Curriculum: Durham School: independent day and boarding school in the North East of England for boys and girls
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Sixth Form


Sixth Form pupils choose two, three or four subjects to study during Year 12 and Year 13. We offer a broad range of subjects and qualifications so that each pupil can design a personalised curriculum which will best allow them to fulfil their potential both at Key Stage 5 and in their future studies and careers.

Pupils can opt to study for A level qualifications in 25 different disciplines which cover the arts, the humanities, and the natural, physical and social sciences. The subjects currently available are:

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Computer Science
  • Drama and Theatre Studies
  • Economics
  • English Language and Literature
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Further Mathematics
  • Geography
  • German 
  • History
  • Latin
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy & Ethics
  • Spanish 


Along side this, we offer a Cambridge Pre-U qualification in Design Technology, which is equivalent to an A level, and a Level 3 BTEC National Diploma qualification in Business, which is equivalent to two A levels.

The Pre-U course can be thought of as equal to an A level in its demands and how it is viewed by universities and employers. Unlike an A level though, it is assessed purely on coursework, allowing students to create more meaningful evidence of their understanding and practical skills.

BTEC Nationals are vocational courses which place more emphasis on learning-by-doing and the acquisition of knowledge and experience which are directly relevant to careers in the field. Students are able to progress on to degree courses at UK universities, or into apprenticeships or other training programmes. BTEC Nationals are assessed by a mixture of exams and coursework, making them ideal for students who prefer this blended approach.

Every effort is made to accommodate our pupils’ desired options, with the Sixth Form timetable being built around their choices, rather than the other way around.

All Sixth Form students are also able to complete a Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which is equivalent to half an A level. This is a student-led, independent research project, designed to develop pupils’ research, study and project management skills, as well as their knowledge of a chosen topic.  Students work with a chosen supervisor to produce either a 5,000-word written report or an ‘artefact’; the latter may take many forms, from a piece of artwork, to an engineered product, a script, or piece of creative writing. The EPQ is well-respected by UK universities.

In addition to their main studies, Sixth Form students also:

  • have Sports training three times per week
  • attend Life and Wellbeing Education (LWE) classes*
  • have the option to join Learning Support* or EAL sessions* as necessary. This includes preparation for the IELTS exams required for non-native English speakers to enter UK universities
  • may take a qualification in their native language if this is not English
  • spend time with their tutor on a daily basis
  • have fortnightly Careers lectures or workshops
  • attend a weekly Chapel service


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