Group of students

Sixth Form Curriculum



Senior School

Subject Introduction
Key Stage 3 Years 7 – 9 – Topics and Assessment
Key Stage 4 GCSE – Topics and Assessment
Trips and Enrichment

Sixth Form

Subject Introduction
Key Stage 5 A Level- Topics and Assessment
Trips and Enrichment
University Courses and Careers

The Art and Design Department at Sions is Vibrant and Diverse

Art at Our Lady of Sion School encourages students to explore ideas, experiment and take risks. Many transferable skills are built upon such as how to undertake research, team work and how to effectively develop and refine an idea. A diverse curriculum aims to appeal to all students’ talents and interests.


Students are introduced to a wide range of key techniques and skills in Years 7, 8 and 9. Projects incorporate drawing, painting, print making, sculpting, photography and mixed media. Students are introduced to a wide range of contemporary and traditional artists in order to inspire their own work.

In Year 7 students study the ‘Elements of Art’ project which builds the foundation of skills and understanding that they need to support them in going forward. The second project is ‘Cakes and Sweet Things’ where students study artists such as Wayne Thiebaud to inspire their own paintings, drawings and clay sculptures.

In Year 8 students begin with a Pop Art project which allows them to develop their drawing and painting skills further and finish by making a shoe sculpture. The second project in Year 8 is ‘All About Me’ which teaches key skills in how to create portraiture using different media.

In Year 9 students study short, 7 week projects throughout the year including: ‘Multiple View-Points’, ‘Landscapes and Mark Making’ and ‘Decorative Buildings’. These short projects allow students to embed skills and prepare them for GCSE Art.
Students work is regularly assessed throughout the projects.

Extra Curricular:

A popular Art club is open to all students each week for all Year 7, 8 and 9 students where we undertake a range of projects from making Abstract sculptures to painting murals in the corridors.

‘The Art House’ is a weekly club that allows all GCSE Art students to come into the artroom to work on their Art with their peers.

The Art Department regularly enters local and national competitions. Two of our current students recently won a national ISA competition to design a sports cover. Their artwork will be printed onto 1000’s of programmes for prestigious sporting events event. Another student won the BBFC Black Card Competition which was co judged by representatives from Disney. Her artwork was proudly shown on the big screen before each and every screening of the film ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’. We also run cross-curricular workshops and competitions. Selected students have recently been invited along to after school workshops to support them in entering the Extraordinary Portrait Competition that asks students to produce a portrait of someone has survived genocide.

GCSE Art, Craft and Design:

At GCSE we offer a popular Art, Craft and Design GCSE course. Coursework forms 60% of the GCSE and the exam in Year 11 makes up for the remaining 40%.

A wide range of skills and techniques are developed across the GCSE course where students work in a range of both 2D and 3D media. This scope of study helps prepare them for the exam set in Year 11 and A-Level Fine Art.

Coursework projects:

Natural Forms

Students respond to natural forms using a wide range of media and techniques from drawing with coffee and ink to layering collage and prints. These studies inform the designs and final construction of a final piece sculpted from chicken wire. Artist inspiration comes from various artists including: Peter Randall-Page and Antonio Gaudi.


Students are introduced to a wide range of artists and are able to work more independently as they follow they chosen preferred style. Students produce a final portraits in response to the research undertaken during the project. Trips to The National Portrait Gallery, The Saatchi and The National Gallery offers a great source of inspiration.

Students are assessed at regular intervals during each coursework project and again at the end. All GCSE work undertakes a thorough moderation process including other Art departments and AQA moderators.

A-Level Fine Art.

Year 12:

In Year 12 students undertake ‘The Built Environment’ project. Within this projects students are introduced to a wide range of artists that respond to the built environment. Students use architecture as their source of inspiration and many workshops are undertaken outdoors. This project allows for students to develop their skills further and be introduced to a more rigorous way of working. Varied workshops allows them to use their sketchbooks in a more adventurous way.

Our smaller class sizes allow for excellent teacher support and personalised lessons, trips and tutorials.

From Easter in Year 12 students start their ‘Personal Investigation’ which makes up for 60% of their A-Level grade.

  • Unit 1: The Personal Investigation
  • Unit 2: The externally set task.

The annual summer exhibition is a wonderful event held in the School’s Chapel to celebrate the work produced by GCSE and A-Level Art students. Teachers, parents, students, friends are invited to the event.

Miss E Dodd BA (Hons) QTS
Teacher of Art

Business Studies

Business Studies

Business Studies and its potential

Aims of the course

The qualification aims to:

  • Develop an understanding of relevant business concepts and theories and an ability to apply them to a range of real-world issues;
  • Enable students to acquire the ability to make decisions in the light of evaluation, quantification and management of business information;
  • Develop an awareness and understanding of business and economic behaviour from the perspectives of a range of stakeholders including customers, managers, creditors, owners/shareholders, employees and society;
  • Enable students to analyse, explain and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of business within a changing economic environment and the role of citizens, businesses and governments within it.
  • It is not essential for students to have studied Business at GCSE level. However, where they have, a grade B/level 6 or better is desirable.
  • Due to the nature of the content and assessment methods used, at least a level 5 grade in English and Mathematics would be preferable.
  • It is more important that you have a lively and enquiring mind, an interest in business and economic affairs and a desire to explore new ideas and communicate them effectively.

Key Stage 5 A Level- Topics and Assessment

Course content and assessment

  • What is business?
  • Managers, leadership and decision making
  • Decision making to improve marketing performance
  • Decision making to improve operational performance
  • Decision making to improve financial performance
  • Decision making to improve human resource performance
  • Analysing the strategic position of a business
  • Choosing strategic direction
  • Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies
  • Managing strategic change

Paper 1 – written exam: 2 hours 33.3% of A Level
Section A – 15 multiple choice questions (15 marks)
Section B – short answer questions (35 marks)
Section C and D – 2 essay questions (25 marks each)

Paper 2 – written exam: 2 hours 33.3% of A Level
Three data response questions (33 marks each)

Paper 3 – written exam: 2 hours 33.3% of A Level
One compulsory case study question consisting of approximately 6 questions

University Courses and Careers

Students with Advanced GCE Business Studies (AQA) have access to a wide range of possible careers and higher education opportunities. Undergraduate business courses combine well with a range of social science and humanities subjects such as Accounting, Economics, Politics, Law and Psychology.

Some courses now offer a sandwich placement year which does offer payment in return and future job opportunities. This is an area worth investigating further if interested.



One of the most important tasks for the students during their time in the Sixth Form is planning what to do at the end of their time with us. Making the right decisions is vital for their future success and having access to high quality careers advice is essential.

We provide well-informed assistance with UCAS applications, taking account of the latest developments in the Higher Education (HE) sector and new opportunities for young adults. Students can be assured of informed and meticulous assistance with their choice of universities and courses. If students are seeking an alternative to university, such as higher level apprenticeships or the new degree apprenticeships, they can be confident of receiving well-informed guidance.

Our aim is to meet individual needs, while ensuring that the following essential ingredients are included:

Participation in The Centigrade Scheme – an in-depth computer analysis designed to indicate academic potential and opportunities beyond A Level.

Identification and investigation of skills and interests through workshop sessions using specialist software.

Individual and group work on interview techniques.

Action planning, making job applications and construction of a professional level CV.

There is an emphasis on encouraging students to expand their skills base through volunteering opportunities and work experience placements. We recognise the need for students to identify areas of interest that will be useful to careers and courses and to expand their knowledge beyond the A Level curriculum. To this end, students will be introduced to university online learning sites such as Future Learn, which will enhance their knowledge in a wide variety of fields.


The majority of students choose to apply to a Higher Education course through UCAS. We hold all the latest university prospectuses, as well as information on a wider array of courses including art and design, drama and theatre, working in agriculture and many others. We are also able to provide assistance to those seeking educational opportunities abroad or contemplating a gap year.

Students will be provided with all the assistance needed to make a successful application to university and this includes:

  • Attendance at the UCAS Higher Education Fair where they can talk directly with university admissions tutors.
  • Introduction to UCAS in the Lower Sixth and ongoing assistance with the completion of university application forms in the fourth term. This includes assistance with preparing and writing personal statements.
  • Advice on university applications from invited university admissions tutors.
  • Assistance with extra admissions tests and preparation for Oxbridge, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry and Law. The School hosts a UKCAT course every year.
  • Students are also advised to attend university open days, and to participate in university taster courses, as well as suitable master classes.

In the Spring term of Year 13, careers advice is available on an individual basis for any students needing guidance at this time and students complete a personal finance course so that they are able to manage their money and are well prepared for the next stage of life. Once the A Level results are published in August, further assistance will be available for anyone who needs help during this crucial time.

Mrs Baxter
Leader of Sixth Form and Careers



A Level Economics aims to provide students with an understanding of some of the central approaches to the fundamental problem of Economics: How should scarce resources be allocated?

Economics often helps us understand what we read about in the news, and a big part of being successful on the course is being interested in, and prepared to discuss, current affairs.

Since Economics is a subject about the world around us, time will be spent examining source materials to recognise the use of economic theory, and evaluating the arguments presented in source materials. This is also an important skill for examinations.

No previous knowledge of Economics is required. It is recommended that students have attained at least a grade 6 at English Language GCSE. The course does not involve any Mathematics beyond GCSE level, but interpreting graphs is a key skill, and students should be able perform basic Mathematical calculations.

Key Stage 5 A Level- Topics and Assessment

The 2 year A level course is assessed through examination at the end of the period of study.

Year 1

The fundamental problem of Economics
Price determination in a competitive market
Production, revenue and costs
Market failure and government intervention

Measurement of macroeconomic performance
Circular flow of income
Financial markets and monetary policy
Globalisation and international trade

Course Content in Year 2

Individual Economic decision making
Imperfect and monopolistic markets
The labour marketing
Poverty and inequality

Economic performance
Government failure
Fiscal policy
Exchange rate systems and growth and development

Exam papers (year 2)

Paper 1 – Markets and market failure
Paper 2 – National and international Economy
Paper 3 – Economic principles and issues

Trips and Enrichment

There are trips to the Crown Court, Parliament and the Old Bailey during the course of the A Level.

University Courses and Careers

Economics provides an excellent background knowledge for any student wanting to move onto a career related to public policy or finance.



Subject Introduction
Key Stage 5

A Level

For those students who choose to study Geography at A Level, we follow the AQA specification with a final two exams to sit at the end of Year 13: one in Human Geography and one in Physical Geography. During the two year course, students will learn about topic such as water and carbon cycles, urban environments, changing places, hazards and coasts.

Trips and Enrichment

The Sixth Form offers two residential fieldtrips to complement the exam specification for AQA Geography. These include using the Field Studies Council Centre at Juniper Hall in Dorking and also the Barcelona Field Studies Centre. It is a popular options subject, and students make the transition from GCSE to A-Level with confidence. The independent coursework component at A-Level builds on experienced gained on the fieldtrips and from local investigations.

University Courses and Careers

In recent years students have gone on to study Geography at Russel Group Universities, along with other degrees with a Geographical element. Geography allows students to pursue careers in variety of fields and offers a variety of skills which are highly transferable and desirable in a fast changing world economy.



The A Level Law course is highly varied in content and gives students an excellent foundational knowledge of law in England and Wales. Students will learn about legal institutions, the relationship between the individual and the state, Law making by Government and the Courts, and legal principles generally.
The new A Level provides opportunities for students to learn legal principles and case law in the areas of Criminal law, Tort law and Contract law.

No previous knowledge of the Law is required. It is recommended that students have attained at least a grade 6 at English Language GCSE.

The 2 year A level course is assessed through examination at the end of the period of study: There are 3 papers each 2 hours in length.

Key Stage 5 A Level- Topics and Assessment

Course Content in Year 1

Paper 1

Legal System

  • Introduction to the nature of lawCivil Courts and other forms of dispute resolution
  • Criminal courts and lay people
  • Legal personnel
  • Access to justice

Criminal Law

  • General elements of criminal liability
  • Non-fatal offences against the person

Paper 2

Law Making

  • Parliamentary law making

Tort Law

  • Liability in negligence
  • Delegated legislation
  • Occupiers liability remedies
  • Statutory Interpretation
  • Judicial Precedent
  • Law Reform

Course Content in Year 2

The areas of Tort law and Criminal law are expanded upon and there is the addition of study into the Nature of law and Contract law.

Criminal Law

  • Rules and theory of criminal law
  • Fatal offences against the person
  • Offences against property
  • Mental capacity defences
  • General defences
  • Attempted Offences

Tort Law

  • Rules and theory of tort law
  • Torts connected to land
  • Vicarious liability
  • Defences and further remedies

Nature of Law

  • Law and morality
  • Law and justice
  • Law and society
  • Law and technology

Contract Law

  • Rule and theory of Contract Law
  • Formation of contracts
  • Express and implied terms
  • Vitiating factors
  • Discharging and performance
  • Remedies

Paper 1 – The Legal System and Criminal Law
Paper 2 – Law Making and the Law of Tort
Paper 3 – The Nature of Law and Contract Law

Trips and Enrichment

There are visits throughout the course; to a Crown Court, Parliament and the Old Bailey.

University Courses and Careers

Studying Law at A level is useful for anyone hoping to go to University to study subjects such as Politics, History, Government, Media, Law, Business and Social Sciences. The skills and knowledge acquired studying Law are useful in careers in the Civil Service, Business, Journalism, Politics, Law, the Police and in Management.



Mathematics remains a popular subject in our Sixth Form. In the A-level, students have the chance to delve deeper into their study of the subject and explore key concepts from a range of both Pure and Applied Mathematics, including Calculus, Trigonometry, Hypothesis Testing and Newton’s Laws of Motion, to name but a few. Whilst these are challenging topics to learn, they underpin a vast range of topic areas such as Medicine, Engineering, Psychology and more. Regardless of what you go on to study, you will find connections to this course of Mathematics.

Key Stage 5 A Level- Topics and Assessment

Students follow the Edexcel A level course, and are assessed through a terminal exam at the end of year 13, which consists of 3 papers:

  • Paper 1 and 2: Pure Mathematics
  • Paper 3: Statistics and Mechanics

A number supplement this by also studying Further Mathematics (assessed separately).

Trips and Enrichment

A-level Mathematics students have the opportunity to enter the annual Senior Mathematics Challenge administered by the UK Mathematics Trust. Weekly practice sessions are run in the build-up to these competitions so that students can build up their confidence prior to the challenge itself. Many students perform extremely well, earning Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates of achievement. Students can enter this in both Year 12 and 13.

University Courses and Careers

Many of our students have gone on to read Mathematics at degree level in recent years, at universities including Bristol, Bath, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, University College London, Oxford, St. Andrews, Sheffield and Sussex.



All Sixth Form students are offered an enrichment afternoon where they are encouraged to participate in sport and fitness. The afternoon is about enjoying sport with friends. It is used as a positive break from the academic studies of their A-level courses. Most activities take place on-site but some sessions may be off-site.

Key Stage 3 – Year 12 & 13

A Level PE is offered as an option in the Sixth Form.
Students will study units in physiology, psychology and socio-cultural issues in sport (70%). Students will also provide an oral response to apply their theoretical knowledge into a practical observation (15%). Students will be assessed in one competitive sport which contributes towards 15% of the total course.

Trips and Enrichment

Sixth Form students are not only offered an afternoon of enrichment, they are also encouraged to take up leadership roles within the school. They will help and support the coach at sports clubs and help run house competitions.
As part of the enrichment, a variety of off-site activities may take place through the year. Examples are fitness classes, golf and ice skating.

Mr. S. Danes BSc PGCE – Head of Expressive Arts Faculty
Mrs. E. Baxter BSc QTS – Teacher of Physical Education/Head of Sixth Form
Mr S. Kirkwood BA (Hons) PGCE – Teacher of Physical Education



A Level Philosophy introduces students to a range of important themes in Philosophy, both historical and contemporary. The course follows the progression of thought from thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle from ancient Greece up to the current time on questions such as ‘What is it that makes something morally good?’, ‘How does human knowledge come about?’ and ‘What can we say about the nature of reality?’

Philosophy is best for students who already like to think about these kinds of questions. It is not a subject that you can learn by passively sitting and listening, rather it is very important to bring your own ideas to things, and to be prepared to discuss them with those who disagree.

No previous knowledge of Philosophy is required. It is recommended that students have attained at least a grade 7 at English Language GCSE.

Key Stage 5 A Level- Topics and Assessment

The 2 year A level course is assessed through examination at the end of the period of study: There are 2 papers each 3 hours in lengths.

Course Content in Year 1

Theory of knowledge
What is knowledge?
What, if anything, can we be certain of?
Can reason alone tell us about the world?
How do we perceive the external world?

How should we approach moral dilemmas?
What can we say about practical issues like eating meat, lying, and playing violent video games?
What is virtue?
Are there moral truths?

Course Content in Year 2

Philosophy of mind
What is the relationship between mind and body?
Do we have a coherent idea of mind?
Can we know the content of other people’s minds?

Metaphysics of religion
Arguments in favour of the existence of God
Arguments against the existence of God
How do we use religious language?
What can we say about the nature of God?

Exam papers (year 2)

Paper 1 – Epistemology and Ethics
Paper 2 – Mind and religion

University Courses and Careers

In terms of University it is an academically demanding A Level, and will provide excellent preparation for any course that deals with big issues. It teaches critical thinking, and the skill of deconstructing and criticising an argument, as well as constructing your own in favour of conclusions that are often quite abstract.



Psychology is a popular choice of subject for A Level. Many of the students who take A Level Psychology go on to study the subject at university.

So what is Psychology?

Psychology is the study of behaviour. It is a subject that forms a link between the biological sciences and the social sciences. Studying this course does not mean that students will be able to read people’s minds or be a qualified psychiatrist after one year. Psychology has recently been classified as a Science by the QCA, and it combines well with both Arts and Science courses at A Level.

Topics and Assessment

It is not necessary to have studied the subject at GCSE. However, as this is a subject that needs competent written answers and includes Research Methods, then a Grade 6 in English and Maths is necessary.
Areas of study include:

  • Relationships
  • Social influence
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology
  • Approaches to psychology
  • Issues and Debates in psychology
  • Gender or Relationships
  • Schizophrenia
  • Forensic Psychology or Addiction

Trips and Enrichment

In the past the Psychology Department has gone to Disney World Paris to study behaviour in Amusement Parks and listen to experts in a student conference.

Other trips include the Freud Centre in London and observing animal behaviour in a zoo.

University Courses and Careers

There are many different courses and careers available to you with a Psychology A Level.

Courses at University include BSc (Honours) and BA (Honours) and specialisms such as Developmental Psychology; Forensic Psychology; Criminology and Psychology; Philosophy and Psychological Studies; Social Sciences; Psychology with Counselling; and Pure Psychology.

Careers with a Psychology Degree can include those in Law, Criminology, Education, Management, Business & Industry, Marketing, Human Factors such as Ergonomics and Engineering Psychology, Family Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Infant Health, Statistics, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Pharmacology, Biology, General Medicine and Psychiatry.



Key Stage 5 – Years 12 & 13

All three sciences are offered at A Level.

A Level Science subjects build on GCSE knowledge and also introduce more advanced topics. Experimental skills are developed further, with students carrying out more extended practical work and investigations.

The A Level Science courses provide opportunities for students to develop key skills:

  • Experimental skills
  • Communication
  • Mathematical and data analysis
  • Information Technology
  • Problem Solving
  • Working with others
  • Improving own learning and performance

Final assessment, in all A Level Science subjects, will consist of three written papers.

Practical skills are developed throughout the course and are assessed within the written examinations and by Practical Endorsement. Candidates complete a minimum of 12 practical activities to demonstrate practical competence.

Biology [AQA]

This course provides an opportunity to gain a sound understanding of Biology through the study of biological principles whilst exploring the modern applications of Biology. It provides an appropriate foundation for further study of Biology or related subjects in Higher Education. It has also proved to be a stimulating A Level for those wishing to study non-related disciplines at university, such as Law or English. It can lead to direct entry into employment, especially into the sciences and related sectors.

The course includes

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms response to changes in their environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression

Chemistry [OCR]

The course enable students to gain knowledge and an understanding of Chemistry and gives students the opportunity to develop skills in laboratory procedures and techniques. The study of A Level Chemistry can prepare students to follow a degree course in Chemistry, Environmental Science, Veterinary Medicine, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and Pharmacy.

The course includes:

  • Development of practical skills in Chemistry
  • Foundations in Chemistry
  • Periodic Table and Energy
  • Core Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry and Transition Elements
  • Organic Chemistry and Analysis

Physics [OCR]

The course will provide a satisfying experience for the student who chooses to take Physics as part of a broad post-16 curriculum. At the end of the course they should know more of what Physics is about and its place in the world. The course will enable the student to go on to study Physics or an associated course at university; at the same time it will provide an interesting and stimulating experience for the student who does not pursue the subject further.

The course includes:

  • Development of practical skills in physics
  • Foundations of physics
  • Forces and motion
  • Electrons, waves and photons
  • Newtonian world and Astrophysics
  • Particles and medical Physics

Trips and Enrichment

Sixth Form Science trips include:

  • Yr12 Biology: Marwell Zoo – Conservation
  • Yr12 Chemistry: Southampton University – Master classes

Students are also encouraged to take part in national competitions and teams are entered for the Biology Challenge and the Chemistry and Physics Olympiads.

In addition, Sixth Form Science students often assist with the organisation and running of the very popular STEM Club.

University and Careers

Sion Science students have gone on to study related courses and pursue careers in wide variety of areas, including:

  • Rocket science
  • Astrophysics research
  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Computing & Graphics

Mr C Conway BSc(Hons) PGCE
Head of Science Faculty

World Languages

World Languages

The World Languages Faculty at Our Lady of Sion School offers French and Spanish at A Level and our teachers are subject specialists with a combined total of more than 40 years’ experience in teaching languages.

Key Stage 5 – Years 12 & 13

Students may choose to study up to two languages at A Level and internal assessment is in the form of topic related assignments, exam type papers and mock examinations. The external assessment is provided by the AQA examination board.

Trips and Exchanges

We are now able to offer a full range of exchanges and trips again. Current plans include an exchange with our sister school in Grenoble, a gastronomic tour of Barcelona and a day-trip to Europe’s largest aquarium at Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Mr J Gardner-Martin BA (Hons) QTS
Head of World Languages Faculty