Pupils enter the Senior Department at 11 years old either directly from the Prep Department or as an external entrant.
During the first two years, all pupils are set according to ability and follow a rich and broad curriculum designed to stimulate intellect and creativity and lay down solid foundations for the Year 9 transition year, during which they make their GCSE subject choices with public examinations taken at the end of Year 11.
Years 7 and 8
In Years 7 and 8, students are offered a broad and exciting curriculum. All students enjoy:
• Science (two periods of Biology, Chemistry and Physics each week)
• Religious Studies
• PSHE (Personal Social and Health Education)
• French/Spanish (Students for whom we feel learning a language may be beyond their fair capabilities may be invited to choose to receive supported study periods.)
• Design Technology*
• Home Economics*
*Our Creative and Technological subjects run on a two-year carousel so that, across the two years, each student experiences four blocks of each of these eight subjects.
Thus, in Years 7 and 8, our students follow an exciting and vibrant curriculum providing each student with a broad and creative approach which is an excellent precursor to our Year 9 curriculum and a seamless bridge towards the GCSE programmes of study.
In Year 9, the curriculum changes to reflect that this is the year that our students will demonstrate mature and wise choices as they select their GCSE Options.
Students continue to follow either French or Spanish and they now select the two Creative and Technological Option subjects which they really want to follow (from Art, Design Technology, Drama, ICT, Music and Photography) – most probably with an eye on making their formal, GCSE choices midway through the year.
This process is managed during the Lent Term of Year 9 when students are guided to make informed and balanced GCSE option choices. They are encouraged to select the subjects that most excite them and which will provide a rounded portfolio in preparation for future choices at Sixth Form or University level.
To find more about our individual academic subjects, visit our Academic Overview.
GCSE – Years 10 and 11
Whilst teachers in some subjects might commence their GCSE Programmes of Study during Year 9, it is from Year 10 that students really embark upon their chosen options for GCSE or IGCSE examinations at the end of Year 11.
Heads of Department select the optimum syllabus for their subject so that our students are entered for a range of examination boards to provide challenge and enjoyment in each subject.
We take great care to meet individual requirements for learning and to offer appropriate opportunities for students across the ability range. For those who are academically gifted, we provide additional stimulation and challenge through our understanding of the NACE framework (National Association for Able Children in Education), whilst a flexible curriculum affords opportunities for any students who require additional learning support.
The core GCSE subjects (compulsory) from Year 10 are:
• English Language
• English Literature
• Double Award Science (three subjects leading to two GCSE awards)
There are then four further Option Blocks. One subject may be chosen from each option block and all students must choose one subject from Option Block 1 which includes:
• Supported study periods (recommended to a small number of students where a language is thought to be beyond the fair capabilities of that student).
Option Blocks 2 to 4 enable students to make a balanced selection from the following subjects:
• Art and Design: Fine Art
• Art and Design: Photography
• Design Technology
• Physical Education
• Religious Studies
All students will continue to receive Games, Religious Studies, Personal Social and Health Education, and Life Skills which includes careers advice, sex education, and economic education.
When selecting their subject options, students will be guided and advised to cover a balanced breadth within a range of 7 to 9 subjects. Where necessary, students will be offered learning support in lieu of an option in order to maximise their average GCSE grade: this is an important consideration for university applications in the future.
Our current GCSE Options booklet can be found here: GCSE Options Booklet 2023.pdf