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Down High School Downpatrick

The Sixth Form

Down High School has a large and thriving Sixth Form, with over 160 students in each of the year groups. Almost all our Year 12 pupils make the seamless transition from GCSE into Sixth Form study, while a significant number of students from other schools relish the opportunities afforded by the commencement of Advanced Level and BTEC courses at the school.

A wide range of courses are on offer, subject to demand – AS and A2 levels in Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, English Literature, French, Geography, Government and Politics, Health and Social Care, Home Economics, History, ICT, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Moving Image Arts, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Religious Studies, Sociology, Software Systems Development, Spanish, Technology and Design and Theatre Studies. New BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary courses, in collaboration with the South Eastern Regional College, have also been added to the Sixth Form menu. These include BTEC Sport, Engineering, ICT, Business, and Travel & Tourism.

In all A-Level subjects the course consists of a number of modules. In the first year most students take four subjects to AS level, often reducing to three subjects for A2 level in the second year. Most students apply to universities and colleges and some are prepared for entrance to Oxford and Cambridge Colleges. The examination success of AS/A2 Level students has been consistently high and a number of pupils have gained top places in Northern Ireland in the CCEA examinations in a variety of subjects.

Sixth Form introduces a different style of school life. Classes are usually smaller and less formal. Opportunities to expand interests and activities increase and there is time to develop socially. With a healthy balance of academic work and social activity it can be both rewarding and fun.

Progress within the Sixth Form is carefully monitored by the Head of 6th Form, Mrs Hamilton, and Year Heads for both Year 13 and Year 14. The school offers opportunities for enrichment, as well as providing extensive support for pupils navigating their way through the UCAS process and other post-18 routes. Students can offer assistance in academic subject areas, become Reading or Maths Mentors and participate in the School’s Community Action Programme, whereby they can spend a small number of free periods working in primary schools, nursing homes or in charitable organisations.

All Year 14 students serve as Prefects in order to develop their leadership skills. Senior Prefects and House Prefects are chosen by a process of election and teacher recommendation.

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