Beechen Cliff Sixth Form is a mixed Sixth Form which takes students from the City of Bath and the surrounding area.
The Sixth Form curriculum aims to offer a broad range of academic subjects (predominantly A’ Levels) to allow students to specialise and focus their learning in their chosen areas of interest. The intention is to provide students with the qualifications, skills and personal qualities to prepare for, and thrive in the next stage of their education and in life beyond school. The aim is to develop their aspiration, independent learning skills and character and support them to reach their intended destination.
Since the curriculum is mostly A’ Levels the entrance requirements are five grade 6s at GCSE to ensure pupils are well prepared for the courses offered. The intention is to regularly review the curriculum and to diversify where required to best meet the needs of our students. In particular we are looking to bring in additional applied A’ Level courses to ensure the most appropriate curriculum is available for some of our more vulnerable learners within our Sixth Form.
The intention is also to provide a non-A’ Level Level 3 Sport course to enable some of our students, mostly elite athletes, to pursue a course based around their interests and training and which will lead to both competing at a higher level (some will move on to professional contracts) and securing places on further education courses. This includes students on the Bath Rugby Academy programme. This course also meets the post-16 funding requirements.
As our students arrive from a large range of different schools our curriculum is designed to ensure that all students can achieve their full potential regardless of their starting point. It centred around ambition and aspiration. Since 70% of our cohort goes on to university each year and over 40% of these places are at Russell Group universities, supporting students to move onto these destinations is a key aim of our provision. The intention is to offer a curriculum that goes well beyond academic courses providing inspirational super-curricular lectures, leadership opportunities, volunteering opportunities, extra-curricular activities including sport, music drama and outdoor education, and a strong Future Horizons Programme in terms of both UCAS support and careers education, advice and guidance.
The intention is also to provide a comprehensive tutor time and assembly programme covering a variety of topics including topics such as equalities, healthy relationships, mental health and well-being.
The Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form) Curriculum model and structure is set by the Senior Leadership Team. Within this structure students have the opportunity to select the courses that best fit their interests.
There are 27 A’ Level subjects on offer and in the Sixth Form most students study three A Levels (some study four). Students receive 4 hours of lessons per subject per week.
We also run a Level 3 Sport Programme (equivalent to three A Levels) predominantly targeted at elite athletes. Students receive 12 hours of lessons per week and many hours of sports coaching and training beyond this. Students are also expected to support sports coaching for younger pupils.
In addition all students also have a weekly Games lesson to enable them to keep physically active and in the Lower Sixth students have a weekly Study Skills lesson to support development of independent learning. Students taking an A’ Level involving mathematics who are not taking A’ Level Maths are encouraged to take Level 3 Core Maths to help develop their mathematical knowledge and techniques to support the learning in other subjects. Students also have the option to study the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
For students who need support to improve their grades in GCSE English and Maths tuition is provided in small groups. Two hours of lessons per week are provided for re-sit courses.
PSHE and Careers are covered through assemblies, tutor time sessions and collapsed timetable events. The Careers Showcase and some mock interview sessions take place at designated weekends. This programme is supported by our Governors and makes use of both university and employer connections. Additional careers information is provided in our regular Sixth Form Bulletin. Work experience takes place for all students during the summer term of the Lower Sixth.
UCAS support begins with collapsed timetable days and the annual UCAS fayre. Support then becomes more individual with extra guidance provided for students applying for STEM subjects, medicine and Oxbridge.
The courses run over two years concluding with A’ Level Examinations in the summer term at the end of the Upper Sixth. Most of the EPQ course is completed in the Lower Sixth with certification before Christmas in the Upper Sixth. The Level 3 Sport Programme has regular assessment of portfolio work throughout the course within addition to external examinations.
Independent study plays a significant part in Sixth Form learning with students set work each lesson and expected to complete at least as many hours of work outside of lessons as in them. In addition to specific tasks set, students are expected to carry out their own consolidation and revision and are encouraged to complete extra reading and research around their subjects. Each subject provides a reading list to support with this. In the Lower Sixth students take part in a weekly study skills programme to help develop independent learning skills. This then evolves into a mentoring and support scheme for those who need additional support.
Super-curricular lectures are an extension of learning. These are a mixture of virtual and in-person lectures and aim to create aspiration, generate interest and extend learning beyond the examined curriculum. Whenever possible we use our alumni to support this programme. We promote these lectures through our weekly Sixth Form Bulletin.
Assessment plays an important part in each subject’s curriculum. Assessment early in the course identifies student starting points and continuous assessment throughout helps check knowledge recall. Formal assessment based around exam style questions helps test students ability to apply and synthesize knowledge and prepare for external examinations.
Students are all expected to take part in volunteering as part of their Sixth Form Programme. Opportunities include mentoring younger pupils, listening to Year 7 readers, supporting teachers in lower school classrooms, sports coaching and leading open evening tours. These activities take place during the school day and after school.
Students are encouraged to take up leadership opportunities such as applying to be prefects, running our annual TEDx event, speaking in assemblies, organising lower school events such as a variety show or bands night, taking part in youth parliament, leading Medsoc. or helping to lead our E-team. These activities take place during the school day and after school.
Students are also encouraged to take part in our comprehensive extra-curricular programme including sport, outdoor education, music, drama and public speaking. These activities take place during the school day, after school and at weekends.
The intended impact of our curriculum is that students make excellent progress and achieve strong outcomes in their academic studies whilst also securing excellent personal development and good well-being. They will leave Beechen Cliff with the qualifications, skills and personal qualities to be well prepared for, and thrive in the next stage of their education and in life beyond school. Given the ability of our cohorts we expect a large proportion of students to move on to university after their Sixth Form studies and for a significant number to attend Russell Group universities or Oxbridge. We also expect other students to successfully achieve their ambitions. We expect our curriculum to enable them to move on to their intended destination ready to become active citizens, prepared for life in modern Britain and who will make a positive contribution to society.