The core curriculum consists of several options including a course on Global Perspectives; an Extended Project where students research a topic of their particular interest and produce a dissertation or artefact; and the Young Enterprise course to develop entrepreneurship.
Equally, there is the possibility of continuing to learn a foreign language and, on offer, is a Mathematics and English course for those who wish to develop their numeracy and literacy skills to service other subjects.
Those students wishing to study Further Mathematics will study four A-levels and therefore will not take a Core Curriculum option.
Universities will be making offers based on three A-level grades and will be looking at the student’s skillset developed by wider curriculum studied during the Sixth Form.
We are certain our offering provides students with the skills and qualifications needed to get into a top university and to thrive once there.
The Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives and Independent Research (GPR) has been designed to allow students to develop the key skills of critical thinking, research, analysis and communication that they will need in the Sixth Form and beyond.
This is a two-year course and students write a 2,000-word essay, complete a presentation and sit a written paper in the November of the Upper Sixth. They then complete a research report on a topic of their choice for submission in June of the Upper Sixth.
Global Perspectives and Research is a significant commitment with the two-year course being equivalent to a full A-level. It is recommended for students with strong GCSE grades across a broad range of subjects.
The course allows students to develop the key skills that they will need in the Sixth Form and beyond. The course is focused around the development of skills in understanding information, comprehension, research and presentation.
Students have the opportunity to build their own programme of research and learn about global issues from a range of choices as diverse as global climate change, artificial intelligence and the religious-secular divide.
Students explore their chosen topics through the different themes of culture, economics, environment, ethics, science and technology and politics and thus learn to examine the topics from frequently opposing perspectives. Throughout the course, students acquire and develop thinking and reasoning skills as well as the ability to communicate their findings.
Access to the Pre-U diploma.
Those students who successfully complete the full GPR course together with at least one other Pre-U Principal subject (e.g. English) and two further A-levels will be awarded the internationally recognised Cambridge Pre-U Diploma. D1 or D2 grades (A* equivalent) are worth 56 UCAS points.
A Level 3 qualification equivalent to half an A-level where students research a topic of their particular interest to produce a dissertation or artefact and research report, together with delivering a presentation and submitting a project log.
The emphasis of the EPQ is on autonomy and the ability to manage a research project and the course runs from September of the Lower Sixth with students aiming to submit their projects to AQA the following May.
Students choose a topic of interest to them and then pose a research question or design brief which will be answered through the medium of the project. Some of the key skills taught include:
- developing an idea into a research question and managing a research project
- learning to write in a more formal and critical style
- learning how to research literature and evaluating the credibility of sources
- learning how to use the Harvard system of citation
- presentation skills.
Benefits of the EPQ.
Universities are very interested in EPQ. Students who have already completed it report that it proves very valuable and is a contributing factor towards the offer of a place.
Some universities are making reduced offers if an EPQ is successfully completed.
The EPQ can also add a strong intellectual dimension to the personal statement and students can talk at interviews about their own original research and they are considered far better prepared for the demands made on them when they eventually enter university.
Students wishing to pursue their studies in English without taking a full A-level may opt to take the United States College Board Advanced Placement (AP) qualification in English Language and Composition.
Students learn to analyse and interpret imaginative literature through the careful reading and critical analysis and interpretation of representative works from various genres and periods.
Students are also prepared for the English Speaking Board (ESB) Level 3 (grade 8) qualification in Spoken English.
The course extends students’ skills in writing, argumentation, rhetoric and public speaking beyond the level achieved at IGCSE. In lessons, students explore how arguments are constructed and conveyed in many different forms.
In one week they may analyse speeches by Churchill and Obama, and in another, consider how newspaper editorials manipulate their readers’ views.
They also learn how to construct compelling arguments of their own, synthesising material from a range of sources. Alongside this, they develop skills as fluent public speakers. The course is delivered in three periods each week.
For those taking essay subjects in the Sixth Form, it helps them to write clearly and forcefully, learning how to construct arguments with pith and precision.
For those students taking scientific and mathematical subjects, it offers an ideal opportunity to develop skills in written and spoken English to a level beyond GCSE, in order to equip themselves for the demands of university study where essays remain an important part of the assessment process.
The course leads to the qualification in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, a course developed for elite US high school students and which is recognised by UCAS and US universities.
This course is unique to English post-16 education, and Epsom is proud to be pioneering this approach to developing students’ skills as writers and speakers.
The final assessment uses the College Board Advanced Placement examination, equivalent to an AS level. AP and could be used on any UK university application.
For students considering application to a US university, Advanced Placement English Language and Composition complements the standard application through the SAT process and many universities offer extra credits or advanced placements to students with qualifying AP examination scores.
Advanced Certificate in Spoken English.
Along with this, students will prepare for the English Speaking Board’s Advanced Certificate in Spoken English (Level 3) which carries UCAS tariff points equivalent to Grade 8 on a musical Instrument.
English Speaking Board qualifications are valued by universities and employers for demonstrating high-level skills in public speaking, discussion and presentation.
This qualification is achieved by a four-part set of presentations, externally examined.
To a small audience and an examiner, the student will:
- lead a ten-minute discussion around a selected newspaper article on a current topic
- deliver a five-minute speech to inform or persuade
- conduct a four-minute literary evaluation of a public address, poem, or extract from a novel or play
- take questions from the audience.
Students for whom it is neither essential nor appropriate to opt to take Mathematics as a principal A-level subject may choose Mathematics as their Core Curriculum option.
The course offered is the Edexcel Level 3 Mathematics in Context course, which is equivalent in terms of UCAS points to half an A-level (20 UCAS points).
This seeks to put higher level mathematics in context and builds skills in mathematical reasoning, modelling and communication.
The main aims of the qualification to:
- develop competence in the selection and use of mathematical methods and techniques
- develop confidence in representing and analysing authentic situations mathematically, and in applying Mathematics to address related questions and issues
- build skills in mathematical thinking, reasoning and communication.
It is particularly suited to students who wish to pursue a course or career which very much uses mathematics, such as Biology, Geography and Psychology, but does not require A-level mathematics.
The course will run as an intensive one-year course over four periods per week. with assessment in the summer of the Lower Sixth.
The content areas covered in this qualification and studied over two years are:
- applications of statistics
- linear programming
- sequences and growth.
Students may choose to continue to learn and develop their use of a foreign language and improve their ability to communicate both orally and verbally.
The options available are all equivalent to AS or above and therefore are only available to those students who have successfully completed a Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE) qualification in their chosen language.
The languages and qualifications offered, subject to demand, are:
- French: CEFR – CIEP DELF B2 Junior
- German: CEFR – DAF B2
- Spanish: CEFR – DELE B2
- Mandarin: HSK Level 4
Each option is taught over three terms with assessment taken in June of the Lower Sixth.
All courses are graded pass or fail and each qualification is internationally recognised and valid for life. All of the language options are also available to those students wishing to pursue a language as one of their Principal Subjects.
The qualifications each give access to undergraduate courses at European universities without requiring a further language test, and hence without fees.
The HSK level 4 also gives access to undergraduate courses at Chinese universities without requiring a language test, and hence without fees.
Young Enterprise is a national education charity founded in 1963 to forge links between schools and industry. Its mission is ‘To inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed through enterprise’.
It has proven to be a popular addition to studies in the Lower Sixth as it gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to participate in running a business and to acquire valuable skills such as communication, managing time and working with others.
Students work together as a company and have the power to make all the decisions associated with its running, including marketing, production and financial management.
Students are also responsible for paying VAT and taxes and the company can decide how any profits will be shared or allocated.
Support and opportunities.
Staff act as Company Leads to oversee three companies and a Young Enterprise Business Adviser from the commercial sector will also assist each company.
There are also regional and national competitions that students can enter.
Students use this experience in their personal statement for their UCAS application and employers recognise this qualification.
The Economics department provides this option to Upper Sixth students only.
It is taught within the Business and Economics department with guidance from the awarding body, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).
The exam was originally designed, and is still used, as an introductory professional competency measure for all new graduate employees in the Financial Services Industry.
Corporate members include Deutsch Bank and JP Morgan who use this qualification and subsequent courses to ensure employees meet regulatory levels of competence.
The course gives an introduction to the workings of the Financial Services Industry and the economic environment within which it operates.
It covers in detail the main financial assets and markets, including equities, bonds and derivatives. Alongside this, the role of regulation is introduced and a study of the impact it has on the industry is undertaken. The principles of taxation are covered along with the use of investment wrappers and trusts before finally looking at the details of retail investments such as savings accounts, property, personal loans, and life assurance.
The Award is assessed by a single online, 50 question and a multiple-choice examination run by the CISI.
The qualification is fully recognised by the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) and the QCA.