The Sixth Form curriculum at Gresham’s has been designed to effectively prepare our students for the complex and rapidly changing world they will encounter both during their Sixth Form studies and beyond at university and in their future careers.
All students at Gresham’s take the Theory of Knowledge (ToK) course to help them develop further critical thinking and analysis skills. Students are given the opportunity to refect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we ‘know’ what we claim to know. ToK explores ‘how we know’ and encourages students to reflect critically on knowledge claims and knowledge questions. Central to this exploration are the ways of knowing (language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition and memory).
The fundamental question of ToK is “how do we know that?” Students are encouraged to think about how knowledge is arrived at in different disciplines (such as mathematics, the natural and human sciences, history, the arts and ethics), and what these disciplines have in common and the differences between them. ToK therefore both supports and is supported by the study of other subjects, as students are required to explore knowledge questions against the backdrop of their experiences in their other academic subjects. Discussion and critical reflection form the backbone of the ToK course and it encourages students to look beyond their immediate areas of curriculum expertise.
Our weekly academic enrichment lecture series exposes our students to a wealth of academic study and the world outside their classroom. From astrobiology, poetry to human rights, students are given the opportunity to not only learn but engage in different areas of scholarship. With societies dedicated to English, the humanities, foreign languages, the sciences and philosophy, students are also encouraged to explore their subjects beyond the curriculum. Wider scholarship is also nurtured through activities like debating, Model United Nations, and the Flagship Renaissance Group. Students studying art, drama, design and music make use of the many professional musicians, touring theatre companies and artists hosted at Gresham’s, as well as enjoying use of our facilities outside of normal lesson time.
The Extended Essay, a core component of the IB Diploma, enables our students to explore one particular academic area in much greater detail. Many of our A level students also opt to complete the essay, relishing the opportunity to delve further into a topic of particular interest and to develop elective research and writing skills that will prepare them for university and beyond.