Academic Life at Sir Thomas Rich's School

The aim of our curriculum is to offer a broad and balanced range of subjects which cultivate knowledge, skills and understanding. 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.

As an outstanding school producing excellent academic results we aim to cultivate an atmosphere in which each boy or girl can give their best. 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:

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 1 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 boys 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 and Business Studies. Part of the week is devoted to non-examination subjects: Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education; Physical Education; Careers and Games.

Key Stage 5

In the sixth form students typically start Year 12 studying four A Level subjects and by Year 13 many 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 and Politics, as well as GCSE Italian.

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.

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 fund raising and writing for the School Magazine.