Our Curriculum and Learning

Our Curriculum and Learning

At Yarm School we aim to foster a love of lifelong learning. At the heart of what we strive to create is a stimulating and happy learning environment where confident pupils have the skills and capacity to think for themselves. Crucially, we ‘educate for life’ – our Senior School curriculum seeks to develop resilience, intellectual curiosity and the capacity for self-reflection.

Our philosophy is that pupils should experience a broad range of subjects and that “doors should be kept open” for as long as possible. In all areas of the curriculum we challenge our pupils and they grow through the experience of those challenges. We have the flexibility to tailor learning to the needs of individual pupils and at key points in the curriculum families have significant choices to make in shaping the subjects studied outside the common core.

Senior School Curriculum & Learning

In the First Year (Year 7) the following subjects are studied: English, Maths, Science, French, Computer Science, Latin, German, History, Geography, Design & Technology, Art, Music and Religion & Philosophy. French and Mathematics are taught in sets, with other lessons delivered through the teaching forms.

In the Second Year (Year 8) pupils continue with essentially the same range of subjects, but Science is taught separately as Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The pupils also choose whether to continue with either Latin or German as their second language.

In the Third Year a further degree of choice is introduced. In this respect, in addition to the common core of subjects, four periods each week are selected from a list of option subjects – these include:

  • Design Technology
  • Art
  • Classics
  • Computer Science
  • Music
  • Latin/German
  • Spanish (introduced as a new language at this point.)

Towards the end of this year, pupils and parents are consulted about which subjects are to be studied to GCSE level in the Fourth and Fifth Years. By the time pupils reach GCSE level most of their classes will be in sets (Mathematics, Sciences, French), banded (English) or determined by their chosen options.

The standard class size in the lower school and GCSE years is about 18-22 pupils. The school provides learning support for those who need it, for which an additional charge is normally made.

Deputy Head Academic, Mr Morton discusses our Senior School curriculum and answers questions from prospective pupils and their families in this recording of our Senior School Virtual Open Morning.

Sixth Form

Most of our pupils proceed into our Sixth Form. The vast majority of our Sixth Form students take three A level courses, selected from over twenty available subject options. Sixth Form groups would not ordinarily be larger than 16 students and in practice the average class size across all A level subjects is closer to 10 students. Almost all students take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): this award is much valued by universities as a means of demonstrating intellectual curiosity and academic independence. Students who study Further Mathematics are able to take it as a fourth A level subject but this means that they are not timetabled for EPQ, though it would in principle still be possible to complete an EPQ in the student’s free time. The Further Mathematics A level is aimed at those who wish to pursue the subject, or a closely aligned discipline such as engineering, at university level.

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