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Pupils demonstrate high levels of skill, knowledge and understanding across the curriculum

ISI 2013

Curriculum Overview

In designing the curriculum for the senior school we aim to give every single child the chance to achieve his or her full potential.

A particular priority is to help all pupils to achieve the best academic qualifications possible and to be well prepared for the next stages of education and career. But education is, of course, much more than examination passes! We wish our pupils to develop into personable, confident and articulate young adults, to develop an inquisitive nature and appreciate the value of learning, and to be able to take their place as full, well-informed members of society.

We aim to achieve this by providing a broad-based, dynamic and stimulating curriculum which is applied as flexibly as possible to suit the needs and priorities of the individual. The academic subjects are complemented by a wide range of curriculum enhancing opportunities including trips to the theatre, the Eden Project, ancient castles, day trips to France and London, overseas residential trips to Ireland and Greece, and field trips to South Devon beaches and Dartmoor .


Key Stage 3 Curriculum: Years 7, 8 and 9

There is no setting or streaming from the beginning of Year 7. This gives all students the opportunity to settle into the school academically and socially. In Years 8 and 9 there is broad setting in Mathematics, Science, and English. This is to help all pupils to progress at a pace suited to their abilities in these subjects. Class sizes are small (average of 13 students per class) to enable all students to benefit from frequent, focused interactions with their teachers.

In Years 7, 8 and 9 students can study:

  • English and Mathematics
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics
  • History, Geography and Religious Studies
  • Design Technology and ICT
  • Art, Drama and Music
  • PE and Games
  • Classical Civilisation and Latin 

They also have the opportunity to study a range of languages: French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. In Year 7 they study each of these, at scheduled times throughout the year. In Years 8 and 9 most students specialise to study two of these languages. For students who are not suited to studying two languages, in both Years 8 and 9 there is the option to choose to receive extra support in English and Mathematics instead.<

In Year 9 there is also the opportunity for students to select options from a range of arts subjects. This enables students to start to focus on areas of the curriculum that suit their skills and interests while still providing them with a range of subjects to choose from when they select their options for their forthcoming GCSE studies.


Key Stage 4: Years 10 and 11

Subject choices for GCSE and IGCSE begin in Year 10 and are continued into Year 11. Inevitably studies become more directed towards preparing for their important examinations, but there are still frequent opportunities for stimulating activities such as dramatic performances, practical investigations, creative design work and numerous curriculum enhancing excursions. Class sizes are kept small, with an average of 12 students per class, enabling all students to receive individualised support.

All pupils study: 

  • English Language and Literature (two IGCSE subjects)
  • Mathematics
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics (taken either as three separate subjects or two GCSEs in Core and Additional Science)
  • A modern foreign language: French or German or Spanish
  • Pupils also have a choice of three optional subjects chosen from the list below. They are encouraged to follow a humanities subject (Geography, History or Religious Studies):
  • Art (Fine Art or Photography)
  • Business Studies
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Design and Technology (Graphics or Textiles or Resistant Materials)
  • Drama
  • Geography
  • History
  • Latin
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Studies (Philosophy)
  • A second foreign language may be studied as one option.

In Years 10 and 11 setting by ability is used in English, Mathematics, Science and in some languages. The GCSE and IGCSE examination in most subjects is taken at the end of Year 11, although there are some opportunities for students to take exams early in Year 10. There is also a growing range of GCSE subjects which can be studied after school in activity time, including Philosophy, Greek, Computing, Film Studies and extra languages.

A one year pre-Sixth Form course is available for Year 11 international students to prepare to start A Levels or the Sport Baccalaureate one year later. They study alongside the other Year 11 students in subjects such as Mathematics, English and the Sciences. There are also other bespoke lessons provided in subjects such as History, Business Studies and German. This programme enables the students to take a range of GCSE or AS qualifications in one year. 

The options systems in Years 10 and 11 are re-designed each year to accommodate all pupils' preferred choices as far as is possible. Pupils are asked to select their choice of subjects by February in each year and advice to help them make their choices is carefully planned. The option blocks are then constructed from these choices. 

Pupils demonstrate high levels of skill, knowledge and understanding across the curriculum

ISI 2013
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