The head of General Studies is Mr. P. Dixon-Smith.
General Studies is taught by staff drawn from across most academic disciplines. The exact personnel changes yearly, depending upon other timetabling commitments, but there is often a carry-over of experienced teachers.
There being no fixed General Studies area, teaching is done in rooms across the school. However, most rooms have blackout facilities, an interactive whiteboard and other relevant equipment. Access to IT laboratories and the school library are arranged when required.
The main aim of the General Studies programme is to prepare pupils for the examination. The importance of this task has increased over the years as more colleges and universities have taken General Studies into account when making offers. Additionally, pupils are given the opportunity to study areas of education and culture which are often not offered within the traditional ‘A’ levels. The hope is that this will broaden their outlook and possibly provide an interest for the future.
In year twelve the pupils are divided into the appropriate number of classes, each with their own teacher. The first half of the year is spent preparing for examination in the two AS modules; these are sat in January. The second half is spent preparing for the two A2 modules; these are sat in June. There is also the opportunity for resitting the AS modules. By the end of year twelve most pupils should have completed their General Studies A level.
In addition to examination preparation, the staff is encouraged to provide pupils with coverage of current affairs and other topics within the expertise of the teacher. The aim is to achieve a roughly equal balance between pure examination preparation and the more free-ranging topics.
In year 13, the pupils have the opportunity to resit both AS and A2 modules. The current guidance for resitting is that if a pupil is within the top half of a grade and therefore within reasonable striking distance of the next grade up, or if they have underperformed, they should consider resitting one or more modules. The guidance is frequently reviewed.
All teachers have their own personalised approach to classroom teaching but for General Studies the range of approaches is perhaps more varied than normal, partly as a function of the wide range of specialisms from which the staff is drawn. That said, common ground is provided in the need for familiarisation with the examination papers, which in turn provides opportunities to cover such areas as literacy, numeracy, citizenship, current affairs, science, technology, morals, ethics and religion.