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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)

Our pupils’ first two years at St John’s are an important time in their educational journey, during which we want to capture their imaginations, ignite their love of learning, and equip them with skills that will be invaluable as they move up the School.  We deliver a rich curriculum - which is stimulating, creative and innovative – so that our pupils experience a breadth of subjects and ideas as they find their passions. 

We encourage St John’s pupils to think critically, to learn how to work both independently and collaboratively, and to be reflective about their progress and goals. Through interesting cross-curricular links, our pupils understand how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in one area to alternative contexts, and become more analytical learners in the process.  

Lower School Curriculum Overview


(French / Spanish / German)

Maths Classical World Drama 


(Biology / Chemistry / Physics)

Art Music
Geography Computing  Physical Education / Games
History Design & Engineering Think! Enrichment Programme
Theology, Philosophy and Religion *Pupils learn one language in Lower Third (French or Spanish) and two in Upper Third

Underpinning the curriculum, the Lower School Enrichment Programme encourages pupils to ‘think bigger’, exploring different perspectives on a whole range of topics. Within the programme, pupils hear talks on themes ranging from philosophy and literature to equality, the environment and digital footprints, and have the chance to work on an extended project of their own design. They learn to evaluate information, to distil and communicate concepts, to problem solve and think creatively about how to present their work. 

These experiences during Lower and Upper Third build a firm foundation from which our pupils move confidently into Fourth Form, ready to take the next steps in their education. 

Example Timetable

Fourth Form (Year 9)

Fourth Form CurriculumIn 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 theology, philosophy and religion. 

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.

Example Timetable

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 theology, philosophy and religion (TPR).

Details of the GCSE courses are available in our GCSE options booklet. 


Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13)

Sixth Form Curriculum

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, theology, philosophy and religion (TPR), and Spanish.

We offer four additional qualifications: the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), the Arts Award, the CISI Award in Fundamentals of Financial Services and the Mathematics in Context qualification.

Details of all courses and our Core Curriculum for 2022-2024, can be found in our  A level options booklet.