The School Day | Epsom College

The School Day

The image below shows you what a typical week will look like in Sixth Form. The majority of students take three A-levels plus a core-curriculum option (see below). You will have seven periods per week for each subject. On average, one period per week will be set aside for your core curriculum choice.

Every student’s day starts with registration in their House at 8.25am. This is followed by an assembly, tutor time or Chapel.

Lessons begin at 9am, and each period lasts 50 minutes. Morning break is 10.45-11.10am, when you can return to your House for snacks and refreshments.

 

Depending on your timetable, Sixth Form students may take early lunch, from midday (during Period 4). The whole school eats in the Dining Hall, and times are staggered by year group, so there is always room to sit with friends. Sixth Form students also have the option of collecting a lighter lunch from the Mermaid – our new state-of-the-art centre for arts, culture and learning. 

The School day ends at 6pm. College transport departs at 6.15pm.

However, on several days each term there are further opportunities for enrichment during the Cultural Hour, including guest lectures, performances, readings, and plays.

 

Saturdays

The day begins with Chapel at 8.35am. Epsom College is a Church of England school, but pupils of other faiths are an important part of our community and are able to practise their faith at the College. Our Chaplaincy team includes a Hindu Priest, Muslim Imam and a Rabbi.

Saturday morning service is then followed by three 45-minute periods, and lunch at midday. Fixtures take place in the afternoon, and the school day concludes once these end.

Sports Fixtures

Exeat Weekends

As you are new to the school, and therefore potentially new to the conventions of boarding schools, you may be unaware of ‘Exeat’ weekends.

These are compulsory breaks, when the school shuts down for two nights to give everyone – pupils and staff alike – the chance of a well-earned rest.

Dates will change, and are published on the Term Dates page of the website, but we generally have five Exeat weekends a year (two in Michaelmas Term, two in Lent Term and one in Summer Term).

The Sixth Form Curriculum

You will already have chosen your three principal A-level subjects (four if you chose Maths and Further Maths). These are supplemented with an option from the core curriculum, which provides breadth and develops skills essential for your future.

What A-level subjects are on offer?

As a reminder, all students will have chosen three principal A-levels from the following subjects:

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business Management
  • BTEC Business Level-3 Diploma (equivalent to two A-levels)
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Design & Technology
  • Drama & Theatre Studies
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Government & Politics
  • History
  • Latin
  • Mandarin
  • Maths, and Further Maths
  • Music
  • Photography
  • PE
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Spanish

What support is offered to international students?

In addition to your A-level choices, you will be supported in the following two areas of study:

  • Qualification for entry to British or other English Language universities
  • Broadening and consolidation of academic skills in the English language.

The course of choice leads to the IELTS exam (International English Language Testing System) in Lower Sixth.

Tertiary institutions across the world recognise the IELTS exam as evidence of sufficient knowledge of English to successfully complete undergraduate courses in an English-speaking environment. It is also possible for pupils to undertake study that leads to examinations such as the Cambridge University Main Suite Exams (CPE, CAE or FCE).

In the Upper Sixth, private tuition is the norm, and pupils may resit the IELTS exam if required.

What is the core curriculum?

The core curriculum provides you with skills and experience that complement your A-level studies. You choose one option from the following:

Core Maths

A chance to continue maths beyond GCSE, but at a level less taxing than A-level. The focus is on functional skills that use mathematical processes, rather than ‘pure’ maths. This is ideal if you’re studying Biology, Geography, Business and Economics A-levels.

English AP

This is roughly equivalent to the A-level course for US students. This qualification is accepted by US Universities, and increasingly by their counterparts in the UK who have been known to lower grade boundaries for pupils who have English AP.

The focus on language and composition make it a great choice for aspiring journalists, or those pursuing a career where clear, coherent and persuasive communication is key. 

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you want to hone your independent research skills, and follow a topic of your choosing, the Extended Project Qualification is a great choice. You select a topic of interest, fine-tune your research question with the support of a teacher and conduct university-level research to produce a 5,000-word report. This is great training for university dissertations.

International Certificate for Digital Literacy

Recognised as the international standard for digital workplace skills, you will acquire advanced skills in word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software and databases. The final qualification is worth 24 UCAS points.

Young Enterprise

The internationally recognised starting point for business people and budding entrepreneurs. You will work as part of a team to build your business from scratch, learning how to develop a product, bring it to market and – hopefully – turn a profit.

What else is studied?

All students have the opportunity to lead a lively intellectual life outside of the classroom. Everyone has to take an option from our core curriculum (see above) and – in addition – the Sixth Form curriculum allows time for you to take part in one of:

  • Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award
  • The Combined Cadet Force
  • The College’s award-winning community service programme

You will also take part in a series of Personal & Social Development (PSD) lectures and seminars. These focus on your wellbeing and your transition into adult life beyond the College. You will cover such things as finance, body image, consent, leadership and resilience.

How much homework will be set?

The expectation is that you will be set around five hours of independent study per subject, per week. Some of this will be undertaken during your study periods, as your timetable allows.

How does reporting work?

Lower Sixth students have five reporting cycles equally spaced over the course of their academic year:

  • Two are grade reports, with pastoral comments from either their tutor or Housemaster/Housemistress.
  • Two contain grade or end of year exam information, and are followed by the opportunity to speak to their subject teachers at a parents’ evening (see below).

At the midpoint of the academic year, there is a full written report from the students’ subject teachers with a pastoral comment from their tutor. The reports are organised to provide parents with detailed written or verbal feedback on the academic progress being made by the student once a term.

What about parents' evenings?

The key difference between Sixth Form students and the rest of the College is that this you have two parents’ evenings.

The first happens at the end of Michaelmas term, to ensure an early dialogue opens up between parents and teachers.

The second takes place at the end of the Summer term, when advice on advancing grade performance and careers and higher education are of particular use.