Academic Life

Senior School Life: Year 7 - 9, Year 10 - 11, Year 12 - 13

Year 7 - 9

In Years 7 and 8 pupils follow a core curriculum, are mostly taught in form groups. There is a choice of modern language between Spanish and French in Year 7 and a second language is introduced in Year 8. Sciences – Biology, Chemistry and Physics - are taught as discrete subjects.

In Year 9, an increased number of subjects, including Maths and languages, are taught in sets according to ability. In Design Technology and Art two form groups are made into 3 teaching sets to create smaller groups for the practical elements of the subject. In the second term of Year 9 pupils make their GCSE choices.

Year 10 - 11

Most girls will study for 9 or 10 GCSEs and a small minority may study for 11. In choosing subjects to take in addition to the core of compulsory subjects, we recommend that pupils opt for quality not quantity.

All girls take English, English Literature, Mathematics, Modern Language (French, German or Spanish), three separate sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics: 3 GCSEs) and History or Geography. They can also choose up to three optional subjects from a choice of Art, Design & Technology, Drama, Geography or History, Greek, Latin, Music, a second Modern Language, Religious Studies and Computing. All girls also study PSHE and PE as non-examined compulsory subjects.

Some girls, with the Headmistress’s agreement, may opt for fewer than two optional subjects, particularly those with a heavy extra-curricular commitment, for example, to music or sport in and outside of school. We stress to pupils that it is sensible to remember that universities and employers are interested in high grades at GCSE, not numbers of GCSE awards.

We try to ensure that every girl benefits from the challenges and opportunities presented by all that is on offer during her GCSE years at South Hampstead. This is the time to start taking school life more seriously and to lay down the foundations for ‘A’ Level and university study. Girls are encouraged to take a more independent approach to their work and develop the kind of study skills and thought processes that will ensure them later success.

Throughout Year 11, pupils have a mentor in addition to their form tutor who will advise on the possible combinations at AS. Pupils also receive detailed careers advice to help with their eventual choice.

Year 12 - 13

In Year 12 pupils choose 4 subjects to study at AS level and many will continue to A2 with those subjects.

Some may drop a subject and concentrate on 3 A2s. In addition to the subjects available at GCSE, Economics, History of Art and Psychology are also offered in the Sixth Form.

In addition to the formal examined subjects, pupils have 2 lessons of the Great Ideas course and they then follow either the EPQ or Critical Thinking pathways. In the Upper 6th, pupils have a range of lectures; some are academic, others deal with PSHE issues. They continue to have PE lessons. Sixth Form students also participate in the whole school enrichment programme.

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