English teachers aim to pass on their love of reading and literature to their classes. In KS3 pupils are introduced to a variety of texts, both contemporary and classic, including Shakespeare. Pupils learn to write for different purposes and audiences and are encouraged to produce accurate, well-presented work. Pupils take two English exams at GCSE level, English Language and English Literature. The English Department organise regular theatre trips to support classroom learning and to introduce pupils to the pleasures of live performances.
Key Stage 3
At this level, the teaching of maths is organised into different strands:
- Mathematical Processes and Applications
- Geometry and Measures
Pupils are taught in a minimum of two sets from the beginning of Year 7, with teaching and content tailored to their ability. Pupils can easily move between sets during the year in order to make sure teaching and content supports their learning. The department also run regular lunchtime help and GCSE revision sessions.
Key Stage 4
Pupils are taught in up to three sets per group, according to their ability, in order to help them to do their best at exam time.
Extra Curricular Maths
Pupils can take part in a range of maths activities outside of the classroom.
- UK Maths Challenge – this is a national competition organised by Leeds University. We regularly enter pupils in the Junior Maths Challenge, years 7 and 8 and the Intermediate Maths Challenge years 9, 10 and 11.
- During year 10 and 11 pupils are able to attend enrichments events organised by the Wiltshire Further Maths Support Programme. These events are aimed at pupils who have an interest in studying maths at a higher level.
- The prep school participates annually in World Maths Day, where each pupil can compete against others from around the world in short, 30-second challenges.
We want our pupils to be curious about the world around them. Physics tells us how the universes around us works, from the very tiny like electricity and radioactivity, to the very large like the Big Bang and planetary motion.
Pupils study physics as a separate subject from Year 7. All our lessons are practical and hands on where appropriate.
At the end of Year 9, pupils can choose to study GCSE Physics in years 10 and 11.
Chemistry is a great opportunity for pupils to gain hands on practical experience at carrying out experiments and handling chemicals. Students study chemistry as a separate subject from Year 7. At the end of Year 9, pupils can choose to study GCSE chemistry in Years 10 and 11.
Biology is the study of living organisms from the largest mammals to the smallest viruses. We also take the opportunity to discuss and debate controversial issues such as stem cell technology, IVF and human cloning. Students are encouraged to explore different variables, which can affect organic systems, and a practical approach is often used in the Biology lessons.
Pupils study biology as a separate subject from Year 7 and have one lesson per week. At the end of Year 9, pupils can choose to study GCSE biology in Years 10 and 11.
Combined Science GCSE is an excellent option for any pupil for whom the individual science subjects are not appropriate. Pupils study for a Combined Science GCSE in Years 10 and 11.
There is also a Science Club for year 7 pupils.
History helps to develop analytical and communication skills and is the gateway to many professional careers. We aim to bring history to life and support classroom teaching with trips and other activities.
In geography we aim to engage pupils with the wider world, helping them to explore issues that are important to them locally, nationally and globally. We aim to build their skills, knowledge and understanding of the environmental, social and economic processes that shape and change the natural and built features of the earth. We also do our best to ensure they leave with an idea of the location of major countries, cities, rivers and mountain ranges! Classroom study is complemented by active fieldwork.
We explore faith and belief through learning about different religions and faiths. We explore Christian beliefs as lived by notable faith leaders like Martin Luther King.
Business Studies is now one of the most popular subjects in the country at GCSE. It develops pupil’s skills in problem solving, numeracy and data handling.
ICT skills are important for a huge range of jobs. Pupils start experimenting in pre-prep school and continue to develop their skills throughout prep and senior school. In Year 10 and 11 pupils can take ICT as a GCSE option.
We encourage pupils to experiment with language from an early age. French is currently introduced in pre-prep and is continued throughout the prep and senior schools. In year 6 pupils are also given a taster of Latin and/or Spanish.
The Language Department has Spanish and French speakers and we take pupils on residential trips abroad, to conferences and local and national competitions. Our first language is Spanish. We use role-plays, conversations, written tasks, songs and language games to help develop language skills. Pupils also learn about the countries, places and communities where Spanish is the first language. During Years 7, 8 and 9 some pupils will also receive lessons in French. Latin is now available as a taster in Year 6 and as an extra curricular option in the senior school.
Art and Design
Through a range of art projects, we develop pupils’ abilities and challenge them to learn new skills and techniques. We aim to extend their knowledge of the subject and to increase their awareness of art and design in the wider community and society. We support pupils to explore drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, collage, graphics, textiles and photography. In art history, pupils research and study key artists. They discuss various works of art, artists’ motivations and theories as part of art criticism. At art GCSE, pupils have the option of being entered for a purely painting and drawing exam or a mixed media exam showing evidence of work in at least two artistic media.
From pre-prep onwards, pupils are encourage to enjoy making music and singing. As they progress through the school they learn to improvise, create their own compositions and play instruments.
In addition to the weekly class music lessons, pupils can also receive tuition from visiting peripatetic teachers who cover a variety of instruments in the brass, string, percussion and wind disciplines. Singing lessons are also available.
In Years 10 and 11 pupils can take GCSE music.
Extra Musical Activities
The music department organise regular in-house concerts, soirees and public concerts. Extra curricular activities include a string group, an examination theory group and a ‘transition’ choir. Other activities may be arranged if there is a demand for them.
Drama plays an important part in life at Grittleton House School. We have a well-equipped studio theatre, The Rainbow Theatre. Through drama pupils learn many useful life skills: how to be part of a team, working to deadlines and speaking out with confidence. They also perform plays to an invited audience. Some plays are published scripts, whilst others are devised and written by the pupils. They also learn to operate the light and sound systems.
Drama students and group performances represent the school at local festivals and competitions, including winning awards at the Mid-Somerset Festival in Bath.
During their time in senior school, pupils develop a wide range of cookery skills and also have opportunities for investigating, researching, designing and making food as well as evaluating, and of course eating, their results.