Choice and Independence

We want you to enjoy your NHEHS sixth form experience and get the very best from it.  Your chosen A Level subjects, will, of course, be where much of your time and focus lies in the sixth form but we also offer an additional number of alternatives enabling you to craft your own exciting programme of sixth form study by choosing from:

  • A Level Courses: Choose 3 or 4 subjects from the 26 subjects available.  Our timetable is designed around your choices so you really are free to choose.
  • Academic Perspectives:   2 periods per week running alongside the UCAS process from January of Year 12 to December of Year 13. Choice of streams from Science, Medicine, Social Sciences, Humanities, Languages, English, Maths and Arts & Technologies.  A mix of challenging guided reading, presentations, discussion and tutor led seminars to extend your knowledge into areas not often experienced at school level and support your university applications.
  • Electives: 1 period per week.  Short courses run by NHEHS staff sharing their knowledge and passion for subjects which will never make it onto an exam syllabus.  Each lasts for half a term and is for 1 period per week .  This is learning or enjoyment and its own sake and there’s certainly a lot to choose from, so prepare to be entertained and amazed.  Perhaps Food Chemistry will change your view of Bake Off or an exploration of French surrealist artists have you heading for the Tate every Saturday morning.
  • Academic Research Skills: Invaluable both for A Level work and beyond the course covers essentials such as research strategies, types of resources, evaluating sources, online research and reading strategies. Everyone takes this course for 1 period a week for half a term.
  • Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): You choose and undertake research on a topic outside your A Level subjects.  Widely respected and regarded by university admissions tutors as a way to show evidence and ability of preparedness for university level work.  More information here
  • Two-year AS Level in Maths or English Language and Literature: Taught over two years, for four periods per week in classes separate from students studying for the full A Level.  Choose one of these AS Levels as a way to show how you stand out from the crowd.  The most distinctive applicants, for work or university places, are numerate humanities students, scientists who can write well, social scientists with an understanding of statistics, literate engineers or would-be medics who can decode the true meaning of what their patients are saying.  

Whatever you choose, making these choices and designing a programme which reflects  your own interests and objectives, will ensure you make strides towards learning to work independently, develop intellectual confidence and learn to express your own ideas.  These are the attributes which will prepare you for the most competitive university courses or help you realise your future ambitions, wherever they may lie.  

Choice of A Level Subjects

Most students at NHEHS will study for 3 or 4 A levels. Classes are small and the range of subjects on offer large.   Our A Level courses are designed to be linear, with final assessment at the end of the two years. This provides five terms of uninterrupted teaching which encourages breadth as well as depth of learning.  Choose subjects which interest you, and which you want to study. You’re likely to do better if you enjoy what you’re studying.

  • Do your research. At A Level you will study subjects in much more depth and we offer some subjects you won’t have had the chance to study before.
  • Find out what each course involves eg course work, controlled assessment, practical examinations or fieldwork. 
  • Make sure you know which subjects would be advisable at A Level for any given university course (e.g chemistry and biology for Medicine; mathematics and physics for Engineering).
  • For some students, it is sensible to try to include one subject which is different from the other three, to maintain breadth and contrast. Universities are increasingly looking for science students who can communicate and arts students who can think logically and are reasonably numerate. These are also the mix of skills that employers want.
  • Remember there are lots of people you can ask for advice. Your form tutor, Heads of Department and subject teachers will always be happy to help.