Download the 2021 Upper School Prospectus here
The Upper School curriculum aims to meet the adolescent’s new capacities for critical thinking and independent judgment, as well as their interest in life’s big questions: What is justice? What do we mean by truth? What will give my life meaning? How can I make a difference in the world? Pupils study a wide range of exam and non-exam subjects. Students study all areas of the curriculum to maintain breadth and balance of their education. For example, teaching and learning is personalised, differentiated and aimed to offer diverse learning experiences that are accessible to all children including children with SEND.
All lessons are taught by specialist teachers and the Class Teacher is replaced by a Class guardian, who has a pastoral role, and may or may not teach the class. The Main Lesson system continues and includes all the pupils in the year group and covers a range of topics delivered in an integrated multidisciplinary approach. The sciences are taught experientially and follow a “phenomenological approach,” which means that the teacher sets up an experiment and calls upon the pupils to observe carefully, ponder, and discuss what is happening. Approaching the subject matter in this manner develops scientific thinking as an organic skill as well as competency within the student. Starting in Class 8 and continuing through the Upper school, each year the curriculum brings a new topic in the fields of physics, chemistry, and biology.
PSHE – Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
PSHE is the study of topics and issues that are central to the healthy, positive development of an individual, from early childhood through to teenage years, ultimately preparing young people for adult life so they can access opportunities to build lives in which they can flourish, whilst being able to recognise the hazards and cope with the challenges they may face in life. Please see the RSE and PSHE Curriculum Frameworks below RSE.
RSE (Relationship and Sex Education)
- To enable students to develop healthy, responsible and respectful relationships
- To ensure students are informed of the various life processes that will impact upon them, both the physical and the emotional
- To promote understanding and the ability to make informed choices on issues around relationships from understanding what makes healthy friendships, relationships to being able to identify peer pressure and coercion and how to challenge this and/or get support
- To enable students to learn about diversity in sexual attraction and the difference between birth gender and gender identification.
Class 8 (Year 9)
Main Lessons include:
- Science: human anatomy, chemistry, mechanics
- Humanities: geography, including meteorology; history – western culture from the 17th Century to the present, examining in particular revolutionary periods, including the English Reformation and Civil War and the revolutions in America, France and Russia. Biographies of inventors, industrialists and social reformers
- English: Individualised study of literature. A major Shakespeare drama production
- Maths: arithmetic, including simple and compound interest, power and roots, algebra, linear and curved graphs, equations, integers
- Geometry: the five Platonic solids, Euler’s Law, Laws of Enlargement
- Computing: pupils are introduced to the working principles of contemporary technological devices through first understanding their historic roots and their social, economic and cultural contexts. Computer studies are introduced after pupils have been given the opportunity to grasp binary systems.
In addition there are regular subject lessons in PSHE/RE, Music, Art, Crafts, Games, Maths, English and Science.
The Class 8 Project
This is a key area of learning for all Class 8 pupils. In this area of learning pupils choose an area of interest or skill that they wish to develop and explore. It is a self-directed project conducted over a period of 6 to 8 months, culminating in a presentation of the pupils’ respective work to their parents and peers. Pupils are supported in this project by a mentor and keep a journal and a project book to record and track their learning. This forms a key part of the IE Cert qualification – see IE CERT section later on this page.
Class 9 (Year 10)
Main Lessons include:
- Science: Physics: Electricity and Communications; Organic Chemistry; Human Biology: lungs and heart/blood circulation; the senses (with focus on the skin); recreational drugs and their physiological effects;
- Humanities: Geography/Geology/Geomorphology: the physical earth – plate tectonics, rock types and different landscapes; minerals as a resource; detailed map reading; orienteering; extensive field studies. History, including history of art from ancient civilisations to the Renaissance; 20th and 21st century history: forms of government, major political and social changes; challenges to democracy;
- English: Drama and History of Drama from Greek tragedy to the present, Literature and Drama, including their historical development and different genres;
- Maths: two and three dimensional Geometry.
In addition, there are regular subject lessons in PSHE/ RE, Drama, Craft, Games, Landwork, Maths and English.
Courses in the following GCSEs (and vocational equivalents) are offered.
- English Language
- English Literature
- Sciences: Combined or Triple (Physics, Chemistry and Biology)
Class 10 (Year 11)
Main Lessons include:
- Maths: Trigonometry and Surveying (including a project on school grounds);
- Science: Physics (dynamics and gravitation); Chemistry of metals; Biology: Human Physiology, Anatomy, Embryology and Sexuality;
- Humanities: History – Anthropology; Culture and the evolution of civilisation; Geography: Climatology and Oceanography; the world’s biomes and modern ecological challenges; globalization; geo-politics; sustainable development.
In addition there are regular subject lessons in PSHE/ RE, Drama, Craft, Games, Landwork, Maths and English.
The GCSE (and vocational equivalent) courses continue from Class 9.
IE CERT – The Integrated Education Certificate (IE Cert) qualification
The IE Cert is a level 2 qualification with the same “value” as two GCSEs, though it is in its infancy and so it may not be perceived as such at this point. We are, however, working with the post-16 colleges to make sure that they are aware of the qualification and its value. The qualification sits alongside the pupils’ GCSE and wider learning in Upper School and is awarded to pupils who show a range of diverse skills along with examples of work to support this.
Pupils start work on the IE Cert with the Independent Project in Class 8. Self-chosen and self-driven, the Class 8 project allows the students to demonstrate:
- planning and organisational skills
- research skills
- the ability to work inter-disciplinarily
- the ability to reflect on successes and hurdles
Successful completion of the Independent Project gives a single level 2 qualification award at pass, merit or distinction level.
In Class 9, pupils are continuously assessed for their ability to demonstrate a range of Creative Thinking Skills. These can be evidenced in any subject area, and demonstrate the ability to:
- make connections between activities, knowledge and influences
- use different perspectives to make observations and draw conclusions
- communicate ideas or concepts for a specified purpose
- reflect on their own perceptions and judgements
Successful completion of the Creative Thinking Skills module gives another level 2 qualification award at pass, merit or distinction level.
Updated November 2020