The A-level syllabus is designed to prepare students for university study, which is why universities worldwide value and recognise A-level qualifications from UK examination boards. The three examination boards used at Epsom are:
- AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance)
- Cambridge Assesment International Education
- Edexcel (owned by Pearson)
Examination boards offer a choice of 55 different subjects and schools can offer them in almost any combination. This flexibility means schools can build an individualised curriculum, and learners can choose to specialise in a particular subject area or study a range of subjects. At Epsom, 15 A-level subjects are offered for September intake. There are a reduced number of subjects available for any student wishing to join Y12 in January.
The aim of studying A-levels is for students to develop a deep understanding of subjects, as well as independent learning and constructive thinking skills – abilities which universities value highly.
The syllabuses are international in outlook, but retain a local relevance. They have been created specifically for an international student body with content to suit a wide variety of schools and avoid cultural bias.
Giving students the power to choose their subjects helps motivate them throughout their studies. This flexibility gives schools the building blocks to build an individualised curriculum that develops knowledge, understanding and skills in:
- in-depth subject content
- independent thinking
- applying knowledge and understanding to new as well as familiar situations
- handling and evaluating different types of information source
- thinking logically and presenting ordered and coherent arguments
- making judgements, recommendations and decisions
- presenting reasoned explanations, understanding implications and communicating them clearly and logically
- working and communicating in English