Academic Life

Sir Thomas Rich’s aims to provide a broad, balanced and rich curriculum. We wish to promote a spirit of intellectual enquiry and a love of learning which will remain with Richians long after they have left us, and we believe that the acquisition of powerful knowledge and understanding, delivered explicitly by teachers who are subject experts, will ensure that students can access the best that has been thought, said and written.

The curriculum aims to prepare pupils for a rapidly changing world by providing them with high levels of core knowledge, appropriate skills and vocabulary as well as a deeper understanding of key areas of each subject discipline so that we can inspire pupils to question; think critically, creatively and develop their intellectual curiosity. The curriculum is designed to be academically challenging and stimulating for our able cohorts of pupils, the vast majority of whom study A Levels before beginning university degrees or degree-level apprenticeships, and the curriculum remains as full as possible for as long as possible.

Rich’s aims to challenge, motivate and inspire a lifelong interest in learning, prepare students for the world of work, promote Citizenship and Personal Development as well as offering pupils social, moral and spiritual guidance and an understanding of fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Such an environment is promoted by good discipline, high quality teaching and the mutual respect members of the school community routinely display toward one another. When pupils need additional support it is readily made available, and parents are kept informed of progress through frequent progress grades, parents’ evenings and school reports.

Further details of our curriculum can be found in our prospectuses in the Admissions section:

Remote Education Provision

This information is intended to provide clarity and transparency to students and parents or carers about what to expect from remote education where national or local restrictions require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home.

Remote Education Provision [PDF]

Key Stage 3

In Years 7 to 9 an enriched National Curriculum provides the breadth of study boys need before undertaking GCSE courses.

The following subjects are taught in Year 7: English (Language and Literature), Mathematics, a Modern Foreign Language (one of French, German or Spanish) Technology (including D & T and Food Technology), Science, Computing, Geography, History, Art, Music, Religious Education, PSHE and Citizenship, Drama, PE and Games.

In Year 8 the students study the same subjects as in Year 7 with the exception of Science which is now studied separately as Biology, Chemistry and Physics. An additional Modern Foreign Language is also started in Year 8 and students will also be given specific Careers lessons.

The Year 9 curriculum consists of the same subjects as those studied in Year 8.

Key Stage 4

In Years 10 and 11, the GCSE examination years, most students study 10 full course GCSEs and one short course GCSE. These are chosen from a wide range of core and option subjects. Care is taken to provide breadth and balance, avoiding too early specialisation. The vast majority thrive on this provision and do very well at GCSE.

All students take English (Language and Literature) and Mathematics. Students must also take qualifications in Sciences, either as separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, or as a Dual Award GCSE in Science. Religious Studies is also compulsory so that students must take a short-course GCSE in RS unless they have chosen the full course RS GCSE as an option. Students also choose another 4 or 5 subjects, at least one of which must be a modern foreign language, to make a total of up to 11 GCSE subjects. Options available for first study at GCSE include Economics, Business Studies and Photography. Part of the week is devoted to non-examination subjects: Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education; Physical Education; Careers and Games. GCSE exam board specifications are given on each subject page, see menu.

Key Stage 5

In the Sixth Form, students typically start Year 12 studying three or four A Level subjects. By Year 13 many of those who have started with four A Levels will have decided to continue with three of these. Some subjects are available at advanced level which are not available at Key Stages 3 and 4. These include Psychology, Politics and from September 2022, Philosophy.

The curriculum at Key Stage 5 offers increased scope for personalisation. Alongside a wide range of A Level subjects, students can undertake an Extended Project Qualification. Additional language courses are also available. There are lessons during the week which allow students to take part in sports or other interests which do not form part of a qualification. There is also a programme of support, advice and extension sessions. A Level exam board specifications are given on each subject page, see menu.

Involvement in school activities beyond the classroom is very much a part of most students’ experience and the Sixth Form is no exception. There are multiple opportunities for co-curricular activity. These vary enormously and include sport, music and drama alongside commitments such as charitable fundraising and writing for the School magazine.