The Cogitas aim to provide breadth to students’ academic study in the sixth form. Students pursue a 4th A level as a means of developing academic depth, and these lead to a further A level qualification; more than the customary three A levels pursued in many schools and colleges. However, breadth is also an important part of a student’s academic development, and that is the purpose of the Cogitas/Extended Studies. The programme starts with one or two collective sessions, introducing the course and covering some broad aspects of study skills.
Students have the opportunity to choose two courses from a selection offered, depending on staff availability and interests, which they will study across two semesters through the three terms. Each semester will run for 16 weeks. These are non-examined courses, allowing teachers to offer topics which they are enthused about and an opportunity for students to share in that interest and extend their horizons. A sample of past courses is below, though these are not necessarily all on offer next year.
- Ancient Greece
- Ancient Rome – from Republic to Empire
- Visual Data – MATLAB
- Becoming a Man – the history of masculinity
- Napoleon: The Man and Myth
- The Journey of the European Arts
- Art History, Theory & Knowledge
Whilst the courses do not have any formal examinations, they are nonetheless underpinned by some key principles, which students will develop and be expected to demonstrate during their studies. Some of the courses lead to an agreed end project (a mock trial, a presentation, a product) but completion of the two semesters, whatever courses are followed, also offers the opportunity for students to develop the academic richness they can write about in their university personal statements.
The following core principles are developed across the courses
- Oral Argumentation and Presentation
- Analysis and construction of strong arguments
- Assessing evidence and developing critical thinking
- Research and wider reading