The Sixth Form Curriculum

The Sixth Form at SWPS offers a wide choice of A Level subjects, giving students the opportunity to follow their particular areas of academic interest and to gain the skills needed to thrive at university and in the increasingly competitive world beyond.

Our Sixth Form curriculum has A Levels at its heart and in addition to this core, there is the option to research an EPQ. Sixth formers also take part in Sport once a week with an enrichment lecture alternating with this approximately every fourth week.

The SWPS Diploma is designed to recognise all that our students do beyond the confines of the curriculum and is tailored to allow students to develop those skills that universities and employers value so highly.

Additionally, all the Sixth Form have one lesson per week of our Life Skills programme. A wide range of topics are covered including:

  • our unique and exciting Leadership for Life course;
  • how to apply for student finance and accommodation;
  • mental health and wellbeing.

Subjects Offered at A Level

Art & Design


Further Mathematics


English Literature




Physical Education




Classical Civilisation



Computer Science


Religious Studies

Design Technology



Drama & Theatre Studies



Curriculum Structure

SWPS has chosen a flexible curriculum structure which allows students to make choices which best suit their interests and abilities. In essence we operate a bespoke curriculum for each student which will put them in the strongest possible position when applying to university. Therefore students will either select three or four subjects at the start of the Lower Sixth, before deciding by October half term which subjects they wish to carry through to A Level.

Students sit internal examinations in their subjects at the end of the Lower Sixth to help inform predicted grades. This curriculum pattern is subject to review.

A very small number (e.g. those taking Further Maths) continue with all four subjects to A Level, and those doing an extra GCSE will also continue with that through to the end of the Senior Sixth.

New Subjects

There are several new A Level subjects available to Sixth Formers at SWPS. These include:

  • Psychology
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Classical Civilisation

We advise you think carefully when choosing a new subject as you need to be confident that you will both enjoy and be successful in studying it. You would be well advised speaking to a subject teacher to find out more about it, or current Sixth Formers who are studying it.

Subject Combinations

How should you choose your A Levels?

As a starting point, think about:

  • what you enjoy
  • what you are good at
  • possible degree/career options you might wish to consider.

Guidance about good combinations can be found on this page, although you should always discuss your options with a member of staff (at a Sixth Form Taster or Information event). It's perfectly normal to have little or no idea for the last two points at this stage, but you need to make sure you aren't closing any doors in the selection of your A Levels.

There is a list of subjects which are considered to be useful for a wide range of applications beyond courses directly linked to those subjects (released by The Russell Group of Universities). These are known as facilitating subjects. These are:

  • Mathematics (including Further)
  • the Sciences
  • Modern Languages (& Latin)
  • History
  • Geography
  • English Literature

This is not to say that other subjects are seen as "soft", but purely means that these subjects support a wider range of university degree options and therefore keep your options open.

In general, we advise that you select subjects which you are good at, and which you enjoy. Universities and Employers will be looking closely at your results and so taking subjects you will excel in is better than choosing a subject you think will look impressive.

Extended Project Qualification

The Extended Project is an independent qualification which provides students with an exciting opportunity to develop their independent thinking and learning skills and to apply and develop project management skills. It is launched during the Autumn Term in Lower Sixth with most of the work undertaken in the summer term and over the summer holidays.

SWPS Diploma

The SWPS Diploma is a competency based, internal qualification. Launched in 2017, endorsed by the University of Birmingham, and designed in collaboration with some of the biggest graduate recruiters in the country, its purpose is to help SWPS students develop the skills that universities and employers are looking for.

Leadership for Life

We have a well-established and successful initiative called Leadership for Life – a two year course for sixth formers providing them with essential skills for work and life. It is a unique programme which has been devised by senior staff at the school, in consultation with business leaders. It has been developed to ensure that SWPS students leave with the essential skills of leadership, decision making and communication.

A Level Future Series

First page of the PDF file: ALevelFutureSeries