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Independent Study
Effective independent study is the key to success in the Sixth Form. Indeed, those students achieving As and A* typically study independently for 30 hours per week over and above lesson time. In the Sixth Form Building there is provision for both silent study and group work between 8 am and 5.30 pm most weekdays during term time.

Silent Study Areas

Work stations on the first floor.
Supervised Study Area on the ground floor.

Group Work Area

Common Room on the ground floor.

Sixth formers also have access to the library in Newman Hall where they will find both ICT workstations and relevant journals, magazines and books.

Supervised Study

Supervised Study is timetabled independent study time and it is compulsory. Staff are timetabled to supervise the study area on the ground floor and will register students at the beginning of each period. However, if a student wishes to work elsewhere, such as an Art room, IT room, Business room or the Library, they may do so as long as the member of staff supervising their study adds them to their register or , in the case of Newman Library, provides them with a note.

Work undertaken during this time might include revisiting class notes, completing homework assignments or undertaking additional reading in the subject area in order to develop a deeper grasp of key topics. Below is a list of books, many of which are available from Newman Library, and websites which will facilitate this aspect of independent study. For further support click the link on revision on the Sixth Form Section of the website.

Wider Reading and Web Links for Sixth Form Subjects

Extra-Curricular Learning is one of the best ways you stand out during your Sixth Form studies is through the amount of independent study you undertake outside of the classroom. Regardless of your future plans, the ability to extend yourself and research independently into your interests is an invaluable skill – this will support your university applications and/or future job applications and interviews. All universities expect more than just classroom knowledge, which is where extra-curricular activities come in; these are academic enrichment tasks that show you are interested in your studies beyond what is on the school syllabus. This 'List' has been put together to help you develop your interests not only in you chosen fields of study, but also in the wider world around you.

Art and Design

  • AQA Art & Design Student Handbook published by Nelson Thornes
  • The Andy Warhol Diaries Edited by Pat Hackett pub by Warner Books
  • The American Leonardo: A Tale of 20th Century Obsession, Art and Money by John Brewer
  • I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis by Frank Wynne
  • The Shock of the New, by Robert Hughes Magazines/Journals
  • Modern Painters -brilliant monthly magazine devoted to painting, only interviews with painters and exhibition reviews.



  • Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Unweaving the Rainbow, Climbing Mount Improbable, The Ancestor's Tale.
  • Steve Jones: Y: The Descent of Men, In the Blood: God, Genes and Destiny, Almost Like a Whale: The 'Origin of Species' Updated, The Language of the genes
  • Matt Ridley: Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, The Language of Genes.
  • Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code, Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human.
  • James Watson: DNA: The Secret of Life, The Double Helix: Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA.
  • Lewis Thomas: The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher,The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher.
  • Barry Gibb: The Rough Guide to the Brain (Rough Guides Reference Titles)
  • Charles Darwin: The origin of species
  • Armand Marie Leroi: Mutants: On the Form, Varieties and Errors of the Human Body
  • David S. Goodsell: The Machinery of Life
  • Ernst Mayr: This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World
  • George C. Williams: Plan and Purpose in Nature
  • Steve Pinker: The Language Instinct
  • Edward O Wilson: The Diversity of Life
  • Richard Leaky: The Origin of Humankind
  • Bill Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Oliver Sachs: The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat
  • Daniel Chamovitz: What A Plant Knows


Business Studies

  • How I Made It: 40 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal How They Made Millions - Rachel Bridge
  • An essential read for anyone that is thinking about starting their own business. Successful Entrepreneurs are interviewed about how the spotted a gap in a market, and developed a USP.
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell
  • A very readable and fascinating book, which looks into the reasons products become market leaders.
  • The Google Story - David A. Vise An interesting investigation into the culture at Google, includes insights into the four day working week and soft management styles. The questions is: are these the things that made Google the world's number one search engine?
  • The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer - Jeffrey Liker Covers Japanese Management Techniques such as Kaizen and TQM.
  • Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India Are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours - Tarun Khanna - An investigation into Asia's two growing economic powers.
  • Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur - Sir Richard Branson The autobiography of Britain's most famous entrepreneur.
  • Sun Tzu - The Art of War for Managers: 50 Strategic Rules Updated for Today's Business - Gerald A. Michaelson – application of the ancient Chinese rules of battle to modern day business.
  • The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham The classic book on stock market investment, as recommended by Warren Buffet.
  • No Logo - Naomi Klein - Klein investigates the negative side to marketing and globalisation.
  • House of Cards: How Wall Street's Gamblers Broke Capitalism - William D Cohan - Explains the reason behind the continuing global financial crisis, which started in September 2008.
  • The Economist Business Review Magazine


Freakonomics Podcast www.bbc.co.uk/news/business


  • The Pleasure of Finding Things Out - Richard Feynman
  • Periodic Tales - Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Disappearing Spoon - Sam Kean
  • Uncle Tungsten - Oliver Sachs
  • The Shocking History of Phosphorus: A Biography of the Devil's Element - John Emsley Magazine/Journals
  • Scientific American New Scientist
  • The Mole
  • Places of Interest
  • Royal Society of Chemistry - Burlington Arcade, Regents Street London
  • Science Museum, London
  • Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
  • Curie Museum, Paris


Periodic Table of Videos by Martyn Poliakoff www.youtube.com
Royal Society of Chemistry www.rsc.org.uk
Institution of Chemical Engineers www.icheme.org www.chemguide.co.uk

Computing & ICT


  • Trigger Happy: The inner life of videogames - Stephen Poole. A witty, comprehensive and passionate discourse on the videogame explosion. Essential reading for anyone with an interest in this industry.
  • Accidental Empires - Robert X Cringely. An insider's account of the origins and growth of the micro-computing industry from the earliest times to the present day; acerbic and funny in equal measure.


  • Wired
  • New Scientist


English Language & Literature

  • Course Text Book
  • Giovanelli, M., Macrae, A., Titjen, F., and Cushing, I. (2015) A/AS level English Language and Literature for AQA, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • English and Media Magazine
  • The English and Media's subscription-only publication for A level students, e magazine, has some articles that take a stylistics approach to literary and non-literary texts that would be useful for A level students. Some of these include: • Evans, J. (2012) 'The unreliable narrator – How unreliable is unreliable?', emagazine 59, 65- 68. • Giovanelli, M. (2012) 'Doing stylistics: point of view in literary prose, emagazine 57, 65-7. • Giovanelli, M. (2012) 'Investigating the language of literature', emagazine 55, 26-8. • Mullan, J. (2013) 'Narrative uses of dialogue', emagazine 62, 41-3. • Norton, G. (2014) 'The power of narrative voice and point of view in key texts, emagazine 64, 36-9. • Tapp, C. (2013) 'Gendered language and cultural identity in A Streetcar Named Desire', emagazine 62, 47-9. • Trousdale, G. (2013) 'Metaphor – a figure of thought?', emagazine 61, 28-31. These articles are available at: http://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/emag/index.html
  • Reading on specification topics Remembered places, Imagined worlds and Poetic voices
  • Abbott, H. P. (2008) The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, 2nd edn, New York: NY; Cambridge University Press. Culpeper, J. (2001) Language and Characterisation: People in Plays and other Texts, London
  • R L Trask, Language the Basics
  • Crystal, A Little Book of Language Language and mode
  • Ursula Clark, An Introduction to Stylistics
  • David Crystal, Rediscover Grammar (for reference)

Look for analysis of set texts at Cliff Notes on-line


  • http://www.aqa.org.uk The exam board site. The complete syllabus (Lang / Lit spec A) is downloadable.
  • http://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/emag Contains past articles from the ever-helpful 'e'magazne. Covers both Language and Literature. You will need to ask your teachers or the LRC for a special password.
  • www.englicious.org –This a fantastic website offering grammar tutorials
  • www.englishlangsfx.blogspot.com/ Written by Dan Clayton at St Francis Xavier College; provides excellent materials and discussions, plus lots of links to other relevant sites. http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk Lancaster Uni Language and Linguistics site. Enormous. They have a specific A Level site within this and loads of resources.
  • http://www.geoffbarton.co.uk useful site which covers many aspects of AS. http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk Very good for dialects, phonology.


  • Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (2004) by Richard Heinberg.
  • The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck.
  • The Great Thirst – Californians and Water (1992) by Norris Hundley.
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (2008) by Mark Lynas.
  • The Global casino (4th edition 2008) by Nick Middleton.
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974) and Smiley's people (1979) by John Le Carre – also watch the BBC's film series of these books, available on DVD.
  • The New Rulers of the World (2003) by John Pilger.
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (The Man Booker prize winner in 2008).
  • The Debt Boomerang (1991) by Susan George.
  • Fixing Climate (2008) by Wallace Broeker and Robert Kunzig.
  • There is no such thing as a natural disaster ( 2006) by Chester Hartman and Gregory D Squires ( about the New Orleans flood).
  • Richter 10- Taming the Earthquakes (1996) by Arthur Clarke and (late) Mike McQuay.
  • Volcano – Nature's Inferno (1997) National geographic.
  • Geography: An integrated approach by David Waugh (various editions). Excellent breadth and depth of A-Level content.
  • Climate Wars: The Fight For Survival As The World Overheats by Gwynne Dyer.
  • Here on Earth by Tim Flannery.


  • Volcano (1997)
  • Dantes Peak (1997)
  • Earthquake (1974)
  • Flood (2007)- a film about the technology in saving London!
  • A.1. (2001)- Artificial Intelligence
  • Water First- Reaching the Millennium Development Goals (2008) directed by Amy Hart. An inspiring story from Malawi
  • Cyclo (1995) A Vietnamese film
  • Tsotse (2005) a highly acclaimed but very violent film of life in black South African townships
  • The Hunt for Red October (1990)
  • When The Wind Blows (1986) a chilling cartoon
  • State of the Planet – a series made in 2001 and presented by David Attenborough
  • The Waterfront (2007)
  • There will be blood (2007)
  • Three Kings (1999)- a film based on an attempt to control Kuwaits' oil fields
  • Jarhead (2005) also about the Desert Storm conflict
  • An Inconvenient Truth (2006) presented by Al Gore (Global Warming)
  • Human Planet – 8 part BBC documentary series (2011) looking at human species interaction with the natural world
  • City of God (2002) – Terrific film which examines life in Brazil's turbulent and often violent favelas. Blood Diamond (2006) – Political war thriller depicting the ferocious business of trading diamonds mined in African war zones.
  • Wall. E (2008) Covers themes of Globalisation and brand power. Also, environmental issues depicted through scenes of a post-apocalyptic world devoid of all natural life.
  • Children of Men (2006) – Themes of population and migration.
  • Simon Reeve (presenter) - Various BBC documentaries covering both physical and human geographical themes. 1. Equator (2006) 2. Tropic of Capricorn (2008) 3. Tropic of Cancer (2010) Slumdog Millionaire - provides an insight into the life of children living in the Indian slums the problems associated here. Also illustrates how they are trying to improve education to enable development.
  • Erin Brockovich - a good film that presents the negative impacts of the natural gas industry and the extent to which large companies are prepared to go to, to cover this up. Not only would this be good for the AS Energy module but also globalisation with reference to the negative impact of TNCs.
  • The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock - applies the Gaia hypothesis to global climate change - again an intriguing read which presents some interesting ideas and solutions to problems we are likely to face with population expansion and coming global climate change.



Government & Politics

  • UK Government & Politics (Philip Allan Updates) by Philip Lynch & Paul Fairclough
  • Understanding AS Level Government and Politics by Christopher Wilson
  • AQA Government and Politics AS by Duncan Watts
  • UK Government and Politics Annual Survey by Paul Fairclough, Richard Kelly & Eric Magee
  • US Government & Politics by Anthony J. Bennett
  • American Politics and Society by David McKay
  • Understanding American Government & Politics by Duncan Watts


  • Politics Review
  • Talking Politics
  • Economist
  • Quality Newspapers



  • Victorian Social Life: British Social History 1815-1914 by Evans and Jenkins
  • The Age of Reform by Brendon
  • Chartism by Behagg
  • Chartism by Royle
  • The Condition of England 1815-53 by Scott Baumann
  • Peace and War: International Relations 1890-1941 General Rivalry and Accord: International Relations 1870-1914 by Lowe
  • The Origins of the First and Second World Wars by McDonough
  • War and Peace: International Relations 1914-45 Williamson
  • The Origins of the First World War by Martel
  • Origins of the First World War by Henig
  • Origins of the First World War by Koch
  • The First World War by Brendon The First World War by Keegan
  • The First World War by Taylor
  • Butchers and Bunglers of World War One by Laffin
  • Versailles and After by Henig Peacemakers by Macmillan
  • The First World War Peace Settlements 1919-25 by Goldstein
  • The League of Nations by Bassett Locarno
  • Diplomacy. Germany and the West 1925-9 by Jacobson
  • The League of Nations, its Life and Times by Northedge
  • Hitler, Appeasement and the Road to war 1933-41 by Darby
  • The Origins of the Second World War in Europe by Bell
  • The Origins of the Second World War by Taylor
  • Japan and the League of Nations – Empire and World Order by Burkman
  • The Long Shadow: Reflections on the Second World War by Rose
  • Nazi Germany Weimar and Nazi Germany by Hinton
  • Hite Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Bullock
  • The Third Reich in Power by Evans
  • Hitler by Kershaw
  • Inside Nazi Germany by Peukert
  • Nazis: A Warning From History (BBC documentary series)
  • Russia and its rulers 1855-1964 http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/alevel/modern_european_russian.shtml



  • Why do buses come in threes? – Rob Easterway
  • Fermat's Last Theorem – Simon Singh
  • Alex's Adventures in Numberland – Alex Bellos
  • The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets – Simon Singh



  • Bevis,P & Murray,M. AQA AS Physical Education (2008) Nelson Thornes.
  • Roscoe D, Davis B, Roscoe J. AS Revise PE for AQA (2010) Jan Roscoe Publications
  • Bizley, K. AQA Physical Education (2009) Nelson Thornes.
  • Clegg, C. Exercise Physiology And Functional Anatomy (1995) Feltham Press
  • Walder, P. Mechanics And Sport Performance (1998) Feltham Press (1998)
  • Burrows, S. Byrne, M. Young, S. AQA AS Physical Education Student Revision Guide (2008) Philip Allan Updates
  • Wiggins-James, N. James, R. Thompson, G. AS PE for AQA (2005) Heinemann
  • Also sports rule books and coaching guides
  • Sports Biographies/Autobiographies

Magazines/ Journals

  • Journal of Sports Sciences
  • Journal of Sport & Social Issues
  • All sports magazines will offer a view on performing, coaching, science, current issues or history of sport(s). They are therefore valuable wider reading material
  • National newspapers. The sports pages report global events and the biggest issues TV
  • Sky sports news
  • Live sport – watch local, national and global events.
  • Sports biographies and 'day in the life of' programs give an excellent insight into the world of the elite athlete



  • A short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
  • Why don't penguins' feet freeze? – NewScientist
  • The Grand Design – Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
  • Newton – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happen – Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw


  • Physics World
  • Scientific American
  • New Scientist Places of Interest-London
  • Science Museum
  • Imperial war museum
  • The planetarium
  • Greenwich observatory
  • The space museum (Washington DC)



  • Freud for Beginners by Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate
  • Introducing Psychology: A Graphic Guide to Your Mind and Behaviour by Nigel Benson Mindwatching: Why We Behave the Way We Do by H.J. Eysenck and Michael W. Eysenck Psychology: A Very Short Introduction by Gillian Butler and Freda McManus
  • Psychology of Mind, Science and Behaviour by R Gross (5th edition)
  • Routledge Modular Psychology Series:
    • Awareness: biorhythms, sleep and dreaming
    • Classification and diagnosis
    • Early socialisation
    • Evolutionary explanations of human behaviour
    • Interpersonal relationships Memory and forgetting
    • Physiological basis of behaviour
    • Psychopathology o Social cognition
    • Theoretical approaches in psychology
    • Therapeutic approaches


  • Psychology Review (Quarterly)
  • The Psychologist (Monthly)
  • Scientific American (Monthly)


The British Psychological Society (BPS): http://www.bps.org.uk
Washington University Neuroscience Dept: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/neurok.html



  • Sociology Review
  • New Internationalist
  • The New Statesmen
  • The Economist
  • All newspapers are valuable resources for students, but a number of key newspapers have sociologists writing articles, and cover stories in a very sociological in-depth way. These include The Guardian (on Tuesday there is a useful 'Education' supplement, and on Wednesday there is a useful 'Society' supplement ); The Independent, The Times, The Observer,The Telegraph, The Financial Times Television.
  • Almost all television programmes have sociological value (from soaps & Big Brother to current affairs and documentaries). Ones to look out for include: Panorama (BBC1), Channel 4 News, Cutting Edge (C4), Have I Got News For You



A Level Preparation Out of School
Bring anything interesting you find to talk about in class, particularly anything related to the topic we are covering at the time. Read national websites for newspapers like ABC, El Mundo, El País, La Vanguardia, Cambio 16 and Muy Interesante. You can even download their Apps. Pick out interesting news items or articles and go through them, looking up new vocabulary. Watch any Spanish films you can. Almódovar films in Spanish are particularly popular.


Books like Dave Boling's Guernica and Victoria Hislop's The Return give you an insight into Spain at the time of the Civil War. Ian Gibson's Fire in the Blood: The New Spain has an enormous amount of information on Spain over the last century up to modern times. The more you know, the easier it will be to come up with ideas in an oral, and understand reading and listening texts in an exam. Also read literature in Spanish – especially South American writers like García Marquéz and Vargas Llosa. Try works by Antonio Gala, Arturo Perez Reverte and Alberto Vazquez Figueroa who are contemporary writers from Spain. Use Youtube.com at home to watch clips in Spanish on topics we are studying in class. You can watch Easter processions, see fiestas like La Tomatina, carnival or San Fermín, listen to Spanish singers like Joaquin Sabina or Ana Belen or watch clips on the environment in Spanish. Use google.es as your search engine instead of google.co.uk. Have a go and set you phone language to Spanish! There are lots of Spanish language courses in Spain for foreign language learners. Maybe sign up to one? Watch online TV in Spanish. Go to:



There are many websites offering practice in the Spanish language. Try:-

http://cvc.cervantes.es (for the Instituto de Cervantes)
http://spanishrevision.co.uk (go to the A level index)
http://lightbulblanguages.co.uk (go to Resources and Alevel)
www.conjugemos.com – excellent for practising conjugating verbs. www.languagesonline.org.uk

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