The academic life of St John’s encourages intellectual curiosity, and a confident and flexible approach to learning. We want our pupils to think for themselves, to embrace learning as something they will enjoy throughout their lives and to know that they can excel in any area they want to pursue.
Our curriculum is regularly reviewed, not only to reflect changes to the GCSE and A level curriculum but, more importantly, to ensure it is relevant and engaging for our pupils. In younger years, a broad range of subjects are delivered and there is significant focus on developing academic skills that will be essential at GCSE level and beyond. In the Sixth Form, we look to prepare pupils for life beyond their A level courses. Therefore, although the three or four A levels studied are undoubtedly the academic priority, pupils can also choose additional qualifications, which offer the opportunity to enrich and extend the Sixth Form learning experience. In the Lower Sixth, they also study the Core Curriculum, a set of three non-examined courses focusing on politics, philosophy and finance. The learning at all age groups is supplemented by our super-curriculum, which is made up of the various academic societies that take place throughout the school week.
Lower School (Years 7 and 8)
In the Lower School, the focus is on delivering a rich and broad curriculum, which is stimulating, creative and innovative. We encourage academic rigour, independence of thought, imagination and the development of effective learners. We also want St John’s pupils to think for themselves by improving their ability to criticise assumptions and suggest alternatives. Additionally, they learn to collaborate and negotiate effectively when sharing and developing opinions, helping them to become better learners and leaders.
Each term has an overall theme that runs across the curriculum.
This helps pupils to draw comparisons between subjects and their various areas of study, creating more analytical learners. It also encourages them think of learning in a more holistic manner rather than considering each subject individually.
Fourth Form (Year 9)
In the Fourth Form, pupils study English, mathematics, three sciences (biology, chemistry and physics), two languages (from French, Spanish, German and ancient Greek), history, geography, classical world (Latin and classical civilisation combined), music, drama, art, design and engineering, and religious studies.
Emphasis in on a breadth of study to allow pupils to reach firm decisions about their academic interests when choosing their GCSE options. Another principal focus is to continue the development of their skills as learners. To that end, particular attention is given to problem solving, skills of analysis, developing an argument and essay writing.
Fifth Form (Years 10 and 11)
As pupils prepare to move into Fifth Form, we help them to make choices about the GCSEs they will study. We encourage pupils to think about the subjects they will most enjoy and also offer practical advice about suitable combinations and how GCSE choices might influence future A level or higher education options.
Pupils study GCSE courses in English, mathematics and science (in which pupils will sit two or three GCSEs on the dual or triple award system). They then select another four subjects from the list of options, as described in the GCSE options booklet. Modern languages are not compulsory but most pupils will include at least one within their four options.
The options available at St John’s are art, classical civilisation, classical Greek, computing, design and engineering, drama, fine art, geography, history, languages (French, Spanish and German), Latin, music, physical education and religious studies.
Details of the GCSE courses are available in our GCSE options booklet.
Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13)
Learning in the Sixth Form allows pupils to focus and specialise for the first time. It is an exciting and challenging time in which we support pupils during Upper Fifth (Year 11) so that they make the right choice about which subjects to pursue.
In the Lower Sixth, pupils study four options. For most this will be three A levels and an additional qualification, but for some it will be four A levels. A levels are all two-year linear courses which are then examined at the end of the Upper Sixth. All additional qualifications are completed in the Lower Sixth. In addition, pupils study a Core Curriculum which focuses on developing skills for life beyond St John’s by giving them an understanding of real-world topics such as politics and financial literacy, and developing thinking and reasoning skills.
The A levels offered at St John’s are: art, biology, chemistry, business, classical civilisation, computer science, design and engineering, drama and theatre, English literature, economics, French, geography, German, politics, history, Latin, mathematics (and further mathematics), music, sports science, physics, psychology, religious studies and Spanish.
We offer four additional qualifications: the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), the Engineering Education Scheme (EES), the CISI Award in Fundamentals of Financial Services and the Mathematics in context qualification.
Details of all courses and our Core Curriculum are provided in our A level options booklet.