Senior School Curriculum

“Parents repeatedly describe the academics as ‘amazing’ and lessons as ‘fast paced and at a very high level’. Yet the girls we spoke to didn’t seem fazed and parents insist it is no pressure cooker.”

The Good Schools Guide

Our curriculum is broad, balanced and inspiring.

It’s specifically designed to help our pupils discover their own special talents and interests. Whilst having the freedom to create a curriculum enables pupils to achieve their best, we do include elements from the National Curriculum that we know work well with our pupils.

As your daughter progresses through the school, her education becomes more specialised with increasing time devoted to her chosen subjects.

Our approach to digital technology

We’re very used to using technology at Withington and we believe that it should always serve the goal of learning – so we use the method that will work best for the relevant task. Of course, this will vary, depending on the subject and the different lessons within that subject.

  • All pupils bring a fully charged suitable device to school every day.
  • Pupils have free access to Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote) through their Withington account.
  • All homework is set electronically – so pupils can easily organise their time.
  • Pupils can access timetables, reports and sports information via their devices.
  • Our helpful IT team are available to offer guidance on all things tech – for example, what device you should buy for your daughter and how to set it up.

Year 7-9

There are 40 lesson sessions per week. Some subjects are taught as double lessons to allow for practical work and further development of ideas. Language learning is generally taught in single lessons, as this is helped by more frequent exposure.

Pupils are mostly taught in their form groups except for the following, where smaller groups help with teaching and learning.

In Year 9

Year 7-9 Subjects

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Design Technology
  • Drama
  • English
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Geography
  • History
  • ICT and Computer Science
  • Latin
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Religious Studies

Year 10-11

Pupils make their GCSE subject choices towards the end of Year 9.

At the end of Year 11, pupils currently take nine GCSEs (or ten if they are entered for the Further Maths GCSE).

All pupils study:

Optional GCSE Subjects

Optional subjects available for GCSE study are:

  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • Design Technology
  • Drama
  • Food and Nutrition
  • French
  • Geography
  • Greek
  • German
  • History
  • Latin
  • Music
  • Religious Studies
  • Spanish
  • Physical Education

Every pupil is expected to choose at least one modern foreign language.
Those studying Separate Sciences may choose two other GCSE subjects.
Pupils studying Trilogy Science may choose three other GCSE subjects.

All pupils:

  • have a timetabled PSHCE lesson which is used to explore different issues and allows time for careers guidance.
  • have timetabled PE lessons.
  • study a non-examined course in Religion and Philosophy for half the year and additional lesson of PE for the other half.

The subjects available to study will depend on the choices made by the pupils. Every attempt is made to accommodate all preferences. In most years, over 99% of subject choices are accommodated.

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