Sixth Form pupils follow a curriculum that is designed to stimulate the mind and equip them to think. Courses are structured around learning rather than assessment, but in a way that enables pupils to achieve the best possible examination results.

The curriculum is sufficiently flexible to give all pupils the opportunity to excel. The examined and non-examined strands of the curriculum are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Through the curriculum we wish to ensure satisfactory progression to further education. 

A Level and Pre-U Courses

All pupils are asked to make five choices within the structure of the curriculum, shown in the table below.  A minimum of three choices must be two-year courses.  It is usually expected that pupils will start the Sixth Form with four principal subjects and an extension option. The purpose of the fifth option is to offer pupils the possibility of support, enrichment and challenge tailored to each pupil’s needs or interests.

Cambridge Pre-U stands for a ‘Pre-University’ course, an alternative course to A level.  The School offers the Pre-U in eleven subjects: Chemistry, English, German, History, History of Art, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Philosophy and Theology, Physics, Russian and Spanish.

All the principal subjects are available to choose from in any combination; there are no restrictions on the combinations of principal subjects offered.

Pupils may choose to continue with four or three principal subjects into the Upper Sixth Form. An indication of which course (if any) they may wish to drop can become a subject for discussion during the second half of the academic year of the Lower Sixth.  Once draft predicted grades for UCAS are published at the beginning of the Summer Term, pupils may seek permission from the Deputy Head Academic to discontinue their study of one subject.

Extension Courses

In addition to the mainstream examined subjects, the School offers a choice of extension options, of which pupils are required to choose at least one.

Their purpose is to offer the possibility of support, enrichment and challenge tailored to each pupil’s needs.  Extension Courses run during the Lower Sixth only. Pupils may opt for Oundle’s internal, bespoke Quadrivium course or choose to research and write an individual project, leading to the award of the AQA Level 3 Extended Project Qualification, equivalent to an AS level.

Some pupils may wish to consider the following options instead:

Able mathematicians can take Mathematics with Further Mathematics in the extension block. This enables pupils to take Double Mathematics with three other main subjects.  This option is available at the discretion of the Deputy Head Academic in consultation with the Head of Mathematics, and may require a qualifying assessment.

Gifted musicians studying for a Diploma may opt for Music Diploma, where they will be given extra tuition and support, as well as essential time to practise.

For those who would like to pursue an additional language, Italian and German is an option.

For some pupils, Study Assistance will be an essential part of their Sixth Form academic experience. This option is by recommendation and invitation only.

Sixth Form Lecture Series

In the Upper Sixth all pupils attend weekly lectures given by eminent guests on a wide range of topics, followed by discussion periods in mixed groups.

Past speakers have included two foreign secretaries, President Kaunda of Zambia, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Lord Tebbit of Chingford, Baron Patten of Barnes, Baron Heseltine of Thenford; James Watson, the discoverer of the structure of DNA, and two other Nobel Prize winners; the ex-Head of the KGB in Britain and Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, Head of MI5; Professor Stephen Hawking, Professor Robert Winston and Professor Richard Leakey; Natalie Clein, Craig Ogden and Jeremy Menuhin; Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Winchester and Ian Hislop; John Simpson, Michael Buerk and Martin Bell, Lord Sebastian Coe, Gary Lineker, Henry Winter, Hugh McIlvanney and Michael Atherton.

A Sixth Form concert and a ‘Concept of Remembrance’ lecture are held annually, as are memorial lectures in honour of Sir Peter Scott and Joseph Needham, two of our most prominent Old Oundelians.

Sixth Form Courses Booklet | PDF