Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

Curriculum

The Borlase Curriculum provides a breadth and depth of academic learning and cultural experience to excite and extend all our students. It is rich in knowledge and in opportunities to develop creativity, instilling a life-long enthusiasm for learning.  Our curriculum is delivered by passionate, specialist teachers who encourage aspiration, intellectual curiosity and the exploration of their subject disciplines inside and beyond the classroom, as independent thinkers and learners. It includes a broad range of super and extra-curricular opportunities which ignite and extend students' interests, enthusiasm and skills across a wide range of endeavours including those linked to academic subjects, to sports, the arts, engineering, AI, public speaking,  creative writing, entrepreneurism and so much more.

The Borlase Curriculum develops our students’ understanding of how they learn, enabling them to be effective in their independent study; it empowers them with positive strategies to prepare for examinations that support mental and physical well being. 

The Borlase Curriculum fosters the distinctive Borlase spirit, developing the whole person and instilling a sense of moral and social responsibility, respect and kindness towards oneself, others and the environment. It inspires and empowers our students to be confident, successful and happy at school and in their future beyond Borlase.

The school's academic departments maintain information pages that provide information about each department's curriculum intent, the topics covered and details of the exam boards used for GCSE and A level qualifications. 

Key Stage 3

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 explore and discover their passions and extend their knowledge. It also develops 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. Key Stage 3 pupils are taught Science in well-equipped laboratories, covering topics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Their learning includes a significant amount of practical experiment to deepen understanding. Mathematics is taught initially in mixed ability sets and after careful analysis of test results throughout the year, pupils are placed in sets in Year 8, to ensure the pace of learning can be adapted to suit the needs of individuals. 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. Mandarin Chinese is available as additional an enrichment language. 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. All Key Stage 3 pupils now study Computing and learn coding.

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 an 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.

At KS3 our students have an hour a week of Philosophy and Ethics, developing their understanding of religious and ethical thinking and promoting oracy skills. Their weekly PSCE programme supports their personal development.

Key Stage 4

The curriculum for Key Stage Four ensures all students have a broad based range of academic subjects to develop a depth and breadth of knowledge and skills. It is therefore made up of a compulsory Core Curriculum and Option subjects to free Key Stage Four students to follow their passions.

The Core Curriculum studied by all students:

  • GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature
  • GCSE Mathematics
  • GCSE Sciences
  • Religious Studies HPQ
  • Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship
  • Physical Education
  • A Modern Foreign Language (French, Spanish or German)

Options

Students can choose three Option Subjects to enrich their learning and follow specialist areas of interest.

  • GCSE Art and Design
  • GCSE Computing
  • GCSE Dance
  • GCSE Drama
  • GCSE Design and Technology
  • GCSE French (as a second MFL subject)
  • GCSE German (as a second MFL subject)
  • GCSE Spanish (as a second MFL subject)
  • GCSE Geography
  • GSCE History
  • GCSE Music
  • GCSE Physical Education

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 GCSE work.  

Students are informed about GCSE learning in subjects through their specialist teachers, tutors and PSCE lessons.

 

Key Stage 5

The Sixth Form at Borlase forms a large part of this 11-18 co-educational grammar school.

The Curriculum at KS5 offers students choice from a wide selection of A Level subjects to facilitate their moving on to their many different chosen pathways beyond Borlase. Where many schools have narrowed their provision we are committed to providing a full range embracing all sciences, languages, humanities and the arts. Most students study 3 full A Levels. Further Maths is very popular as a fourth subject with Mathematicians and the applied BTech in Production Arts is also studied by science and arts students as a third or fourth subject. All subjects are taught by specialists in their field who enjoy teaching beyond the curriculum and direct students towards higher level research and wider reading. At KS5, students also complete the highly regarded Extended Project and many scientists submit a Gold Crest Project and Mathematicians will take Extension Maths. A weekly Lecture Series further enriches learning with speakers covering political, social and cultural issues. 

The Sixth Form at Borlase offers a lively, vibrant learning environment where students are inspired by their learning in class and through their many wider experiences. With over 400 students in the Sixth Form they generate an energy and enthusiasm for learning that takes everyone forward. They are encouraged to offer new ideas, to lead and to be excited about academic exploration and discussion. One of the distinctive characteristics is the plethora of student-led academic societies that meet weekly, from Engineering Soc to MedSoc to PolSoc and LitSoc - just about every field is covered! Most Borlasians from Year 11 choose to be in the Sixth Form and every year they are joined by 80-90 students from other local schools who bring new talents, energies and ideas, making an immediate contribution to the life of the school.  We welcome applications from Buckinghamshire and beyond. 

The extra curricular life of the sixth form is rich indeed with outstanding opportunities in sport, the performing arts, creative writing, STEM, and many other areas outlined in the prospectus. There are many annual trips and visits linked to curricular learning and developing wider experiences. For example, community service and science expeditions to Uganda and the Arctic; D of E Gold; Politics trips to Washington DC; Creative Writing in Venice and many sports and arts trips.

The Sixth Form offers an exceptional Futures and Masterclasses Programme supporting students in their research into careers, university preparation including the best for any particular discipline; Medical Schools, Oxford, Cambridge, American and European Universities, or preparation for specialist Dance, Music, Drama and Art conservatoires. Students also select some of the competitive higher level apprenticeships such as the fully funded graduate scheme at the Dyson Academy.

Please see our Admissions policy for entry criteria.

SIXTH FORM OPTIONS

Please find the following Sixth form subject options:-
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Computing
  • Dance
  • Drama & Theatre Studies
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • German
  • Government & Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Spanish
  • Technical Theatre

For more information please refer to our Sixth Form Prospectus and to the Admissions section of our website.