Sixth Form Brochure 2019

The process of deciding which subject areas are most likely to suit each student begins in the Autumn Term of Year 11. This process helps students to focus on this important step in their education, and allows the school to plan the appropriate curriculum for the following academic year.

Students would normally be expected to have acquired five GCSE passes at grade 5 or above on the new 9-1 grading scale being accepted for a full Sixth Form A-level course, but advice to students is based on individual circumstances.

The Director of Studies and the Careers Co-ordinator are pleased to discuss how particular patterns of subjects might best be suited to the individual.

The following subjects are currently offered at A-level for 2018/19:

  • Art & Design
  • Biology
  • BTEC Applied Science
  • Business
  • Cambridge Technical in Sport and Physical Activity
  • Chemistry
  • Core Mathematics
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Languages
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Product Design
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies

For timetabling in the Sixth Form, students usually choose one subject from each of the subject blocks listed below.  Please note that this grid has been updated in January 2019.  For the latest information regarding option blocks please contact the Director of Studies, Chris Burrows: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Options Grid September 2019

A-level options for ESL students

We welcome students from around the world to West Buckland to study A-levels, often with the aim of entering universities in the UK. We have a fine record of success with students frequently taking places at Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Imperial and many other top universities, medical schools and colleges of art.

All A-level students need a good command of English in order to study successfully in this country, and we provide very good support for them as they develop their abilities in the language. All of our international students have tuition in English as a Second Language to enable them to achieve a good IELTS grade. This course is designed to enable them to study successfully in their other A-level subjects and at university after they leave school.

Some subjects such as English Literature, Philosophy & Ethics, Geography or History place great emphasis on the use of English, and require students to be able to read complex and lengthy material, to engage in discussion of abstract ideas, and to write at length using academic or technical language with precision.

Our experience is that students joining West Buckland in the Sixth Form usually find the greatest success at A-level in the following subjects: Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics and Art & Design.

For some students from overseas, Product Design, Physical Education or Psychology can be a good choice but only if studied alongside three subjects from the list of preferred subjects. In only the most unusual circumstances where an international student's ability in English is exceptional, would it be wise to consider studying A-levels other than these.

We will give advice prior to entry or at the beginning of the Sixth Form but students should give detailed consideration to their preferred subjects think very hard about their preferred subjects at an early stage.

Careers and HE Advice

CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) gives students at West Buckland support in different areas to help them make informed choices about their futures.

A planned programme helps students to gain the knowledge and develop skills for planning and managing their careers. Information about the range of opportunities and options is available at key transition points in the students’ education as well as specialist advice and guidance for individuals to enable them to review, plan and manage their learning and progression to the next stage and beyond.

This is done in a number of ways, including:

  • Real life contacts with the world of work and higher education, including workplace visits, work experience, visiting speakers and trips to open days
  • Inspirational role models, including alumni, from the careers to which they aspire through the weekly careers lunch programme
  • Independent and face to face careers advice and guidance
  • Promoting a range of career choices in a variety of areas including STEM, languages, social sciences, arts and humanities
  • Developing basic career management skills like CV writing and interview skills

Using appropriate information in the specialist area in the Michael Morpurgo Library and web based information including the National Careers Service, UCAS and Plotr. In addition, the department uses Passportfolio, a web based system which provides careers information, helps build CVs and provides an online place for students to record their skills, achievements and action plans.

In addition, a number of external organizations support the department including universities such as Sheffield, Exeter, Plymouth, Careers South West, the Education-Business Partnership South West, local employers, professional organizations and agencies such as GCHQ and the three armed forces.

Contact with parents is considered as vital and is done in a variety of ways, including:

  • A monthly newsletter containing news, information and opportunities
  • Letters from the department giving advice and information about vital issues such as careers interviews, student finance and higher education choices
  • Presence at parents evenings as the sixth form open evening
  • A presentation to Year 12 parents in June each year on the process for university applications and student finance
  • Response to ad-hoc requests for advice and information, including appointments in school.

The Head of Careers and HE is always happy to meet with parents and students and can contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Curriculum

In both Year 12 and 13, the tutors are key players in the advice given to the students, particularly in the application process and reference writing for HE courses and/or employment. That said, the Head of Careers and HE (who is also currently a sixth form tutor) is a continual presence and offers one to one advice and guidance where needed.

Sixth Form students are regular attendees at careers lunches, medicine discussion groups and open days to universities (also open to Year 11 students). After Christmas in Year 12, through to June, there is an emphasis on the variety of education, training and career paths both in the UK and abroad. A visit to the UCAS convention is organized in March and there is an annual HE/careers day every June in which speakers from universities, including alumni, provide information to the students, including writing personal statements and choosing degree courses.

In Year 13 a further HE/careers day takes place in September each year and the emphasis is on researching and applying for employment or HE courses. Enrichment lessons are also given over for this purpose and include advice on personal statements, completing the UCAS form, choosing universities, student finance, life at university and confirmation/clearing procedures. Several mock interviews are provided for those students who are applying to competitive courses where interviews are required such as Oxbridge and Medicine. In addition, talks and interviews with careers staff of all three armed forces are organized for students who are interested and an agent from Sporting Elite USA can talk to those interested in sports scholarships at US colleges. These last two opportunities are also available to Year 11 students.

Many parents arrange work experience for their children through their own or family contacts. Where this is not possible, there are two possible options. The Head of Careers and Higher Education may use school or personal contacts and help the students make contact with appropriate organisations. The student’s second option is to take advantage of the school’s own programme organised in conjunction with Education Business Partnership South West. By working with this organisation, the school can ensure that there is a large database of employers across a range of sectors in the south west, adequate health and safety arrangements are in place and that there is robust safeguarding of students.


Sixth Form students can choose from a wide range of subjects. Students will normally select four subjects to study at AS level in Year 12 with most students continuing with three subjects at A2 level in Year 13.

Tutors and teachers provide advice to students during Year 11 over choice of subjects and students are encouraged to explore the admission requirements for higher education and to take advice on careers to help them in making the right decisions.

Provisional A-level choices are made in January with the final choice of A-level courses made early in September at the Sixth Form Induction, following the publication of GCSE results.