Year 9 Subjects
In Year 9 (Pre-GCSE Foundation Year of Key Stage 3) the subjects studied are English, Mathematics, Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Modern Foreign Languages (French, German and Spanish), Latin or Classical Civilisation (depending on language aptitude and experience), Geography, History, Religious Studies, Art, Design Technology, Drama, Music, Thinking Skills and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education).
Subject Options at GCSE
Choosing the correct combination of GCSE subjects is a vitally important process for a number of reasons.The subjects chosen will be studied for two years leading to public examinations, so it is crucial that pupils elect to follow a combination that interests them and suits their skills and aptitudes. Furthermore, a broad and balanced range of GCSE subjects is attractive to higher education and the world of work, as is the best possible combination of grades. At the Royal Hospital School, we carefully guide pupils in their choice of subjects. We provide written information, briefings for pupils and for parents, as well as careers advice and the guidance of tutors, House staff and subject teachers.
At the start of the GCSE years (Key Stage 4) in Year 10, pupils take the following core subjects: English (most study English Language and English Literature as separate GCSEs), Mathematics, a Modern Foreign Language or Latin, Biology, Chemistry and Physics (either as the three separate sciences or as the 'dual award'). In addition, pupils who select three separate sciences choose three additional GCSE subjects from blocks containing History, Geography, Religious Studies, French, German, Latin, Spanish, Art, Music, Drama, Design Technology, Classical Civilisation, PE, Media Studies and Business Studies. Those who select the dual award choose four additional GCSE subjects.
The option blocks are restructured each year to accommodate pupils' preferences as far as possible.
Tutor System and Support
Tutors are focused on helping pupils make the most of their education. Every pupil will meet with his or her tutor formally each week, but as the tutors are attached to the Houses they can provide guidance and support on an information basis in between these meetings.
Tutors will set goals, highlight achievements and, where necessary, ensure additional help or resources are provided. Through baseline testing, targets are set against quantifiable national data, giving each pupil the opportunity to fulfil his or her academic potential.
The Learning Support Department offers individually tailored specialist teaching in one-to-one lessons for pupils with dyslexia or similar learning difficulties. This might cover study skills, revision techniques and improving literacy. An experienced Mathematics teacher also works in the Department, giving individual tuition to pupils with specific difficulties in numeracy.
If specific problems are identified at the time of entry or through baseline testing, additional support can be provided through the Learning Support department at no additional charge.
On joining the School in Year 9, each pupil is assessed using the MidYIS test. This is designed to measure, as far as possible, ability and aptitude for learning, rather than achievement. The test comprises four sections (Vocabulary, Maths, Non-verbal and Skills) and the results can be used to identify pupils' strengths and weaknesses, inform teaching and learning, and to identify gifted pupils and those with special educational needs.
This information is used to help set pupils a Challenge Grade or personal goal for each subject. Throughout the year, pupil performance in each subject is then tracked using attainment grades compared to the Challenge Grade. This provides a performance indicator ie Gold (exceeds expectation), Green (on target), Amber (some concerns) and Red (specific concerns), shown in interim and end-of-term reports.
This careful monitoring of academic progress and early intervention to resolve any difficulties ensures that each and every pupil achieves his or her personal best.
We stretch our most able pupils so that they are able to realise their full potential, go on to top universities and follow appropriate career paths. As well as adding value to the highest achievers, we also ensure that those that need more help are supported and advised, so that they too do well and exceed their expectations.
Each year around 110 pupils take an average of 9.2 GCSE subjects. The % of A* to C grades is consistently around 90-97% and between 40 and 52% of grades achieved are A* or A. For a breakdown of GCSE results by year, please follow the links below:
Co-curricular Activities and Enrichment
Great importance is placed on balancing academic work with interests and achievements outside the classroom and every pupil is encouraged to become fully involved in School life, to challenge themselves and to try something new. This involvement helps to produce interesting, well-rounded individuals who will contribute to society in life beyond school.
Music, art, design and drama form an important part of the core curriculum in Year 9 and through a number of games sessions per week and class-based PE lessons, children gain confidence, build physical fitness and benefit from healthy competition. All Year 9 and 10 pupils take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and Combined Cadet Force and many continue through until the end of the Sixth Form.
In addition, pupils are encouraged to take part in the co-curricular opportunities after school. As well as music lessons and working toward drama qualifications, there is a wide range of organised activities and societies each day between 4 and 6pm.