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Academic Ambition

Our wholly A-level focused curriculum allows for both breadth and specialism in equal measure, providing clear progression into undergraduate degrees and apprenticeships (Degree and Higher level).

Our students achieve outstanding results and with our expert support are able to progress to their first-choice universities and careers. In their last report, the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate described SGS students as “exceptionally well educated”.

With most students beginning on four A-levels, our Sixth Formers have the opportunity to retain an element of breadth and try out new subjects not studied before ahead of the November Preliminary examinations. From that point onward, each student’s programme of study evolves as appropriate to their progress, their goals and their individual ambitions.

Making the right subject choices

Subject choices merit careful attention. Genuine interest, career considerations and ability are the three essentials. Students are advised to consult as widely as necessary before settling on their options. A student’s timetable framework is drawn up based on his or her own choices. It is usually possible for our students to study the combination of subjects that they wish.

University entry requirements

There are particular subjects that are required for entry to certain degree courses. For example, medicine requires Biology and usually Chemistry. Engineering usually requires Mathematics and Physics. However, some degrees have no specific subject requirements. We provide advice to our students on subject selection and course requirements can also be researched in school using information available from our careers department, university websites/prospectuses and the UCAS website.


Subjects for more selective universities

Competition for places at top universities is fierce. Information on typical A-level grades needed to gain places on university courses can be researched via the UCAS website and university websites and prospectuses.

The Russell Group of research-focussed universities have created their Informed Choices website. Here pupils can explore the various degrees and subject areas they are interested in to build up a more personalised picture of the subject combinations which suit their talents and ambitions.

View the Russell Group’s informed choices guide

Making the transition to independent learning

All the A-level subjects offered at SGS provide excellent preparation for employment and higher education, but the purpose of sixth form at SGS is also to prepare our students for life in the broadest possible way.

As they move beyond the Preliminary Examinations, students have the opportunity to narrow their programme of study, take on an Extended Project Qualification, and engage with a varied and thought-provoking Enrichment Programme.

Whilst a Lower Sixth former will start with 10 hours per subject per fortnight across four subjects at the beginning of Sixth Form, for most this will change as they make decisions about their programme of study.

In the Upper Sixth form, most students have 11 hours per subject per fortnight across three subjects. They take on more responsibility for the management of their study time, as part of a phased transition to the type of independent learning expected at university and in the workplace.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) & Enrichment Programme (EP)

The EPQ is an independent research project which, upon completion leads to the award of a Level 3 qualification. Students can choose to begin this year long project in the Spring Term of the Lower Sixth form. Over 85% of our 2023 EPQ group achieved an A*, A or B grade, with many benefiting from adjusted university offers due to their participation in this qualification.

The Enrichment Programme seeks to develop knowledge and skills in such areas which complement and contrast with the students’ academic subjects. This can include learning a language, developing practical cookery skills and undertaking a Skills for Life course. Students begin these courses at the point at which they choose to concentrate on three A-level subjects.