Head's blog

Senior School

Our Senior School curriculum is broad and engaging. We aim to create confident, independent, and successful young women who are equipped with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of life in the twenty first century. We identify these skills through the use of the learner profile to guide the planning of the curriculum. The learner profile identifies ten attributes that we seek to develop in the girls, these are: Knowledgeable, Inquirers, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk Takers, Communicators, Thinkers, Balanced, Principled and Reflective. They have opportunities to take responsibility and develop their leadership skills in preparation for adult life. 

The Learning Journey 

Years 7 and 8

We understand that the first two years of Senior School are key to effectively establishing learning habits as well as understanding. Therefore we provide a balance between ensuring the girls maintain an open mind to a range of different academic disciplines, whilst also focussing on their capacities as learners.

The curriculum for both year groups includes English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Religious Studies, two modern foreign languages chosen from French, German or Spanish, Drama, Music, Dance, ICT, Games, Art, Design Technology, Food Technology, Textiles and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). In Year 7 girls follow a course in Classics and in Year 8 this is replaced with Latin.  

The DRIVEN Curriculum

Groups of subjects also come together under the banner of the DRIVEN curriculum. Whilst still taught as the discrete subjects listed above, units of enquiry have also been designed to develop a broad and balanced learner profile. As a school that offers the International Baccalaureate diploma, we know that taking a holistic approach to education is vital and as such developing the profile of the girls is of as equal importance as the subjects they study. 

The DRIVEN curriculum is the name given to this development that provides an environment for:

Deep thinking
Risk taking
Inquiry led learning
Values, cultures and traditions
Empowering through skills
Nurturing curiosity.

This curriculum is delivered in units of enquiry, following a similar model to that used in the Junior School. Approximately half of the curriculum has been designed to provide clear thematic and conceptual links between subjects, thus deepening their understanding and developing their skills base.

Thinking Skills is taught to girls in Years 7 - 8 as a discrete subject to ensure they learn and use a common meta-cognitive language. These skills will also be embedded in all lessons in Year 9 

Year 9

Year 9 is a very special year for the girls. With their skills and understanding in place from Years 7 and 8, this is a year when choice and independence become increasingly important in their learning journey. The continuation of developing their intellectual character from experiences both inside and outside of the classroom is vital, and as such a variety of opportunities is made available to the girls.

•    English
•    Mathematics
•    Biology
•    Chemistry
•    Physics
•    Geography
•    History
•    Religious Studies
•    Latin
•    Drama
•    Music
•    ICT
•    Games
•    Political Science 
•    Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
•    At least one of the following subjects: Art, Design Technology, Food Technology and Textiles.
•    At least one modern foreign language. They can choose whether to continue with both the modern languages they have studied in Year 8 or whether to study just one. If they choose to take only one, they will also follow a course in International Studies in addition to one subject from Art, Design Technology, Food Technology, Textiles, Music Technology and Digital Design.

Years 10 and 11

Following on from the experience of Year 9, our goal is to provide a broad and balanced set of options at GCSE/IGCSE level that is both stimulating, engaging and a sound foundation for further study at Sixth Form level. As such we have made the decision to offer IGCSEs in certain subject areas as we believe these provide the most effective methods of assessment as well as establishing a conceptual grounding for further study if needed. 

In Years 10 and 11 girls will work towards taking 10 IGCSEs/GCSEs.

All girls are expected to take the following core subjects:
•    English Language
•    English Literature
•    Mathematics
•    Biology
•    Chemistry
•    Physics
•    At least one modern foreign language. 

Girls can then choose another three subjects from the following list but should include  a humanities subject (i.e. Geography, History or Religious Studies.) 

•    Geography, History*
•     Religious Studies
•     French* 
•    German* 
•    Latin 
•    Spanish* 
•    Drama 
•    Music 
•    Art 
•    Design Technology
•     Food Technology 
•    Textiles
•    Physical Education 

(* these subjects are offered as IGCSEs). 

Whilst our focus on external examinations is clear over the course of Years 10 and 11, we are also conscious of the need to continue to develop all aspects of the girls. Therefore in addition to their examination courses, all girls will follow non-examination courses in Games, PSHE and Philosophy and Ethics. Both physically and intellectually Years 10 and 11 are designed to provide an environment for challenge and self-discovery, giving the girls a real range of experiences from which to make well informed decisions about their futures.

Transition to the Sixth Form is carefully managed throughout Year 11 in particular with advice and guidance being given from both academic and pastoral areas of the school.

Head's blog