Academic Life

Academic Life

Academic study at King’s offers every student a broad curriculum, engaging lessons and personalised tuition from enthusiastic, dedicated staff.

King’s has always championed choice. We continue to maintain a wide curriculum – which includes foreign languages, the Classics and separately taught sciences – so that students can select subjects that appeal to them. As they progress in Senior School and focus on their exam options, their preferences shape the timetable.

Lessons and activities are designed to engage and encourage independent thinking. Small class sizes give our subject specialists plenty of opportunity to ensure all students can participate actively in class and build their confidence.

Every student has talents and strengths to be nurtured. Consequently, our teachers tailor their methods, providing more support or more challenge, depending on individual need.

Students also benefit from our Learning Skills programme in which specialist teachers can provide extra help to build confidence across all subject areas.

At King’s there is a long tradition of cross-curricular project work in which departments combine forces to give students a stimulating learning experience. Projects like these develop both their independent study and teamwork abilities.

Our expectations are high. We track each student’s progress by personal observation and by regular assessment using nationally recognised testing schemes. We also measure our overall academic performance through the Value Added Formula devised at Durham University. This shows that, on average, King’s students achieve higher grades than students of comparable age and ability at other schools.

When students complete their academic education at King’s, they not only have excellent subject knowledge to ease their path into higher education or employment, they also have the tools, techniques and self-motivation that will prove invaluable wherever life takes them.

One of our school’s most appreciated qualities is the extensive range of activities we offer beyond the curriculum.

Developing academic potential is one of King’s most important missions. Our varied programme of Academic Enrichment is designed to extend students whose intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm show they would enjoy and benefit from additional tuition.

Younger pupils have the opportunity, in extra sessions, to explore such topics as architecture, law and palaeography. For older pupils we arrange special sessions within curriculum time covering subjects such as forensic archaeology, the science of pandemics and chaos theory or similarly mind-stretching topics.

In the Fifth and Sixth Forms, students are invited to after-school lectures given by staff or visiting speakers where medical ethics, epistemology or artificial intelligence are typical subjects. All students are then encouraged to take part in the lively discussions which follow.

We also promote a wide range of Academic Enrichment opportunities that take place outside of school. Partnering with several universities and local companies, we offer pupils the opportunity to attend lectures either in person or online, led by specialists in their field. Recent events have included the Birmingham Popular Maths Lecture Series, the Gresham College Public Health Lecture Series, including talks from Professor Chris Whitty, Dr OJ’s Live Thursday Night Surgery and a Goldsmiths lecture on Tudor History.

Fully detailed in the term programmes, activities can often be highly interactive or take workshop form. We hold an annual Women in Engineering Day, Chemistry and Maths Olympiad Challenges and a Geography WorldWise Quiz, among many other things.

Academic Enrichment excursions currently being planned include trips to Florence, Orlando and Costa Rica.

We also offer a myriad of extra-curricular lunchtime clubs and, while every student is expected to attend at least one club a week, many attend more. The range is astonishing and includes: Mandarin, Chess, Introduction to Arabic, Tap Dancing, Cookery, Meditation, Java Programming, Lego Mindstorms, Knitting and even Quidditch!

From the Socratic Cafe to Ultimate Frisbee – students are certain to discover something to capture their interest and stimulate their imagination.



This booklet sets out the broad and balanced curriculum that we offer our First Form pupils and will give parents an idea of the topics that will be covered during their child's first year at King's. 

We recognise that learning outside the classroom is vital to the development of our pupils and the booklet also includes information about the range of co-curricular opportunities we offer our pupils.


The Senior School Library is located at the very heart of the school within the Bishop's Palace.

Beneath the wooden vaulted ceiling and under the magnificence of the stained glass windows, pupils and staff can read, study or access the computer suite.

Each pupil and every member of staff has the right to use the Library and to borrow materials. Periodicals and daily newspapers are also available for use in the Library.

Mrs Houghton or Mrs Southam will be in the Library during the opening hours of 9am – 5.45pm, Monday to Friday, and both are very happy to assist with all enquiries.

On the main floor of the Library there is formal seating at tables for 30 people and more relaxed style seating for an additional 20 people.

The Library Mezzanine has a suite of computers which can be used by classes during lesson time and for work under supervision at break and lunchtimes.

The Careers Library, nestled within the main floor of the Library, offers information in books, leaflets and university and college prospectuses.

The library hosts silent reading periods once each week, for every English Group from First Form through to Fifth Form.

The comprehensive PSHE program at King's serves to underpin our commitment to educating the whole person and develops vital life skills for each of our pupils.

We strongly believe that, in addition to academic performance, the emotional, spiritual, and social development of your child is preponderant to future happiness and success, and our PSHE program operates within the wider framework of our caring school environment.

PSHE sessions aim to;

Reflect the aims and aspirations of the School, especially in promoting the spiritual, moral and cultural development of the pupil.

Through a non-assessed but planned programme, help develop values, attitudes, skills and understanding.

To help develop self-esteem through encouraging pupils to make informed choices regarding future life skills and careers.

To help pupils develop a healthy, safe lifestyle and to think about the alternatives when making decisions about personal health, and the consequences of such decisions.

To help pupils develop their ability to handle relationships and the importance of showing respect and acting responsibly when dealing with other people.

To encourage participation and cooperation in a variety of school and community activities and projects, including an awareness of global issues.

To encourage pupils to share views on topical, political social and moral issues in class discussion and debates.

At King's we understand that not every child is able to learn at the same level. However, we want to ensure that every child is able to achieve the best outcome for them.

Our specialist teachers are able to work with pupils to help them gain self-confidence and self-esteem in a friendly and nurturing environment.

Learning Skills sessions are part of an individual's timetable rather than taking them out of lessons. Pupils receive an average of 4 periods of Learning Skills per fortnight and they work together in small groups.

Pupils are supported in all areas of the curriculum and there is close liaison with subject staff to enable pupil understanding and progression.

Every pupil is screened on entry to First, Second and Third Form to ensure that there is careful monitoring of progress in basic skills.  Pupils can undergo a full assessment if required and all Access Arrangements for public exams can be carried out in school or by arrangement with an Educational Psychologist.

Learning Skills takes place in small groups, and is offered in place of one Modern Foreign Language in key stage three, and in place of a GCSE option in key stage four. Learning Skills is also available in the Sixth Form, by arrangement with our staff. The work that is covered is tailored to individual needs, but broadly it supports the school curriculum. All the basics such as reading, comprehension, spelling and writing are covered.

We provide multi-sensory teaching, and promote the use of IT as a teaching and learning tool. Teaching takes place in a dedicated suite of small rooms. There is a strong emphasis on fun, creativity and challenge with a great emphasis on the individual needs of each pupil, making learning an enjoyable experience for all.

Contacting the Learning Skills Department

The Head of Learning Skills is always available to discuss your child's individual needs, either at school Open Mornings or by appointment.

For further information please contact:

Mrs Kathryn O'Sullivan, Head of Learning Skills

Tel: 01452 337337 ext 217 or Email [email protected]