Success with the Social Sciences
Curriculum: Understanding Our World
The Ardingly College Curriculum encourages students to develop a broad understanding of the world, and the people within it. We live in a society where an ability to understand, empathise and imagine are vital skills, that enable people to connect with those around them both professionally and personally. Our curriculum is designed to enable students to develop not only the critical skills to do this, but also a theoretical understanding of societies, economies and polities to ensure that they are effective global citizens. At GCSE two of our most popular options subjects Geography and Sociology pave they way for a Sixth Form curriculum that enables students to study Economics, Business, Politics, Geography and Sociology to great effect. Results across the full range of social science subjects are excellent with many departments in this field achieving 100% A*-B at A level each year and exceptional ALPS scores for added value. Alongside this Lower Sixth students complete a non- examined elective subject with options available in the social sciences including International Relations and Criminology. These subjects and their popularity serve our students exceptionally well, equipping them to be engaged, discursive and crucially armed with the skills to think independently and develop rationalised considered viewpoints that they can articulate in a persuasive yet thoughtful manner.
In recent years our students have gone on to study a range of courses at university, both at home and overseas. However, Politics and Economics have consistently remained the most popular degree courses for our students. Students progress to a range of institutions, predominantly those in the Russell Group, including Oxford and Cambridge, while others have studied further afield for example, Politics at Amsterdam or Political Science or Economics majors at a range of highly selective US institutions. The UK University application process is overseen by our team of degree related subject specialists, and specialist support is provided for those students applying to the most selective universities. All International applications are handled by our Overseas Universities Coordinator.
The extra- curricular programme encourages all students to develop an understanding of the World in which they live, irrespective of whether or not they are formally studying the social sciences. Debating is strong at the college and Model United Nations is a very popular activity with students embarking in a range of MUNs both at home and abroad. Students also embark on a range of other activities within the Enrichment Programme including Economics Book Club, Politics Society and the discussion society Sophos.
Lectures and academic extension
Students at Ardingly College are encouraged to consider the bigger and more complex questions that impact on the world today. They are fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a range of lectures and other events that will help to broaden their horizons and to think deeply and critically about a range of questions. In 2020 we ran an extensive programme of events to mark International Women’s Day with lectures covering a range of topic areas from the Role of Women in the Media, Period Poverty and gendered language. In 2021 we have hosted a number of events linked to the BLM protests and movements working with a range of external providers to deliver workshops and seminars. A themed in House lecture programme takes place during each year, while these cover a broad range of the curriculum areas the social sciences have been effectively represented in recent years with lectures on the ‘Decline of Purple America’ and ‘Racism In Nature’ and the ‘Inverted Colour Spectrum’. In addition a range of subject specific discussion groups occur, alongside a termly Scholars’ Symposium for our academic scholars and termly thematic Gifted and Talented Days to encourage our most able students to work across subjects and year groups to tackle thematic ideas and concepts for example Remembrance or Sustainability. While an annual, externally judged essay competition encourages students to think and write about issues beyond the formal curriculum.