General advice for choosing courses
- The advice on this page is to guide and enable you to choose your course wisely. We are here to help with individual problems and will listen carefully to your requests. Above all, we do not want you to start on the wrong course and end up feeling frustrated or that you have wasted your time with us.
- We offer a place to each student as an individual, NOT subject to certain GCSE results. Whatever your GCSE results we hope to find you appropriate courses at Aquinas. However, some subjects require you to gain specific GCSE grades to study them at the college, the better your GCSE grades the more choices you will have at AS Level. We will help you make the right choices.
- You do not have to decide on the subjects you are to study until the August you enrol. We will spend as long as it takes to help you choose the right course and/or subjects for you.
- Further details are available from the Admissions Manager at the college.
Courses at Aquinas
The majority of our students feel that AS and A2 Level courses offer the best preparation for entry to higher education and proposed career. If you are already certain or even fairly clear about a particular degree course or career, ask for advice to check that the combination of subjects you have chosen is acceptable.
- In your first year at Aquinas you will follow an Advanced Subsidiary (AS) course. This takes one year of study and represents the first half of a full A Level and is worth 50% of the value of a full A Level.
- In your second year, you will continue your studies in some of these subjects to what is called A2 Level.
- Successful completion of a subject at AS Level and at A2 Level equals a full A Level. Most students at Aquinas, we expect, will study 3 subjects at A2 Level. However, it will be possible to start new AS Levels in your second year.
The A Level syllabuses are made up of 6 units. Some have an examination at the end of each unit, others have the assessment at the end of the AS and A2 courses.
Employment Skills Courses
There are a variety of skills and business subjects offered in the business and information suite. These 1 year programmes may be added to either A Level or GCSE programmes.
If you do not achieve a grade C or above in English and/or Maths, we strongly advise you to enrol for the appropriate GCSE course. However, we do not advise you to resit a subject in which you have been awarded an F or G grade. A GCSE course at Aquinas College lasts only 9 months compared with the 2 year course at your previous school. We only offer a limited number of GCSE courses.
All students at Aquinas College follow Core Studies consisting of four elements:
- Study Skills
(Course durations vary – attendance strongly encouraged)
There is more to education at Aquinas than exams! Our extra curricular programme offers students real enrichment and diversity of experience. Students are offered the opportunity to add extra courses to their subject-based timetable in the following areas:
- Community Service
- Enrichment projects
- European exchange programmes
- General Studies
- Japanese courses
- Skills and interest courses
- Sporting activities
- Subject-based workshops
For more information about the different enrichment activities available click here
(One class per week - attendance compulsory)
This course aims to identify and promote exploration of and reflection upon questions which have ultimate meaning and significance. Students are encouraged to develop skills of critical enquiry and analysis. The programme centres on core ideas central to Religion and Philosophy - faith, trust, belief, values and needs. It is seen as an open-ended search for truth which respects the freedom and dignity of each student. Active participation is encouraged.
These skills are recognised by employers and universities as essential. We offer a programme at different levels depending on need.
One concentrates on skills for working life. It will also include leadership activities and presentation skills along with an introduction to emotional intelligence and time management.
Another follows the AS Critical Thinking specification which offers students the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills which are central to the process of arriving at reason-based judgements.
Critical thinking is a fundamental academic competency and is useful for students taking a wide variety of advanced level subjects. It is especially useful for those expecting to take one of the university entrance tests.
(up to 2 sessions per week - attendance compulsory)
This is an important part of the guidance and support system at Aquinas College. Each student is a member of a tutor group of over twenty students. The group tutor is each student’s first point of contact and provides support with any problems encountered on a day-to-day basis as well as leading the tutorial period. The programme followed concentrates on the personal, social and career development of the individual student.
At regular intervals each half-term, the group tutor discusses in detail the progress made in every area of college life. This procedure is named Progress Interview and is, by design, a two-way process. Students are required to take an active part in reviewing their work, setting specific targets to be achieved during the next assessment period as well as recording their involvement in college life.