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Sixth Form Academic Subjects

Anchor 1

Below are the academic options we offer at RFSS


A Level Art


Students will undertake a mini practice project to prepare them for component 1 & 2. During component 1 they will choose a personal investigation. Alongside the investigation they will produce a 1000 - 3000 word essay about their chosen investigation and research.


Component 1 forms 60% of the final grade, and component 2 forms the remaining 40%.

Component 2 consists of a 15-hour exam and a supporting portfolio.


A Level Biology

Biology is a subject sought after by many employers as it allows students to develop their ability to adapt and work logically in both learned and new environments. This is a two year linear course and the A level is based on the exams taken at the end of year 13. 

In their first year of study, students will complete four units of work: biological molecules; cells; how organisms exchange substances with their environment; genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms. Each of these units will also contain required practicals that will need to be completed as part of the practical endorsement for this subject.


In the second year of study, students will complete a further four units of work: energy transfers in and between organisms; how organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments; genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems; the control of gene expression. Each of these units will also contain required practicals that will need to be completed as part of the practical endorsement for this subject.


A Level Chemistry

Students will study aspects of Physical, Inorganic and Organic chemistry in both years of the course. The Year 12 course covers the following from ​

1 - Physical Chemistry: Atomic structure, Amount of substance, Bonding, Energetics, Kinetics, Chemical equilibria and Oxidationd, reduction and redox equations. 2 - Inorganic Chemistry: Periodicity, Group 2 and Group 7. Alongside this students will complete the specified Required Practicals.​

Students will study further aspects of Physical, Inorganic and Organic chemistry in Year 13. The Year 13 course covers the remaining topics from Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry: 1 - Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics, Rate and equations, Equilibrium constant for homogeneous systems, Electrode potentials and Acids and bases. 2 - Inorganic Chemistry: Properties of Period 3, Transition metals, Reactions of ions in aqueous solution. Alongside this students will complete the specified Required Practicals.​


A Level Drama

Yr 12 & 13 is spent preparing, rehearsing and examining students for their Component 1, 2 & 3 examinations.


Students are encouraged to work as part of a group, whilst also being able to be independent with their studies. Students are encouraged to book masterclass sessions with their teacher to refine their practical and written work.


We offer students the opportunity to attend live theatre productions and work alongside professional artists.


C1 - Theatre Workshop

Internally assessed, externally moderated, 20% of qualification

Students participate in the creation, development & performance of a piece of theatre based on a reinterpretation of an extract from a text.

Students must produce a performance and a creative log.


C2 - Text in Action

Externally assessed by a visiting examiner, 40% of qualification

Students participate in the creation, development and performance of two pieces of theatre based on a stimulus; a devised piece and an extract from a text.

Students must produce two performances and a process and evaluation report.


C3 - Text in Performance

Written examination, 40% of qualification

Students must answer two questions based on two different texts, one written pre-1956 and one written post-1956, whilst also answering a question based on a specific extract from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


A Level English Literature & Language

This A Level course offers opportunities for students to develop their subject expertise by engaging creatively, critically and independently with a wide range of texts. Using literary and linguistic concepts and methods, students analyse literary and non-literary texts in a range of modes and genres, in the process gaining insights into the nature of different discourses and ideas about creativity. Students develop skills as producers and interpreters of language by creating texts themselves and critically reflecting on their own processes of production.

The 2 year course comprises of 3 components: ​

Component 1: 'Telling Stories’ ​

  • Section A: Remembered Places ( studying the AQA Non-Fiction Paris Anthology) ​

  • Section B: Imagined worlds (studying a prose text) ​

  • Section C: Poetic Voices (studying a collection of poetry by a particular poet) ​

Component 2: 'Exploring Conflict’ ​

  • Section A: Writing about Society (studying a set text with the purpose of producing re-creative writing and a critical commentary) ​

  • Section B: Dramatic Encounters (studying a drama text)​

Component 3: 'Making Connections’​

A personal investigation that explores a specific technique or theme in both literary and non-literary discourse​.


A Level English Literature 

English Literature A Level encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. Studying texts within a shared context enables students to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives. English Literature privileges the process of making autonomous meaning, encouraging students to debate and challenge the interpretations of other readers as they develop their own informed personal responses.

Curriculum Year 1: ​

The 2 year course comprises of 3 components: ​

Component 1: 'Love Through the Ages’ ​

  • Section A: Shakespeare​

  • Section B: Unseen Poetry​

  • Section C: Comparing Texts (one pre and one post 1900)​

Component 2: 'Texts in Shared Contexts: Modern Times’ ​

  • Section A: Set Texts ​

  • Section B: Contextual Linking (comparing two texts)​

Component 3: 'Texts Across Time’​

An independent critical study of two texts, at least one of which must be pre 1900.


A level Geography

Geography is for those interested in the world around them, and how people and the environment interact. It is suitable for those interested in the sciences and natural sciences, but who want to focus on actual places and real life situations, taking in traditional and contemporary issues. By studying Geography at A- Level, students will develop a deep understanding of the world around them and how it can change. Geography combines well with both arts and science subjects. 

Curriculum Year 1: ​

Water and the carbon cycles​

Focuses on the major stores of water and carbon at or near the Earth’s surface and the dynamic cyclical relationships associated with them. These are major elements in the natural environment and understanding them is fundamental to many aspects of​

physical geography. This topic invites students to contemplate the magnitude and significance of the cycles at a variety of scales, their relevance to wider geography and their central importance for human populations. ​

Hazards ​

Focuses on the lithosphere and the atmosphere, which intermittently but regularly present natural hazards to human populations, often in dramatic and sometimes catastrophic fashion. By exploring the origin and nature of these hazards and the various ways in which people respond to them, students are able to engage with many dimensions of the relationships between people and the environments they occupy. ​

Changing Places​

Focuses on people's engagement with places, their experience of them and the qualities they ascribe to them, all of which are of fundamental importance in their lives. Students acknowledge this importance and engage with how places are known and experienced, how their character is appreciated, the factors and processes which impact upon places and how they change and develop over time​

Geographical Fieldwork​

All students are required to undertake fieldwork in relation to processes in both physical and human geography. Students must undertake four days of fieldwork during their A-level course.​

Curriculum Year 2:​

Physical Geography a choice of:

Glacial landscapes

 Focuses on glaciated landscapes. These are dynamic environments in which landscapes continue to develop through contemporary processes but which mainly reflect former climatic conditions associated with the Pleistocene era.​

Coastal systems

Focuses on coastal zones, which are dynamic environments in which landscapes develop by the interaction of winds, waves, currents and terrestrial and marine sediments. The operation and outcomes of fundamental geomorphological processes and their association with distinctive landscapes are readily observable.​

Hot deserts and landscapes​

The focus is on hot deserts and their margins, where the operation of characteristic aeolian and episodic fluvial processes with their distinctive landscape outcomes are readily observable.​

Human Geography a choice of:​

Global systems and global governance ​

Focuses on globalisation – the economic, political and social changes associated with technological and other driving forces which have been a key feature of global economy and society in recent decades.​

Population and the environment

Designed to explore the relationships between key aspects of physical geography and population numbers, population health and well-being, levels of economic development and the role and impact of the natural environment.

Contemporary urban environments 

Focuses on urban growth and change which are seemingly ubiquitous processes and present significant environmental and social challenges for human populations.​

Resource security ​

Focuses on the large-scale exploitation of unevenly distributed natural resources, which is one of the defining features of the present era.

A Level History

A level history will encourage you to:​


​Develop an interest and enthusiasm for history and an understanding of its intrinsic value​


To acquire an understanding of different identities within society and an appreciation of aspects such as social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. ​


To improve your ability to be an effective and independent learner and a critical and reflective thinker.​


To develop your ability to ask relevant and significant questions about the past and to research them. ​


To develop your use and understanding of historical key terms, concepts and skills​


To make links and draw comparisons within and across different periods and aspects of the past.​


To organise and communicate your historical knowledge and understanding in different ways, to be able to argue a case and reach substantiated judgements. ​


We will be studying:

Component 1 – 1C The Tudors: England, 1485–1603


2Q The American Dream: reality and illusion, 1945–1980


Component 3: Historical investigation


A level Maths

A Level Mathematics


A qualification in Mathematics is sought after by many employers, as it develops skills in logic, communication and problem solving. The A-level course is examined after 2 years of study over 3 two-hour papers. These papers cover Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics in the form of Statistics and Mechanics in a ratio of 2:1. ​


Students will be assessed throughout the course in order to provide directed support, there will be a blend of topic-based assessments to inform students of the competency with a given topic and multi-topic assessments to support retrieval and to give students a picture of the long term understanding of the course


Skills Needed: ​

· Have very good mathematical knowledge ​

· Be tenacious ​

· Be independent learners ​

· Be problem solvers ​

· Go above and beyond what is expected ​

· Have a genuine love for the subject



Those with a Grade 8 in Mathematics will have the opportunity to undertake study in aspects of the A Level Further Maths curriculum.


A level Philosophy & Ethics

A level Physics

A-Level Philosophy and Ethics is a course aimed at students who want to develop their analytical and  critical thinking skills, as well as asking questions about the world we live in. From ethical conundrums to debates around the nature of knowledge, religion and the mind itself, students will be presented with engaging texts from a variety of viewpoints, and will become adept at using these to articulate their own worldview.​

Curriculum Year 1: ​

The curriculum in Year 1 will consist of modules 1 and 2 of the A-Level course:​

  1. Epistemology:​

This focuses on the concept of knowledge; what it is, when we can truly 'know' things and what the criteria are for this. This includes:​

  • The Tripartite view of knowledge​

  • Perception as a source of knowledge with reference to Direct Realism, Indirect Realism and Berkeley's Idealism​

  • Reason as a source of knowledge with reference to Innatism, the debate between intuition and deduction​

  • The argument from Scepticism and the limits of knowledge​

2.      Moral Philosophy:​

This focuses on ethical debates- you will examine differing moral theories, applying them to situations and taking a closer look at what it actually means to refer to something as 'right' or 'wrong'​

This includes:​

  • An in-depth study of three moral theories; Utilitarianism (Bentham and  J.S Mill) Deontology (Kant) and Virtue Ethics (Aristotle)​

  • Applied ethics- applying these theories to ethical debates surrounding stealing, simulated killing (within computer games, plays, films etc), eating animals and  telling lies​

  • Meta-Ethics- the status of moral language and whether moral statements, such as 'murder is wrong' can have truth values.​


Curriculum Year 2:​

 The curriculum in Year 2 will consist of modules 3-4 of the A-Level Course:​

3.      Metaphysics of God​

This module focuses on the nature of the Judeo-Christian God- arguments for his existence and the status of religious language. This includes:​

  • The Ontological, Teleological (Design) and Cosmological arguments for the existence of God.​

  • The Problem of Evil- what it is and its ramifications for the existence of God​

  • Religious language- Cognitivists and Non-Positivist debates over the status of religious language and what it means.​

4.     Metaphysics of Mind​

This module focuses on philosophical debates about the human mind and the idea of 'consciousness', such as the 'Mind-Body Problem'. This includes:​#

  • Dualist theories- Property Dualism and Substance Dualism​

  • Physicalist theories- theories such as Eliminativism and Physicalism, which states the mind is part of the body and not a separate entity/substance​

  • Functionalism- all mental states can be explained in terms of their functions.


Physics is a subject sought after by many employers as it allows students to develop their ability to adapt and work logically in both learned and new environments. This is a two year linear course and the A level is based on the exams taken at the end of year 13. 

Curriculum Year 1: ​

Students will study a broad range of Physics in Year 12 as a foundation for the Year 13 course. ​

This will include Measurements and errors, Particles and radiation, Waves, Mechanics and materials and Electricity. Students will also compete all specified Required Practicals.​

Curriculum Year 2: ​

Students will be expected to have good knowledge of the Year 12 work and in addition to this will study: Further mechanics and thermal physics, Fields and their consequences and Nuclear Physics.​

In addition to this an Option Topic will be chosen from the following: Astophysics, Medical physics, Engineering physics, Turning points in physics or Electronics. ​

This decision will be made by the science department at RFSS.


A level Product Design

Students have the opportunity to take an A-level in Product Design following the AQA specification.


This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries.


They will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing prototypes of their choice.


Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.


A level Psychology

We provide a broad A Level Psychology curriculum that not only promotes mastery, but encourages students to be curious, resilient learners who use these skills regularly, long after their A levels have ended. Learners will experience a curriculum that is broad, balanced, and relevant. Topics range from Attachments, Social influence, Memory and Psychopathology to, Approaches, Research methods, Schizophrenia and Aggression, to name but a few. Through this, they will develop their knowledge of Psychological issues, research studies, theories, and models in a range of topic areas. They develop the higher order skill of evaluation by examining strengths, limitations, and other discussion points such as compare and contrast through the duration of their studies. Parallel with this, is the development of research methods skills so that students are able to understand the issues and challenges of studying human behaviour using the scientific method. They learn how to read, process, interpret and record data so that they are able to draw sound evidence-based conclusions. This permits them to understand the complexity of psychological issues and move away from simplistic answers towards more developed discussions that allows for them to formulate academic, evidence based arguments and an understanding of some of the deeper philosophical arguments that run through the heart of psychology including reductionism, determinism, free-will and holism. Students will develop their ability to apply Psychological concepts in activities that promote real world application and therefore support in their ability to apply knowledge and understanding to a wide range of behaviours and contexts.


A Level Exam Board and Spec

AQA A Level Psychology 7182


A level Sociology

A Level Sociology allows for a greater understanding of the society in which we live, with a particular focus on Post Modernity and whether the traditional perspectives can still be applied to the world we now live in. It considers what key Sociologists say about external factors within society and how these influence and shape individuals actions.

Core components:

Compulsory content: Education with Theory and Methods. Optional content: Topics in Sociology: Families and households. Optional content: Topics in Sociology: Beliefs in society. Compulsory content: Crime and deviance with theory and methods 

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