The study programmes: further challenges & enrichment

Alongside your specialist A level subjects you will take part in Stretch, the whole-school enrichment programme.  This is an exciting curriculum development which will give you the opportunity to explore issues, hear from speakers and learn new skills and interests.

Some courses will be limited to the sixth form and others will be for a range of age groups. All girls will have the chance to study a wide range of courses for one lesson per week, interspersed with lectures by visiting speakers. The courses will cover areas such as art, history, politics, literature, film, languages and science.

All girls may also choose to do the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which is worth half an A level and is graded from A* - E. The qualification involves the production of an extended essay (5,000 to 6,000 words) or the production of an artefact such as a performance, work of art, exhibition or computer programme with supporting documentation. You may select a topic that builds on your current subjects or use the opportunity to address some other interest. Research is central to successful completion of the project and we encourage you to approach this work in an academic manner.  Universities recognise the value of the skills required for the qualification, although they do not usually make offers based on final grades in the EPQ. The qualification attracts UCAS tariff points.

Towards the end of the autumn term, once you have adjusted to the demands of A level work you can let us know if you are interested in the EPQ. You need to be self-motivated and good at working independently. One period per week will be used to help you develop some of the skills needed to complete the project, including research methods, using resources, referencing, time management etc. The work will be completed mostly in your own time.

Debating at St Swithun's

Our debating programme pervades the whole school. There is an annual intra-year debating competition available to girls in the lower part of the school, and from their GCSE year onwards, girls can elect to debate during Stretch, our enrichment programme.

Extra-curricular debating club runs three times a week for all year groups including sixth form. We debate against other local schools such as Winchester College and King's School and participate in local and national school and university debating competitions throughout the year, such as ESU Mace, International Competition for Young Debaters, Oxford Schools and Cambridge Schools.

Debating at St Swithun's is our own unique blend of old fashioned British Parliamentary debating, Mace debating and current affairs. It is a confidence, skills and employability programme which aims to equip all girls for their future, whether a university seminar, job interview, boardroom discussion or a business pitch.

Our programme teaches the key 21st century skills of critical and creative thinking, leadership, problem-solving and entrepreneurship, while developing core self-esteem. Those girls who spend some time debating at St Swithun's grow in confidence beyond their expectations, and take their logical thinking and speaking skills with them through life.

"As someone who struggled with social anxiety, I signed up for debating hoping it would help me practice talking in front of people. But I didn't realise how much fun it would be as well. We have had some interesting debates and my confidence has improved so much. I have really enjoyed the whole experience." A recent sixth form leaver.