Science in School


Breadth and balance are key to giving every pupil the opportunity to succeed

King Edward’s ethos is to ensure every pupil has the chance to discover their strengths and to shine, whatever their interests and passions. We deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, where choice is central and the individual learner is given priority. Our emphasis is on coaching, helping pupils to take increasing ownership of their own academic progress as they move through the School. This then builds good habits for Sixth Form studies.  All pupils enjoy cross-curricular activities and trips that add interest and value to this broad and enriched curriculum.

At King Edward’s, pupils develop creativity and collaboration in Music, Art and Drama, participate in many sports and discover new interests through our Clubs and Societies from archery, strategy gaming to bee-keeping.

All our academic staff are subject specialists committed to inspiring and stimulating pupils in all lessons. Each pupil has an academic tutor with weekly meetings and frequent feedback to pupils and parents. Parents use the parent portal Firefly to access regular progress grades and written reports. There is an annual parent and staff conference for each year group. Teachers and House staff are always available to arrange additional meetings with parents as required.

1st and 2nd Form Curriculum

In 1st and 2nd Form we are committed to giving our girls and boys every opportunity to experience a wide range of subjects so they can explore their interests and talents.

Studies are structured around the National Curriculum but extend well beyond. The core disciplines of Maths, English and Science make up a significant proportion of our teaching, to ensure pupils have the foundation required whatever route they take in their GCSEs, the Sixth Form and beyond.

Alongside the core subjects, pupils have the chance to experience three humanities – History, Geography, Religious Education – two to three modern languages French, German and/or Spanish, and Latin. Some pupils opt to take Classical Civilisation instead of Latin, ensuring that all our pupils have a sound grounding in myths, ideas, and the history that underpin and continue to shape western culture.

An array of creative pursuits completes their timetable options including Art, Design Technology, Food and Textiles, Music, Computing, Drama, and Sport.

3rd Form and GCSE Curriculum

A continued breadth of academic and co-curricular in 3rd Form ensures all pupils are well placed to choose a varied, balanced programme of studies when making decisions about their GCSE courses.

The core disciplines – Maths, English (Language and Literature), double Science, and one Modern Foreign Language are taught in ability sets.

An additional three GCSE subjects are chosen from the following options: Art, Classical Civilisation, Computing, Drama, a second Modern Foreign Language, Geography, History, Latin, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies or Technology (Design Technology or Food Technology). We also invite our keenest scientists to apply for the Triple Science, studying Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate GCSE courses.

The GCSE option blocks are constructed to meet the choices of individuals, but checks are made to ensure that pupils follow a balanced programme and keep career and further study options open. GCSE subject selection is done in consultation with teachers, House staff, parents and the pupil.

All 1st to 5th Form pupils follow a non-examined course in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) which complies with statutory guidance on the delivery of sex, health, financial and citizenship education.


King Edward’s offers a Pre-Sixth one-year GCSE programme. The Pre-Sixth year is a terrific way to prepare for the challenges and rewards of a full Sixth Form programme at King Edward’s. It provides pupils aged 15-16 a taste of boarding life, improves their level of spoken and written English and includes the opportunity for cultural trips around the UK, including Oxford, Cambridge and London. Living in our mixed day and boarding Houses, our Pre-Sixth pupils are fully integrated with their peers and build deep friendships. We offer pupils a rich mix of core subjects and three pathways: academic, scientific and creative. Please refer to the Sixth Form Booklet for subject details.

Sixth Form

The Sixth Form curriculum at King Edward’s offers a choice of A-level and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme to equip our pupils with the right qualification that suits their strengths and opens up the global marketplace for universities and jobs.

Whichever course of study is selected, every opportunity is taken to promote a genuine appreciation of academic disciplines as well as fostering life-long learning. The virtues of both routes are widely recognised by British universities including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and the other prestigious institutions in the Russell Group. The IB Diploma Programme benefits from a global recognition, while the A-levels suit the pupil with a passionate fascination for their subject.

We ensure, through a mix of aptitude tests and interviews with both senior teachers and our specialist Head of Careers and Higher Education, that every pupil, whether opting for IB or A-level, has a course that will allow them to flourish and fulfil their potential.


Universities traditionally make offers to pupils based on three A-levels hence most of our pupils will follow the three-subject pathway with the option to take Further Maths as a fourth A-level. Pupils taking three A-levels are offered the opportunity to complete the IB Theory of Knowledge course and the Extended Essay helping to boost UCAS points. An alternative course in a language or other IB subject can also be chosen alongside A-levels.

Universities welcome the IB’s Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) hours as evidence that pupils have broader interests, hence at King Edward’s all A-level pupils must accumulate CAS hours.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB)

The IB offers both the rigorous and challenging Diploma Programme, where pupils must take three Higher Level subjects and three Standard Level subjects spread across a range of disciplines, as well as completing the IB Core: an extended essay, the Theory of knowledge course and a commitment to completing Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) hours.

Recognised all over the world, the IB is a direct track into British and international universities and offers excellent preparation for tertiary education.

The International Baccalaureate Organisation aims to develop enquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The IB encourages pupils across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners, through challenge and rigorous assessment.

For an overview of our IB programme, please see the graphic below. To find about more about the individual IB subjects offered please explore our Sixth Form booklet.

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