The curriculum at St Swithun’s has been designed to allow as broad a choice as possible.
We offer sixth-form students a flexible options system in which they study either three or four A levels as two-year courses (or four or five if further mathematics is included). Girls select from the subject choices below in the spring term of their U5 (year 11):
Art (Fine Art) Biology
Chemistry Classical Civilisation
Computer Science Drama and Theatre
Economics English Literature
History History of Art
Latin Mathematics and Further Mathematics
Modern Languages Music
Physical Education Physics
Politics Product Design
Psychology Religious Studies
Click on the individual subjects above for the latest information on these courses.
Students are advised about the implications of their A level subjects for their choice of university, degree course and career to ensure sensible combinations. Some girls choose to follow courses in subjects which are not offered at GCSE, e.g. politics, economics, history of art. Over half the sixth form study at least one science subject at A level. As a guideline and because of the workload involved, we expect that any girl considering four A levels (or five including further mathematics) will achieve at least six A* grades or equivalent at (I)GCSE level.
Sixth form linguists are able to take GCSE Italian in a year if they so choose.
Providing requests are submitted by the deadline we aim to make it possible for girls to study their chosen subjects. However, the availability of all subjects cannot be guaranteed, and we ask girls to select a reserve choice which it may be necessary to implement in some cases. Subject choices must be submitted on a form signed by parents. It may be possible to change subject choices after the deadline, however this will be dependent on their availability within the timetable.
Extended project qualification (EPQ)
All sixth-formers may also choose to do the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). This is worth half an A level and is graded from A* - E. The qualification gives girls the opportunity to research an area of personal interest. Once the research has been completed the girls will write an essay, construct an artefact or give a performance as well as compiling a log of the process. The final stage is to give a presentation. Topics chosen this year included the migration patterns of early man and notions of the divine in Blake’s poetry. Universities recognise the value of the skills required for the qualification and it attracts UCAS tariff points.
All sixth form girls follow an enrichment programme of taught short courses and lectures from visiting speakers. Areas of study include science and ethics, student survival, money matters, politics, cookery, philosophy, relationship matters, creative skills, and first aid. There is also a programme of academic enrichment and the opportunity to enter academic competitions against other schools and colleges.
Sport and PE
Lower sixth girls must commit to complete two double-lesson sessions of sport/PE per week, and upper sixth girls, one double-lesson session.
St Swithun’s students take part in a number of national academic competitions, such as:
- Oxford Schools Debating Competition,
- Maths Challenge and Maths Olympiad run by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust
- Biology Olympiad
- Physics Olympiad
- Poetry by Heart
In 2017 we hosted the Winchester Maths Circle, also a United Kingdom Mathematics Trust event which consists of two days of stretching mathematical activity including workshops led by experienced and inspiring mathematicians.