Sixth Form - A Level
It is possible to study a wide variety of courses, with a great number of subject combinations, over the two years of Advanced study.
Further, it is possible to “mix and match” AS and A levels, which are taught over periods of one and two years respectively. Some classes may contain up to a dozen students, whilst a specialist teacher may teach others individually.
The Form Tutor will monitor the performance and well-being of the students in their charge, respond to issues, whether pastoral or academic, that may threaten progress, and endeavour to optimise their academic and personal growth during this important transition to adulthood.
In general, students are invited to select any combination of subjects they wish to study in their main academic programme, provided that:
- they have obtained a total of at least 5 subjects at GCSE at A grade. Internal candidates whose GCSE results fall below this expectation will be given careful consideration.
- they have obtained a grade B at least at GCSE in subjects they wish to continue at A2 or AS level. Staff will advise students if they feel that they are unwise to continue with a subject despite meeting the entrance requirements. If double certificated Science has been taken, ‘A’ grades are recommended for study of a science at A Level. Those who intend to study a subject in the Sixth Form that has not been studied at GCSE level will be expected to demonstrate ability in other relevant subjects.
- the proposed course of study will qualify them for Higher Education or their chosen career.
Choice of Subjects
Your choice of A Level subjects is important, as it will influence the options available later, whether you intend proceed to Higher Education or to enter employment. At the Leicester Montessori Sixth Form, each student is advised upon the choice of an appropriate and compatible set of subjects that can form a progressive study course for the following two years, and which will lend itself well to application for an appropriate University course upon completion.
The Promotion of Self-Study
The successful student will recognise that the responsibility for the imposition of a strict regime of study has now passed from the teacher, as has been the case up to GCSE, to the student himself. Since A Level study is voluntary, it is expected that a student will be self-motivated and diligent for the duration of the course, exploiting the facilities and skilled tutelage afforded by the School.
A large number of our students have aspirations to join a medically related profession.
The aim of any such course will be to allow students to learn the fundamentals of Biology, Physics and Chemistry in an environment that has relevance to Clinical Medicine and Dentistry. Typical course components required of all premedical students will be biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, English.
The course will give the students a basic grounding in relevant ‘skills’. This will include:
- Practical laboratory skills
- Safety in the laboratory
- Data interpretation
- Data handling
- Manual dexterity
- Planning and designing experiments
- Mathematics as a core skill
- Time management
- Note making
- Precision and rigour
Self-directed learning is the hardest part of this course for any student. Although some guidance is given on research tasks set, requirements and approach are personal to each student. Ample time is given to this individual study to achieve the learning objectives, chief amongst which, it is assumed, will be progressing to year 1 of a Medical or Dental course.
Most Medical schools prefer that a premedical applicant have some form of internship related to the health sciences. We therefore encourage students to do volunteer work at medical institutions and provide several opportunities in our area.
A student will choose to take general Studies for a variety of reasons. As a fourth A Level subject, it can augment a narrow selection of subjects by offering the opportunity to explore a diverse range of contemporary human-interest issues such as those raised by current news reports, recent scientific developments, human rights and world politics. It may be that General Studies can support one or more of the student’s other subject choices directly, such as psychology or geography.
Although a General Studies course will typically be conducted at a more sedate pace than, for example, that of a science subject, a good grade will, nevertheless, require effort and dedication. The successful General Studies student will be one who learns to be conversant with current affairs, is methodical, lucid in discourse and deductive.
The study of Mass Communications Media is enlightening and gratifying. The techniques used by advertisers, newscasters, filmmakers and suchlike are revealed and analysed. In the study of the press, publishing, cinema, broadcasting, news production, advertising and marketing, the student will come to appreciate that an audience responds to stimulus in a broadly predictable way, but that an understanding of these processes can free the viewer to become more critical and independent in a ‘media-saturated’ society.
It is not absolutely necessary to have studied History for GCSE, but it is a considerable advantage. GCSE History candidates, though, should have Grade B or above in the subject.
A mix of medieval and twentieth century history to provides A/AS level courses which have both depth and breadth and which also provide a variety of historical experiences, some familiar, others not. This mixture should provide much that should fascinate the student. It should also attract a favourable response from university academics who have been vocal in their criticism of school history for its concentration on the twentieth century alone, particularly the inter-war years.
The methods of learning and working vary; note-making, essay-writing, the study of historical sources and classroom discussion are most prominent. These will be supplemented by the use of film, tapes, seminars, talks, outside lectures and visits. Anyone wishing to study AS/A level History must be prepared to read around the subject and ought to have a firm interest in the subject and a commitment to academic study.
Students who choose to study Geography must be interested in finding out about the environment in which they live. The course focuses on the processes that have shaped our world and students will be expected to develop an awareness of the geography around them, both human and physical. The ability to study the subject through books and a variety of other resources is essential. Students should be capable of working on their own and using their own initiative. They are expected to make their own observations based on sound knowledge and understanding.
The last twenty years have been particularly exciting for students of politics. Internationally, we have seen the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent end to the Cold War; continuing problems in the Middle East and the Civil War in former Yugoslavia, and the rapid development of the EU. In this climate the study of politics is particularly rewarding.
At the end of a successful two-year course, the student should have an excellent understanding of how Britain and America’s political institutions actually work; you will also be much more familiar with both national and international affairs and the political issues of the day.
Psychology is the study of the nature and functions of the human mind and will focus on the mental experiences of the people who go to make up a society. Psychology will investigate individuals and the characteristics of individual personality. It will involve the discussion of abstract concepts such as ego, attitude and motivation and will demand disciplined thinking and detailed reading from candidates choosing this option.
The course will focus on the nature of psychological enquiry and the theoretical issues that underlie psychological analysis. It will involve an understanding of the major theoretical approaches such as Reductionism, Behaviourism and Determinism, as well as Idiographic and Nomothetic explanations of human behaviour. Students will also look at methodological issues, field experiments and case studies and how psychological enquiry can be practically applied.
Studying Psychology demands academic rigour and commitment which is an ideal preparation for most, if not all, degree courses. It is also a fascinating subject on its own right which not only develops self-awareness and understanding of others, but also has links with all the other ‘A’ Level subjects. Psychology is invaluable for anyone pursuing a career that deals with people: teachers, nurses, doctors, prison workers, police, business people, advertisers, journalists, people working in the Mass Media, criminal and forensic psychologists, sports psychologists, health & environmental psychologists as well as clerical, educational, occupational and government services. All these professions benefit from an understanding of why people behave the way they do.
English (Language and Literature)
English is considered to be the most versatile language in use today. It is also the universal language of western commerce, and that in which fluency is essential if effective multicultural communication is to be achieved. Although these reasons alone are justification enough to study English at an advanced level, they ignore what is, for many, the true motivation to become immersed in English language and Literature. It is at this stage of education that a student may, for the first time, find the opportunity to enjoy, analyse and understand the structure of this beautiful, most diverse of languages. Formal study of etymology, structure and technique yield to the student an increased capacity to create and express in both spoken and written form.
Typical areas of study will be:
- Introduction to the study of language, its purpose and history.
- Gestures and Paralinguistic Communication
- The Child’s Acquisition of Language
- Etymology and Language Change
- Spoken and Written modes
- Discourse Analysis
- Dialects and Non-Standard English
- Emotive and Figurative Language
- Editing and Writing in Style
Mathematics can be used to help explain many of the phenomena in the world around us; for example, how certain types of machines work, why planets move in the way that they do, how populations are affected by changes in the birth and death rate and so on.
The course should enable students to:
- Develop their understanding of mathematical principles and their interest in the subject.
- Extend their range of mathematical skills and techniques and use them in more difficult problems.
- Develop the ability to apply mathematical techniques appropriately.
- Acquire the foundation necessary for the further study of mathematics and other disciplines.
- Develop the ability to recognise situations which can be represented mathematically, construct a mathematical model and select an appropriate method of solution.
The aim of the demanding A-level Mathematics course is to equip students with the skills required to tackle these problems and to develop confidence and enthusiasm in their approach to the subject.
Language students will often want to choose a unique combination of subjects at A Level. The school will often provide the flexibility to allow a student this freedom by arranging individual tuition or by forming a class upon request by as few as two students. The School believes that the desire of a student to learn and be taught should be accommodated to the fullest extent.
The purpose of studying science at Advanced Level is twofold. Primarily, it allows an insight into the way nature works that can be enthralling for the student. Also, it encourages the student to adopt a pragmatic, unbiased approach to problem solving, and an expectation that the application of logic will result in greater fundamental understanding and an ability to predict an outcome from a set of known conditions. This capacity for rational analysis is the fundamental tenet of science, but the value of its application to all aspects of life cannot be overstated. The skills that are acquired during proper study of a classic scientific subject are skills that will serve any individual in any field of endeavour.
The study of the sciences at A Level begins with a broad reworking of that which was introduced at GCSE, and proceeds to extend it in a more formal and rigorous manner. This will then form the prerequisite foundation upon which a degree course in a science subject can be undertaken.
Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences, and the closest to nature. A study of Physics will reveal the beauty of the natural world; its simplicity, its grand scale from the infinite to the infinitesimal, and its capacity to be analysed. Study begins with such fundamental ideas as:
- Newtonian mechanics (forces, gravitation, orbits, etc)
- Dynamics (the analysis of a system through consideration of its energy)
Later, such advanced ideas as the nature of subatomic particles are considered. The study of physics enables the student to derive for himself the answer to such questions as ‘why is the sky blue?’ and ‘how does a dynamo work?’
It is difficult to propose a career that would not benefit from the application of ideas that are classified as ‘physics’, but perhaps the best reason to study this subject would be the innate curiosity that is always present in the thoughtful student; the desire to understand the world in which he lives.
An understanding of basic Chemistry is crucial to a large number of careers in manufacturing and regulatory fields. As a classic scientific subject, it has obvious relevance for medicine and veterinary science, as well as such fields as drug manufacture, agriculture, brewing, food and biotechnology.
This course is suited to those students who have enjoyed Biology at GCSE, or who want to better understand the function of the human body and other organisms. Some students will have ambitions to become a doctor, veterinary surgeon, optometrist or practitioner of some related field. Higher education in these and many other areas might require some grounding in Biology at A Level.
This course is designed to encourage students to make use of a range of software engineering skills in the context of a sound understanding of the technical foundation of current computer systems and information flow. It also promotes the knowledge and understanding of a wide range of current software applications and database design. Both A and AS level courses are available.
The Advanced Subsidiary course is concerned with the processes of design and development of computer applications in the general context of commercial viability and social responsibility.
This course takes into consideration the students’ opportunities for progression to career paths that lead to IT and computer-focused employment including computer management, programming, computer operating and systems development design and implementation.
This qualification will also assist in the use of computing in other subject areas such as business management.
An AS Computing or IT course might lead to higher education, or training and employment with major technology companies. Students will be encouraged to develop an understanding of:
- the principles of solving problems using computers
- the range of application of computers and the effects of their use
- the organisation of computer systems including software, data, hardware, communications and people
The course will then facilitate the acquisition of the skills necessary to apply this understanding to developing computer-based solutions to problems.
Scheme of Assessment
Assessment is by means of three units, one of which will be coursework with approximately 40% weighting.
Although no formal qualification in computing or IT is required, an interest in computers and an ability to effectively use common applications are essential. It is also advised to have a minimum of grade B at GCSE in English and Mathematics.
Business Studies offers the opportunity for candidates to develop qualities that will be a suitable preparation for entry into employment or self-employment in any business sector. At the Advanced Level, candidates will learn about how individual businesses operate within the framework of an economy and its systems for administration and financial accountability. Human resourcing, marketing, business planning, innovation and problem solving are essential skills in business. Creative and analytical thinking will be developed through investigating, making and justifying proposals for improvement, predicting and planning. Candidates will be encouraged to be creative and imaginative in their learning programmes, engaging in such activities as business enterprise, work experience, work shadowing and business education partnerships.
This course includes components that represent both classic accounting principles, such as book-keeping, budgeting, cost analysis and expenditure appraisal, and consideration of current local regulations and requirements of law.
With a qualification in Accounting, a student could proceed to Higher Education or work in business or industry.
GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or above is an advantage, but this is not essential. Other subjects which would go well with Accounting are Business Studies, Economics, Science and many others.
For most commencing A Level study, Economics is a new subject. We attempt, in this course, to examine and explain the working of the British Economy and its links with other economies around the world. It is a subject that helps to explain the commercial and political world in which we live and will therefore help in many careers such as accountancy, banking, journalism, any financial area, law, politics and business in general.
In a recent survey it was found that those with a degree in Economics degree were the second highest earners in this country. The Economics course has a logical structure; it seeks to explain, in rational terms, the economic behaviour of individuals, firms and the economy as a whole.
‘Economics’ affects you and should interest you as a citizen. The course will improve your understanding and appreciation of controversies over economic policy, such as unemployment, Balance of Payments, inflation, public and private ownership, the structure of U.K. Industry, the Developing world and environmental issues.
The school administers UCAS applications and experienced tutors help students make an informed and appropriate choice of Higher Education course. Although most students proceed to a University Degree course, such as medicine or journalism, students are made aware of other options, such as a vocational course or an apprenticeship.
We are often also able to accommodate further subjects and courses. An extended list can be found on our prospectus. If you have any individual requests or queries please contact our Head Office or alternatively our Sixth Form Department directly.