Year Groups

Nearing the end of the Stonyhurst education journey

In the last two years of a Stonyhurst education, our Higher Line (Sixth Form) pupils are focused on enjoyment, excitement and discovery. Pupils look forward to exploring the direction they want to take in the near future and discover the wealth of options available to them. Our A level and IB courses offer opportunities to foster intellectual curiosity and creativity - we develop global pupils who challenge the status quo who are positive disruptors.

Teaching encourages pupils to work and research independently and to think for themselves. Our emphasis on the importance of leadership and service is particularly strong in Higher Line. At this exciting stage in a young adult's education, we provide pupils with the opportunities and the stimulating environment that they need to be the best they can be, in all that they do - from Stonyhurst and beyond.


Year groups explained...

Playroom/year group Education stage Age of child
Poetry Year 12 16-17
Rhetoric Year 13 17-18

Did you know... at Stonyhurst the word 'Playroom' represents each year group but also the name of the social space where pupils socialise and relax throughout the day.

Study options

The Sixth Form at Stonyhurst is known as Higher Line and offers three options for study – A levels, the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) or the Cambridge Technical in Business or Sport. Each route provides a wide range of subjects for you to choose from and our teaching staff will be happy to discuss the available options and help you to make the best decisions for your future.

With subject choices often determining future university courses and future careers, it is worth getting to know what’s on offer before committing to a pathway of learning at aged 16. Pupils studying A levels will typically choose 3 or 4 subjects that they study for 2 years. Those studying the IBDP choose 6 subjects (3 at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level). Whichever pathway is chosen, all pupils take an additional, non-examined course of Theology General.

Poetry (Year 12)

Poetry is where pupils are introduced to important information about careers and university options. Careers lessons are very important in year 12 and through the Careers Department, a number of groups begin meeting regularly, including the MedSoc for those interested in medicine, LawSoc for potential lawyers, and a group for pupils considering Oxbridge or other highly competitive universities. These groups combine discussion sessions, talks from university staff and input from our wonderful OS (Old Stonyhurst) to inspire current pupils.

In the Summer Term, Poets attend a full-day UniFest, organised by Stonyhurst, where they hear talks from university admissions tutors, learn more about alternative pathways such as apprenticeships, and spend time with their tutors registering with UCAS and beginning their personal statements. 

As well as academic initiatives, Poetry pupils are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities. In the unlikely event that a pupil has a passion for something that we do not already offer, we can probably help set it up! Further, all Higher Line pupils can participate in the Arrupe programme which offers a choice of activities for pupils to develop their skills and talents for the service of others, be it in primary schools, homes for the elderly or charity shops. As the senior pupils in school, there are also a number of leadership opportunities for members of Higher Line. 

Rhetoric (Year 13)

Stonyhurst and beyond

In Rhetoric, the main focus is completing university applications and preparing for the next step after Stonyhurst. The Careers Team continue to provide a wealth of support in selecting courses, completing applications, and checking personal statements. At this stage in their Stonyhurst education, pupils are encouraged to use the Stonyhurst Link programme to engage with the collective experience of our OS.

Oxbridge, LawSoc and MedSoc groups meet regularly allowing pupils to give presentations on a topic of their choice, as well as preparing for any pre-interview tests or written work submissions which are required. Interview preparation sessions are also conducted by an external expert in communication and presentation skills and mock interviews are offered by a range of Stonyhurst staff, OS and other professional contacts for Oxbridge candidates.

With excellent teaching staff, strong academic results, world-class facilities, a dedicated and experienced careers department and a whole host of co-curricular activities on offer, Higher Line at Stonyhurst will set pupils up for the next step in their journey, wherever that may be.


Visit careers

Pupils are ready to accept responsibility for much of their own learning and support each other in their efforts to achieve well.

ISI Report

Leavers go on to some of the best UK & international universities. 

Take the next step

Book a private visit >

A typical day at Stonyhurst College


Where do you want to go next?