Above and Beyond

Sixth Form is a time of educational exploration, extension and experimentation. Whilst maintaining a dedicated commitment to your chosen subjects you are also strongly encouraged to stretch yourself in terms of acquiring broader learning during this period.

This will benefit you in terms of your life chances, meaning that you are a more attractive candidate when it comes to applications for further study and employment, but it will also benefit you in terms of making you a more interesting and interested human being who is aware of the world around you and able to engage with important issues and ideas.

The attached list contains some suggestions for wider learning that is ‘above and beyond’ the curriculum. This is far from an exhaustive list and you are encouraged to ask your teachers for further suggestions and to be inquisitive in terms of exploring your own interests.

There is a ‘general reading’ list which should interest anyone and which contains a broad range of suggestions and also some subject-specific examples.

Reading List

Speaker Programme

An outstanding feature of our Sixth Form is our weekly speaker programme that runs during Wednesday afternoon enrichment. Students have benefited from a range of talks by visiting academics, politicians, campaigners, activists, authors, charity representatives and many more. This rich and varied programme has sparked some fascinating discussions and debates and has allowed students to explore current affairs and interesting issues, building useful skills such as critical thinking and helpful contacts that have led to work experience placements for some of our students.

Some of our guests have included:

  • Dame Tanni-Grey Thomson, member of the House of Lords and Paralympic medallist
  • Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett
  • BAFTA-winning film-maker, Tina Gharavi
  • Author of ‘Hunger Pains, Life inside Foodbank Britain’, (winner of the British Academy Peter Townsend Prize, 2017), Kayleigh Garthwaite
  • Professor Brian Ward, author of ‘Martin Luther King in Newcastle Upon Tyne’
  • Human rights defenders from across the globe, including activists from Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Ethopia and Sri Lanka
  • Students from Palestine
  • Representatives of local charities and organisations, including the foodbank, a dementia awareness organisation and refugee and asylum seeker groups


January – February 2019

9 January 2019
Dr Andy Shuttleworth , Queens University, Belfast, ‘In defence of Neanderthals’
Andy is a lecturer in Human Palaeoecology and will be giving us a fascinating talk exploring human evolution in which we will learn about early hunter gatherers and consider what makes us human.

16 January 2019
Dr. Craig Ancrum , University of Teesside, ‘Why does crime happen and what can we do about it?’
Craig is a Senior Lecturer of Criminology at the University of Teesside. He will be giving us an introduction to this fascinating subject. Craig’s research interests include illegal drug use and drugs markets and organised crime at a local level. He is co- author of ‘Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture’ and is involved in on-going ethnographic studies in his native Tyneside.

23 January 2019
Palestinian students of Durham University
Since 1984 the Durham Palestine Educational Trust has offered scholarships to students from the West Bank and Gaza to enable them to study at the University of Durham. We will be joined by students currently studying for Master’s degrees as part of this programme who will share with us their experiences of living under the shadow of occupation and their hopes for the future.

30 January 2019
Val Yuill and Maisie, Therapy Dogs Nationwide
Val and her therapy dog Maisie volunteer in primary schools, special schools and old people’s homes. Val will be talking about the work done by TDN and the positive impact it has. Maisie won’t be doing much talking but will be happy to meet everyone.

6 February 2019
Dr. Carly Beckerman, University of Durham
Carly is Assistant Professor in the International Relations of the Middle East at the prestigious School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. She is going to give us an introduction to Middle East politics and consider why the history and politics of this region is such a significant part of international relations.

13 February 2019
Richard McMann, ‘What a difference a day makes’
Richard was Head of History at a school in the South East when his life changed forever. A terrible accident on a charity bike ride led to life-changing brain injuries that nearly killed him. Richard will share with us his story of his long and painful recovery, first in London and then at the University Hospital of James Cook, and how he has had to adapt to an entirely different life than the one he had planned.

The King's Academy