General Studies is probably the most relevant and contemporary subject taught in schools today.
It concentrates on issues of ongoing relevance and concern, helping students to build on their specialist subjects, and learning how they apply to real life. It also develops their wider skills and interests, whilst giving them a broader understanding of issues important to society.
Although teaching time is limited to one hour per week, we aim to provide an A-level at considerably less than normal outlay; the key to success being the students' interest in the broad and topical issues that may well have claimed their attention for a number of years. We build on work done at pre-GCSE level in Personal Development, English, and RSS, among other subjects, and repeatedly advise students that their best resource is a quality newspaper or magazine article. For the scientist, the course is an excellent opportunity to keep abreast of issues relating to the arts and humanities, as well as allowing essential practice of essay-writing skills which they would not otherwise be able to do in their science A levels. For the student of arts and humanities, it allows the chance to be better informed of scientific issues affecting society today, such as genetic engineering, and the use and abuse of 3D printers.
The subject is taught through a ‘carousel’ approach, with the students having the benefit of the knowledge of eight teachers on a three-week rotation basis over the course of the year.
All students in the sixth form will study and be prepared for the exam at the end of the year, with the structure of the course being in line with the modular exam system (i.e. how highly they achieve at AS contributes to their final grade at the end of Year 13).
AS and A2 Culture and Society incorporates the following general topic areas
- An understanding and appreciation of the changing nature and importance of culture
- Creativity and innovation
- Aesthetic evaluation
- Beliefs, values and moral reasoning
- Religious belief and experience and connections between them
- Examination and appreciation of ideologies and values in society
- Media and communication
- Political processes and goals
- Relationship between law, society and ethics
AS and A2 Science and Society incorporates the following general topic areas
- Characteristics of the sciences (physical, life and earth)
- Explanation and evaluation of human behaviour
- Social and economic trends and constraints
- Understanding of scientific methods, principles, criteria and their application
- The nature of scientific objectivity and the question of progress
- The nature of objectivity in social sciences
- Mathematical reasoning and its application
- The social, ethical and environmental implications of scientific discoveries and technological development
- Moral responsibility of scientists
- Past and present relationships between technology, science and society