In line with the College's aim to develop intellectual curiosity and encourage pupils to enjoy academic enthusiasm, from September 2007, there was a change to the structure of the Shell (Year 9) curriculum.

Pupils benefit from an enriched academic experience and are encouraged to explore beyond the confines of individual subject disciplines or the need to sit external examinations. Preparation for the latter begins in earnest in the Remove (Year 10).

This new course is called 'Form' and enables small groups of pupils (of no more than twelve) to work with a Form teacher in the investigation of three combined Humanities subjects: English, History and Religious Studies. Just as boarding houses provide an excellent basis for pupils' social development and learning about community life, so Form lessons aim to provide the basis for intellectual growth and the sharing of ideas.

Central to Form lessons is the common study of the development of human civilisation, enabling pupils to appreciate something of the chronology of that development as well as its ideas, cultures, actions and beliefs. Underpinning the course is the truism that learning is not a passive process and that, through conversation and exploration, pupils can be guided towards a greater understanding both of their own place in the world and of the views of others.

In their small Forms, aided by the familiarity of surroundings, resources and personalities, pupils are encouraged to make and explore connections between the ideas, people and facts they learn about. They are asked to investigate how those in other times and places have dealt with the problems of human existence, to interpret and express these findings and to think about how they might apply what they learn to the world in which they live. They will also be encouraged to reflect on the spiritual dimension of existence, and to understand the religious experience in guiding and transforming human lives.

Beyond the Classroom

In addition to the daily contact between Form teacher and their Form, the course will include whole yeargroup events, lectures and activities, as well as study trips locally and further afield.

Core Curriculum Objectives

A central core of skills required by the English, History and Religious Studies departments will ensure a consistency of experience for all pupils as well as common levels of preparation for the next stage of their academic career. The main curriculum objectives will be as follows:

  • Development of oral English through debate, presentation, role-play, recitation, etc;
  • Promotion of reading for pleasure as well as reading for study, with introduction to different ways of reading for different purposes;
  • Introduction to the uses of the College's libraries and to effective use of dictionaries and other standard works of reference;
  • Development of skills for analytical writing: research, note-making, essay planning, drafting and writing;
  • Creative writing in a range of styles and genres and for a range of audiences and purposes;
  • Development of secure understanding of the grammar and spelling of English and of basic grammatical terms;
  • Introduction to the skills of literary criticism and basic literary terms;
  • Recognition of the historical concepts of cause and effect, progression and regression, and of differing rates of change or continuity over time;
  • Understanding of historical narrative and imagination, supported by critical evaluation of 'facts';
  • Ability to relate current affairs to class learning and vice versa;
  • Ability to distinguish objective and subjective approaches to the ways in which humanity tries to answer ultimate questions;
  • Becoming aware of one's self, personal feelings, identity and worth - one's relationships with others and the personal qualities and responsibilities needed for being a member of a community;
  • Developing a questioning approach to contemporary religious, moral, social and environmental issues and to aspects of life that raise ultimate and challenging questions such as suffering, good and evil, death, grief, wonder, awe, amazement;
  • Consideration of a spiritual dimension to life through reflection with recognition that in many human beings the experience of life evokes a sense of mystery, awe and wonder about its origin and purpose.

The year's work will culminate with the writing of an original, extended essay by each pupil on a subject of their choice arising from the course, demonstrating their personal reading and research.