Aldenham School, Founded 1597

Years 7, 8 and 9

The academic programme for pupils entering the school at 11+ is designed to build on their existing knowledge, skills and experiences and to prepare them for courses leading to GCSE in five years time. 

We aim to follow the National Curriculum as far as possible in all subjects but to offer more than the bare bones of what is prescribed. The aim of the first two years in the Senior School is to ensure that pupils develop an excitement about their learning in a much wider range of subjects than in the primary curriculum. They will need to impress fourteen different teachers in fourteen different subjects – quite a challenge for a lively 11 year old.

During the first term pupils are taught French and Spanish in 4 week blocks before making a choice on which language they wish to pursue to GCSE. All pupils also have an introduction to playing a musical instrument and receive specialist teaching. Emphasis is placed on English and Mathematics, as literacy and numeracy provide the foundation for success in other areas. Pupils are also introduced to Drama.

Each pupil will have the support of a personal Tutor who will look after every aspect of their life at school in consultation with the Housemistress, Mrs Louise Gall and her deputies, Mr Ben Brais and Miss Niamh Brewer. At the start of the year, each pupil will be issued with a Prep Diary which will help them to manage their time effectively and which parents are asked to sign at the end of each week. Prep (Homework) is set regularly in each subject and pupils can expect to have one hour’s Prep to do each weekday evening in Yr 7 and 75 minutes in Yr 8. Pupils are assessed regularly and every half term they are formally graded for effort and attainment.

The curriculum at 13+ (Year 9) equips pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding for them to make a reasoned choice of subjects for GCSE. All pupils benefit from an extensive PSHE programme that seeks to maximise potential and equip them with the appropriate skills for life both within and beyond school.

The academic programme for pupils entering the school at 13+ is designed to build on their existing knowledge, skills and experiences and to prepare them for courses leading to GCSE in three years’ time. When pupils enter Year 9 they are still following the widest possible range of subjects, but work begins immediately in laying the best possible foundations for GCSE/iGCSE courses taken over the next three years. The pupils continue to work in classes of around 20 pupils and setting is in place for Maths and Science. A main focus will be on ensuring that subjects chosen for GCSE offer the correct range of challenge and interest. This process of selection is carefully guided by tutors and heads of department in the first half of the Lent Term.

Cross Country

Year 9 is the last year of a broad curriculum of fourteen subjects before they start to specialize with their choices for GCSE. As such it is important that it is approached in the right way. Students are encouraged to put away any preconceived notions of where their strengths and weaknesses lie. They are urged to have a go and if they fail, to pick themselves up and try again with the support of their subject teacher, academic tutor and Housemaster or Housemistress.

At such a young age students do not know what they are good at or what they will need in the future and it would be wrong of them to mentally close subjects off without a last good try. In languages the nature of the course dictates that children who arrived having studied a language will continue with it for Year 9. We do not run any ab initio languages courses at this point. They can then chose to continue it for GCSE when they make these choices later in the year. Students receive advice from a number of sources over their GCSE course choices since it is the first time that often difficult choices are made. Students continue with Mathematics, English and Sciences through to GCSE. Depending on which sets they are in they will take between 4 and 7 GCSEs in these core subjects. They then chose four other options, one of which should be a Humanity, a Modern Foreign Language and a Creative or Performance based subject. They then have one more choice to make from all the subjects that are available.

Each pupil will have the support of a personal Tutor who will look after every aspect of their life at school in consultation with their Housemaster or Housemistress. At the start of the year, each pupil will be issued with a Prep Diary which will help them to manage their time effectively and which parents are asked to sign at the end of each week. Prep (Homework) is set regularly in each subject and pupils can expect to have one and a half hour’s Prep to do each weekday evening in Yr 9. Pupils are assessed regularly and every half term they are formally graded for effort and attainment.



Part of the
Aldenham Foundation