The Lower School curriculum broadly follows the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9).


The Lower School Curriculum at RHS

The Lower School Curriculum is broadly balanced and based on the National Curriculum Key Stage 3 with a few enhancements specific to the Royal Hospital School. High-quality and enthusiastic teaching in small classes is supported by innovative resources and facilities. Pupils are encouraged to aim high, attain their personal best and, most importantly, enjoy the challenge.


Compass Programme

All Lower School pupils also follow our bespoke Compass Programme which aims to provide them with the skills, enthusiasm and curiosity to become better independent, and digital learners with an understanding of themselves and their place in a wider society. The Compass curriculum comprises PSHE (personal, social and health education), digital and computer literacy, and critical thinking, as well as career guidance and presentation skills. In Year 9, pupils undertake a Junior EPQ project which leads into more formal pieces of academic research.


Developing Independence and Study Skills

In Years 7 and 8, the curriculum builds on the foundations laid in the core subjects already studied, but also adds new subjects to stimulate and extend pupils' thinking. Great emphasis is placed on developing independence and also on study skills, such as the ability to research an answer and present findings through a talk, blog, project or report. Differentiation is enhanced by mobile technology in the classroom, which maximises pupil engagement and helps to nurture the enjoyment of learning in these formative years.


Year 7 and 8 Subjects

In Years 7 and 8, subjects studied are English, mathematics, science (biology, chemistry and physics). All pupils study one modern foreign language (selected from French and Spanish), while Year 7 pupils will study classical civilisation before starting Latin in Year 8. In addition, they study three humanities (geography, history and religious studies) and four creative arts (art, design technology, drama and music).


Year 9 Subjects

In Year 9 (Pre-GCSE Foundation Year of Key Stage 3), the core subjects studied are English, mathematics, science (biology, chemistry and physics) and three humanities (geography, history and religious studies). In addition, all pupils study two creative arts (chosen from art, design technology, drama and music). The vast majority of pupils take a modern foreign language (from a choice of French and Spanish). A few pupils receive English as an Additional Language (EAL) lessons or learning support instead. Pupils also take one from the following: a second modern foreign language (French or Spanish ab initio), Latin, classical civilisation or computing.



On joining the School at Year 7, pupils are placed in one of four parallel forms although all pupils are set for mathematics based on performance in the entrance assessment. After the first term, mathematics sets are adjusted as necessary.

Year 9 Options Guide

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