Beyond the Curriculum

There are many ways in which we aim to extend you at Queen’s College and give you the opportunities to develop academic rigour and intellectual curiosity beyond the curriculum. Self study and extension work are highly regarded by universities.

Top University Group
The Top University Group aims to take more academically able students beyond the immediate confines of their syllabus; to explore new ideas, to meet new academic challenges, and to foster interest in independent academic study.

All of these key elements are valuable in themselves but with demand for places at top universities continuing to outstrip supply by a large margin, it is important that those aiming high are able to show a real depth of interest in their chosen field, and can demonstrate commitment that goes beyond the normal work expected in the classroom.

The Top University Group aims to provide a route for Sixth Form students to do this. Several different strands are employed based around various subject groupings. A series of seminars are held in which students are expected to contribute to discussion after presentation of a short paper by the speaker. Recent titles have included 'Metacognition', 'The nature of proof', 'The boundaries of privacy', and 'Does language mean anything?' Seminars have also covered bioethics, scientific method, Romanticism, and international law. In addition, Year 13 students are encouraged to present their own papers on areas that interest them and on which they have done some research. This ties in well with the Extended Project Qualification which Top University Group students usually pursue.

Additionally Sixth Formers are encouraged to demonstrate academic commitment and flair through entering university-sponsored competitions.

Candidates with the potential to gain places at either Oxford or Cambridge universities are given further guidance and direction with an initial concentration on preparation for the increasingly significant and prevalent aptitude tests which are the first hurdle to overcome. A basis for tackling these tests is laid in Year 12 with the additional AS level in Critical Thinking which is taken by many Top University Group pupils. Subject specific coaching continues up to the point of interview where necessary.

Queen's College is fortunate in having a cohort of teachers who have themselves graduated from top universities, and who retain a passion for their subject. More importantly perhaps, Queen's is small enough to allow these teachers to spend quality time with high achieving pupils who they know very well. It is difficult to think of a better preparation for university entrance.

Extended Project Qualification
The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a free-standing qualification, worth slightly more than an AS level in UCAS points. Graded A*-E, it involves choosing an area of interest and then researching, planning and carrying out the project. At the end you present your project, which normally takes around 100 hours of study and would be around 5,000 words in length. Some of our students have created artefacts in films, produced musicals and written short stories that require a structured report to support their qualification.

Extended projects enable you to follow a particular area of interest but in greater depth. They offer a much greater degree of independent learning but within a supported environment and give you the opportunity to improve your research, writing and presentation skills. EPQs also help differentiate students from other candidates on their university application, especially on the more competitive courses.

For more information regarding the EPQ, please click here.

Critical Thinking
For those who are keen to extend their skills, we teach Critical Thinking AS level – an additional AS Level, taught outside the main timetable. Critical Thinking is excellent training in logical and analytical thinking and is often followed by students aiming at Oxbridge or for careers in Law or Medicine or simply to enjoy the intellectual discipline and rigour that it gives.

AQA Baccalaureate
The AQA Baccalaureate celebrates the achievement of an exceptional, well rounded Sixth Form student and comprises four elements which demonstrate that student’s wide-ranging success:

  • Depth of knowledge – represented by three A Levels
  • Breadth of intellectual knowledge – represented by Critical Thinking AS
  • Independent learning skills – represented by the Extended Project
  • Personal development – represented by sport, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, high musical achievement or work experience

For more information on the AQA Baccalaureate, please click here.

All these four elements can be followed by students at Queen’s and this programme exemplifies and recognises the richness of education for which we are striving at Queen’s College.

Open University Courses
Sixth Formers also have the opportunity to take Open University short courses as an extension to the curriculum or to approach a range of subjects, especially scientific ones, from a different viewpoint. There are over 60 modules to choose from including Science, Engineering, Business Studies, Health and Social care, Sport and Fitness, Accountancy, IT and Computing, Arts, and Mathematics.

Generally completed over the summer holidays, this flexible alternative gives students a taste of university-style work, and an opportunity either to specialise and deepen your knowledge and skills in one particular area or to initiate study in a new field.

Recognition of Achievement Award
This highly prized award is given in recognition of a student’s fulfilment of their potential in all-round education at Queen’s. Students in Years 12 and 13 are eligible to join the scheme which comprises six categories, five of which have to be completed: cultural achievement, intellectual achievement, physical achievement, leadership achievement, leadership qualities and service given. All activities must be undertaken in the Sixth Form, with the exception of Silver or Gold D of E or any significant achievement outside of school. A certificate is awarded to those who have completed the Recognition of Achievement Award by the Guest of Honour on Speech Day.

Sport
We want our students to remain fit and healthy so sport is compulsory on a Thursday afternoon. There are a wide range of options to choose from and most students are involved in a team so have the opportunity to represent Queen’s College and also participate in a slightly different sport such as basketball, badminton, aerobics, gym, climbing, horse riding or golf.

General Studies
PHSME is delivered in Sixth Form House meetings and these are often student led. Topics covered include driver awareness, academic referencing, health and sex and drugs, smoking and alcohol awareness. All are delivered either as a lecture or in small group discussions.

Sixth Form Society
One of the goals of the Sixth Form at Queen's is to stimulate an interest in the wider world beyond school.

With that in mind, the school organises a regular series of events and speakers for the Sixth Form Society. In recent years we have welcomed a senior officer from the Royal Marines who spoke engagingly and movingly about a life spent serving in the world’s troublespots, and a chief executive from Saatchi & Saatchi who explained the mysteries of advertising to an audience of eager teenage consumers.

Other recent speakers have included a member of the British Olympic luge team (who brought his carbon-fibre sled with him), a North Pole explorer, an entrepreneur and an armed response policeman. Attendance is voluntary but usually very high – possibly helped by the informal drinks and nibbles that follow each event in the Sixth Form Centre!

Crossfire is a lively debating opportunity offered to Sixth Form students twice a term and conversations that have challenged the students range from war to sex and belief. Using visiting speakers, usually drawn from areas of social policy, ethical and religious standpoints are challenged and discussed.

In addition to the many intellectual activities on offer, the Sixth Form has its own weekly social programme organised by the elected Sixth Form Executive. In December students organise their own Dinner Dance, as well as holding relaxed events throughout the year such as quizzes, culturally themed social events and a James Bond evening. The College’s annual Summer Ball provides a large element of glamour and fun at the end of the Summer Term.

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© 2016 - 2017 QUEEN’S COLLEGE, TRULL ROAD, TAUNTON, SOMERSET TA1 4QS

School Office: +44 (0)1823 272559 contact@queenscollege.org.uk

School Office: +44 (0)1823 272559 contact@queenscollege.org.uk

© 2016 - 2017 QUEEN’S COLLEGE, TRULL ROAD, TAUNTON, SOMERSET TA1 4QS