Curriculum - Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

The Key Stage 3 Curriculum is designed to introduce our pupils to a wide range of subjects across the academic disciplines. This broad and balanced curriculum enables them to extend their knowledge and also develop the learning and personal skills they need for success, not just in school but in their daily lives.

All pupils at Key Stage 3 study English Language and Literature with a specialist English teacher. There is an emphasis on developing high levels of literacy and a love of reading which is further supported through the Literacy Hour in the Library. Key Stage 3 pupils are taught Science in well-equipped laboratories, covering topics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology before embarking on all of these as separate Science GCSEs in Year 9. Mathematics is taught initially in mixed ability sets and after careful analysis of test results throughout the year, pupils are setted in Year 8, to ensure the pace of learning can be adapted to suit the needs of individuals. All Key Stage 3 pupils are now able to study Computing.

Our Modern Foreign Languages programme recognises that through achieving success and confidence in one new language, pupils develop skills that will be transferable when they select a second language. All pupils start with French and there is opportunity to study German, Spanish or additional French in Year 8. KS3 pupils study History and Geography; these subjects are brought to life through practical exploration and opportunities for independent projects. In Technology, pupils experience programmes of study that cover a wide range of design and making skills including Electronics, Food and Nutrition and Resistant Materials.

At Borlase we also believe firmly that the Creative Arts are an entitlement all pupils should have at Key Stage 3; the Arts are not only important disciplines in themselves, they enable pupils to develop their confidence, collaborative skills and imagination so important across the curriculum. Pupils have a hour of Music, Drama, Dance and Art each week. However, other departments also collaborate with the Arts as they explore creative ways to enrich learning for Key Stage 3. Recent projects include Dance working with History, Modern Foreign Languages, Mathematics, Science, Technology and Geography.
The school values the importance of pupils developing their confidence in sport and physical activity, promoting the enjoyment of exercise as essential for a healthy life-style. All Key Stage 3 pupils have an hour of PE in mixed gender groups and an hour of games in split-gender groups. Through sport pupils develop their practical skills and learn the important values of teamwork, leadership, and mutual respect.

The curriculum for Key Stage Four is divided into two parts, Entitlement and Enrichment.
The Entitlement Curriculum is as broad-based as possible to ensure that all students have as wide a range of choices open to them at the end of the Key Stage. Whilst the majority of the Entitlement Curriculum is compulsory, there is an element of choice.

The Enrichment Curriculum comprises optional subjects from which students are asked to make a choice of three. The choices students make will depend on their particular areas of interest, expertise or aptitude. Support will be available through the school during this process to help students to decide which options to choose. Form Tutors or Subject Teacher will speak to students on an individual basis to discuss concerns or answer questions regarding choices. Information on Option Subjects will be presented in Year 8 assemblies. During PSHCE lessons, Year 8 pupils will have the opportunity to follow the Kudos programme which focuses on career options, and to meet the Connexions Careers Consultant.

We hold two parents’ evenings at the start of the summer term to introduce the options system to Year 8 parents and a further evening in the Autumn term to give parents guidance at the outset of the GCSE years.

This is a copy of our options booklet with curriculum information for 2019. Download

An overview of the subjects available

All students study the subjects below:

GCSE English Language

GCSE English Literature

GCSE Mathematics
GCSE Sciences
Religious Studies HPQ
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship
Physical Education

The Core MFL Curriculum
You must choose a Modern Foreign Language (French, German or Spanish)
The Core MFL Curriculum

The Enrichment Curriculum
You must choose three of the following subjects:

GCSE Art and Design
GCSE Computing
GCSE Dance
GCSE Drama
GCSE Design and Technology
GCSE French
GCSE German
GCSE Spanish
GCSE Geography
GSCE History
GCSE Music
GCSE Physical Education

The Sixth Form at SWBGS forms a large part of this 11-18 co-educational grammar school. The school’s “standard number” for Sixth Form entry is 150 per year with up to 50 places available to external applicants. Our current total number in Years 12 and 13 is 407. We are very pleased, therefore, to receive applications from both boys and girls, either from schools within Buckinghamshire or from elsewhere. Sixth formers take a prominent part in school drama productions, in sport, in music and in the day-to-day running of the school. If you join us as a sixth former we shall expect enthusiasm, commitment and, of course, a dedication to your chosen course of study, which will lead to the highest results at A level and at University entry.

As an academic grammar school, supporting our most able students to prepare and compete for places in the top higher education institutions is an important part of our Sixth Form programme and school ethos. We have a strong tradition of sending students to Oxford, Cambridge and the other top Russell Group universities and medical schools and for enabling students to gain places in the top music conservatoires, drama schools, dance academies and art schools.

Our extensive enrichment programme encourages students to build on the depth of their knowledge and experience in their chosen discipline from the beginning of their Sixth Form studies. Through the Extended Project, Critical Thinking and Extension Mathematics classes we provide students with small group and one to one tutorials facilitating their independent research and study.

They may also take up one of the opportunities to take part in field research, trips and visits to extend their learning. As an example, recently some of our scientists went on an expedition to the Arctic to conduct primary research and we have links with a research centre in South Africa with whom we hope to work next year. Our medics are supported through MEDSOC and take part in an outstanding day of practical experience and information-sharing led by a consultant at Wycombe Hospital. All our applicants for Oxford and Cambridge are given interview practice by specialists in their field of study. We offer our top dancers, actors and musicians expert support with audition preparation. Our top dancers, musicians and actors take advantage of the school’s elite dance, choral and instrumental ensembles and have the opportunity to direct and choreograph as well as perform themselves.

The Sixth Form at Sir William Borlase’s caters only for young people who wish to study AS and A level subjects, supplemented by a range of enrichment options. Therefore, in Year 12 all pupils study up to four AS levels, and an Enrichment option.

Please see our  Admissions policy for entry criteria.