Academic

Academic life is flourishing at College. Our teachers have a deep enthusiasm for their subjects and are committed to providing high-quality teaching which develops intellectually curious, self-motivated, enthusiastic young women with an enduring love of learning.

Under the direction of the Vice Principal Academic and Departmental Heads, much care and attention is devoted to optimising the planning and resourcing of all our academic programmes and facilities. Regular, constructive feedback between teacher and pupil, in all aspects of work and play, is at the heart of our success in allowing each girl to realise her true potential.

Our teaching staff are great enthusiasts for their subjects, who delight in engaging with the girls, fostering curiosity and creating a challenging and stimulating classroom environment. They comprise over 120 full-time staff (approximately two-thirds women, one-third men), with a further 40 part-time teachers and another 40 peripatetic music and drama teachers. More than 85 of the teachers act as tutors to the girls during their time at College. 

A benefit of being a large school is we can offer many subject areas, allowing a wide choice and enabling a personalised timetable. Girls discuss options and alternatives with their tutors, who work closely with them in helping them make the right choices. Classes are small, and girls are encouraged to take an active part in lessons through challenging, debating and developing their point of view.

Our Lower College (LC) curriculum provides exceptional breadth, building foundations for GCSE courses, many of which commence in LC3 (Year 9).

In LC1 and LC2 (Years 7 & 8), girls study separate Sciences, Computing, Humanities, Philosophical Enquiry and a Language Acquisition course, which enables them to study up to three languages in Year 9. The Arts are integral, with Music, Drama, Art and Design and Engineering, Enterprise and Technology also studied. A healthy approach to life is nurtured through Physical Education and the Wellbeing Programme. We encourage girls to pursue a modern, broad and varied curriculum with advice given at every stage to ensure that each girl’s aspirations for Higher Education are supported. 

In Upper College, most girls will take 10 GCSE subjects, including Mathematics, English Language and Literature. A minimum of two separate Sciences and at least one Modern Language is recommended. Girls have a free choice of options but are encouraged to maintain a broad curriculum whilst tailored to their individual strengths and interests. Girls can also undertake a design-and-make project to develop their creative, technical and practical skills through a Higher Project Qualification.

In the Sixth Form girls have the option to study either the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme or A Levels.

IB girls must choose six subjects from distinct curriculum areas, three at Higher and three at Standard level. They also study a core programme comprised of three elements: Theory of Knowledge, an Extended Essay and Creativity, Activity and Service. 

Those who follow the A Level route can take up to four A Level subjects as a linear course, over the two years. A combination of three A levels alongside Mathematics and Further Mathematics is also possible for some girls. Such is the flexibility and breadth of the provision, Mandarin Chinese is also offered as a Cambridge Pre-U qualification. A Level girls may also opt to study a new language such as Japanese, Italian or Spanish through the IB language ab initio certificate.

For some girls, the optimum number will be three A Levels or three A Levels and one stand-alone AS Level. This combination may provide more time to pursue other academic and co-curricular interests. Many girls undertake the Extended Project Qualification, which enables independent study in an area of personal interest. Examinations in all subjects are taken at the end of the second year.

Useful links

Download the Sixth Form Course booklet

The Department pages provide links to the GCSE, A level and IB specifications.