Sixth Form curriculum

The curriculum in the Sixth Form (16 to 18 years old) is designed to prepare pupils not only for A Level examinations but for life beyond Downe House.

We support our girls to achieve their personal best

We are confident that our outstanding results speak for themselves; in 2018 nearly 90% of A level grades achieved by the girls were A* – B and many girls went on to pursue higher education at first class university destinations.

Sixth Form curriculum Image slider 1000 x 1000 study downe house

A curriculum which recognises and rewards depth in learning

The vast majority of students will study three subjects. Some girls may wish to study four subjects and it may be advisable for some to do so if they are considering particular professional courses, such as Medicine at certain universities. These decisions will be made in consultation with the Higher Education Department.

All subjects (aside from the Extended Project Qualification and Higher Education and Research Skills) are taught via eight 40 minute lessons a week.

Subjects available in the Sixth Form

Read more in our Sixth Form options booklet.



Higher Education Research Skills (HERS)

In the Michaelmas term we deliver an intensive five-week study skills course to all of our Lower Sixth students on Foundational Higher Education Research Skills. At the end of this short, intensive course, girls may opt to continue their academic research with an Extended Project Qualification. Alongside this, girls will also have the opportunity to hear a variety of outside speakers over the course of the year to help broaden their general understanding of current global issues.

Our aim is that the girls begin to develop as independent learners, capable of carrying out academic research. They are introduced to a variety of essential skills including: time management and organisation, research skills, referencing and bibliographies, critical thinking and analysis of arguments and evidence, presentation skills and report writing.

All of these skills are useful for their curriculum subjects as they will help them to adjust to working at A Level standard with its more rigorous academic requirements, culminating in a written report or presentation of their findings.

Extending the curriculum

Alongside these academic subjects, we offer courses and schemes through which girls gain qualifications and valuable experience:

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) – (this equates to half an A Level)

Leiths Academy: Introductory Certificate in Food and Wine

Academic Enrichment Lectures: Regular lectures by external professional business professionals and university academics

Peer mentoring: Sixth Formers can sign up to mentor younger students and meet with them regularly

CV Workshops: Girls have the opportunity to learn how to write a compelling CV

Interview Practice: every girl in the Sixth Form receives tailored expert interview practice and advice



Leiths Cookery kitchen

Our departments

Explore more about each of our departments to discover the details of each subject studied.


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