Sixth Form Curriculum
Cobham Free School provides a wide range of A Level choices, with a focus on traditional subject areas offering the best opportunity to access top university courses. Selecting which A Levels to study is an important decision and students need to pay close regard to identifying the most appropriate combination to suit their future aspirations.
Outlines of the subject courses offered at Cobham Free School are provided below.
When choosing courses we recommend that students consider whether:
they will enjoy the subject
the subject will facilitate future education and career options
the subject works well in combination with other course options
they have previously demonstrated a strong aptitude for the subject
If you have any specific queries, please contact the Admissions team or register to join one of our upcoming Open Day events >
Download the CFS Sixth Form Prospectus >
Art and Design A Level
Studying Art and Design at A Level is suited to those who have enjoyed Art at GCSE and who have a passion for creativity. If you have ability in a creative area, then this could be the course for you. This course is an opportunity for students to express themselves, explore a variety of art and design mediums, whilst gaining an A Level in a subject that demands critical thinking, resourcefulness and independent research, all desirable and transferable skills you can use in the future.
The course enables students to develop and explore skills in a broad range of media. Initial emphasis is on developing a working knowledge of materials in both 2D and 3D approaches. Students will later take on a personal investigation in which they will research and explore a theme of their choice. There is an externally set assignment of 15 hours supervised time plus preparatory period.
Drama and Theatre A Level
Drama and Theatre at A Level is a subject which is invaluable for those who wish to pursue a career in the arts and those who enjoy creating plays, whether it be performing, directing or designing them. The AS and A Level Drama and Theatre qualifications are designed to encourage creativity and develop skills that will support progression to further study of drama and a wide range of other subjects. There is a focus on practical exploration and performance as well as on developing students’ analytical, critical and evaluative skills through written work.
Students will develop a multitude of skills - including collaboration, communication and an understanding of how to refine their work - which are transferable to a range of different careers.
Students will devise an original piece for performance, explore the work of influential theatre practitioners, study stage a range of engaging performance texts and evaluate live theatre productions.
English Literature A Level
English Literature is a subject for those who enjoy reading a wide range of literary texts.
By studying English Literature at A Level students learn to read ambitiously, to scrutinise and to appreciate the writer’s craft and to evaluate the views of others in discussion and debate. Students of Literature have a keen critical eye and an intellectual curiosity about the beauty and power of the English language.
The course introduces students to influential poetry, drama and prose, both classic and contemporary.
A Level English Literature is highly regarded as a facilitating subject by universities since it refines analytical, critical and communication skills.
Music A Level
The CFS music tradition established in the junior and senior departments continues into our Sixth Form provision. Students can participate in the full range of choirs and ensembles, while being encouraged to lead their own groups and activities.
Music A Level has three components: performance, composition and appraising; they may specialise in either performance or composition.
Performance involves a recital of about 10 minutes, assessed by a visiting examiner, including at least two or three pieces, one of which must be as a soloist, and the remainder may be ensemble. For Composition students produce two or three pieces, one in the Western Classical Music tradition, to a brief set by Eduqas, and one or two free compositions. Appraising substantially broadens musical understanding and skills, in three areas of study, including the Western Classical Tradition, a choice of Rock and Pop, Musical Theatre, and Jazz, and a further choice between Twentieth Century and Twenty-First Century music. Exam questions will focus on set works and unprepared listening.
Music is fascinating; the A Level journey gives students excellent foundations to take it further, both actively and professionally, or simply for future enjoyment.
Classical Civilisation A Level
Classical Civilisation is an interdisciplinary A Level course focusing on the civilisations of Greece and Rome. The subject combines the study of literature, material culture, ancient thought and ideas, as well as providing the opportunity to explore ancient historical context.
There is no need to be a language specialist to study A Level Classical Civilisation as the texts are studied in translation. Students will learn to formulate and support an argument and develop a valuable understanding of cultures very different to their own. They will develop their technique in analysing sources and further their independent, critical and evaluative approaches.
Classical Civilisation complements many other subjects, can lead to a variety of careers and is an excellent foundation for any further study of humanities or the arts.
Geography A Level
Geography is a topical, contemporary subject which is especially attractive for those who want to maintain strong links with the ‘real world’ outside the classroom. It can enhance skills in communication, using ICT (including geographic information systems), teamwork and problem-solving, as well as developing a greater awareness of the environment and global issues.
Students are required to write evaluative essays throughout the course as well as apply statistical techniques to data. Topics such as tectonic hazards, coastal landscapes, globalisation, regeneration, water and energy security, climate change, migration and geopolitics are all covered.
Fieldwork is an invaluable and compulsory component of the course and Lower Sixth (Year 12) students are required to attend a residential field trip at a Field Studies Council centre.
Studying Geography opens up a wide range of career options including Planning, Travel and Tourism, Business Management, Hazard Management, Conservation and International Development.
History A Level
Choosing an A Level in History will allow students to analyse aspects of both British and World History in depth. At Cobham Free School we will be studying conflict, revolution and settlement in Britain between 1625 and 1701, Russia in Revolution 1894-1924 and civil rights and race relations in the U.S.A 1850-2006. Students will have the opportunity to critically analyse sources and formulate judgements on key historical issues. Students will use research to develop well formed arguments and write answers in a concise fashion.
History is a choice that combines well with other subjects and is highly respected by university admission tutors. It can inspire an interest in the world and prepare students for life post-school.
Students who study History pursue careers in a large range of fields, some of these include: accountancy, journalism and law.
A Level Philosophy comprises four topic areas: Epistemology, Moral philosophy, the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of mind. Students are required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the content, including through the use of philosophical analysis (conceptual analysis and argument analysis).
They must also be able to analyse and evaluate the philosophical arguments within the subject content to form reasoned judgements. In doing this, they will:
understand the ways in which philosophers have analysed the core concepts of philosophy
understand the main philosophical arguments within topics, through the works of philosophers
understand the philosophical claims which are made within each topic and be able to articulate those claims correctly, clearly and precisely
understand the ways in which philosophical arguments are developed
understand the similarities and differences between the forms of reasoning used in different philosophical content areas
generate responses using appropriate philosophical formats, to a range of philosophical questions.
The course is complementary to both arts and science A Levels and prepares students for study in many Humanities subjects at university, such as Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). Being skilled in thinking is extremely marketable; Philosophy students can have careers in a wide range of fields such as law, journalism and public service, including politics.
Sociology A Level
Why does racism exist in our society? Why is there a gender pay gap? What is the role of institutions – do they perform positive functions, or simply work in the interests of the powerful and against the powerless? Are you willing to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’? Sociology is an exciting and illuminating subject that enables a critical, forward thinking analysis of the structure of society and the interactions between different groups that shape our lives both in public and in private.
French A Level
French is a language spoken in over 50 countries, by over 280 million of the world’s population. Its international significance means it is an official language of the United Nations and French speakers have a world of opportunities open to them as a result. French A Level is ideal for students who have a passion for further study after GCSE. Students deepen their knowledge of the French language through speaking, reading and listening, as well as developing an awareness of contemporary French society and gaining an insight into the culture of different French-speaking countries.
In addition, the course develops transferable skills valued by universities and employers, such as communication, resilience and problem-solving.
Being proficient in a language can broaden career options, with language graduates often employed in professions such as international banking, journalism, law and marketing.
Spanish A Level
It is estimated that more than 437 million people speak Spanish as their first language, approximately 80 million more than those whose first language is English. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. Spanish A Level provides students who are passionate about the language with the chance to deepen their knowledge. Through the course they develop cultural awareness of Spanish- speaking countries and discover more about the important issues in modern Spanish society.
The course offers students the opportunity to develop skills which are sought-after by universities. Studying a Modern Foreign Language is also valued by employers, and a popular and widely-spoken language such as Spanish, can be useful for a range of careers.
Maths and Computing
Computer Science A Level
Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply academic principles to real world systems. It is a very creative subject, combining invention and excitement, and that looks at the natural world through a digital prism. Computer Science values computational thinking, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.
Throughout the course students study computing principles which explore the characteristics of contemporary processors, software and software development, programming, exchanging data, data types, structures and algorithms, the internet and legal and ethical issues.
Mathematics A Level
Mathematics underpins so much of our everyday lives - the creation of almost everything has been influenced by it. Mathematics A Level is particularly suitable for students who enjoy spending time solving problems and thinking analytically.
The course covers three areas: Pure Maths (Algebra, Calculus and Proof), Mechanics (Vectors and Kinematics) and Statistics (Data Analysis and Probability). There are three exams: two covering Pure Maths and one covering Applied Maths.
An A Level in Mathematics is highly respected by universities and employers. The course would be vital for students considering university degrees in Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering and Medicine. It would also be useful for many other degree courses, such as Economics, Accounting and Psychology.
Further Mathematics A Level
Further Maths is always taken in addition to Mathematics A Level. It would be suitable for students who have a real interest in the subject and are keen to study it in greater depth. Prospective students should have strong foundations in algebra and a natural curiosity for solving complex problems.
The course involves extensive exploration of Pure Maths (Proof, Complex Numbers, Matrices) and Applied Maths (Probability, Hypothesis testing, Dynamics, Kinematics).
This A Level option would be most appropriate for students intending to study Mathematics at university. As it is taken as an additional A Level, it is recommended for those students who would thrive on the extra academic challenge and workload.
Biology A Level
Biology is an exciting, cutting edge science. The understanding of cell and molecular biology, ecology, genetics and evolution are all essential to the continuing progress of society.
As well as having a passion for the subject, A Level Biology students need to have the ability to understand complex systems, and demonstrate an interest in the impact they have on our world and the future success of humankind.
Biology is taught in our new ‘state of the art’ science laboratories where students can conduct exciting experiments to put their theoretical knowledge into practice.
Chemistry A Level
Would you like to design the medicines of the future? Could you ensure the quality control of a new product in the chemical industry? Can you develop the skills required to be at the cutting edge of environmental initiatives? These are all questions students interested in Chemistry may wish to ask themselves.
Chemistry is suitable for students who have a desire to further their scientific knowledge, enjoy practical experiments and have aspirations to develop skills applicable to real life scenarios.
Studying Chemistry allows students to acquire subject-specific and transferable skills, which are valued by employers. It opens up opportunities for a range of careers in the science and health sectors including: medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, zoology, biomedicine, forensics, science teaching and biochemistry.
Physics A Level
Physics provides the building blocks of the universe and a good understanding of its principles is essential in our increasingly technological world. Physics is a challenging but exciting subject that has the power to inspire every student.
Physics suits students who have enjoyed studying both Science and Mathematics at Key Stage 4. It is suitable for those who would like to develop a detailed understanding of how the universe works and then use that understanding to shape our future.
Physics is highly regarded by universities and employers. It can lead to roles in scientific research, as well as a range of careers in areas such as law, finance, astronomy, engineering, architecture and medicine.
Business A Level
How does Apple persuade people to pay so much more for an iPhone than an android phone? Why did Thomas Cook collapse? How do businesses balance today’s environmental, political and ethical issues with the needs of their employees, shareholders and customers? How do businesses remain competitive in an ever-changing world? Why are some companies successful and others fail?
A Level Business covers a range of topics including: Different business types; What managers do; The role shareholders play; How businesses make decisions; How products and services are marketed; How businesses are financed; What human resources decisions businesses need to make; Competition and the markets in which businesses operate; and Business strategy.
You will develop good written communication, problem-solving, analytical and research skills. A Level Business is an excellent choice for a wide variety of careers such as accountancy, law, finance, marketing, human resources and management.
Economics A Level
Economics is a subject concerned with balancing our wants and needs against limited resources. It asks students to consider how much we can produce, for whom and how much it is worth as a result. During the course, students examine microeconomics, investigating the concepts of supply and demand, looking at individual markets and analysing the causes of market failure.
Macroeconomics is also introduced, providing the chance to consider how the economy functions as a whole, how financial markets work and the impact of globalisation. The course includes a study of the policies used by government and central banks to maximise welfare and maintain economic stability.
Students of Economics do not necessarily need to combine the subject with Maths A Level, unless they want to study pure Economics at degree level. Economics can complement arts subjects such as History and Philosophy and Theology, it can also combine well with Geography or contrast with Sciences.
Psychology A Level
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind. Students will have the opportunity to explore human behaviour and cognitive processes, such as thinking and memory.
The course content includes social, cognitive, developmental, clinical and biological psychology. At A Level students will be assessed by three exams involving a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and essay questions.
The course involves the application of psychological skills and research methodology, including mathematical skills, for example hypothesis testing and statistical analysis. It is therefore recommended that students are competent in their knowledge of mathematics before undertaking this course.
Psychology is a fascinating subject in its own right but it also encourages the development and application of many transferable skills, such as communication, team working and research. These skills are highly valued by further education establishments and employers.
Students who study this subject may wish to pursue traditional careers in psychology, such as educational, forensic, clinical or occupational psychology. However, the subject is also well suited to a broad range of careers beyond the traditional fields of psychology.
Physical Education A Level
A level Physical Education is the perfect subject for any individual with a passion for sport or fitness and who wants to understand the requirements for creating elite performers. The A Level course develops the subject content studied at GCSE, building on the knowledge of the scientific, socio-cultural and historical aspects of sport and fitness.
Students embarking on this course must already have a sport they are passionate about and play regularly to a competitive level. They must be keen to immerse themselves in this subject and to develop their technical understanding and vocabulary. A Level PE opens the door to a huge range of careers in sport and develops transferable skills which are in high demand both for university applications and careers.