Senior Curriculum

Happy and Successful

“Pupils are well educated, achieving the school’s aim that they should be happy and successful. Pupils of all ages, including those in the Sixth Form, display excellent levels of knowledge, understanding and skill across all subjects and activities” (Independent Schools Inspectorate)

Academic Achievement

Burgess Hill Girls is brimming with evidence of enthusiastic learners and teachers. The quality of the girls’ educational experience is the core of everything and the school takes immense pride in their many achievements both in exams and beyond. This is reflected in consistently excellent GCSE results and A Level results.

The standard of academic achievement at Burgess Hill Girls is excellent and the ‘value added’ as measured by Durham University’s Centre of Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) is something of which we are extremely proud. Using baseline data gathered as the pupils join the Senior School in Year 7, GCSE performance of each pupil is, on average, more than one and a half grades higher per subject than would be expected from pupils of similar ability. This regularly places Burgess Hill Girls in the top 1-2% of the schools using CEM statistics.

The data confirms what is in evidence daily: the girls thrive in this environment and exceed all expectations, giving them the confidence and foundation for a successful future.

“This is a school that is rightly proud of its pupils and what they achieve as individuals. Things like academic success naturally follow but the school does not chase statistics.” (Parent)

Lower School

Students in the Lower School, Years 7 and 8, follow a rich and varied curriculum that supports the development of core competencies, cultivates an understanding of the humanities, and builds confidence in several languages. We encourage a strong commitment to sport, healthy living and the creative and expressive arts.

Year 9

Year 9 is the foundation year of the Upper School, where more curriculum time is devoted to the options each pupil chooses to accompany their core GCSE subjects. The courses are designed to encourage pupils’ curiosity and increasing independence. Girls develop a deeper understanding of their subjects, explore topics of particular interest and develop the intellectual maturity necessary to perform as well as possible. Most importantly, they have fun with learning. The many co-curricular clubs and activities on offer enrich the taught curriculum and students’ experience of wider school life.


In Years 10 and 11, pupils follow a programme of nine GCSEs from a wide choice of subjects. Academic enrichment and further qualifications are available to supplement the core programme, such as the Higher Project Qualification, Further Mathematics and Statistics.

Careers Events

Careers events aimed at raising the aspirations of girls are supported by successful female role models from a range of careers and links with local businesses. Careers education is a core element of each pupil’s overall programme.

Extension and Support

Every student is considered to have individual needs with respect to their learning experience within and beyond the classroom. The Head of Scholars oversees a thriving programme for academic scholars and more able students, with a range of tailored opportunities for participation and extension. The EAL department is highly skilled and runs a programme of lessons each week to support those whose first language is not English. Led by the SENCo, the experienced Learning Support team oversees a programme of interventions designed to support pupils in their learning and development. The school celebrates the significant and very successful contribution made by students with SEND to the academic and cultural life of the school and there is a positive image of SEND within the school community as a whole.



YEARS 7 & 8

Students are introduced to different art practices, artists and designers. They develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to experiment, invent and create their own works of art and design. Students also learn how to research and respond to both traditional and contemporary art and gain an appreciation for art history. We encourage active use of a sketchbook early on in order to foster a passion for the subject and creative discipline.

The course covers formal elements and students acquire a broad base of skills in all media: drawing; painting; sculpture; photography; digital editing and textiles. By the end of Year 8, students have increased their skill and proficiency in the handling of different materials and have an appetite to pursue visual arts.



Year 9 is treated as a GCSE foundation year and focuses on ‘skills workshops’, showcasing printmaking, ceramics, photography, fashion, fibre art, textile design, drawing, painting, digital art and sculpture. These enable students to build specific skill sets while enjoying the rewards of producing art outcomes at this early stage. The approach sets a great platform for independent learning and allows students to begin to develop personal interests. More advanced students are encouraged to develop their work further with greater depth and more advanced techniques.


YEARS 10 & 11



We offer two Art and Design qualifications at GCSE. Both courses allow more time to develop existing and new skills and experiment with a range of new media, materials and techniques. Highly successful GCSE Art students embrace these opportunities, learning learn how to respond creatively to general themes or projects, working on one project for a number of weeks, researching independently and presenting a final outcome. Students look at the work of other artists and cultures, past and present using this knowledge to inform their own studies and practical outcomes. There is never one right answer in Art and students have the flexibility to develop their own approach.


Enrichment and Extension

We offer a range of trips, workshops and visiting artists, such as the game design visit and workshop in Year 8, a visit to the Goodwood sculpture park in Year 9, the oil paint workshop and screen print workshops at GCSE. Art and Textiles co-curricular clubs run each week and sixth form artists and senior school scholars also lead masterclasses for younger pupils. We submit entries to the Young Artists’ Summer Show at the Royal Academy and stage our own GCSE and A level Exhibitions.

Find out more about our A level courses here.

To get to know what makes art and textiles special at Burgess Hill Girls watch this video.



Computing during Key Stage 3 covers a wide range of topics. Coding skills, alongside the computation thinking required to understand, design and test solutions, are developed from simple visual programming platforms such as Scratch to high-level programming languages such as Python.

Girls also learning about e-safety, as well as other key computing areas such as web design, handling images and sound and the use of application development tools. Girls are also given the opportunity to design and build increasingly complex electronic circuits; from simple Arudino-based games in Year 7 to sensor-controlled robots in Year 9.

At Key Stage 4, GCSE Computing is offered as an option that builds on the experiences of the Key Stage 3 programme. Software design and programming skills continue to be developed alongside key theoretical topics such as network design, databases and the Internet. Other issues, such as open-source software, system reliability and electronics are explored using a wide range of online and practical resources.



We have specialist Drama teachers to teach all year groups. We also have an excellent Speech and Drama department which offers individual lessons for a range of New Era examination courses.


Drama lessons for KS3 involves two lessons per week as a “double” lesson in our specifically designed Drama studio or Croft II Drama space.

The KS3 Drama curriculum is based upon developing pupil imagination, communication and creativity whilst assessing their progress in the three essential areas of making, performing and responding in Drama.

The KS3 Drama curriculum has been designed to introduce and sustain the continual assessment of pupils according to the Drama Assessment Level descriptors published in the Arts Council document “Drama in Schools” as well as the assessment criteria and marking of GCSE Drama.

The curriculum content, delivery and assessment format focuses on the development of Drama skills in the following areas – Making and Creating, Performing and Responding & Evaluating.


At GCSE Level, we follow the OCR Specification. Our GCSE Drama course has been designed to be a practical, engaging and creative specification for students to study. It will provide opportunities to understand and create Drama as a practical art form in which ideas and meaning are communicated to an audience through informed artistic choices.

It will allow students to study Drama in an academic setting, interrogating this art form and applying their knowledge and understanding to the process of creating and developing Drama and to their own performance work. It will prepare learners for the further study of a range of higher educational courses as well as Drama or Performing Arts courses and helps in developing transferable skills desired by further education, higher education and employers in all sectors of industry.

Our course helps create independent learners, critical thinkers and effective decision makers – all personal attributes that can make them stand out as they progress through their education and into employment. The non-exam assessment allows students to explore their own interests and develop their skills in either performance or design. It also provides freedom for students to experiment and take risks with their work while developing their own style.


“Pupils are avid readers and make excellent use of resources in the library.” – Independent Schools Inspectorate

YEARS 7 & 8

Students are inspired by a wealth of literature. Each year they explore plays, poetry and novels, from classic, canonical literature to more contemporary, diverse works. Students are encouraged to become keen, independent readers through weekly reading lessons in which they are challenged to read widely across a range of genres. Whilst developing their grammatical skills, students also learn the art of skilful writing and how to construct an analytical essay. Students are taught to find their voice and the confidence to express opinions in writing and speech: time is devoted each year to spoken language.


Enrichment opportunities include creative writing clubs, reading schemes, the Poetry by Heart inter-house competition, trips to the Globe Theatre and the Canterbury Tales exhibition, and a host of author visits.


Students follow a combined course equipping them in skills for English Language and English Literature. Gothic writing, a Shakespearean comedy and love poetry are amongst the array of texts studied.

By the end of Year 9, students should be able to read accurately, fluently and sensitively, write expressively and accurately, and speak with confidence. All students are fully prepared for the rigours of GCSE.

Independent reading is also encouraged and supported through reading schemes and extra-curricular activities such as the Carnegie Shadowing Scheme, Book Week, the Southern Schools Book Award and our Young Adult (YA) video series, BookSmart.

YEARS 10 & 11

The English course provides each student with two grades: one in English Language and one in English Literature.


This course exposes students to a wide range of different fiction and non-fiction texts. The study of an anthology of extracts from multi-national writers fosters the engaged, active reading of unseen texts. Because of the coursework mode of assessment, students are afforded the time to refine a piece of creative writing and to craft a critical essay which demonstrates their reading abilities.

Students are encouraged to harness the power of language to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures, as well as to read texts with understanding and analytical appreciation of how writers shape meaning.


The International GCSE allows students to broaden their horizons as they read a wide range of literature from around the world and from different time periods. The coursework assessment means that students can practise polishing and perfecting their analytical essay-writing skills.

Students develop a fluent understanding of poetry, novels and plays. They learn to analyse texts, to explore the relationship between texts and their context, to evaluate the effect on the reader, to consider the writer’s intention, and to make connections across their reading.


The courses are complemented with theatre trips, visiting speakers and writing and debating competitions. For those considering English Literature at A Level, reading widely and for pleasure is recommended. Find out more here.


YEARS 7 & 8

Lower School students develop a deeper understanding of a range of locations including India, Antarctica, the Middle East and Africa. Topics such as weather and climate, hazardous earth and a study of resources encourage a curiosity for the world around them. Using GIS (a geographic information system) to carry out school ground fieldwork and air pollution surveys ensures students use new technologies to enhance their learning. Active teaching encourages learning through role-plays and model building.



Year 9 involves building on the knowledge acquired from Year 8 as well as providing a foundation for the GCSE course. Students learn about natural hazards and the living world. Within natural hazards, they study tectonic activity, climatic hazards and climate change. Our unit on the living world involves investigating world biomes, studying tropical rainforests and cold environments. Decision-making activities, design tasks and case study research develop in-depth study and excitement for the subject. A visit to the Natural History Museum embeds all natural hazard learning.



Geography AQA (Course Code: 8035)

GCSE Geography builds on the Year 9 foundation course, covering a range of exciting and contemporary human geography topics such as urban issues and challenges, the changing economic world and the challenge of resource management. Physical geography topics include rivers and coasts. The geographical applications unit develops issue evaluation techniques as well as geographical skills. Fieldwork skills are a key element of the course; they are refined during a three-day residential course where students have the opportunity to study urban and coastal environments. The course is both relevant and engaging whilst challenging perceptions of the world around us.


Enrichment and Extension 

The Geographical Society meets weekly to discuss geographical issues, listen to visiting speakers and engage in competitions. Eco-Group looks after the eco-garden and works on student-led tasks to improve the school’s environment and its environmental impact.

Find out more about our A level curriculum here.


YEARS 7 & 8

The curriculum covers some of the most important events in early and late modern English and British history. In Year 7 the Tudor and Stuart periods are studied, from c1509-1714. In Year 8, the focus shifts to the years 1750-c1918; the Industrial Revolution and the women’s suffrage movement in Britain are studied in depth. Two modules on the British Empire are also included; the origins and development of the colonies in the Americas and the experience of Empire in South-east Asia and Africa.  The devastating history of the slave trade and slavery in Britain’s imperial experience is also considered.



History has long been a popular subject choice. Following on from Year 8, and developing the skills of historical analysis and enquiry begun in the Lower School, students in Year 9 begin their course with an in-depth study of the outbreak of the First World War and of the impact of the War in Britain, 1914-1918. The impact of the War in Russia is also considered, and students explore the reasons for the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 as well as its consequences. These two topics provide the foundation for the IGCSE course, introducing students to key themes: authoritarianism; parliamentary democracy and representative government; the role of political ideologies; and popular protest. Economic and social change, and cultural developments also feature.



HISTORY Pearson Edexcel IGCSE (Course Code: 4HI1)

The IGCSE course continues with a further exploration of the twentieth century, examining key political, economic, social and cultural issues. Four topics are studied: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1945; Superpower Relations and the Cold War, c1945-72; the Vietnam Conflict, c1945-75; and China, c1900-1989. Students acquire an in-depth knowledge and understanding of defining events and periods in recent European and international history, broadening their awareness of the world around them and scrutinising different points of view. Students are supported in their learning to become confident and critical thinkers, interrogating historical documents and evaluating historians’ interpretations.


Enrichment and extension

The History department runs a variety of co-curricular activities and trips including a very popular trip to Berlin and the weekly current affairs club led by sixth form historians. A range of visiting speakers also visit the school across the year. Students from every year are warmly encouraged to participate in debate and discussion.

Find out more about our A level curriculum here.


YEARS 7 & 8

Languages are championed in the Burgess Hill Girls curriculum with all Year 7 and 8 pupils taking French and Latin. German and Spanish are introduced in Year 7 and students can then opt to continue in Year 8 and all the way through to A level.

French is the mainstay of the languages curriculum because as our closest neighbour France is a major trading partner of the United Kingdom and a favourite holiday destination. The Francophone world, French culture and customs are an inherent part of the course and we take every opportunity to introduce students to French society and way of life. French teaching in Year 7 focuses on consolidation of learning at primary school and interactive classroom games to encourage confident speaking and accurate pronunciation. By the end of Year 8, students are able to include opinions and justifications in their spoken and written work, and have an initial grasp of different tenses. There is a French café morning, food-tasting opportunities, a French pen pal exchange and we also enter national language competitions.

German, the language of philosophers, scientists, writers, musicians, artists and sportspeople is also the first language of the European economic powerhouse. All classes are taught by a specialist linguist. In Year 7 German lessons, students spend time interrogating the misconceptions which surround the German language and becoming acquainted with the similarities in vocabulary and syntax which exist between German and English. By the end of Year 7, students can introduce themselves, describing their family, pets, personality, school and hobbies, moving forward to more complex expressions in Year 8.

Spanish is taught by native speakers and by bilingual staff whose knowledge of Spanish far exceeds the level normally required for teaching at A Level. The department is truly international: we are familiar not only with Castilian Spanish, but also Latin American varieties. In Year 7, Spanish lessons build foundation skills and knowledge through accessible exercises and exciting content that immerses them in Spanish and Latin-American culture. In Year 8, students consolidate the key grammar points and vocabulary, and can talk with confidence about themselves, their families and friends, some Hispanic customs and festivals, where they live and their school.

Latin develops a broad range of important skills, linguistic, analytical and evaluative, for example, whilst exploring fascinating civilisations that continue to influence the West and the world as a whole. Students enjoy the rigour and intellectual flexibility needed to translate and explore stories of the ancient world examine cultural links. They soon become experts on gladiatorial combat and what to cook for a Roman dinner party, and learn about the structure and beliefs of this multicultural society. In the Lower School, students focus on daily life in Pompeii and Roman Britain. Whether students are seeking answers to the ‘big questions’, want to lose themselves in some of the finest stories ever told or simply enjoy a linguistic challenge, Latin has something for all. Students in Years 7 and 8 study stages 1-16 of the Cambridge Latin Course, which is used because it is the most enjoyable of all the Latin courses available. As a story-based course, it builds reading skills and vocabulary through sustained exposure to Latin.



Year 9 is an opportunity for all those taking a modern language – or maybe two – to explore the culture and traditions on a deeper level and speak it as much as possible. The curricula in all three languages are designed to build students’ confidence in key grammatical structures and vocabulary which feature at GCSE but also to carve out time to delve deeper into the study of the culture of countries where the language is spoken. Time is spent consolidating grammar, strengthening knowledge of tenses and introducing new material in preparation for GCSE. The students do research and presentation work, use interactive language websites and write creative role-plays to share with the class in which they embed new vocabulary and structures. At Burgess Hill Girls, students have space to develop their own interests and are encouraged to be creative; at the end of Year 9, all those taking German produce a research project on a topic of their choosing. The end of year immersion trips to France and Spain mean students use their skills first hand.

Many students take Latin as their language option or in addition to another language. In Year 9, Latinists continue their study of the Cambridge Latin Course, moving between exciting stories set in Alexandria and Roman Britain. A greater focus is placed on the vocabulary which is necessary for GCSE, whilst students also continue to study rich paralinguistic material about the ancient world.



FRENCH AQA (Course Code: 8658)

GERMAN AQA (Course Code: 8668)

SPANISH AQA (Course Code: 8698)

In the GCSE years, students build on Year 9 knowledge and move on to new topics. The focus is on improving speaking, listening, reading and writing skills while discovering life in countries where the language is spoken. Students read and listen to authentic material, for example in French they discover francophone celebrities, sports and popstars and also learn about the life of schoolchildren in Martinique. In Spanish they learn how to follow a recipe and make a traditional dish. All three language curricula give students the foundational knowledge and skills they require to access a different culture through language, the power to express themselves freely, to be heard and understood.

All pupils from Year 10 upwards have access to specialist language assistants. Access to a native speaker allows students to hone their speaking skills and they are able to share with students their first-hand knowledge language speaking, current affairs and culture.


Enrichment and extension

There are lots of co-curricular opportunities on offer including weekly clubs in all languages, including viewing and discussing plays and films, and liaising with students across Europe and around the world, to develop language skills and cultural knowledge. Each year, we enter national language competitions including the UK Linguistic Olympiad in which the school has fielded international finalists. Students experience the immersive French trip and stay in a host family. There is also a trip to El Puerto de Santa María, with Spanish lessons, excursions and activities. The German and History departments run a trip to Berlin and Munich every two years.

For those interested in taking a modern language further, developing fluency and exploring international literatures society and history, find out more about our A level curricula here.


LATIN OCR (Course Code:  J282K)

Students build on the linguistic skills developed in Years 7-9 by using a coursebook (Latin to GCSE 1 and 2) specifically aimed at grammar and syntax for GCSE, whilst also translating a rich range of unseens in Latin Stories. Students also put their linguistic skills into practice by reading ‘real’ Latin; they prepare one verse text prior to the examination and then are required to translate sections as well as answer comprehension questions about the text. The third and final part of the course accesses and utilises valuable skills of source analysis by studying forms of Roman entertainment, mythology and beliefs about the afterlife, as well as life in Roman Britain.

Enrichment and Extension

Students can study Classical Greek through the ICGC offered biennially. The department runs an annual trip to the British Museum as well as trips abroad to Italy and Greece every few years.

For lovers of literature, history, drama and art, the department offers Classical Civilisation A level, a rewarding, stimulating and exciting subject. Those who are passionate about continuing their study of Latin can take the A level, where exciting texts range from love poetry and law court speeches, to Roman history and epic poetry. Find out more about our A level curriculum here.



Mathematics in the Senior School moves on from the numeracy and basic geometry topics covered in Key Stages 1 and 2 to extend and broaden the range of skills and knowledge required to solve increasingly complex problems. Algebra provides a powerful tool for investigating patterns and solving problems and graphs are used to represent mathematical relationships. Geometry topics introduce new methods and concepts to solve a wide range of shape, area and volume problems and statistical methods are applied to interpret and represent data using measures and diagrams.

Throughout, problem-solving is a central theme; by developing fluency in key mathematical skills and through the use of logic and reasoning, our girls become increasingly able to solve a range of mathematical problems with confidence.

Throughout Key Stages 3 and 4, lessons are taught in ability groups, providing more support in smaller classes where this is needed while allowing others to move more quickly onto enrichment and extension activities where this is more appropriate. For all, support outside lessons is regularly provided in the form of clinics and Sixth form subject mentors.

In Key Stage 4, we follow the Edexcel GCSE in Mathematics and, during Year 11, some girls take the opportunity to study GCSE Statistics or the AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics.

In the Sixth form, A Level Mathematics is consistently one of the most popular subject choices. We follow the OCR (MEI) GCE in Mathematics, which combines both pure and applied mathematical topics. A Level Further Mathematics is also offered as a full subject and additional support for girls taking AEA or STEP examinations is also available.



“Standards in music across the school are excellent.” – Independent Schools Inspectorate


Music at Burgess Hill Girls is outstanding. Performances at every level, from school and community concerts to national competitions, bring much acclaim from audiences and adjudicators alike. We encourage and nurture every style and interest in music from traditional Western Classical through to contemporary popular styles and musical cultures from around the globe. Music is considered a universal language that has no boundaries and can be shared by everyone.


Students in Years 7 to 9 have one 40 minute music lesson each week with a specialist music teacher. The curriculum covers a broad range of music, from Western Classical to Contemporary Pop, taking in World genres and music for Media and Screen. Through these areas students develop creative and technical skills as well as cultural awareness.


Music at GCSE  is a development of the work studied at Key Stage 3 and a stepping stone for further study at AS and A Level.  We study the Edexcel Syllabus and the course aims to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of a wide range of musical genres and styles and encourages critical and creative thinking. The course is divided into three components – performing, composing and listening – and has four Areas of Study: Western Classical Music 1600-1899; Music in the 20th Century; Popular music in context; World music.

Key skills that are developed through this course include communication, creative use of technology, improving own learning and performance and working with others.

We are proud that, historically, girls have consistently achieved excellent grades in this subject.


Over 200 girls take instrumental lessons from our dedicated peripatetic teachers at the school, and we have a wide range of extra-curricular musical groups on offer including choirs, orchestras, a jazz band, and an African drumming group as well as a large range of string, woodwind and brass chamber ensembles to suit all abilities. Some girls even form their own ensembles in the form of bands and even a Glee Club. There are also opportunities to direct other musicians and learn the skills of conducting.

Giving voice to your own musical ideas and learning how to craft and develop them is as important as learning an instrument, and our girls develop their skills of composition in a range of styles. One of the most special occasions we have is hearing a student’s work come to life at a concert.


Come to one of our concerts… they are fantastic!

Come and see the enthusiasm, passion and confidence.

See the exceptionally high standard and hard work that has gone into it.

See the fun and enjoyment we all get from music.

To get to know what makes music special at Burgess Hill Girls watch this video.


“There is excellent participation in sport for all pupils, regardless of ability, with the school providing them with the support and resources to fulfil their potential.” – Independent Schools Inspectorate

Physical Education and Sport of every kind is highly valued at Burgess Hill Girls, where we adopt a positive and vibrant lifelong approach towards leading a healthy, active lifestyle. The department boasts six highly qualified, inspirational and enthusiastic teachers ably supported by a number of specialist sports coaches.  This wealth of experience encourages every pupil to find an activity or sport they enjoy, and in which they can have the opportunity to participate at their own level or at county, regional or national standard.

We offer a huge range of extra-curricular activities during lunchtime and after school ranging from traditional Invasion Games to more creative based activities and outdoor pursuits. There is an extensive fixture programme for all age groups, with opportunities also of enjoying our exhilarating overseas sports tours.

Students not only learn to develop their core skills but also the importance of working in a team. Leadership, sportsmanship, co-operation and discipline are key life skills that each student may gain through participation in PE.

During Key Stage 3 we follow a more traditional programme, which includes a wide range of activities such as Hockey, Netball, Athletics, Tennis, Trampolining, OAA and Badminton.  During Key Stage 4 & 5 we offer a more extensive range of activities to try to encourage the girls to find their sporting niche.  Activities include Zumba, Insanity Classes, Boxercise, Street Dance, Climbing and Individual Fitness programmes.  Our GCSE and A Level results are excellent, enabling our girls to pursue a career in sport or wider areas.  Sport is at the heart of school life, providing every student with the opportunity to fulfil their dreams and aspirations in the embodiment of the school’s motto; ‘I am, I can, I should, I will.’

Watch this video to find out more about sport at Burgess Hill Girls:


In Religious Studies: Theology, Philosophy and Ethics, we encourage pupils to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions about life. We expose students to the ideas of the greatest thinkers our world has ever known. Religious Studies allows students to become more aware of contemporary philosophical and ethical issues.

At Burgess Hill Girls we develop the students’ knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and promote their spiritual, moral, cultural and social development. Pupils investigate Christianity and other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of students within our school.

By the end of Year 8 students are well versed in being able to express their own views whilst also appreciating and expressing the points of view of others. We emphasise critical thinking, and aim to teach students to construct good arguments, analyse sources of evidence and think about different kinds of truth.

Religious Studies is a popular choice at GCSE and A Level, where we study Theology, Philosophy and Ethics.

We examine questions such as:

  • What is more important – the sanctity of life or the quality of life?
  • Should animals have the same rights as humans?
  • Why do people suffer?
  • Does suffering have a purpose?

So, what can you do with Religious Studies? The study of religion helps you to learn how to think critically, listen empathetically, speak thoughtfully, and write clearly—all skills that will be of great use no matter what you go on to do in life.

It will also help you to better live and work in our increasingly diverse society and global world. Students of religion go on to careers in a wide variety of fields including teaching, medicine, social service, law, journalism, international business, diplomacy and many more besides.



Years 7 and 8

Young scientists spend Year 7 turning their innate curiosity into scientific thinking. With one teacher to guide them through their first year, they cover everything from the smallest cells to new life, are trained to use Bunsen burners and a range of common chemicals, and start to pick apart the nature of the universe looking at how forces and waves are fundamental in energy transfer.

Year 8s study Biology, Chemistry and Physics in separate classes with a specialist teacher for each. They study both human and environmental health, the amazing periodic table and the building blocks of matter, and how the concept of energy allows our world to exist as dynamic entity.


Year 9

Developing scientists in Year 9 start to look at the fundamental concepts that underpin GCSE knowledge. By studying cells in greater detail, including transport of materials, hierarchy of organisation and how organ systems work together to bring about living organisms, the richness of detail in Biology begins to be revealed. Chemistry takes previous ideas and upgrades the models used to understand and explain complex ideas such as bonding and why reactions occur, using the patterns of the periodic table to make predictions. Physics uses mathematical models and experimental data to prove phenomena.


YEARS 10 & 11

In Year 9, the three sciences are taught within the core curriculum and set by ability. All Year 9 pupils begin the year following the same curriculum in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Later in Year 9, the top sets begin to work at a faster pace and follow the separate science pathway. The other sets continue on the combined science pathway. It is possible to study science A levels from either the Combined Science or Separate Science pathways.




Combined Science covers all three science disciplines, taught by three specialist teachers. Students learn about the basic principles of each subject through a mix of theoretical and practical studies, whilst also developing an understanding of the scientific skills essential for further study. A combined dual grade is received at GCSE, which is calculated based on the total score of the six GCSE papers taken. This allows for a stronger science to balance a more challenging science, allowing the combined grade to remain strong.

Theoretical and practical studies combine to allow students to start developing their skills as independent scientists, with the required practicals allowing them to demonstrate and refine their skills.

As well as focusing on the individual sciences, students are encouraged to use scientific thinking to critically engage with the world, understand scientific communication, and to be aware of bias when facts and figures are reported; essential skills in our media driven world.



BIOLOGY AQA (Course Code: 8461)
CHEMISTRY AQA (Course Code: 8462)
PHYSICS AQA (Course Code: 8463)

Studying separate sciences means students will cover more content than GCSE Combined Science. The reward is an additional GCSE, with three separate grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students also begin to develop an understanding of the complicated scientific skills essential for further study at A level.

Additional required practicals are studied to allow students to broaden the range of experimental techniques at their disposal and to allow them to move towards their own experimental design.  As they progress, students learn how science is studied and practised, and become aware that the results of innovative scientific research can have both positive and negative effects on individuals, communities and the environment.


Enrichment and Extension

Students go on a field trip to study sampling techniques. We enter the Biology Olympiad and the Year 10 Chemistry challenge. There is an annual trip to the Royal Institution for Chemistry and Physics.

Find out more about our A level curricula here: Biology; Chemistry; Physics



Years 7 and 8

Design and Technology gives an opportunity for practical, hands-on learning. Students will work with timber, metals and polymers, progressing to basic electronics and mechanisms. They consider the properties of the materials, such as electrical conduction, and how this impacts on design and manufacture. Students will learn how to use a range of tools and machinery, including computer-aided design, to bring their ideas to life.

By the end of Year 8, students are confident in the workshop setting and have experience of using a wide range of tools, machinery and materials.

Year 9

In Year 9, students progress to more independent and creative design and manufacture of practical products, as well as becoming fluent in essential technical vocabulary. They employ a more sophisticated range of tools to produce a wide range of products, including a sliding lid box, a footstool and a pewter piece, reflecting on the principles and history of good design to inform their decisions. Further traditional skills such as the use of hand tools, casting and mould-making, laminating and steam-bending are introduced. Modern technological skills are also developed, including more complex circuits and in-depth learning of two- and three-dimensional computer-aided design. They become even more confident in the workshop, independently selecting tools, communicating ideas to others and improving the accuracy and quality of their work. The use of our laser cutter, 3D printer and computer numerically controlled milling machine are key to this. Students choose to complete extension projects of their own during after school ‘open workshop’ sessions. All these experiences help build a broad foundation of skills and technical knowledge in preparation for GCSE.

Years 10 and 11

Design and Technology, OCR  (Course code J310)

At GCSE, students apply their technical knowledge to solve real-world problems. They develop their practical skills alongside an understanding of the commercial, environmental and ethical impacts of technology.

Students begin with freehand sketching to communicate their ideas, before mastering more accurate computer-aided design to present formal technical drawings. They draw inspiration from current designers and historical design movements as well as from biomimicry and pure imagination. These designs are brought to life using both traditional techniques and computer-numerically-controlled machines to generate real outcomes.

Students learn about the production of stock forms from raw materials and commercial scales of production, helping them make informed decisions about their own designs. They consider the needs of those with physical or hidden disabilities, the impacts of products on the environment, and the vital ethical issues which are reflected in the best designs.

Much of Year 11 is dedicated to a problem-solving challenge. Students carry out an independently chosen project, creating their own innovative solutions to a practical issue. The design is iterative, improving in stages until they produce a final practical outcome. The final stage of Year 11 allows time for reflection, reinforcing technical knowledge and vocabulary to build further confidence for the examination.


Enrichment and Extension

The workshop is open several days a week after school for students to design and manufacture their own ideas, developing independence and expertise. STEM visits and work experience are encouraged.

A level Design and Technology is the next step for those who are enthused by practical and creative problem-solving and enjoy the technical and ethical thinking that underpins good design. Find out more about our A level curriculum here.


Higher Project Qualification: AQA (Course Code: 7992)

The Higher Project Qualification adds an additional half GCSE to the portfolio of grades. An academic extension opportunity, the HPQ is an individual project on a topic chosen by the individual student about which they want to know more, are genuinely interested in and would be willing to research.

Supported by experienced teachers and an individual supervisor, students are taught the skills they need to know to develop independence of thinking and independence of research. In addition, they learn how to put together an academic essay (or artefact) and these skills are invaluable for the completion of the project and for school life more generally. These include planning, time management and discriminating between good and poor quality information.

Completing the HPQ is an exciting and sometimes challenging process but it is carefully supported and provides a fantastic opportunity to become an expert on a topic of choice. This might be finding out whether artificial intelligence should be used to determine guilt or innocence in a trial, why we need sleep or whether zoos should exist. Whatever students are interested in, the department has the expertise to guide success.

There is a direct link between completing an HPQ and the higher tiered qualification of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) completed in the Sixth Form.

"Pupils knowledge, skills and understanding across the curriculum is outstanding, strongly supported by carefully structured and well-paced lessons."
Independent Schools Inspectorate