A levels and the Pre-U qualification form the core of the sixth form curriculum. Within our flexible structure students choose four subjects to study in the Lower Sixth, with most students reducing to three subjects in the Upper Sixth. Students can also go beyond the curriculum by taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or the Perse Rouse Research Award – both provide an excellent opportunity to develop university-style supervisor-led research skills. More detail is available on our super-curriculum page.
The curriculum allows students to choose from a wide range of subjects. Each student designs a programme of study to reflect his or her individual talents and university and career aspirations. Many elect to specialise, for example by studying maths and the sciences, or take a humanities route selecting politics, English, geography and history. Others will choose one contrasting subject to maintain a broader intellectual skillset.
There are three key factors to consider in choosing a subject combination:
- Ability profile: what subjects does a student excel in?
- Preference: what subjects does a student enjoy?
- University entrance: what subjects are required?
We provide extensive advice to ensure students make the optimum course choice. We see advantages in this flexibility in comparison with the constraints of the International Baccalaureate. As in the IB, they can elect to do public service through our enrichment programme and to complete an extended essay for the EPQ or Perse Rouse Research Award.
At The Perse, we use our independence to select from the very best sixth form courses on offer as judged by our academic departments. Our dual aim is always to maximise both student learning and exam attainment and our courses are selected accordingly from the variety of formats available: A level, Pre-U and International A level.
Music, philosophy, physics and psychology are offered as two year Pre-U courses – a high-quality, university recognised, two-year alternative to A levels with an emphasis on independent research, and in which many of our students have achieved a grade higher than the A level A*. Chemistry is offered as both an A level course and a Pre-U course. Biology follows the International A level; a course that ideally suits the aspirations of those studying the subject at The Perse and which is recognised around the globe as an A level equivalent.
Read our note about A level and GCSE reform, and what it means for Perse students.
- Reports and parents' evenings
Each student receives one detailed report a year, including grades for organisation, engagement and initiative and standard of work. These are accompanied by subject teacher comments and a pastoral overview from the tutor, the Year or Section Head and either the Head or a member of the senior management team, who review all reports.
Students also receive half-term grades and mock/mid-year exam results sheets.
Parents of sixth formers are invited into school on several occasions during the academic year. These include two formal parents’ evenings plus a tutorial evening, which has a more pastoral focus, a university advice evening and other more informal occasions.