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Learning Activities for Prospective Year 12 Students

In order to stimulate and support your learning in your chosen sixth form courses, we strongly encourage you to access the suggested reading and other activity ideas below over the holiday period:

BTEC Applied Science

  • Internet:


    • Ben Goldacre, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors And Harm Patients, Faber & Faber, 2013
    • Ben Goldacre, Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, And Pharma Flacks, McClelland & Stuart, 2010
    • Bill Bryson, A Short History Of Nearly Everything, Doubleday Canada, 2012
    • John Berger, Ways of Seeing, Penguin UK, 2008

    Other Materials:

    • Use GCSE revision guides and BBC Bitesize to review topics – especially those on cells, the periodic table, bonding and energy transfers.
    • Buy a copy of New Scientist and have a read!

BTEC Business



  •  Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt
  • “The Undercover Economist” by Tim Harford

Other Materials:

  • Research entrepreneurs – select a couple and discover their route to success.
    • Alan Sugar
    • Anita Roddick
    • Peter Jones
    • Richard Branson

BTEC Engineering


  • Guardian newspaper Technology section (free online)
  • Keep up to date with Technological news and developments.
  • Access the Institute of Engineering Journal (free online)
  • Read any articles on mechanical and electrical engineering that interest you.


  • https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/btec-nationals/engineering-2016.coursematerials.html
  • Find and watch YouTube videos on the following subjects
    • AutoCAD basics
    • Use of centre lathe and milling machine
    • Soldering electrical circuits

BTEC Level 3 Health & Social Care


  • Ben Goldacre, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors And Harm Patients, Faber & Faber, 2013
  • Ben Goldacre, Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, And Pharma Flacks, McClelland & Stuart, 2010
  • New Scientist Magazine
  • Woman’s Health Magazine
  • Men’s Health Magazine


BTEC Information Technology  Extended Certificate



Other exam board resources:


Unit 2: Database Management Systems:





Unit 3: Social Media in business


Unit 6: Website development




Principles of website development


YouTube channels:

A Level Art and Design


  • Collage Sourcebook, Atkinson, J And Harrison, H
  • Wall And Piece Century, Bansky
  • Ways of Seeing, John Berger
  • Eye Witness Art: Perspective, Cole, A
  • Drawing With The Right Side Of The Brain, Edwards, B
  • Art In Context,  Hobbs, J A


  • The Artist’s Manual, Jennings, J


  • Drawing With Colour,  Martin, J


  • Visual Elements In Art And Design, Palmer, F


  • The Complete Book Of Drawing,  Parramon, J M


  • The Intelligent Eye Learning to think by looking at Art, David N Perkins


  • Understanding Installation Art: From Duchamp To Holzer, Rosenthal, M


  • Land And Environmental Art, Wallis, B And Kastner, J


  • Picture This Century, Woolf, F

Places to Visit:

  • Locally
    • Derby Quad
    • Nottingham Contemporary Gallery
  • Further afield
    • Manchester Whitworth Gallery
    • Tate galleries, Hayward Galery, Saatchi Gallery, London

Other Materials:

  • Netflix has a whole host of Art documentaries that can make for a welcoming change from the norm. Everything from Street Art to Post Impressionism, Recycled art to Surrealism.
  • On your tablet or Phone – Great digital storyboarding for inspiration – Pinterest/Instagram

A Level Biology


  • Biology Science Review  (quarterly)
  • National Geographic
  • New Scientist
  • Nature


  • A short History of Nearly Everything-Bill Bryson
  • On the Origin of Species-Charles Darwin
  • Genome – Matt Ridley
  • The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature – Matt Ridley
  • The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
  • Any other popular science book. Go to Derby library and see what you find on the shelves that you find interesting.

Places of Interest-London

  • Science Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • Alexander Fleming Laboratory
  • British Dental Association Museum
  • British Optical Association Museum
  • British Red Cross Museum
  • Chelsea Psychic Garden
  • Freud Museum
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Museum of the order of St John
  • Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Royal College of Surgeons
  • Royal London Hospital
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital
  • Wellcome Trust and Wellcome Library
  • The Worshipful Society of Apothacaries


Any David Attenborough production, e.g.: Life on Earth, The Living Planet, Life in the Freezer, Life, Life Story, The Blue Planet.


The Eden Project – Cornwall



  • BBC news app – ‘Science & Environment’ and ‘Health’ section

A Level Chemistry


  • Bill Bryson, A Short History Of Nearly Everything, Doubleday Canada, 2012
  • Hugh Aldersey-Williams, The Curious Lives of the Elements, Penguin, 2012
  • Royston M. Roberts, Serendipity – Accidental Discoveries in Science, Wiley, 1989
  • Sam Kean, Disappearing Spoon, Random House, 2011
  • David Bodanis, The Secret House,  Berkley Books, 2003
  • Paul Davies, Four Laws that Drive the Universe, Oxford University Press, 2007
  • Linus Pauling, General Chemistry, Editorial Benei Noaj, 2011


A Level Computing



Additional reading would be the BBC News technology pages (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology) and BBC Click (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m9ry) as well as any computing/technology related talks on http://www.ted.com/talks (http://www.ted.com/talks?topics%5B%5D=technology&sort=newest&language=en)

A Level English


  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale, Contemporary Classics, 1996
  • Othello, William Shakespeare, Penguin, 2011
  • Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, Bloomsbury, 2011
  • Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue, Penguin Books, 2008
  • Read any poetry you feel you might be inspired by!

A Level History

Places to Visit:

  • Leicester or Bosworth to find out more about Richard III and Henry VII which will be studied in Year 12.
  • If you are going away on holiday you can research the history of where you are going.
  • Countries such as Spain, France and Germany frequent the History curriculum.
  • Even if you stay at home, the Midlands has some fantastic places to visit such as:
    • Hardwick Hall
    • Kenilworth Castle
    • Kedleston Hall
    • Calke Abbey
    • Tutbury Castle
    • Bolsover Castle
    • Cromford
    • Crich Tramway Museum
    • Derby Museum
  • Places that you visit are always more interesting if you do some research before you go. These may not be directly connected to your studies but maintain your interest and focus on History.


  • Read about Weimar, Nazi Germany and the early Tudors as this would be advantageous.
  • Read magazines such as BBC History or History Today that discuss current debates and themes in History. (These magazines also highlight where there are displays, open days, re-enactments or shows with a historical theme that are occurring over the summer!). History Today allows you to access some articles online for free.
  • Phillippa Gregory and Hillary Mantel have written popular books on the Tudor period and these have also been adapted for television
  • Ian Kershaw, Hitler Myth, Oxford University Press, 2001


  • Watch an excellent documentary series such as Nazis: A Warning from History or the Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler.
  • Thomas Penn, ‘The Winter King’ is a useful documentary about Henry VII and David Starkey also has a number of programs on the period that are available on YouTube.

A Level Mathematics


  • MyMaths – Bringing Maths Alive – http://www.mymaths.co.uk/
    • Username: Landau Password: Addition
    • Focus particular emphasis on algebra – by far the most important element as you approach post-16.
    • MyMaths also has an A level section for students who want to look ahead at subject material for Core 1.

A Level Physics


A Level Product Design


  • Download the App ‘TED Talks’ and search Product Design and watch some lectures.
  • Download Google ‘SketchUp’ from the internet (works for Mac and PC) and learn the software.
  • Use iTunes to download the ‘SketchUp’ show podcast or look on YouTube for the ‘SketchUp’ show to find tutorials.
  • Open a Flickr, Tumblr account and take photographs of interesting things, products, people.


  • Look for books on Product Design and read them: (Please see attached reading list, including webpages)

Other Materials

  • Buy a sketchbook and practise drawing.
  • The Facebook group ‘Sketch-a-day’ should provide some inspiration for this task.
  • Sketch-a-Day also has a web page: http://www.sketch-a-day.com/

A Level Psychology


Book and Magazines

  • The man who mistook his wife for a hat – Oliver Sachs
  • The essential difference – Simon Baron-Cohen
  • Scientific American Mind – published every 2 months – have a read of an article or three

A Level Religious Studies – Philosophy & Ethics


  • Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007


A Level Spanish



OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Performing Arts


  • Essential Guide to Making Theatre – Richard Fredman & Ian Reade
  • Essential Guide to Business in the Performing Arts – Vivien Freakley & Rachel Sutton
  • Essential Guide to Dance – Linda Ashley
  • Practical Theatre: A post 16 approach – Sally Mackay
  • The Performance Studies Reader – Henry Bial
  • Actions: The Actor’s Thesaurus – Marina Caldarone & Maggie Lloyd-Williams
  • An Actor Prepares – Constantin Stanislavski
  • The Dance Workshop – Robert Cohan
  • Constantin Stanislavski
  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Steven Berkoff

Places to Visit

1 July: Paper Tiger Productions & Greenwich Theatre perform Octopus at The Studio, Derby Theatre

7 July: OperaUpClose perform La Boheme at Derby Theatre

20-23 July: Departure Lounge Festival at Derby Theatre

26 & 27 July: Oddsox perform Macbeth at Markeaton Park

28-30 July: Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company perform The Comedy of Errors at Broomfield Hall


OCR Level 3 Cambridge Extended Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity


Places to Visit:

  • Any live sporting event!


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