerned about the impacts of our ever increasing population on the environment? If so, A Level Biology is for you. Biologists want to understand how living organisms function and interact, so they can help solve problems of the future.

What skills will you gain through A Level Biology?

You will gain a broad knowledge of biological processes, from the micro to the macro level, and how they relate to each other. You will also develop an understanding of scientific methods, including the ability to research, plan and execute scientific investigations. You will learn a variety of different practical, mathematical and problem-solving skills, as well as gain an appreciation of how biology contributes to the success of the economy and society.

Business Studies

Why study A Level Business?

Business is a field that is undeniably important to society, with businesses and business leaders having been the key architects of the digital age and the globalised world we inhabit.
The challenge of managing finite resources in a way that satisfies a network of stakeholders is perhaps greater and more exciting than ever, while the ability to critically engage with businesses and the commercial world equips you with the tools to excel in your career, and make a meaningful contribution to the progression of society.

What skills will you gain through A Level Business?

Business is a live subject, which means you are required to apply your knowledge to current business situations. It is also a written subject, allowing you to develop strong analysis and evaluation skills, as well as develop the ability to interpret and analyse quantitative data.


Why study A Level Chemistry?

Chemistry is sometimes known as the central science, as it connects physical sciences (eg mathematics and physics) with applied sciences (eg biology, medicine or engineering). A Level Chemistry provides an opportunity to study the amazing variety of substances that make up our world, as you appreciate why they are the way they are, why they behave as they do, and how they can be adapted and used in modern life.

What skills will you gain through A Level Chemistry?

You will explore a body of chemical theories and facts, which enables you to identify the patterns and themes fundamental to chemistry. A Level Chemistry puts emphasis on the importance of the scientific method, helping you to design, carry out and evaluate experiments. Through this, you develop chemical knowledge, skills and understanding that teaches you to problem-solve in a wider context. In addition, you develop an appreciation for how chemistry has social, industrial, technological, environmental and economic consequences for our world.


Why study A Level Drama?

A Level Drama is a vastly enjoyable course that focuses on creativity, academic reading, teamwork and performing, as you write your own plays, act in plays, and review professional productions. Top universities appreciate that A Level Drama applicants have strong skills in literature, leadership and public speaking, yet it is also an excellent option if you wish to take a balanced array of subjects. It also looks good on university applications when taken alongside subjects that require different skills, since it proves your well-roundedness as a scholar.

What skills will you gain with A Level Drama?

A Level Drama involves writing plays, acting, essay writing and performance analysis, so you will develop exemplary skills in leadership, management, creativity and collaboration. Alongside our studio and classroom lessons, we collaborate with theatre companies to master playwriting skills and establish advanced theatrical skills.


Why study A Level Economics?

What caused the global economy to crash in 2008? How will the rise of AI affect your future? How bad for the UK is 9% inflation? Why has the cost of living increased so much? Is the NHS the best way to provide healthcare for the UK? Is inequality growing and should we care? By studying A Level Economics, you will gain the tools to tackle these questions, as well as examine the questions that will define our current and future generations.

What skills will you gain through A Level Economics?

Economics is a quantitative social science, so you will learn how to analyse and interpret quantitative data. However, as A Level Economics is primarily a written subject, not a mathematical one, there is a strong emphasis on the quality of your written communication, thus developing your written analysis and evaluative skills. In addition, as A Level Economics is a live subject, you will also deepen your knowledge and understanding of current affairs.

English Literature

Why study English Literature?

One of the best ways to develop a greater understanding of both yourself and others is through the careful study of literature, which can act as a gateway into the broadest possible range of lives, places and experiences. By reading and studying works of literature, you are able to explore bold ideas, travel in strange and fascinating worlds, and experience more than you could ever hope to in just one lifetime. While, hopefully, all of that sounds challenging and rewarding, perhaps the best reason to study A Level English Literature is that reading, discussing and writing about literature can simply be really good fun!

What will I study in A Level English Literature?

Here is an outline of the OCR course components and a selection, by no means prescriptive, of the texts which you would have the opportunity to explore: Shakespeare (eg Hamlet); Drama and Poetry Pre-1900 (eg Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Milton’s Paradise Lost); and Comparative and Contextual Study of a Genre: American Literature, The Gothic, Dystopia, The Immigrant Experience (here, you select one of these genres and independently explore a range of texts within it, complementing a class set text). There are three compenents of coursework which are all based on texts of your choosing, including a piece of creative writing, a close reading of a passage, and a comparative essay.


Why study A Level French?

More than 220 million people speak French on five continents and France is a key economic global player, with French being the other language of international relations widely used, alongside English, in the UN, the EU, UNESCO and NATO.

What will you study in A Level French?

As well as studying one literary text and one film in French, you will explore artistic culture, current trends and issues in society, and aspects of political life in the French speaking world. Examples of topics include: ‘French diverse society, immigration and racism’, ‘Cinema, music, architecture and gastronomy’, ‘Impact of scientific and technological progress’ and ‘Causes of poverty in Europe and developing countries’. Whilst there are many more topics, these give you a flavour of what you will learn.

What skills will you gain through A Level French?

In your A Level language lessons, unlike at GCSE, you will be exposed to a wider range of linguistic skills, including essay writing, debating and translation. As part of your oral exam, you will be required to give a presentation on a subject of your choice that you will have researched, allowing you to pursue something which personally interests you, whilst gaining independent research skills. You will learn to use language to discuss concepts, rather than just facts.

Further Mathematics

Why study A Level Further Mathematics?

A Level Further Mathematics is aimed at those who enjoys mathematics, as it provides a challenge and a chance to explore new and/or more sophisticated mathematical concepts. As well as being highly regarded by universities, those who take A Level Further Mathematics often find that the additional time spent studying mathematics boosts their marks in A Level Mathematics.

What skills will you gain?

A Level Further Mathematics is a separate A Level, taken in addition to A Level Mathematics. Three quarters of the course is Further Pure Mathematics and the remainder is Decision Mathematics. A Level Further Mathematics introduces new topics, like matrices and complex numbers, that are vital in many STEM degrees.


Why study A Level Geography?

Geographers are excited about the world in which they live and develop a valuable understanding of the physical and human processes which shape our planet. If you want to answer questions such as, ‘What are the issues caused by unequal flows of international trades?’, ‘How will the world cope with a projected population of 10 billion?’, or ‘How would a supervolcano eruption affect our planet?’ then A Level Geography is the subject for you.

What skills will you gain through A Level Geography?

Geographers are numerate, literate, and good team workers. You will develop a knowledge of social, economic and physical processes, and be able to plan, research, develop and test hypotheses, and write reports. You will learn to think analytically and critically, and develop valuable computer skills. You will practice a variety of fieldwork skills via the range of trips we offer, which have included Greece, the Azores, Italy and Croatia.


Why study A Level German?

Globally, around 132 million people speak German as a first or second language and learning German will open the door to exciting opportunities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK, as Germany is one of Britain’s biggest trade partners with strong financial service and business ties.

What skills will you gain through A Level German?

In A Level German, you will be exposed to a range of linguistic skills, like essay writing, debating and translation, that are incredibly important and will aid your study of other subjects at A Level and at university. In your speaking exam, you will complete an independent research project, allowing you to pursue topics that interest you, giving you a flavour of the independence you will enjoy when at university.

Studying German will boost your CV, give you valuable transferable skills, and offer all the benefits that come with learning another language – experiencing the world through another language broadens your horizons, heightening your understanding of what it means to live in a global community of diverse cultures, traditions and histories.

Government and Politics

Why study A Level Government and Politics?

If you want to know where power lies, how parties operate, and how governments work, then A Level Government and Politics is for you. Politics has an enormous impact on our lives, and A Level Government and Politics will equip you with a strong understanding of how power is exercised, in this country and internationally. It will equip you with the knowledge and skills to play a full part in the political process.

What skills will you gain through A Level Government and Politics?

A Level Government and Politics is an exciting and intellectually challenging subject with an emphasis on debate, discussion and argument. While the ability to look at different perspectives, and critically analyse them, is of fundamental importance, you will also develop other important qualities like critical thinking and effective writing skills.


Why study A Level History?

History is the study of humanity in all of its chaotic complexity. While there is a real pleasure to be derived from delving into the narrative of our past for its own sake, history is not just about chronicling the past. It is an ongoing dialogue, between academics, who use empirical evidence to explain why events unfolded as they did. The breadth of evidence available makes history a truly multidisciplinary subject. When historians investigate the past, they have to use an array of relevant skills in order to come to the fullest understanding possible of the period. For example, if you were studying the British Empire, you would need a working knowledge of chronology, geography, economics, sociology, literature, art and science (to name but a few) to stand a chance of developing a convincing interpretation of your own.

Studying history will not help you avoid the mistakes of your predecessors but a solid grounding in history is the best preparation for understanding and dealing with the problems of the present, and anticipating those of the future.

What will you study?

Here is an outline of the components that make up the OCR A Level and the topics you will study:
– British Period Study and Enquiry (Britain 1930-97 with an enquiry of Churchill 1930-51)
– Non-British Period Study (American Revolution 1740-96)
– Thematic Study and Historical Interpretations (Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992)
– Topic-based Essay (3,000-4,000 word independent study)


Why study A Level Latin?

A Level Latin offers an insight into one of the greatest ancient civilisations of the western world. Not only will you continue to develop your linguistic skills, you will use these skills to read and analyse some of the finest pieces of literature written. Such texts are wonderful to read in themselves but it is very gratifying to read them in the original language, knowing over 2,000 years separates you from the author.

What skills will you gain through A Level Latin?

You will further enhance your knowledge of grammatical structures, so you are able to read unabridged versions of Latin texts by authors like Livy and Ovid. You will develop your analytical and essay writing skills, as you study prose and verse literature in depth. In addition, through your study of literature, you will learn about the historical context of the end of the Roman Republic and early imperial Rome.


Why study A Level Mathematics?

A Level Mathematics is a good option, regardless of your desired future university study. It develops concepts that you first learnt in IGCSE Mathematics and introduces many new ones, to allow you to solve problems with more complexity.

What skills will you gain through A Level Mathematics?

Through solving problems, you will develop resilience and be able to think creatively and strategically. The writing of structured solutions, proof and justification of results will help you to formulate reasoned arguments. Importantly, you will build excellent numeracy skills, plus the ability to process and interpret data.


Why study A Level Philosophy?

Philosophy is concerned with ideas: ideas about the world, ideas about the self, ideas about others, ideas about right and wrong, and ideas about the beyond. Philosophy pulls these ideas apart and forms them anew.

What skills will you gain through A Level Philosophy?

A Level Philosophy is stimulating, challenging and thought-provoking. It is an essay-based subject requiring a certain amount of intellectual curiosity and a willingness to reflect on the big questions of life. While a logical mind is a good starting point, you will also develop a range of transferable skills that are applicable far beyond the study of philosophy. For the study of A Level Philosophy, there are no pre-requisites but a willingness to read, write, research and discuss is expected.


Why study A Level Physics?

Physics is a subject for curious minds. It aims to provide a fundamental understanding of our world, from the large scale structure of the universe to the behaviour of sub-atomic particles. Aside from the simple joy of finding things out, physics plays a central role in a wide range of practical applications. Whether you want to develop a Theory of Everything or make your e-scooter more efficient, A Level Physics will help build the skills you need.

What skills will you gain through A Level Physics?

Those who study A Level Physics become creative, analytical thinkers, good at applying their knowledge and understanding to novel situations in order to solve problems. Through theoretical and practical work, you learn the value of rigour, independence, collaboration, risk-taking, effective communication and asking good questions.


Why study A Level Spanish?

It is estimated over 437 million people speak Spanish as a native language, making it the second most spoken language in the world! Being able to understand Spanish not only makes travel abroad easier, it also opens up an exciting range of opportunities. In an increasingly global market, speaking Spanish will help you communicate with international clients, negotiate business deals, and collaborate with experts from across the globe. In addition, language skills are important for professional success in the current business climate, and can help you learn about other cultures and your own!

What will you study?

Your core themes will be aspects of Spanish society, artistic culture in the Hispanic world, multiculturalism in Hispanic society, and aspects of political life in the Hispanic world. So you may enjoy topics like: ‘The evolution of the monarchy in Spain’, ‘Latin American dictatorships’, ‘Franco, Spain and the Civil War’, and ‘Peru and the Incas’. You also study one literary text and one film in Spanish.

What skills will you gain through A Level Spanish?

In your A Level language lessons, unlike at GCSE, you will be exposed to a wider range of linguistic skills, including essay writing, debating and translation. As part of your oral exam, you will be required to give a presentation on a subject of your choice that you will have researched, allowing you to pursue something which personally interests you, whilst gaining independent research skills.

The Extended Project Qualification(EPQ)

Our sixth formers undertake an EPQ, which allows you to work on an independent project, on an academic topic of your choosing, that is relevant to your future plans. Worth half an A Level, the EPQ is highly valued by universities as it offers evidence of your ability to carry out in-depth research and presentation skills, and proof of strong independent study skills.

Your EPQ may be a research-based report, an event like a show or charity fundraiser, or the creation of an artefact (eg a piece of art or a play). EPQs submitted by our sixth formers in 2022 included:
– The Viability of Space Travel
– The Legacy of Apartheid
– Law and Social Media
– Managing Retirement From Sport
– Where Should Almond Production Move?
– Breakthroughs in Treatment for Tourette’s Syndrome
– The Positive Effects of Gaming
– Is CTE a Defence for Murder?
– Causes and Consequences of the Iranian Revolution
– Cryptocurrency as a Form of Investment
– The Crash

Liberal Studies

Our Sixth Form’s Liberal Studies options are designed to help you extend your learning beyond your usual A Level curriculum, building valuable skills and knowledge for future study and the workplace. Through our Liberal Studies options, you may explore subjects linked to a university course that interests you or examine a topic linked to your A Level studies.

Our Liberal Studies programme changes each year but, in recent years, has included:
– A Brief History of America
– Ancient Ideas and Modern Society
– Anthropology
– Art Appreciation
– Careers in Medicine and Science
– English and the Environment
– German for Business
– Minorities in Science
– Psychology
– Sociology
– Sports and Nutrition
– Understanding Music

Find out more

Our Sixth Form prospectus, below, provides more information about life at Wetherby Senior. You can also see for yourself by registering to join our Open Day or Visitor Mornings.

You can find out more about Wetherby Senior by looking through our website or following our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Wetherby Senior sixth formers have been snapping around London, taking photos of what our capital city means to them.

Check out Wetherby Senior’s final issue of The Barometer for...

1. Campus
100 Marylebone Lane,
London W1U 2QU
2. Campus
Hannah House, 13-16 Manchester Street,
London W1U 4DJ
Tel: 020 7535 3530
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