Learning Without Limits...

There are no limits to learning at Putney.

In our Sixth Form, students typically study three or four A Levels across a wide range of options with great flexibility of choice. From Classics to Chemistry, English to Extended Project, Mandarin to Mathematics; the curriculum is personalised to your needs and your chosen areas of study.

All A Level subjects are taught in seminar style, led by teachers who are experts in their field and at the forefront of educational research. You will have the opportunity to lead conversation and debate with both your teachers and peers.

You will be expected and encouraged to open your mind and to push at the boundaries of the curriculum, extending your studies with debates, lectures, extended reading and discussion groups alongside expert speakers and inspiring external visits.

Extension and Tailored Learning

Our super-curricular programme offers stretch and extension, going beyond the curriculum to help you to develop yours skills in a subject area which excites you.

Many choose to supplement their A Level study with other qualifications, e.g. the highly regarded Extended Project Qualification, where you study, build and present your own research project in a particular field of interest. This allows students to truly tailor their A Level experience, to stretch themselves intellectually and to prepare for the independent learning style of university study.

A Level Choices 2019

Daphne and Misha, Year 12, have been shortlisted for the Hertford College science video competition. The theme of the competition was unsung heroes of science. The students created a video based on the female British scientist and zoologist Dr Dame Honor Fell.


The A Level course in Art is both challenging and exciting.

A level Art students gain even more independence, having the opportunity to choose their own theme for the personal investigation unit, which is an in-depth portfolio of work. They are also expected to complete a written element documenting their journey with both contextual and practical work.

There is a good tradition of students continuing with their Art studies, in a variety of forms: foundation, architecture, fashion, fine art, and history of art. Students leaving Putney have gone on to Cambridge, St Andrews, Leeds, Kingston, Epsom, Camberwell, St Martins, and Parsons.

Newsroom: A Level artists all accepted by top colleges

What will I need to study Art?

  • A genuine interest in the subject and work to a high standard
  • An aptitude for creativity, industrious and willing to develop ideas imaginatively
  • Excited to find new ways of making work and a willingness to respond to suggestions
  • A keenness to visit galleries and places of cultural interest in their own time

Structure and outline

In the first year we offer a broad starting point to ensure students are given direction and then the freedom to explore their own investigation as confidence and skills develop. All work produced this year contributes to the coursework portfolio.

In the second year students develop their coursework portfolio and create a more formal personal investigation. To accompany their practical work they are required to write a dissertation which examines their research and the processes of their practice. Coursework is submitted before entering the examination unit.

Students are introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of fine art media, techniques and processes. We cover drawing, painting, printmaking, life drawing, sculpture, photography, Photoshop, and mixed-media, reinforced by the critical/contextual study of artists. Students should demonstrate an eagerness to experiment and embrace risk-taking.


Taking advantage of our proximity to central London, a number of trips to galleries take place throughout the year, including to the V&A, Kew Gardens, the Saatchi gallery, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, The National Gallery and National Portrait Galleries, and a cross-curricular Sixth Form Textiles and Art trip to the Dior show in December 2017.


The course aims to sustain and develop an enjoyment of, and interest in, living organisms.

Study at A level promotes an awareness and appreciation of biology in personal, social, environmental, economic and technological contexts, as well as the responsible use of biology in society.

Careers leading directly from A Level Biology include: medicine, physiotherapy and other paramedical careers, veterinary science, animal welfare and breeding, agriculture and genetics. It is also an important basis for degree courses in environmental science, biochemistry, psychology, biotechnology, food science and nutrition. It provides an excellent background for many other careers such as marketing and journalism – biologists are used to writing, analysing data and handling complex problems and they are familiar with statistics and have computing skills.

What will I need to study Biology?

  • An inquiring mind and a fascination with the living world around you
  • An interest in living organisms and how they are adapted to their environments
  • An interest in Chemistry and an understanding of the importance of biochemistry in modern biology
  • It is vital that you have achieved at least an A grade in GCSE Biology (or an A grade equivalent in the Biology component of the Science & Additional Science GCSE)

Structure and outline

This A Level course, consisting of six modules, is taught over two years. It requires a more mature approach to tasks and the ability to apply knowledge, understanding and other skills developed throughout the course to novel or unfamiliar situations.

Module 1 is focused on the practical skills required for investigating Biological systems, and is embedded throughout the other modules.

Module 2 takes a microscopic view of organisms, investigating the Biochemistry of life and the organisation of cells.

Module 3 explores how living things gain the materials they need for life processes and transport them around their bodies.

Module 4 reviews the diversity of life on Earth, how it has been shaped by evolution, and our own body’s defence against disease as a case study of adaptation.

Module 5 identifies the processes by which multicellular organisms maintain their internal environment, and the coordination systems that allow the products of photosynthesis and respiration to be kept in balance.

Module 6 provides a holistic overview of living systems from the level of the gene to the study of population dynamics.


In Sixth Form, students studying A level science are invited to run a science club for Years 5 and 6, to share their passion for science and consolidate their own knowledge. There is also a residential Biology trip to Pembrokeshire, for on-site research and analysis.

Pre-U Business and Management

This course offers students the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the value of business activity, plus a practical understanding of how businesses operate and why business decision making is important.

The syllabus is designed to blend academic rigour with the development of practical skills. Knowledge relevant to businesses in the 21st century is embodied in the content. For example, topics such Corporate Social Responsibility, Porter’s Five Forces model, China and India as emerging economic powers, waste management and off-shoring are included, as well as more classic principles which will continue to be relevant in business.

What will I need to study Business?

It is expected that candidates achieve at least a grade B in Mathematics IGCSE.

Structure and Outline

Pupils study businesses in a variety of contexts within competitive environments: large/small, UK/global, service/manufacturing. Impacts of decision-making on the functional areas of business (finance, marketing, operations and human resources) are considered, alongside ethical and environmental aspects. Impacts from advances in technology are considered, as will the wider external business environment, both domestic and international. Much of the discussion and course delivery will be based on case studies of real business scenarios.
From September 2017 the Cambridge International Pre-U in Business and Management replaced the A Level in Business. The Pre-U has a slightly greater depth of content than the A Level and includes more economics and use of statistics. Assessment is via two written papers and an independent investigation to be carried out in the summer term which will allow students to research and make recommendations on a local, small business.

In addition to business it includes considerable economics, law and maths, blending academic rigour with practical research skills and report writing. In brief content comprises:

  • The Business Environment
  • Marketing
  • Accounts and finance
  • Operations and project management
  • People


Students have the opportunity to get involved in activities like Young Enterprise, where previous participants have set up ‘Kalafi Discos’, a successful student-run events company. Trips include a visit to the Bank of England and various exam booster conferences.

Our Entrepreneur-in-Residence, who joined us in the last academic year, worked with students to chat through business ideas and share skills to run your own business.


The study of Chemistry is essential if you wish to pursue a medical-related or science-based career.

A level Chemistry focuses on developing the ability to think logically and to express ideas clearly. Students gain a better appreciation of the world and learn about the contribution of chemistry to our modern way of life in areas such as medicine, materials and food. Chemistry study also covers some of the major current issues such as protection of the environment and energy resources. Students develop practical and problem solving skills and become more scientifically literate.

What will I need to study Chemistry?

  • An inquiring mind and an interest in problem-solving
  • An interest in the world around you
  • A passion for practical work
  • At least a grade A in GCSE Chemistry (or an A grade equivalent in the Chemistry component of the Science & Additional Science GCSE)

Structure and outline

This course consists of six modules taught over two years.

  • Module 1 is focused on the practical skills required for investigating Chemical systems and is embedded throughout the other Modules.
  • Module 2 Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations
  • Module 3 Periodic table and energy
  • Module 4 Core organic chemistry
  • Module 5 Physical chemistry and transition elements
  • Module 6 Organic chemistry and analysis


In Sixth Form, students studying A level science are invited to run a science club for Years 5 and 6, to share their passion for science and consolidate their own knowledge.

Classical Civilisation

The study of Classical Civilisation allows candidates a precious insight into some major aspects of the two great cultures on which Western European civilisation is founded.

This course offers variety in terms of both the material studied and the skills you will develop during the two years. It is the perfect complement to the study of English, Art or History but girls often choose this as a balance to their study of Sciences or Maths too.

What will I need to study Classical Civilisations

A GCSE in Classical Civilisation is not essential for this course. Many girls begin the subject at A Level and succeed in gaining high grades, even continuing their classical studies at university.

Structure and Outline

Epic poetry is at the heart of the course, with poems by Homer and Virgil studied in translation. Other literary works set include Tragedies by Sophocles and Euripides. Discussion and written work will focus on a range of themes from these ancient authors, including revenge, justice and the role of the gods, fate and the treatment of women.

There is also an opportunity to explore a range of classical art and architecture and the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. You will learn and hone a wide range of skills from literary analysis to the appreciation of visual art forms, and have the chance to learn about the cultural context to some of the world’s most famous and influential works of literature.


Trips include visits to

  • Bath
  • National Gallery and British museums
  • Theatre trips to watch Classical plays
  • International trips to Rome, the Bay of Naples and Pompeii

Computer Science

This subject is suitable for those who are technically minded, with an interest in technology and engineering.

The A Level Computing course is taught from scratch, assuming little or no previous knowledge of programming. However it is in the pupil’s best interest to read up on what the course includes and have an idea about how simple computer programs work. Classes are small, allowing for individualised tuition.

Pupils studying at this level will find they will develop clear skills over and above their counterparts – this is not simply use of computer programs, but how to develop new programs in order to solve real world problems.

Studying computer science may also bring about many links with other subjects such as Maths (D1 module), DT projects, and control systems for scientific experiments. Any pupil with aspirations to study Engineering, Economics, Physics, or Maths at university will benefit from this course. The course is accredited by the British Computing Society and provides excellent preparation for university study.

What do I need to study Computing?

Due to changes in computing courses in schools, the GCSE ICT course is not closely linked to the Computer Science A Level. There are no GCSE grade requirements for the course but it will be of benefit to have a strong interest in technology and computing.

Structure and outline

This course is varied and broadly split into practical programming and problem solving, as well as a more theoretical foundation in how computers operate. There are elements of ethical and legal aspects of computing and also how networks are set up in commercial organisations.

In the first year, students learn to program in the high level computer language of C# (C sharp). This is a newer language based on C++, and can ultimately be used to program Windows programs, mobile apps, & text based programs. The written part of the course allows pupils to understand how information is represented in computers; common algorithms & data structures; hardware and networks; and software development.

The second year covers functional computer programming, Boolean algebra and logic, Karnaugh Maps and object oriented programming. Pupils complete a practical computing project which allows them to work on a real life problem that can lead to entrepreneurial ideas and commercial usefulness.

Pupils complete open-ended programming projects of their choice, supported and guided by the teacher. For example, they might create sports day management software or card game simulators, all using Windows-based programming and making use of real world design concepts for usability.


Our Sixth Form students attend a series of lectures, including Imperial College’s talks about latest tech, ‘Computing in Action’. Students even take part in a launch of a high-altitude weather balloon, tracking its progress via GPS.

Design Technology: Textiles

Award winning fashion designers have been made at Putney.

The world of fashion is a trillion-pound industry that employs over 800,000 people in the UK. Fashion and Textiles is linked to the world of design, manufacturing, business and marketing. You will combine creative and technological principles to create a marketable and innovative garment. The course includes the study of consumer trends, textile products and materials, construction processes and surface decoration techniques as well as wider issues in the industry. Whilst the course will naturally appeal to those wishing to pursue a career in the creative industries, many of the skills required are transferable and complement a wide range of other subjects.

What will I need to study Product Design?

Students are generally expected to achieve a minimum GCSE: Design Technology – Textiles Grade A or GCSE Art Grade A. As a Textiles student you should have an interest in the development of a product from the materials used to its form and function. You should be able to generate and communicate ideas in a range of media. Textiles appeals to students who are prepared to apply their creative and problem solving skills independently. The diversity of Textiles means that is successfully complements a wide range of subjects, yet it can also be a contrasting subject to other A Levels.

Structure and outline

The new A Level OCR course is closely linked to the ‘Designing Our Tomorrow’ research project conducted by the University of Cambridge. Over the two years you will participate in lessons involving practical activities, theory tasks and design tutorials to prepare for:


The Iterative Design Project

The Iterative Design Project requires learners to undertake a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative process of explore, create and evaluate.

Student compose a Fashion Design Brief from a context of their own choice, and create a portfolio of evidence and high quality product to demonstrate their competence.


The Principles Examination Paper

This includes the analysis of existing products, technical knowledge and understanding of materials. You will also consider globalisation, core design principles, environmental concerns and inclusive design.


The Unseen Challenge

Focuses on the application your knowledge, understanding and skills of designing and manufacturing prototypes and products  through a set design task under timed conditions.

Design Technology: Product Design

3D Design is at the forefront of independent learning and technological advancement.

Students combine creative and scientific principles to create a marketable and innovative product. The subject is closely related to industrial and commercial standards providing transferable skills for the future; ICT, organisational, analytical and evaluative. The course includes the study of contemporary design issues, the life cycle of a product, engineering methods and resistant materials.

The A level at Putney follows the Pre-U specification which provides girls the opportunity to work through three separate Components.

  • 1st Component is a small design/make exercise that culminates in either a fully functional design solution or an aesthetic model
  • 2nd Component is a research assignment of 3500 words, on a design-related theme of the  girls choice, in an area that is of particular interest to the individual. For example, one pupil who intends to read aeronautical engineering at university, this year wrote assignment on the safety features incorporated into commercial aircraft; another who intends to read Product Design wrote on safety features of Formula 1 cars since 1970
  • The 3rd Component is completed from a ‘Starting Point’ at the end of Year 12. The project requires pupils to develop a sustained piece of work culminating in a fully resolved design solution

Given that there is no theory exam at the end of the two year course, scope is provided for girls to elect the pre-U as fourth A Level option, particularly those considering an engineering or design based degree.

What will I need to study Product Design?

Students are generally expected to achieve a minimum grade A in Design Technology or Physics at GCSE level. As a 3D Design student you should have an interest in the development of a product from the materials used to its form and function. You should be able to generate creative solutions using different types of media. 3D Design appeals to students who are prepared to apply their problem solving and practical skills independently.

Structure and outline

Materials, Components and Applications
This involves the study of resistant materials and their working properties. You will develop an understanding of the manipulation of materials to manufacture products through hand and commercial practices. In addition, you will explore the use of standard components and CAD/CAM processing in modern products. Through detailed analysis you will consider broader design issues such as: the environmental sustainability of products, inclusive design and consumer safety.

Learning Through Design and Making
This is a coursework project which is chosen by you under the guidance of your teacher. You will then work individually to produce a design portfolio and marketable product. The project will cover all the skills related to designing and making.

Design and Manufacture
You will undertake further study of materials and components, with an emphasis on major developments in technology and manufacturing systems. You will study the influence and effect of design and technology in society, design history and the role of a designer.

Design and Making Practice
This is a major design and make project. It involves the planning and development of a design proposal for a specific client of your choice. You will use a range of skills and knowledge to create a high quality product while developing an understanding of consumer needs.


Students have the opportunity to visit the Williams F1 factory in Didcot and future trips include to the BA flight training facility at Heathrow and air-crash investigation facility at Farnborough airport. In addition, guest speakers have included BA pilot Captain Nick Hoare.

Drama & Theatre

The course is designed to develop students’ understanding of Drama and how this influences modern theatre practitioners and plays. The students have the opportunity to take on the role of performer, director, designer, playwright and theatre critic.

The main aims of Drama and Theatre AS/A Level are to:

  • Develop and apply an informed, analytical framework for making, performing, interpreting and understanding drama and theatre.
  • Understand the place of relevant theoretical research in informing the processes and practices involved in creating theatre and the place of practical exploration in informing theoretical knowledge of drama and theatre.
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of how the social, cultural and historical contexts of performance texts have influenced the development of drama and theatre.
  • Experience a range of opportunities to create theatre, both published text-based and devised work.
  • Understand and experience the collaborative nature of the various roles within theatre, adopting safe working practices as a theatre maker.
  • Develop and demonstrate a range of theatre-making skills, developing the creativity and independence to become effective theatre makers.
  • Analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others and to participate as a theatre maker and as an audience member in live theatre.

Previous students have combined their love of Drama with EPQs, creating their own, hugely successful one act plays.

A Level Drama is a great compliments other subjects including English e.g. Psychology, History, Government and Politics. Students who take Drama A Level are able to have confidence in public speaking, debate and performance analysis. It also helps hugely with interview technique for University and beyond.

Drama and Theatre is also currently offered as an AS Level Subject.

What will I need to study Drama & Theatre?

A love of Drama is a must, regular trips to the theatre will also help develop a student’s analytical perception of theatre. It is not necessary to have studied GCSE Drama to take Drama and Theatre A Level, but knowledge of Drama and a commitment to the subject is a must.

Structure and outline

There are three components to the A Level course:

C1 – Devising – Worth 40% of the overall grade. Students will have the opportunity to create and perform their own piece of devised work based on a play extract of the teacher’s choice.  They will perform this piece, which forms 25% of the Component and then write an accompanying portfolio that documents their journey to create the piece and to evaluate the performance in response to audience questionnaires.

C2 – Performance – Worth 20% of the overall grade, the students will perform a monologue of their choice and a group piece, directed by their teacher to a visiting examiner in Year 13.

C3 – Written Exam – Worth 40% of the overall grade, the students will answer questions on ‘Machinal’ by Sophie Treadwell, an essay about their interpretation of a play in the style of a certain practitioner and an essay based on a theatre performance that they have seen.


There are many opportunities for our Sixth Form to develop their love of Drama on and off stage. There is the role of House Drama Captain – delivering drama clubs to the younger students, the yearly Musical/Play performance and in the Summer the students have the opportunity to be part of the Putney High Theatre Company, who create and perform a piece of theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Economics is a social science which relates to the consequences of decision-making in everyday life.

It has links particularly to history, geography, politics, psychology, law and philosophy. Its topicality makes it relevant to all who wish to study how and why economic systems function as they do. The course is based around four themes which comprise the microeconomic environment (individuals’ decisions and firms’ behaviour) and macroeconomics (UK and the global economy).

The course focuses on real-world issues such as market competition, prices, government policy, the welfare state, international trade, economic development, sustainability and much more. Recent changes to content mean that financial markets are covered in more depth, some basic economic history is included and elements of behavioural economics are investigated also. As there are few areas in our lives in which Economics does not appear in some form, the lessons often involve lively argument and debate surrounding current, topical issues.

What will I need to study Economics?

It is expected that candidates achieve a grade A or above in Mathematics GCSE to qualify for entry to this course. Economics has relevance in all areas of society. Many examples from the real world are used to help learning and understanding, so an interest in and an awareness of current affairs would be useful.  The ability to write well is a distinct advantage.

Structure and outline

This linear two year Edexcel course is built upon four themes, two of which are microeconomic and two macroeconomic.

  • Theme 1 – Introduction to markets and market failure (micro)
  • Theme 2 – The UK economy performance and policies (macro)
  • Theme 3 – Business behaviour and the labour market (micro)
  • Theme 4 – A global perspective (macro)


According to Sir Philip Sidney, the purpose of Literature is to “teach and to delight”.

For A level we currently follow the EdExcel syllabus. Students explore texts from Chaucer to the present day, prose, poetry and drama, preparing for tasks in coursework and examinations. Many girls continue with their studies in literature at university. Our English A-Level graduates have also gone on to read Literature at World Class Universities overseas such as Yale and Brown.

What will I need to study English?

You will need to love literature  and be able to demonstrate the ability to write clearly using appropriate literary terms, arguing fluently and analysing cogently. A grade A or above in GCSE English Literature is required.

Structure and outline

Students study seven texts across a range of contexts. Our current texts include one in prose and two plays from the Renaissance period, offering the chance to gain an in-depth contextual appreciation of features from the age, text and the writers’ craft.

Drama: Two texts from a selection of Comedies and Tragedies: currently Dr Faustus and Twelfth Night.

Prose: Two prose texts (including at least one pre-1900) on a chosen theme e.g. (currently studied) Women and Society: Tess of the D’Urbervilles: Thomas Hardy and Mrs Dalloway: Virginia Woolf.

Unseen poetry: Students study a wide range of modern poetry in preparation for responding to a post-2000 unseen poem. This poem will be compared to the Selected poems of John Donne.

Prescribed poetry: Students will answer on a collection or a named poet. Current text: John Donne. They will also study, to go alongside the unseen task, Poems of The Decade.

Coursework: This is assessed via two texts. We would teach one text (currently Othello) and invite students to select a complementary text, linked by theme, movement, author or period. Texts chosen must be different from those studied in other components.


There are many co-curricular opportunities on offer for enthusiastic young readers and writers. Sixth Form students run regular book clubs for students in younger years where they can impart their love of reading encourage discussion of interpretations. Each year we hold a poetry festival, where girls can submit and perform their poems for an audience, and the INK creative writing club generates a considerable number of works each year. Budding journalists can pitch articles to the school magazine, A Study in Purple, run by an editorial team of Sixth Form students.

Students are also encouraged to submit creative writing to external writing competitions such as the GDST creative writing competition, Wimbledon Book Festival as well as various essay writing competitions.

Putney is excellently placed to experience the many live performances, workshops, readings and lectures in London. We seize every opportunity to visit the theatre, especially when the chance to see set texts arises. Some trips have included:

  • Year 12 trip to Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Visit to the National theatre archives
  • A level trip to the Sovereign conference at Cambridge University


Geography is a wonderfully all-encompassing subject that is increasingly relevant in our global society.

Our aim is to develop secure knowledge and understanding of the complex relationships between people and environment, ensuring consistent success in examinations for our students. The new A Level is intended to encourage students to study specified core content in more detail, with fieldwork as a key part of the specification.

Complementary to any subject – science and arts and leaves open at uni for BA/BSc.

What will I need to study Geography?

We would expect a strong grade at GCSE for entry to the A Level course, but of greater importance is a curiosity about the world around us and an enquiring mind, together with a commitment to the subject. A proactive approach to independent study is also valuable, as it is crucial to keep up with contemporary issues.

Structure and outline

The OCR A Level Geography course has a specified core content common to all the boards. The core physical themes are Carbon Water Cycles, Glacial Landscapes and oceans. The core human themes are Global Governance and Disease Dilemmas.

There is also a non-examined assessment in the form of an individual investigation and report of about 3000-4000 words. Students have to undertake four days of fieldwork during the course which will cover both human and physical topics.


We offer a varied programme of lessons and fieldwork, both locally and overseas. Previous destinations include Iceland, Sicily, Dorset and East London. We also run a hot topic discussion club to look at key issues.

Geography straddles the arts and sciences; it complements all areas of study and is a facilitating subject for a range of university courses and subsequent careers.


History offers you the opportunity to investigate how and why societies have changed over a period of time.

The A level History course develops a students’ analytical skills and offers opportunities for investigation and debate. Students learn how to present a well-structured argument and to express ideas clearly and confidently. History combines well with English, Languages, Classics, Geography, Politics and Economics; it also combines with Maths and the Science subjects to provide a varied portfolio of qualifications. Students who study history have access to a wide range of career and higher education opportunities; their skills in communicating ideas and analysing material are valued by universities and employers.

What will I need to study History?

You should have gained at least a grade A in History, or a related discipline, at GCSE. You should also enjoy reading and wish to pursue the study of evidence; you should have an enquiring mind and an interest in the past and its relevance to current affairs.

Structure and outline

In Year 12 the course starts with a study of the ‘USA, c1917–96: in search of the American Dream’, in parallel with ‘India, c.1914-48: the road to Independence’. This covers topics such as Civil, Gay and women’ rights and the role of television and cinema, addressing the diversity of history and how it pieces together.

The Year 13 course covers a study of ‘Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors, 1485–1603’ and the coursework focuses on either America or India, offering a course which addresses equalities and freedoms and the idea of people rising up and demanding power.

This will give you a varied and exciting course covering a range of countries and periods; it will provide an excellent background to any student studying history at university.


Lessons are supported by with a range of visits and lectures. These include a Year 9 visit to Ypres, a Sixth From trip to New York and a trip to Krakow. Year 12 pupils attend lectures to extend their knowledge of American History and Year 13 girls make use of the nearby National Archives at Kew when studying the Civil War.

History of Art

At Putney, we teach Art History by providing a stimulating environment in which our pupils can develop their intellectual and aesthetic capacities.

We encourage students to learn how to see cultures past and present from a range of perspectives. Although they have studied works of art in their Art lessons throughout the school, studying it at A Level allows for a deeper exploration of this vast topic, which is highly enjoyable, rewarding and challenging. Students develop their analytical skills, constructing written arguments and enhancing their visual awareness. In class they develop their communication skills, discussing ideas around works of Art and architecture.

History of Art develops a wide range of skills which makes it a realistic combination with a variety of other subjects. It could lead to a career in the media, publishing and marketing or in the more specialised world of auction houses, the heritage and leisure industries or education and arts administration in this country or overseas.

What will I need to study History of Art?

Students need to be enthusiastic and open-minded. Practical art skills are not required but observation, visual curiosity and analytical abilities, together with well-developed literary and historical skills, are paramount. Grade A in English at GCSE would be expected and GCSE History or Religious Studies would be very useful.

It is a good combination with languages, and for science specialists offers an alternative discipline.

Structure and outline

Written examination units cover works of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture from 500BC to 2000AD. There is the opportunity to focus on Art and Architecture in Europe and the USA 1946–2000 and Art and Architecture in Sixteenth-century Europe within this broad course.


First-hand experience of art is vital and our proximity to central London will allow us to visit galleries regularly as a group, and individually for various homework assignments. There is an annual study trip overseas. Recent destinations have included New York, Paris, Florence, Rome, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. Students also enter their work in design and photography competitions and attend talks and workshops from external speakers.


Students can choose from French, German and Spanish

Languages provide an excellent practical skill and opportunity for understanding other cultures. They combine superbly with any other subject and can be a useful contrasting subject if you are studying the sciences. They are intellectually demanding, develop confidence and the ability to present your ideas on a broad range of topics, both in writing and in debate. Furthermore, contact with a different culture broadens the mind. Language skills are much prized by employers in every field of work.

What will I need to study Modern Foreign Languages?

An A or A* grade in the chosen language is a pre-requisite for A Level.

Structure and outline

Language and grammar are studied thematically in the context of the following topic areas:

  • Social issues and trends, political and artistic culture
  • The skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking and translation are tackled around these themes

Two set literary texts are also studied.

Wider reading around the topics studied is essential to ensure you have general cultural knowledge, as well as specialised vocabulary and to help you develop the ability to argue and defend opinions on controversial issues in a foreign language.

Every pupil will have one hour’s oral lesson in a small group each week.


MFL is well-placed to host regular trips and visits. The department visit cultural institutes across London, including art exhibitions and theatre performances of particular cultural relevance. We also invite guest speakers to give talks and run workshops. International trips and exchanges also form a key part of language study.


This course will appeal to girls with an interest in Languages and the Arts.

The in-depth study of Latin at A Level is often combined with English and History in particular. With its fusion of detailed linguistic study and literary analysis, it is also the perfect complement to Maths and the three Sciences.

What will I need to study Latin?

An A grade at GCSE Latin is a pre-requisite for A Level.

Structure and outline

We on girls’ previous experience of learning Latin in Year 12, focusing on language work. Girls have the opportunity to revise all language work from GCSE, as well as extending their knowledge of studying vocabulary, accidence and syntax. The two papers taken in Year 13 examine unseen translation skills and either a comprehension exercise or prose composition (translation into Latin).

The big change from GCSE will be the addition of unseen verse translation. There will be plenty of practice over the two years and it is a great opportunity for students to extend their reading of fantastic authors such as Ovid, creator of some of the most thrilling love poetry ever written. As at GCSE, the study of prose and verse literature is also an important component of the A Level course, comprising 50% of examined material. There will be an opportunity to study the work of authors like the historian Tacitus, the great lawyer and orator, Cicero and the great epic poet, Virgil.


Trips include:

  • Bath
  • The National Gallery and the British museum
  • Local theatres to watch Classical plays
  • Rome, the Bay of Naples and Pompeii (biennial)


Languages provide an excellent practical skill and the study of Mandarin prepares girls for an exciting multitude of opportunities.

They combine superbly with any other subject and can be a useful contrasting subject if you are studying the sciences. They are intellectually demanding, develop confidence and the ability to present your ideas on a broad range of topics, both in writing and in debate. Furthermore, contact with a different culture broadens the mind. Language skills are much prized by employers in every field of work.

What will I need to study Mandarin?

An A or A* grade in GCSE Mandarin is a pre-requisite for Pre-U.

Structure and outline

Study of Mandarin in the Sixth Form leads to the Pre-U examination at the end of Year 13. The syllabus aims to bring the teaching and learning of Mandarin Chinese into close contact with the target language culture and, above all, with authentic language. The development of Mandarin Chinese linguistic skills is complemented by the development of analytical study skills and essay-writing skills for the Chinese Culture component, thus resulting in a syllabus which provides a very sound foundation for study at university level.

Every pupil will have one hour’s oral lesson in a small group.


Modern Foreign Languages are well-placed to host regular trips and visits. The department visit cultural institutes across London, including art exhibitions and theatre performances of particular cultural relevance. We also invite guest speakers to give talks and run workshops.

The Chinese department has established a link with Jin Yuan Senior School, one of Shanghai’s leading schools, with which a bi-annual study exchange visit has been in place since 2009.


Mathematics is a fascinating topic, required to study many subjects at degree level.

The course structure is designed to develop understanding of mathematics and mathematical processes in a way that promotes confidence and fosters enjoyment. Students develop abilities to reason logically, generalise and extend their range of skills to be used in more difficult, less structured problems.

As an A Level subject, Mathematics combines very well with many areas of the curriculum and is often taken in conjunction with subjects from the Arts and Humanities, as well as the Sciences. Further Mathematics, as an additional A Level, is available for students who wish to take their study of the subject at school to a greater and more rigorous depth and is strongly recommended for particularly talented girls who are likely to want to study Engineering or Mathematics (alone or in combination with other subjects) at University. Universities often look favourably on Physics students who have studied double maths.

What will I need to study Mathematics?

An A or A* grade at GCSE is required.

Structure and outline

The specification is split into modules, in the following categories:

Pure Mathematics, Mechanics and Statistics:

  • Pure Mathematics develops and expands on the work in algebra, geometry, graphs, coordinates and trigonometry, first encountered in the GCSE course. Calculus is introduced. There is less numerical work; a genuine feel for algebra and a real familiarity with all its techniques are vital for success
  • Mechanics is concerned with modelling physical situations and using the techniques of pure mathematics to solve problems involving such concepts as force, velocity, power and centres of gravity, the underlying theme being Newton’s Laws of Motion
  • Statistics is designed to encourage a mathematically analytical approach to practical situations and to develop mathematical models to assess probability and test hypotheses

Further Mathematics

Students taking Further Mathematics overwhelmingly find it to be an enjoyable, rewarding, stimulating and empowering experience.

For someone who enjoys mathematics it provides a challenge and chance to explore new and more sophisticated concepts. It will also enable you to distinguish yourself as an able mathematician in the university and employment market. Further Mathematics qualifications are prestigious and strongly welcomed by universities.

Students who do Further Mathematics are demonstrating a strong commitment to their studies, as well as learning mathematics that is very useful for any maths-related degree (this covers a very wide range of academic areas – Engineering, Sciences, Computing, Finance/Economics etc., as well as Mathematics itself). Studying Further Mathematics will also boost your performance in the standard A Level Mathematics and you should find the first year mathematics element of any maths-related degree course far more straightforward.

What will I need to study Further Mathematics?

An A* grade at GCSE is required. Pupils who take Further Mathematics will generally be in Set 1 in Year 11 and have studied a second qualification.

Structure and outline

Pupils who choose Further Mathematics study for a qualification that is both deeper and broader than A Level Mathematics. It also allows for exploring applications to a higher level.

  • Further Pure Mathematics develops and expands on the algebra and calculus covered in A Level and introduces new material on topics such as complex numbers, matrix algebra, differential equations, series, vectors, hyperbolic functions and proof
  • Mechanics is concerned with modelling physical situations. Topics covered include kinematics of a particle in a plane, centre of mass, work and energy and collisions
  • Statistics includes the Binomial, Poisson and continuous distributions, random variables, hypothesis tests, confidence intervals, regression and correlation
  • Decision looks at networks, algorithms and sorting problems


Music is embedded in every aspect of life at Putney.

The A Level Music course aims to:

  • Encourage students to extend their ability to communicate through Music and take part in music making
  • Promote appreciation of the diverse and dynamic nature of Music and a love of music that will last a lifetime
  • Develop the particular strengths and interests of each student which can lead to life-long learning and provide access to music-related careers
  • Deliver a worthwhile and satisfying course of study which broadens experience, develops imagination, fosters creativity and promotes personal and social development.

The Music curriculum covers performance and composition alongside analysis and listening. Students are encourage to look beyond set works and discover their own areas of musical interest. In the past, students have conduced EPQs in Music including research in to ‘What makes a chart-topper?’.

A Level Music can lead to further study in Music or the Performing Arts. Equally, this subject is often a secondary component in either Arts or Science based courses. Career possibilities for musicians are as varied as the subject itself. Employers value musicians as good ‘team players’, as people capable both of understanding and interpreting complex instructions and of learning and using precise technical vocabulary. A surprising number of doctors and lawyers have Music in their academic background.

What will I need to study Music?

Music at A Level builds on the Listening, Performing and Composing skills developed at GCSE. We expect pupils to have achieved at least an A grade at GCSE or an equivalent level via their individual instrumental/vocal studies. What is required is an interest in and commitment to the subject, ability as a performer and knowledge of music theory to Grade 5 standard and a similar fluency in music reading. It is not necessary to have taken either practical or theory exams, but the skills and knowledge must be in place.

Structure and outline

The three key elements are performing, composing and appraising.

Performing is worth 30% and students have to perform for a minimum of eight minutes, either as a soloist, part of an ensemble or a combination of both.

Composing is worth 30%, with students composing one substantial piece (minimum length, four minutes) and one from a list of technical briefs set by the exam board.  These include Bach chorales, an arrangement of a popular melody, or a remix. The total duration of all composition submissions must be at least six minutes.

Appraising is worth 40% and content has been given in terms of musical elements, contexts and language. There are three set works from each of six Areas of Study – these can be summarised as Vocal music, Instrumental music, Film music, Popular and Jazz music, Fusions and New Directions.


Students are invited to audition for a variety of co-curricular musical groups, including senior choir, a cappella groups, chamber music groups, Sinfonietta and the Symphony Orchestra. We have a wide variety of performance opportunities with Informal Music concerts spread across each term and an annual Inter House Music Festival. There are three large choral and orchestral concerts a year, and regular Pop events for girls who like a more contemporary approach.

In 2018, the whole school took part in a musical 125th Anniversary Celebration of Putney High School held at Cadogan Hall, where girls performed alongside the London Mozart Players. Each two years the Music Department hosts a foreign tour, which this year will take the girls to Budapest.


Studying Physical Education offers students an insight into all theoretical concepts of the sport they play.

It covers the physiological, psychological, sociological and biomechanical aspects of sport and provides an in depth understanding of how to improve your own and others’ performance. A Level Physical Education is a well-respected subject, combining well with other Science and Arts A Levels.

If you love sport, this subject gives you the opportunity to learn more about an area in your life which you already enjoy. If you want to further your interests in sport at University or for a career, the syllabus provides a diverse range of options in which to specialise in the future. Careers in sport relating to performance, coaching, management, marketing and business are increasing rapidly in many countries, especially in the UK and the USA.

What will I need to study P.E.?

At least an A grade at GCSE Biology or an A grade equivalent in the Biology component of Dual Award Science is required. Ideally you will have studied GCSE Physical Education with at least an A grade. An interest in sport and expertise in one sporting activity is also required.

Structure and outline

At A Level, the theory course consists of seven sections;

  • Anatomy and Physiology involves studying the cardio respiratory system, respiratory system, the skeletal and muscular system and energy systems
  • Skill Acquisition will require learning about skill and the transfer of skills, theories of learning and performance, use of feedback and guidance, memory models and information processing
  • Sport and Society will involve studying pre industrial, industrial, post-industrial and post-World War II Britain
  • Exercise Physiology includes diet, training methods and injury
  • Biomechanical Movement involves studying biomechanical principles, levers, linear motion, angular motion, projectile motion and fluid mechanics
  • Sport Psychology requires learning in personality, attitudes, arousal, anxiety, aggression, stress management, motivation, group dynamics, goal setting, attribution process, confidence and leadership. The course also covers violence in sport, drugs and law in sport
  • The Role of Technology

The practical assessment involves being assessed in one activity as a player/performer, plus analysing performance through an oral or written assessment.


Each term has a full co-curricular fixture list and squads regularly compete and achieve success in regional and national level competitions. The school also promotes a ‘sport for all’ policy which encourages participation of all pupils in a variety for enjoyment and fun. The FOPHS Fitness Suite is available for use by the Sixth Form


A study of Politics enables students to become more critically aware of the nature of politics and political ideas both in the UK and USA. It is an academically rigorous subject that teaches students how to argue a point of view cogently and persuasively and how to present a well-turned argument, both on paper and orally, with the emphasis on analysis and investigation.

This class is loud – full of argument and debate which should be fun as well as challenging. It covers a number of ideologies – Conservatism, Socialism, Liberalism and Feminism – which students will encounter daily in the news.

Politics combines especially well with History, Economics, Languages, Classics and Geography but also has a significant contribution to make to the understanding of Maths and Sciences.

What will I need to study Politics?

There are no requirements of subjects at GCSE. Instead, you should have an enquiring mind and an interest in current affairs. You should be keen to participate in active debate and have strong powers of expression. You will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs and read articles from newspapers and journals. You should also be able to evaluate both sides of an argument.

Structure and outline

In Year 12 students study UK politics with a focus on democracy and political participation in the UK and the structure of UK government. We examine the nature and health of our democracy by investigating topics such as our electoral system, party structure and the role of the media in politics. Our study of UK government will encompass an examination of our constitution, a study of the role of the executive and an analysis of the relationship between the three branches of government.

In Year 13 we will study US Politics and will examine the institutional framework of US government and consider the interrelationships between its legislative, executive and judicial processes and the health of US federalism. We will also study a range of political ideologies, such as conservatism, liberalism, socialism and feminism. We will be examining the core ideas and thinkers for these ideologies and will also be investigating the tensions and divisions within each ideology.


Students can get involved in our Politics Society, practicing the skills they have learned in lesson and applying them to a topic of their choice. There is a Model United Nations Society which trains students in how these competitions work, running model MUN discussions. Sixth Form trips include to attending lectures on US history, visiting the Houses of Parliament and travelling to New York and Washington.


If you are intrigued by nature, enjoy finding out about how the world works, are inquisitive, logical, imaginative, rigorous, questioning and intellectually courageous, then Physics is the subject for you.

During the course, students learn about our current understanding of the Universe, from the tiniest subatomic particles and the fundamental forces that dictate their behaviour to the nature of stars, galaxies, space and time. The course covers not only how nature works, but equally importantly, imparts a range of valuable skills including analytical, critical and creative thinking, the ability to collect, analyse and interpret evidence, powers of logical deduction and effective communication of complex information in a variety of formats.

Success in Physics is prized both by universities and employers as the sign of a strong intellect and the possession of these skills is a highly valued qualification for a wide variety of scientific, technical, commercial and creative professions.

What will I need to study Physics?

Candidates taking A Level Physics will be expected to have at least an A in Physics GCSE or an A grade equivalent in the Physics component of the Science & Additional Science GCSE. It is not necessary to take A Level Maths in order to study Physics to A Level, but students should have at least an A in Maths GCSE. (Students should note that it is difficult to study Physics beyond school without Maths A Level.)

Structure and outline

Year 12

  • Measurements and their errors, including use of SI units and their prefixes, limitations of physical measurement, estimation of physical quantities
  • Particles and radiation, including constituents of the atom, particle interactions, collisions of electrons with atoms
  • Waves, including progressive waves, interference, diffraction
  • Mechanics and energy, including projectile motion, Newton’s laws of motion
  • Electricity, including current/voltage characteristics, circuits, electromotive force and internal resistance

Year 13

  • Further mechanics and thermal physics, including periodic motion, thermal energy transfer molecular kinetic theory model
  • Fields, including Newton’s law of gravitation, orbits of planets and satellites, magnetic flux density
  • Nuclear physics, including evidence for the nucleus, radioactive decay, nuclear instability
  • Astrophysics, including classification of stars by luminosity, Doppler effect, detection of exoplanets


Psychology is a fascinating science concerned with the study of the mind, brain and behaviour.

Psychology is the science of human behaviour and mental processes. Students will learn a range of famous influential psychological experiments that have radically changed our knowledge about the brain and behaviour. Psychology bridges the gap between arts and sciences as scientific and written skills are assessed. Students who study this subject find learning about psychological research fascinating and enjoyable and frequently go on to study at university.


What will I need to study Psychology?

It is assumed that no student has studied Psychology before, therefore the course begins with covering first principles. Skills in written communication, data interpretation and critical evaluation will be assessed, therefore an A grade in English GCSE is required. The A Level course also contains knowledge of inferential statistics so at least a B grade in Maths GCSE is also required.

Structure and outline

Lessons involve independent research, informal discussion, group debate, presentations and essay writing. There is a great deal of new psychological content to be covered, all with specialist vocabulary, so the course is rigorous, challenging and detailed.

There is a sizeable part of the course that contains research methods and mathematics, so students must be aware of this before applying to study this subject for A Level and beyond. We want to encourage students to develop a sense of wonder and enlightenment about the behaviour of the people they come across, as well as gaining an awareness of themselves.

Students study a range of famous influential psychological experiments that have radically changed our knowledge about the brain and behaviour.

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology

(Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, Psychopathology)

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

(Psychological Approaches, Biopsychology, Research Methods with statistics)

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

Issues and debates, and teacher will choose combination of three topics e.g. Relationships, Gender, Cognition and Development, Schizophrenia, Eating Behaviour, Stress, Aggression, Forensic Psychology, Addiction


Psychology Society is a fortnightly discussion group run by Sixth Form students, open to all years on a range of topics in Psychology that are not covered by the A Level syllabus. Over 70 Psychology students from Wimbledon, Notting Hill & Ealing and South Hampstead join Putney students every year for the Psychology GDST Conference, which this year was about the criminal justice system. Previous topics covered include: face processing, body representation, teenage brain, occupational psychology and clinical psychology.

Religious Studies

Religious Studies at A level is genuinely life changing in many ways and you will be encouraged, nurtured, challenged and supported throughout the course.

Studying at A Level

GCSE Religious Studies is a useful foundation for A level but there is no requirement for students taking A level Religious Studies to have taken it at GCSE and students who have not taken it are at no disadvantage.

There is no need to have a personal religious commitment to enjoy the intellectual challenge of this subject.

You do need to be curious about religious belief and practice, Biblical texts, open-ended and unanswerable questions and you need to be prepared for a lot of discussion, but also to learn about the diversity of views of scholars across the centuries.

The examinations are all essay based and you need to be confident dealing with primary scholarly texts.


Areas of Study

Three subject areas are covered over the full two year course. Each is examined by a separate paper consisting of structured questions and an essay question. Some compulsory texts are set by the examination board for analysis in the exam.

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Religion and Ethics
  • Textual Studies (New Testament)

Philosophy of Religion: arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, life after death, religious experience, atheism and critiques of religious belief, religious language, religion and science.

Religion and Ethics: ethical theories, war and peace, sexual ethics, environmental ethics, equality, ethical language, medical ethics.

Textual Studies: a critical study of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of Luke’s and John’s gospels; critical methods of studying the New Testament; the social and political background to the New Testament.

Key Facts

In 2017 and 2018 100% of Religious Studies A level students achieved an A* or A and offered exceptional Value Added rating. Each year, students taking this A level move on to study it at university.

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