Skip to content ↓

Curriculum Overview

A wide range of courses are available in the Sixth Form; 35 in total. Full details are given in our “Course” section of the web site or in the Sixth Form Prospectus. 

All students undertake a full-time course, which is scheduled into a ten day cycle of lessons, with five lessons each day.  At the start of Year 12, students are to select either:-

Three or four single A level subjects or equivalent
One or two A levels and a BTEC Level 3 in either Business or Health and Social Care (which are worth the equivalent of two A levels)

BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Business.

In addition, all students study Citizenship.

Student subject choices will be divided into five option blocks, with students selecting three or four subjects.  Students have a full timetable with a few ‘study periods’ (free) periods.  Students will be expected to work independently in school in designated private study lessons.  Students study three or four courses in years 12 and 13.

Typical Programme of Study

Level 3 Programme of Study

Level 2 Programme of Study

Students follow three or four Level 3 qualifications.

BTEC Business.

Some students study for the Extended Project.


100 hours of enrichment activities over 2 years.

50 hours of enrichment activities

If necessary, Level 2 qualifications in English Language and Maths.

If necessary, Level 1 or 2 qualifications in English Language and Maths.

Complete the Citizenship & Tutorial Programme.

Complete the Citizenship & Tutorial Programme.

The Sixth Form day

Students have their own Sixth Form Common Room where they can relax during breaks.  There are ICT suites and study facilities available throughout the day for Sixth Form use including a Learning Resource Centre.  The Sixth Form day begins at 8.40am with first lesson commencing at 9.05am.  Each day consists of five one hour lessons, with a 15 minute morning break and 40 minutes for lunch.  Students register every morning with their Form Tutor and assemblies are held weekly.  You will be encouraged to use your planners effectively, taking responsibility for your own learning.

Citizenship, Extended Project and General Studies

Citizenship takes place every second week in a carousel of lessons. The dates and times of Citizenship will be issued in September each year. During Citizenship, students will work either with their Tutor or a specialist in that particular field. The programme is tailored made for Sixth Form students and involves exploration of issues such as debt, finance and careers, safe driving, binge drinking and healthy lifestyles.

Extended Project
The Extended Project is a single piece of work of a student’s choosing that requires evidence of planning, preparation, research and independent learning.

An Extended Project might be:

  • A design
  • A report with findings from an investigation or study
  • A dissertation presenting an argument
  • An artefact
  • A performance

The Extended Project offers opportunities for learners to:

  • Have significant input into the choice and design of an extended piece of work;
  • Develop and apply decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, initiative and enterprise;
  • Extend their planning, research, critical-thinking, analytical, synthesis, evaluation and presentation skills;
  • Use their learning experiences to support their personal aspirations for higher education and career development.

The skills that students develop through the Extended Project are excellent preparation for university-level study. Students can refer to the Extended Project in their UCAS personal statements and at interview to demonstrate some of the qualities that universities are looking for.

Brief Overview of the Qualifications

New Linear A levels

AS level: This is a standalone qualification independent of an A level and is not offered at Bishopshalt. It is normally sat at the end of Year 12.  It does not count towards a full A level.

‘Full’ A level: This is a two year linear course with all assessments at the end of Year 13.  They replaced all A2 levels in 2017. 

Grades A-E represent a pass at A level.  Students typically study three A level subjects and should achieve a Grade D in Year 12 exams to continue studying in Year 13.  

BTEC Level 3: Students can opt for a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Business or Health and Social Care, (broadly equivalent to two A levels) alongside one A level.  The BTECs are more vocational and assessment is mainly through assignments or portfolios with fewer exams.  The benefit of the BTEC is that it allows students to ‘apply’ their knowledge to a range of situations using personal experiences and assessments and have more variety than exams.  The BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Sport is offered as broadly equivalent to one A level and the Foundation Diploma in Music Technology is broadly equivalent to 1.5 A levels.

BTEC Level 2: The BTEC Extended Certificate in Business is a full time Level 2 course broadly equivalent to three GCSEs.  The course is for those who wish to keep their options open before deciding on their specific career path.  Students who wish to continue to A level from the BTEC Level 2 course will be expected to have achieved a distinction grade on their course, Maths and English at grade 4 or above and an academic recommendation from their teachers.  BTEC Level 2 students will receive guidance on the most suitable educational and career option. 

BTEC students are introduced to a broad vocational area, with the emphasis on communication, numeracy and Information Technology, rather than specific skills related to a narrow range of jobs.  BTECs involve activities, projects and written tests with each student producing a portfolio as evidence of work covered during the course.