The South Wolds Academy and Sixth Form


The courses taught within each Key Stage are outlined below.If you have any further queries, please email the appropriate head of subject.

Their email addresses are:

Please note that these email addresses are not monitored daily but we will endeavour to reply within 3 working days.

KS3 Ethics and Philosophy

Course Overview

1 hour per week, taught in mixed ability groups

Students follow a course covering key themes which includes ‘Why do we study religion?’, ‘What is British?’, ‘If God exists why do we suffer?’, ‘What is truth?’ and ‘Is it morally acceptable to kill one to save five?’

In answering such questions we draw on a range of religious beliefs and ways of life including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Paganism, Zoroastrianism and Shinto. We also draw on the contributions of non-religious perspectives including Atheism, Agnosticism, Humanism and existentialism.

How To Help

The focus of EP in Year 7-9 is to enable students to understand different points of view and to develop their own responses to the issues in question. We find the students that get the most out of EP are those who talk about religion, philosophy, ethics and politics at home. The children who are asked ‘What do you think?’, ‘How would you back that up?’ and ‘For what reason may someone disagree with you?’. It would be excellent preparation to ask your children such questions as we find many in Year 7 struggle to successfully justify what they are thinking.

Some students also worry that EP, because of its association with religion, will try to force them to be religious. Please reassure your child this is not the case. We want them to be willing to understand religious and non-religious views while coming to their own informed and balanced conclusions.

Useful Links

BBC Religions

The above is an excellent link to information about the beliefs, practices, History and Ethics of various religions. As a starting point it would be great if your child knew the following:

  • The 6 largest faiths in Britain
  • The title given to the followers of these 6 faiths
  • The names of the places of worship of these 6 faiths
  • The names of the founders of these 6 religions
  • The major festivals and practices of these 6 religions
  • The names of the sacred texts within the 6 religions

The following are links to videos that will get students to think deeply and start philosophical discussions:

KS3 Geography

Course Overview

The aim of our KS3 geography curriculum is to encourage pupils to question the world around them in order that they go on to discover the good, the bad and the fascinating way it can all fit together. We think it’s important that pupils leave this school with the confidence to find their own way in life – and our geography curriculum is an active part of this.

We have designed a broad curriculum that takes in equal measures of human and physical processes. We encourage pupils to consider the links between ourselves, the environment and other people. Of course, the best way to learn is through fun, so we have included introductory  fieldwork, creativity, group work, independent research,  mysteries. Such activities will allow pupils to gain a sense of a world beyond their own experience. 

Yr 7

Year 8

Year 9

- Introduction to Geography (including maps skills and asking geographic question)

- Geography of the UK 

- Weather and Climate

- Africa                                 

- Sustainability  

- Fantastic Places             

- Urban World                  

- Japan                                 

- Climate Change             

- Islands

- Restless Earth                

- Ice                                      

- Coasts                                               

- Russia                                

- Crime

How to help

If you have a shared computer at home, set the home-screen to a news website to help keep in touch with what’s going on locally and internationally.

When asking your child  ‘tell me one thing you have learnt today’ – ask your child to expand on what they’ve said "what do you mean by that / are there other places that are similar / does it impact another place too."

Geography is a great discussion topic.

Useful Links

KS3 History

Course Overview

Students study history for 3 hours per fortnight and are taught in mixed ability groups.

History at South Wolds explores a number of exciting topics from the medieval times to the modern day, whilst developing students’ historical knowledge and skills such as analysis, interpretation, extended writing, forming a balanced argument supported with evidence, causation, change and continuity.

In year 7, students study:

  • Historical Skills
  • Medieval Castles
  • Medieval Life
  • Crusades
  • Robin Hood

In year 8, students study:

  • The Tudors
  • The Stuarts
  • The Victorians
  • Slavery
  • The Suffragettes

In year 9, students study:

  • WW1
  • The Treaty of Versailles
  • The Rise of Hitler
  • WW2

Each unit aims to develop students’ historical thinking and analytical skills.

How To Help

  • Encouraging your child to read a range of historical magazines and books. Historical films and documentaries can also help develop knowledge and a love for the subject.
  • Visiting castles and museums is a great way to bring history to life.
  • Supporting your child in their homework and revision.

Useful Links

KS4 Business

Course Overview

Year 10 Curriculum Content:

Students learn how to set up and run a new small business.  This includes:

  • How and why new business ideas come about
  • Risks and rewards of starting a new business
  • The role of enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • How to spot a business opportunity (through market research and market mapping)
  • Analysing the competitive environment
  • Locating a business
  • Business aims and objectives
  • The importance of cash and how to complete a cash flow forecast
  • Sources of finance, calculation of revenue, costs and profit and break even analysis
  • Different ownership options:  sole trader, partnership, franchise and Ltd
  • Liability of owners
  • The marketing mix
  • Business plans
  • Understanding external influences on business including:  stakeholders, technology, legislation and the economy.

Students complete the specification for Theme 1, Paper 1 by the end of Year 10.

Year 11 Curriculum Content:

Students learn how to expand an existing small business.  This includes:

  • Methods of growth (internal and external)
  • Sources of finance to fund the growth (including turning into a plc)
  • Changes in aims and objectives
  • The impact of globalisation on a business
  • Ethical and environmental considerations
  • Managing operations of a large company (including methods of production, technology used within production, procurement, systems to manage quality and the sales process)
  • Making financial decisions (calculating profit, profit margins, drawing up a balance sheet, ARR)
  • The marketing mix for a large company
  • Making human resource decisions (including recruitment, selection, training, motivation of workers, organisation structures and importance of effective communication)

Students complete the specification for Theme 2, Paper 2 by the end of Year 11

How to Help

  • Students need to keep their books safe, neat and tidy and bring to every lesson.
  • Students need to copy up work if they miss a lesson.
  • Check showmyhomework to ensure homework is completed by the deadline date set.
  • Students should have completed five revision mind maps by the end of Year 10 and another five by the end of Year 11.  These should be kept safe and used to revise from regularly.
  • A pack of exam papers are available to buy from the print room.  Please buy and practise at home before major exams (printing cost £2.50)
  • Revision guides are available to buy from Mrs Spencer in the Business room (£3)

Useful Links

KS4 Geography

Course Overview

Students will travel the world from their classroom, exploring case studies in the United Kingdom (UK), higher income countries (HICs), newly emerging economies (NEEs) and lower income countries (LICs). Topics of study include climate change, poverty, deprivation, global shifts in economic power and the challenge of sustainable resource use. Students are also encouraged to understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes.

What will I study?

Paper 1Living with Physical Environments – This paper encourages pupils to explore how our planet is changing physically, the impact this has on people; and also how people are contributing to this change. We take on these three topics

  • Tectonic and climatic hazards; discovering the physical processes that cause them,  considering patterns in their distribution and looking for reasons why some places are more effected than others.
  • Rivers and coasts; investigating how and why they change shape over space and time, finding out how humans can alter the impact of natural processes and asking questions regarding the sustainability of  this.
  • Ecosystems both large and small; studying the where and why of their distribution, examining ways creatures are adapted to their environments and judging the successes of human development in these areas.

Paper 2: Challenges in Human Environments – This paper encourages pupils to explore patterns and impacts of human development on our planet. For all topics we use case studies from both the ULK and the wider world. The three topics for this unit are

  • Urban issues and challenges; studying the global pattern of urban change,  considering why these patterns are different according to the economic status of the country and questioning the varying impact that cities have on people lives.
  • Changing economic world and globalisation; linking patterns of population with the Demographic Transition Model, discovering causes of uneven development and constructing arguments that breakdown the impacts of uneven development.
  • Resource Management; this encourages pupils to view the nitty gritty of our development with a vision into the future. We question our current use of energy, food and water and study ways to manage these valuable resources more sustainably.

Paper 3: Geographical Applications. This paper includes a decision making exercise – for example whether a road should be built through the Amazon, or a dam should be built in the Oxfordshire countryside. It exposes pupils to a range of aspects that need to be accounted for including stakeholder views, impacts on the environment and on the economy before putting them to the test of producing a well-informed opinion of the topic.

This paper will also include assessment of the fieldwork pupils take part.

How to Help

Geography is a great discussion topic. Encourage your child to discuss some of the content of the lesson by following the who, what, why, where, when approach.

In Y11 our young geographers are provided with a revision pack. Please do use the information in here as conversation starters.  In addition to this the AQA GCSE Revision guide is an excellent purchase – and we sell them cheaper here than in the shops.

Useful Links

The best place to revise from is your class book! Please ask a Geography teacher if you ever need any help!

KS4 History

Course Overview

GCSE History will help students to gain and extend their historical knowledge, investigate people and events in history, study and analyse different opinions and use sources of evidence critically to draw conclusions on historical issues. Students study four topics over the course of the two years, allowing them to develop their understanding of four contrasting but compelling periods of history.

Unit 1

Medicine in Britain, c.1250–present and the British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches.

This unit explores the key developments in medicine looking at the key factors that have helped or hindered the progress of medicine overtime. Starting in the medieval period, students develop their understanding of how people lived and what they believed about the cause and cures of illness, for example natural and supernatural ideas in dealing with the Black Death, the Great Plague,  cholera in Victorian England and health and illness in the 20th century. There are case studies on significant individuals like William Harvey, Edward Jenner, Florence Nightingale and Louis Pasteur, analysing and understanding the significance of each of these breakthroughs.

The unit on the First World War looks at life and death in the Trenches; how and where injured soldiers were treated and who provided medical care. As technology became increasingly advanced, leading to the production of new weapons with devastating properties, the medical profession endeavoured to find new treatments for soldiers’ injuries, leading to key developments in areas such as blood transfusions and X-Rays.

Written examination: 1 hour and 15 minutes  30% of the qualification

Unit 2

Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88.

As the youngest daughter of Henry VIII, the notorious Tudor King, and Anne Boleyn, who met a violent end when she was executed by beheading, Elizabeth was posed with the challenge of establishing herself as a legitimate Protestant queen in a country divided by religion.  This unit looks at Queen Elizabeth’s rule of England and the plots and threats she faced at home and abroad, for example from Mary Queen of Scots and the Spanish Armada. The course looks at how key themes, such as religion, power and conflict, influenced Elizabeth’s reign and led to her to developing a legacy as the saviour of England.

The American West c.1835-1895

This topic undercovers the making of modern America by studying the American West and Native Americans.  The topic focuses specifically on the conflict that followed the settlers’ establishment in the West, as they began to challenge the Native Americans beliefs, specifically about the land.  Looking into the narratives of the past, this topic also highlights key issues such as lawlessness and the establishment of reservations.

Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes  40% of the qualification

Unit 3

Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

This unit looks at the impact the First World War had on Germany, the problems Germany faced in the 1920s, how Hitler became leader of Germany, what life was like for children, women, minority groups and opposition groups in Hitler’s Germany and the persecution of the Jewish people. Following their defeat in the First World War and the abdication of the Kaiser, Germany was left devastated. This saw the establishment of the Weimar Period.  This unit begins by highlighting the devastating outcomes of the Treaty of Versailles for Germany, and the political and economic issues that arose as a result. Growing discontent and desperation within Germany allowed Hitler and the Nazi Party to eventually seize control.  In the period that followed, terror and opposition became integrated into everyday life as groups such as the Gestapo purged anyone they deemed as opposition to the state. Analysing a range of primary and secondary sources, students assess and analyse a range of historical evidence and opinions on the events that occurred within this devastating period of History.

Written examination: 1 hour and 20 minutes  30% of the qualification

What skills will I develop?

History is well regarded by employers as a sound subject for most careers because it helps to develop key skills such as reading, writing, summarising and recalling information, as well as encouraging students to think for themselves by using sources of evidence, detecting bias and forming their own opinions and interpretations.

How to Help

  • Supporting your child in their homework and revision.
  • Purchase the CGP Revision Guide – Edexcel 9-1

Useful Links

KS4 Philosophy & Ethics

Course Overview

Students who opt for EP will study OCR’s Religious Studies Course. This can be split in half:

1. The religious studies half where students study the main beliefs, teachings and practices of both Christianity and Islam.

During this part of the course students will come to recognise that Christianity and Islam are diverse religions whilst attempting the use their judgement skills to answer questions such as:

  • Is belief in Jesus essential to gain salvation?
  • How is God best understood?
  • Are humans to blame for evil?
  • Has God already planned out our lives?
  • Are we purely physical beings?
  • What makes a Muslim?
  • What does religion say will happen to non-believers?
  • Are religious practices more important than religious beliefs?

2. The Philosophy and Ethics half is where students study four key themes:

  • Human relationships - students will consider questions such as ‘Is it ok to be gay?’, ‘Should marriage be for life?’, ‘Is it morally acceptable to have sex before marriage?’ and ‘Are men and women equal?’
  • The Existence of God - students will consider questions such as ‘Can philosophy prove the existence of God?’, ‘Do all miracles have a scientific explanation?’ and ‘Does the existence of evil and suffering prove that God doesn’t exist?’
  • Peace and Conflict- students will consider ‘To what extent is it fair to say that religion causes war?’, ‘To what extent can you claim to be a Muslim/Christian while engaging in terrorism?’, ‘To what extent is the use of predator drones acceptable during war?’ and ‘Is it ethically acceptable to rebel against the government?’

Religious and Secular Dialogue - students will consider questions such as ‘To what extent is it fair to describe Britain as a Christian Country?’, ‘To what extent is there a clash of ideals between religious and non-religious groups in Britain?’ and ‘To what extent is it possible for people of varying beliefs to live in harmony?’

How to Help

50% of the marks for the GCSE are awarded based on the student’s ability to think and make informed judgements. Like Key Stage 3 it will help your son/daughter to have discussions about the news and what is going on in the world, asking, What do you think?’, ‘How would you back that up?’ and ‘For what reason may someone disagree with you?’ Hopefully studying EP will mean your children come home wanting to discuss the issues we have covered in class as well.

Encouraging students to use the revision posters that are on Show My Homework is also excellent preparation for tests.

Useful Links

KS5 Business

Edexcel GCE Business:

Year 12 Curriculum Content:

Theme 1: Marketing and People

Students will develop an understanding of:

  • meeting customer needs
  • the market
  • marketing mix and strategy
  • managing people
  • entrepreneurs and leaders.

Theme 2: Managing business activities

Students will develop an understanding of:

  • raising finance
  • financial planning
  • managing finance
  • resource management
  • external influences.

Students will sit two exam papers at the end of Year 12.  Paper 1 will be testing Theme 1 content and Paper 2 will be testing Theme 2 content.  Both papers are 1 ½ hours long.

Year 13 Curriculum Content:

Theme 3: Business decisions and strategy

This theme develops the concepts introduced in Theme 2.  Students will develop an understanding of:

  • business objectives and strategy
  • business growth
  • decision-making techniques
  • influences on business decisions
  • assessing competitiveness
  • managing change.

Theme 4: Global business

This theme develops the concepts introduced in Theme 1. Students will develop an understanding of:

  • globalisation
  • global markets and business expansion
  • global marketing
  • global industries and companies (multinational corporations).

Students will sit three exam papers at the end of Year 13. 

  1. Paper 1 will be testing Theme 1 and Theme 4 content  
  2. Paper 2 will be testing Theme 2 and Theme 3 content 
  3. Paper 3 is a synoptic paper based on a pre-release topic.  Paper 3 will test knowledge/understanding across all 4 Themes.
  • All three papers are two hours long.

Each of the three papers are two hours long. Each paper comprises of two sections each containing one data response question broken down into a number of parts, including one extended open-response question. Paper 3 is synoptic, so will therefore assess content across all themes of the A Level course. Paper 3 is based on a pre-released context. The context will focus on a broad area, such as an industry or market in which businesses operate. A new context document will be issued to the school each year. Students will be able to research the context prior to the exam, but will not be allowed to take any of their research data into the examination.

How to Help

  • Attendance is key.  We get through full topics within 1 to 2 lessons.  If a student is absent they will miss vital explanation which cannot be simply copied up.  Encourage your child not to miss lessons unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Check with your child that they are keeping on top of the homework tasks on showmyhomework.
  • Students should also be completing around 5 hours independent study for this subject each week.  During this time they should be going through lesson notes and summarising them onto revision cards/mind maps.
  • Ask to see their revision materials and ask them to explain what they have been learning recently. A conscientious pupil should be able to articulate fully the recent work.
  • Encourage your child to ask their teacher for additional support or clarification if they are unsure of any content. With the A-Level course it is important that any uncertainties are resolved quickly to minimise the snowball effect.
  • Ask your child to show you their module tests and completed essays. Each test and essay is marked, graded and then returned to the child to keep for future revision. This will show  the grade they are currently working at, and is a great starting point for conversations.
  • Encourage your child to download past papers from the Edexcel website and/or buy the pack of past papers from the print room.  It is vital that this is done and students get as much exam practise outside of lessons as possible leading up to the end of Year 12 and Year 13 exams.

Useful Links

KS5 Economics

Qualification studied for: A Level
Length of course: Two years
Examining body: AQA
Entry requirements to this course: 15% of the assessment for A Level Economics is mathematical so a firm grasp of Maths is helpful and at least a Grade 5 at GCSE is desirable.

What will I study?

Economics is the study of the issues caused by infinite human desires in a world of scarce and diminishing resources. How do we decide who gets what and when? Who are the winners and who the inevitable losers?

The course is split into two units:

  • Microeconomics studies the way that individuals and companies plan, act and compete with each other to maximise their rewards: How do capitalist markets operate? How do entrepreneurs decide what and how much to produce and the price to sell it at? Why do people make irrational choices when making economic decisions?
  • Macroeconomics studies the way that governments decide how each sector of the economy should be rewarded and how they devise policies to try and make this happen: What are interest rates and how do they affect employment and growth? Why do governments tax people and how do they decide what to spend these tax revenues on? What are the benefits and issues created by an increasingly globalised world and how should governments respond?

At a time of great fluctuations in international economic fortunes this course will enable students to interpret for themselves the events, issues, and policies seen in the news every day.

How will I be assessed?

Assessed by three exams each lasting two hours. These will be based on a mixture of multiple choice questions, data response and essays.

KS5 Geography

Course Overview

So many of the world's current issues boil down to geography - global warming, food and energy security, the degradation of land and soils, the spread of disease, the causes and consequences of migration, and the impacts of economic change. These are just some of the challenges facing the next generation, and we need the geographers of the future to help us understand them

 (Michael Palin former President of the Royal Geographical Society)

The A level course is a combination of content studied to a lesser degree at GCSE and new concepts. The course encourages cross links between human and physical geography in order that pupils become holistic thinkers when considering the past, present and future of their planet.

We cover six themes of which any combination can help form a piece of course work. Some of our most successful pieces of coursework have spanned two topics.

Our themes include

  1. Water and carbon cycle: The cycling of water has obvious and significant implications for the health and prosperity of society. The availability and quantity of water is vital to life; but water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas and is a major driving factor in determining climate. Furthermore carbon is everywhere and plays a key role in in the wellbeing and functioning of our planet. The carbon cycle helps regulate the earth’s temperature and control another important greenhouse gas; carbon dioxide.
  2. Coasts: Pupils will study these dynamic environments and their distinctive landscapes formed from interactions of wind, marine and terrestrial processes. About half of the world’s population live within 150km of the sea and sustainable approaches to managing coastal systems have never been as important as they are today. Links can be drawn with the water cycle, global warming and sea level rise.
  3. Climatic and tectonic hazards: these intermittently but regularly present hazards to humans often in a dramatic and sometimes catastrophic fashion. This is a great subject with which to think about the interactions of humans with their environments and also how humans respond to each other in times of need.
  4. Global systems and global governance: It could be said that our world is more connected now than it has ever been; however some populations are not included in that connectivity and could not be further away.  We explore the many benefits that economic development has undoubtedly brought whilst considering the true cost of this on communities around the world. Our geographers will be able to recognise and explain links between economic, political and social change is important for understanding our global community.
  5. Changing places: Place is a key term within geography. It can refer to a place on a map or the attachments people have to spaces. In this topic we look at a number of ways place can be studied and represented including maps, census data, photos, music, paintings and film. Pupils will gain a deeper understanding of why places mean one thing to one person and something else to another and how those impressions change over space and time.
  6. Population and the environment: Human population is the driver of many environmental, socio economic and political challenges we face today. This theme studies the relationship between populations, their environment and implications for health and wellbeing. They will consider the scale of problems and solutions and the implications for future models of population growth.

Coursework: Pupils have to take part in 4 days of field work for this qualification.  Three days of this will be carried out as a residential fieldtrip. This gives pupils a chance to investigate a topic that interests them, delving deeper to give them greater understanding of some of the complex relationships that take place in the physical and human worlds; and in the interaction between them.

How to help

  • We find that our most successful students bring a revision guide to the lesson to follow as we go through.
  • Geography involves regular homework of at least 2 hours a week; however students who take part in further independent research of current news topics have higher degrees of success in their exams. This could involve, for example, a natural hazard, issues of health, flooding, company take overs and collapse. Talk to your child about these topics and ask them to explain what the significance is for their studies. Encourage them to think about the knock on impacts in other places and for other people too.

Useful Links

A-Level Geography

Seneca Learning

Geography Realm

KS5 History

Course Overview

 Our A level history course provides students with the opportunity to explore two topics over the course of two years as well as the opportunity to conduct and create a Historical investigation.

  1. The Russian Revolution and the Rise of Stalin comprises half of the examined content. It covers the years 1917-1929. In year 12 students explore the dissent and revolution that occurred in 1917, focusing on the causes and course of revolution and Civil War that followed. Students analyse how the Bolshevik’s were able to consolidate their power, creating a climate of terror and implementing their ideologies, whilst setting the stage for to Stalin’s Rise to power and rule. The second part of the course starts by exploring economy, society, politics and control in Stalinist Russia and develops students’ understanding of the Great Patriotic War and Stalin’s dictatorship, 1941-53
  2. The Tudors section of the A-level comprises half of the examined content. It spans the whole dynasty from Henry VII wrestling control of the throne at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 to the death of a childless Elizabeth in 1603. Studying this course will explore the origins of modern Britain. It'll cover the reformation in religion and restructuring of government; alongside Henry VIIIs desperation to be remembered as a great monarch and his children’s fight to restore stability to England in the wake of his death.
  3. Students also complete a piece of coursework on the Changing Status of African Americans 1865-1895. This 3,500 word essay comprises 20% of their final grade and explores themes such as change and continuity over a 100 year period. Students explore the economic, legal and social changes that occurred within this timeframe and assess the significance of contribution of a number of individuals to the Civil Rights movement.

How to Help

3 key things that make a successful History A-level student and these relate to how you can help:

  1. A genuine passion for the subject. We advise that students have strong interest and motivation in History. Talk to your son/daughter about the reasons they want to study History and whether they are prepared for the points that follow.
  2. They need to be willing to read, learn and recap content and apply it to exam style questions. We ask that students purchase the AQA A-level History text book and parental support in this area is hugely appreciated. Ex-students are often willing to sell their books at a reduced rate.
  3. Analytical skills and independent thinking. Discuss with your son/daughter what questions, themes and ideas they studied within the lesson; ask them what their views and opinions are and why.

Useful Links

KS5 Philosophy & Ethics

Course Overview

The A-level in Philosophy is very different from the GCSE and so this course does not require students to have studied the Philosophy and Ethics GCSE. Over two years students cover four main areas of Philosophy:

  1. Epistemology – the study of knowledge where students will explore questions such as ‘What is knowledge?’, ‘What is the object of perception?’, ‘Where does knowledge originate?’ and ‘Is any knowledge beyond doubt?’. Students will gain a detailed understanding of the thoughts, ideas and arguments of many famous philosophers including John Locke, Bertrand Russell, Linda Zagzebski and Rene Descartes.
  2. Ethics – the study of moral theory, meta-ethics and applied ethics. Students will study the theories of Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics and Virtue Ethics and will apply these to a range of issues including the morality of violent computer games/films, lying, killing animals for meat and stealing.
  3. Metaphysics of God – the study of the concept of God. This is where our GCSE students will feel most at home. We will look at whether the concepts of omnipotence, omnibenevolence and omniscience are coherent. Students will also deepen their understanding of the philosophical arguments for God’s existence (Paley’s Watch and Aquinas’ First Mover) and look at the meaning behind religious language.

Metaphysics of Mind – the study of what is known as the mind/body problem. Students will return to studying the works of Descartes, considering whether they think the mind and body can exist as two separate substances. Students will also gain understanding of the arguments of contemporary philosophers including Chalmers’ Zombie Argument, Jackson’s Mary argument and Gilbert Ryle’s behaviourism. We also look into the works of psychology and neuroscience in an attempt to unearth whether all of what it means to be human can be reduced to the physical.   

How to Help

We tell our A-level students 5 key things that make a successful philosophy students and these relate to how you can help:

  1. They need to actually enjoy doing philosophy and not just the idea of being a philosophy student. With this it is a useful to talk to your son/daughter about why they want to carry on their studies and whether they are prepared for points 2-5 below.
  2. They need to be willing to learn content and recap this content at regular intervals by applying it to exam style questions. We ask students to by the AQA A-level Philosophy text book and parental support in this area is hugely appreciated. Ex-students are often willing to sell their books at a reduced rate.
  3. They need to be ok with ‘not getting it’ and be willing to develop both their understanding and own arguments over time. It would be unusual for a student to leave an A-level Philosophy lesson fully ‘getting it’, so when your son/daughter is worried/stressing please reassure them. It would be even better it they were encouraged to go back to the textbook, access the peer to peer philosophy chat or visit the web-links given below.
  4. They need to understand how arguments hang together which will enable them to be incisive in terms of why some arguments trump others. Ask your son/daughter to explain to you what they were studying last lesson.
  5. They need to have a passion for thinking about things that in some cases have no pragmatic influence over everyday living. Please encourage this, it is a great privileged to work with students who love learning for its own sake.

Useful Links

  • The School of Life YouTube channel has some excellent overviews of the key philosophers we study.
  • The Philosophy Tube is a YouTube channel set up by a guy who studied the A-level, who is now at University and wants to help you. Contains really clear and accessible explanations of the ideas you study.

KS5 Psychology

Course Overview

The first year of the A level course covers the foundations of Psychology including Social, Cognitive, learning and Biological Psychology. Students will learn about the different explanations for why humans behave in the way that they do, for example why prejudice and discrimination exist, whether there is a criminal brain, how the memory works, why phobias develop and how the brain functions. Students will get the opportunity to read about what research has discovered about the human experience and also will have the opportunity to complete research practicals themselves using experiments, observations, surveys and correlation. Students will develop data analysis skills and should be prepared for the fact that 10% of the assessment in Psychology examinations is maths based.

The second year of the course covers the applications of Psychology, specifically Criminological and Clinical Psychology. Students will learn about the explanations for criminality, how jurors make decisions and why people develop Schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour as well as how these complex disorders are treated therapeutically.

Teaching is interactive and many of the tasks are discussion and group based. Students are expected to take notes and maintain well organised folders. There are three examinations all 2 hours in length and include a combination of short and extended answer questions. Students will develop skills of evaluation and analysis and will be expected to write essays.

How to Help

The specification can be found here-

This is the recommended text book for Year 1(available in all book shops) -

Useful Links

KS5 Sociology

Qualification studied for: A Level
Length of course: Two years
Examining body: AQA
Entry requirements to this course: It is desirable that students will have a Grade 6 in another humanities course to prepare them for the essay writing and critical debate aspects of Sociology .

What will I study?

Year 1

  • Family and Households,
  • Education and Research Methods

Year 2

  • Crime and Deviance,
  • Beliefs in Society and Theory and Methods

How will I be assessed?

The assessment for Sociology is mainly in the format of essays. Three exams at the end of the second year.