The Academic Programme both as at its heart both breadth and choice. It is our aim to give all our students the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects -sciences, languages ancient and modern, humanities, creative arts and technological subjects as well, of course as English and Maths- in order that they can discover where their strengths and interests lie.
It is our belief that pupils will be better motivated to study successfully and thus achieve highly if they are able to make choices that allow them to follow those interest and exploit those strengths. Thus, at GCSE (and even before) we allow pupils to select what they pursue academically within a carefully structured options programme and we then build our timetable around their choices. At A-level, too, our timetable option blocks are not predetermined, but created after choices have been made. Add to that small class sizes (no more than 20 at GCSE in all but the top Maths sets no more than 12 in the Sixth Form) and students can easily access the help they need for success.
The Enrichment Programme provides an enormous range of choice also, in sport, drama, music, outdoor pursuits, leadership opportunities, community service, and a very diverse range of clubs and societies. Some seek to enhance what academic subjects provide in the timetable, others to introduce totally new skills and other just to allow pupils to share their enthusiasm for a particular activity. We encourage younger pupils to sample as wide a range as possible, in the belief that they will find one or two areas to which they can become committed and in which they might become leaders themselves in the upper part of the school.
It is our experience that students who take advantage of what's on offer through enrichment activities find that it can help them with their levels of academic achievement, by embedding them in the culture of the school, encouraging even stronger relationships with staff and boosting their self-confidence. A number develop skills and passions that can provide the basis for their career choices and will certainly continue to enrich their adult lives.
The Personal Development Programme arises from the work of the school's pastoral care and tutorial systems, but is also promoted specifically through the Personal and Social Education (PSE) syllabus that runs throughout the school. The latter presents pupils at all stages with ‘age-appropriate' opportunities within the timetable to explore issues as diverse as democracy, drugs, sex and relationships, bullying, equality, and citizenship (both global and more local). The former (whether it be through form tutors, the sanctions system, counselling, or just many of the encounters that take place all the time within school) provides opportunities for pupils to reflect upon and learn from their experiences in all of the aspects of school life.
Over coming years we will be developing both a co-ordinated programme of tutorial activities to enhance what we currently provide and additional time for regular one-to-one tutorial sessions in the Senior School. These will provide the opportunity for pupils to develop the habits of self-reflection and communication that their busy and demanding lives -both now and in the future- will require.