Academic Life

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As you would expect, teaching and learning are at the heart of what we do. 

Our curriculum ethos is to provide pupils with experience of a wide range of subjects in Years 7-9, from which they can then choose their GCSE options, with further specialisation at A Level. In Years 7 and 8 all pupils are taught 19 subjects. An options scheme in Year 9 allows some choice to be made whilst also offering the opportunity to try new subjects. By the time choices for GCSE are made, pupils have been able to find subjects which suit their strengths and enthusiasms.  

Pupils usually take nine or ten GCSEs/iGCSEs depending on their Science allocation. Those pupils who study Latin and Greek may potentially take eleven subjects. In Years 10 and 11, all pupils continue to study English Language, English Literature, a Modern Foreign Language, Mathematics, Religious Studies (non-examined), PSHE, Science (either Science and Additional Science or Triple Award) and Games. They have a guided choice of one Modern Foreign Language and three others (of which one could be a second language) from the following: Art, Business, Computer Science, Design and Technology, Drama, French, Geography, German, History, Latin or Latin with Greek, Music, Physical Education (Academic), Religious Studies, Spanish.

You can find out more about our curriculum by browsing individual subjects below,

Throughout our curriculum, there is an underlying appreciation that pupils succeed best when taught interesting and engaging lessons by enthusiastic, specialist staff. We want our pupils to leave here with valuable study skills, having found their intellectual and academic passion and having fulfilled their potential in that area.


results & destinations 2023

Results & Destinations

"KES remains at the top of the academic pops in Bath and Beyond"
Good Schools Guide


our curriculum SUBJECTs 

Art and Photography

Art and Photography provides a vital form of communication, helping pupils to express personal ideas and feelings and to explore and question the world around them. Our department ethos is based on the foundations of three distinct, yet interrelated areas: the exploration of a wide and varied range of techniques and processes, where pupils can experiment with different art media; the development of creative and exciting concepts and ideas, encouraging individuality and a pupil’s distinct and unique approach; and the research and investigation into the works and lives of appropriate artists, designers and photographers. Group debates and individual tuition take place during lessons and pupils are encouraged to explore and investigate artwork from a broad range of cultures and traditions and from throughout history.

Regular visits to museums and galleries enrich our courses and we encourage pupils to learn through experimentation and the exploration of a wide a range of ideas and media. The concept of ‘make a mark, get a mark’ encourages rapid progress through playful exploration and variety rather than prolonged focus on one piece of work.


In Years 7 and 8, we focus on developing key skills and exploring a variety of different artworks, both contemporary and traditional. Pupils are encouraged to embrace a wide range of materials and techniques and experiment and explore new and exciting media. This includes drawing, painting, collage and mixed media, printmaking and 3D structures. Pupils are supported to feel confident when expressing their ideas visually.

Art and Photography in Year 9 is an exciting and stimulating experience, with the opportunity to work across a range of techniques, media and approaches. Projects usually last for half a term. Themes typically include: portrait, figure, urban architecture, man-made versus organic, animals and landscape, all supported by the use of a sketchbook.


We follow the AQA Fine Art GCSE which culminates in two assessments. Firstly, a portfolio of work showing their personal responses to either a starting point, brief, scenario, or stimulus and takes about 45 hours to complete. Then, at the end of the course, in a 10 hour supervised exam pupils provide a response to an idea set by the board. They have several months to prepare their ideas for this.



We have a thriving Biology department at King Edward’s. The focus of the subject is the science behind everyday life as it affects us as humans, as well as working to understand how biology affects our environment. Biology is taught by specialist teachers across the whole school curriculum.  It is followed as a separate science subject by all pupils up to the end of Year 11 and is chosen by a large number of pupils wishing to continue the subject to A Level and beyond.

Pupils undertake a wide range of practical work in the subject, right from the start of their careers at King Edward’s School, backed up by technical support and an extensive range of resources. The department makes good use of local opportunities to enrich the subject, making use of the School site for fieldwork, along with visits to We The Curious in Bristol, culminating in an A Level, residential, field course in Dorset.


In Year 7, KES pupils study their own and other cells, as well as reproduction and the skeleton. In Year 8, they focus on the body, starting with food, enzymes and digestion, progressing to learn about genes and evolution, and the way natural ecosystems function. Pupils develop investigative skills in the subject, using many practical techniques. In Year 9, pupils begin GCSE topics, learning about fundamental processes within living organisms, such as respiration and photosynthesis, and physiology including circulation and breathing.


The majority of pupils follow the IGCSE specification, a traditional-style course that covers a range of biological topics such as plant and animal physiology, ecology and cell biology as well as more recent developments in genetic engineering and biotechnology. During the course, pupils explore topics in more detail, such as the working of enzymes and the regulation and control of the body, as well as DNA, genetics and biotechnology. Pupils continue to experience a wide range of practical techniques, further developing their investigative skills. Those who are not natural scientists are still taught Biology as a separate subject but take combined science GCSEs.


The Chemistry department aims to provide pupils with an enjoyable, purposeful, and safe experience of chemistry and to allow them to appreciate how it impacts on them as individuals and the world around them. It is taught as a separate science from Year 7, and we hope this allows each pupil to get a sense of the individual subject, rather than science in general. This also affords us the ability of having chemistry taught by subject specialists throughout the School.

The department seeks to provide the teaching, facilities and courses which support the best environment for learning, one in which pupils feel comfortable to challenge themselves intellectually and supported and safe when they are prepared to take risks in their learning.

Along with the other sciences, Chemistry is a renowned strength of the School, and popular amongst all pupils. We encourage our pupils to study in areas of the subject beyond the specification, and this breadth of knowledge enables them to participate successfully in several competitions, including the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Olympiad, Young Analyst and Top of the Bench competitions and the Salters’ Festival. Many pupils are inspired by the focus on practical work

Chemistry is housed in four specialist laboratories, and these are resourced and supported by two experienced technicians who work from a well-run prep room.


The first two years of the course are an introduction to Chemistry, its aims, its methods, and its role in society. Practical work is introduced at the outset, and by the end of the first year, pupils should be able to work safely and with a high degree of independence. In Year 7, pupils look at the practical applications of chemistry: separation of mixtures, acids, bases, and indicators. In Year 8, there is a shift in emphasis as the chemical changes studied are placed in a theoretical framework based on the understanding of elements, compounds and reactivity. In Year 9, topics studied include extracting metals form ores, the reactions of acids and atomic structure and pupils begin studying GCSE topics during this year.


We follow the Edexcel GCSE specification for most pupils. The course develops an increasingly sophisticated theoretical understanding of Chemistry while continuing to emphasise the practical foundations of the subject and its vital contribution to contemporary society. The key concepts of atomic structure, bonding and periodicity are introduced and then used as the basis for extending the study of the elements. Basic ideas on rates of reaction and organic chemistry are introduced and there is a more quantitative element to the course in the form of mole calculations and equilibria. As with the other sciences, a few take combined science GCSEs, but are still taught Chemistry as a separate subject



Question: do you want to split out the different A Level subjects into separate FAQs eg Classical Civ, Greek etc, or keep under one title eg ‘Classics’ as we do currently?

Classics is a popular and highly regarded subject area at King Edward's. A knowledge of Latin and Greek can dramatically improve a pupil's range of vocabulary, the accuracy of spelling and clarity of expression. It can enhance the ability to communicate in one’s own language. Modern society owes a huge cultural debt to the civilisations of Greece and Rome and knowledge of the intellectual achievements of these societies can help us make sense of the world today.

We offer two courses at GCSE (Latin and Greek) and three at A Level (Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation). From these, our pupils can access a range of courses on the Classics at university, as several of our pupils do each year.

The study of Classics has an intrinsic value in enabling pupils to understand a whole range of issues: political, ethical, religious and social. The combination of dedicated teaching and a vibrant programme of extra-curricular activities has led not only to consistently superb examination results, but also increased numbers of pupils studying Classics.


All pupils take Latin in Years 7 and 8, using the brand new Suburani textbook. The course is designed to look at the ancient world with fresh eyes. Beginning in AD64, it follows the stories of a diverse cast of characters from the Subura district in Rome and their travels through the Empire. The course has an excellent supporting website, with a range of pedagogical and extension materials available. 

At the end of Year 8, pupils have the option to continue with Latin. About half of the year group will continue, with the ablest linguists also taking up Greek in a fast-track course. At the end of Year 9, pupils will again have the option to continue with Latin or the Latin and Greek combined course to GCSE level.


In Years 10 and 11, pupils embark upon the OCR GCSE course in Latin and, for some, Greek as well. They will work on syntactical constructions and unseen translations in language lessons, whilst they will also read a variety of set texts in their original language and will be questioned about their meaning, factual content and literary qualities. The Latin authors read will include such luminaries as Pliny and Virgil, whilst the Greek authors include Herodotus and Homer.

For the most able Classicists, the combined Latin and Greek course aims to secure two GCSEs in one timetable slot and requires the pupils to attend an extra lesson at lunchtime in order to provide sufficient time to teach both specifications. 



With modern technology evolving rapidly and playing an ever-greater part in our lives, computing skills have become central to the way we learn, live and work. Using an array of commercial software packages, pupils gain an insight into how Digital Technology impacts on text, number, image and sound processing and they learn how to master these skills and apply new technologies effectively in a real-world setting.  

Coding and programming are a key part of the curriculum as pupils move up through the school. Using industry-standard programming languages, they learn how to problem-solve and how to think logically and creatively in a way that can be applied to many scenarios. Opportunities to study Computer Science in various forms at university are widespread and several pupils each year follow this route. 

YEARS 7-9 

After ensuring that pupils are confident on using the School’s network and saving and editing work on the OneDrive cloud storage that is used at KES, we progress into teaching basic programming skills using Python. This helps pupils with problem-solving skills and develops their algorithmic thinking. Other topics in Years 7 and 8 include Photoshop, Animation, Codebreaking and Cyber skills.

In Year 9 pupils develop further skills in coding. Pupils learn HTML and CSS coding to develop their own websites. We also explore topics such as artificial intelligence and data representation in binary before moving on to using Javascript to make websites interactive, building simple games and drawing computer generated art. 

A weekly Coding Club is open to all years to learn and develop their programming skills in a variety of languages. We are also proud to run many annual competitions such as the Cipher Challenge, Perse Coding Challenge, Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge and Cyberfirst Girls.

GCSE Computer Science

Studying this subject at GCSE challenges and inspires pupils, as they gain a fuller understanding of the relationships between the programming code and the computer architecture alongside the theory of networks and cybersecurity. 

Pupils develop creative and technical skills, along with the knowledge and an understanding of Python programming through a range of practical and problem-solving contexts. The use of digital technology and its impact on society and the environment is also considered. 



Design and Technology is an exciting subject at King Edward’s School, offering pupils a mix of logical, creative, and practical work. Pupils focus on planning, designing, and creating products that people can use which are functional, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing. 
Our aim is to develop pupils’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and design skills to produce innovative and ethical solutions, whilst also understanding the roles and responsibilities of people working in design and technology careers. 
Thinking about design can be hard but not thinking about it can be disastrous

Ralph Caplan

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs

YEARS 7-9 

Pupils will experience a range of skills-based design and make activities in their first three years, using materials such as wood, metal, textiles, and plastics.  Pupils are given the opportunity to blend traditional skills with modern-day computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. The aim is to introduce pupils to a range of tools and equipment to design, develop, and manufacture their products, allowing for more independence as the different projects progress throughout the years, whilst encouraging pupils to become independent thinkers, to collaborate, and to take risks.  


The AQA GCSE Design and Technology Product Design course is designed to provide pupils with a sound skills base to approach more demanding projects with self-assurance by Year 10. The course is divided into two halves. During the first half, there is a focus on more independent projects that build on the designing and manufacturing skills learned in the previous year, preparing pupils for their Non-Examined Assessment. The second half of the course focuses on the Non-Examined Assessment, and the exam board provides the context for this.



'All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players’; never was this truer than in today’s ‘digital age’. Drama at King Edward’s School is so much more than just the study of texts and performing on stage; it is an exploration of life, ourselves and our relationship with the world around us and with others. It is considered to be one of the most collaborative of the arts, incorporating a range of skills and giving pupils the chance to explore their diverse interests and passions through performance, sound engineering, lighting design, set construction or costume design.

The School has a long tradition of producing exceptional theatrical work and is regarded as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for its creative and challenging performance work at both GCSE and A Level.

The Rose, our new state-of-the art drama centre, has recently opened and incorporates two full-size studios and additional teaching spaces.  The two-storey facility provides a new hub for drama at the Senior School and is used in conjunction with the established Wroughton Theatre as a specialist teaching setting for Drama and LAMDA lessons, as well as a performance venue in its own right.

Pupils will be offered the opportunity to watch the best live theatre in some of the most prestigious theatres in the country and encouraged to use these experiences to inspire their own work. All pupils learn to approach theatre from the point of view of an actor, a designer, a director, as well as that of an audience member and a critic, and are encouraged to express their ideas and opinions in a creative and confident manner.

Our courses go beyond the classroom as much as possible. Performance in front of a live audience is an integral part of the syllabus for all year groups. However, we also offer additional performance opportunities and theatre trips for all year groups throughout the year, making this a very busy but exciting department to be a part of.


Pupils are introduced to the three areas of dramatic work: making, performing and responding. They will learn to experiment with different dramatic styles, to develop skills necessary to improvise, devise, role-play and work with scripts, and to reflect on and evaluate both their own work and the performance of others. In Year 9, pupils build on these skills but also start to create and write their own piece of theatre, as well as exploring the technical side of theatre through designing sets, lighting, AV and sound.  Pupils watch live shows, such as Billy Elliot, to develop their own craft.


This is a popular and exciting subject at GCSE, where we follow the EDUQAS specification. The course incorporates both practical and written work and develops confident, creative, articulate, passionate and well-informed drama pupils.

Pupils create their own devised work, as well as performing scripted pieces, study a set text from the point of view of an actor, director or designer and they will see several live professional shows. By the end of the course, pupils should have a well-rounded understanding of how theatre is created. Over the past five years, we have achieved excellent exam results and the course is a strong foundation for A Level.


Driven by our staff's infectious enthusiasm for their subject, Economics at KES is both challenging and contemporary. We are passionate about the study of Economics and economic systems, both past and present. Our focus in the department is in the application of micro/macro-economics to real life domestic and international markets. This interest also extends to the political and social aspects of economic policy making.

Economics is a fascinating subject which looks at the fundamental forces which affect our lives. It includes the study of how people behave and interact with each other and helps pupils to understand why and how the world functions as it does. It provides a new perspective on some of the most pressing and challenging problems facing society.

Economics is about more than wealth creation or peaks and troughs in financial markets and their effect on business performance. Economics impacts on many aspects of our lives – the environment, interest rate fluctuations, levels of taxation, unemployment, international trade and poverty to name but a few. In a world where there is increasing debate about the use of scarce resources, a knowledge of economics can equip pupils with the skills to question what the best way is to allocate these resources more effectively.

We aim to make sure that pupils from all key stages are involved in trips, talks and lectures, either in or out of school, as well as making best use of technology to enhance their work.


The department teaches to all pupils in Year 9 a one-year, standalone course called Economics and Business Understanding.  The philosophy behind the teaching of Year 9 pupils is to immerse them in a variety of economic and business scenarios as well as using the subject as a vehicle to look at personal finance, society’s choices regarding the consumption and production of certain goods and how the commercial world impacts our lives. Pupils also learn via the planning and production of a product or service which can then be sold at the KES Christmas Fair.  They are also introduced to some of the key concepts needed for the Business Studies GCSE, should they wish to continue with this subject. 


GCSE Business Studies is a popular course, where we follow the AQA specification. The GCSE is designed to pick up themes learned in the Year 9 Economics and Business Understanding course as well as introduce pupils to new functional areas.  The philosophy behind the department’s teaching is to use real-life business examples to hang theory and models from to generate learning of the subject. Trips to small and medium-sized firms, both locally and nationally, are designed to aid that learning and bring elements of the course to life.



To teach young people to communicate clearly and to help them respond sensitively and curiously to the words of others is at the core of what we do. At KES we aim to expose our pupils to a rich variety of texts, fiction and non-fiction, so as to allow them to see through the eyes of others and to view the world from perspective broader than their own. 

Central to the study of English is discussion. Debating the moral and ethical questions posed by texts helps young people develop their own ideas and values. Alongside inspiring our pupils to read widely and bravely and form their own responses to texts and the world around them, we aim to equip them with the confidence and linguistic tools to articulate their own thoughts and views with force, clarity and sophistication, both orally and on paper. Opportunities for extra-curricular writing come in the form of our poetry, short story and journalism competitions and our curriculum is delivered by teachers who not only teach the subject but who are passionate about the Arts and culture more broadly and who share this through their running of a range of clubs and societies from Creative Writing to Literary and Cultural Discussion Group and in the publication of our acclaimed annual Anthology, where our most accomplished and ambitious poets and fiction writers have their work published. 

Furthermore, alongside an appreciation of all things literary, our approach to English teaching takes into account the influence of our subject on a range of other disciplines. There are few other subject areas or career avenues where the functional skills taught in the English classroom are not utilised and so we, through teaching pupils to be discerning readers, critical thinkers and confident when it comes to organising and presenting ideas, hope to prepare them to take a broad range of future paths.

YEARS 7–9 

In Years 7 to 9 we continue to nurture the love of creative writing that many pupils have acquired in their early years of formal education as well as equipping them with the skills of critical interpretation, as this forms the basis of much of what the subject will entail right up to degree level and beyond. Each year pupils study poetry and prose from the early Modern period to the Romantics, from a Shakespeare play to texts published this century. There are also dedicated writing units, such as the Gothic in Year 8, which allow pupils to deploy the techniques that they have observed in writing studied in their own pieces. The mechanics of English are consolidated through the teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar and competitions such as The Box Factor in Year 7 are organised to help develop pupils’ speaking and listening skills as well as to encourage independent reading. 

IGCSE (English Literature) & IGCSE (English Language)

Over the two-year course, pupils study for the CIE IGCSE in English Literature, a course chosen because of the stimulating and diverse set texts on offer and as it provides the opportunity to produce coursework essays as well as writing examination responses. Alongside this, pupils prepare for the Edexcel IGCSE in English Language, in which, across two papers, they respond to nineteenth century fiction texts and twentieth and twenty-first century non-fiction texts as well as having the opportunity to write creatively in fiction and non-fiction forms. 


Extended Project Qualification

The OCR Level 3 EPQ is offered as a self-led additional qualification for motivated pupils.  This course is a test of independence and self-motivation and, as such, help and guidance are given with topic choice, project management, and submission but all of the work is done off-timetable and without formal lessons.

This qualification offers pupils an opportunity to learn about project management, a vital component of ‘post school’ life and of particular relevance to Further Education, Higher Education, and the workplace. Each pupil is able to tailor their project to fit their individual needs, choices and aspirations and will be assessed on four areas:

  • Managing a project
  • Using resources
  • Developing and realising a project
  • Reviewing the project.

The outcome of the project can be a design, performance, report, dissertation or artefact. Whatever form this takes, the project must include a written component. Generic skills can also be developed and applied through the Extended Project; pupils will have the opportunity to apply and develop their personal learning and thinking skills (PLTS), the functional skills of English, Mathematics and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and key skills.

An EPQ can greatly enhance a pupil’s university application, especially in areas that are not as well covered by standard A Level subjects. 



Geography is simply everywhere.  It is about the exciting, interconnected world in which we live and is a unique, holistic subject which requires a knowledge and understanding of both natural and human processes and, more especially, their interactions.  Throughout their time at KES, pupils will cover a curriculum that is broad, exciting, topical and stimulating, covering physical and human geography as well as environmental issues. The wide range of skills often utilised by geographers are developed, enabling students to make sense of their complex, dynamic and inter-related world and to evaluate issues at a range of scales.  

Geography is a robust academic subject, and our courses extend beyond the classroom wherever possible with fieldwork being an essential part of what we do.  We ensure that all key stages are involved in fieldwork, whether it is in the school grounds, in Bath or further afield. Spatial data is incredibly important in our world and pupils become adept at collecting, presenting and analysing these as they utilise ICT and Geographical Information Systems to enhance their work and understanding of their world.

Geography is taught by a team of highly qualified teachers who are passionate about the subject and who constantly seek ways to make the subject stimulating and challenging yet accessible to all.

Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future.  What could be more important than that?

Michael Palin


All pupils study Geography in Years 7-9 and it covers a broad range of contemporary topics that are relevant to their world.   The core theme that extends throughout these years is that of climate change and this is considered in relation to a number of units of work.  Physical geography includes understanding glaciers and their landscapes, tropical rainforests, plate tectonics, coastal landscapes and oceans and meteorology.  Human geography includes migration, the development gap, food security and local issues such as congestion or housing in Bath. These are studied but their links to climate change are also explored.  Geographical skills are important with students given the opportunity to participate in local fieldwork and to the south coast in Year 8.


Geography is a popular subject at GCSE, where we follow the Edexcel iGCSE specification.  The course is a balance of physical and human geography with pupils exploring a range of case studies from low-income countries, newly emerging economies to high income countries.  Topics covered include landforms and processes, natural hazards, poverty, urban change, deprivation and fragile environments and how these are affected by climate change.  Throughout, pupils understand the interconnectedness of our world as they are encouraged to consider the influences of stakeholders, different attitudes, viewpoints and values. Human and physical fieldwork are undertaken, building and extending the skills acquired in Years 7-9.



The skills that History teaches are as in-demand as ever. At a time when politicians promise simple solutions to complex problems, when social media creates echo chambers, and when people with unappetising views are cancelled rather than debated, the twin skills of sober analysis of evidence followed by reasoned evaluation of which side of the argument to come down on are priceless. So too is the ability to understand why contemporary flashpoints such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chinese intimidation of Hong Kong and Taiwan, and Israel-Palestine are erupting. Our History curriculum, broad in scope and relevant in content, promotes these valuable skills at every turn. 

With a rich and illustrious heritage, dating from the foundation of the School by Royal Charter in 1552, there is much in both the history of the School itself, as well as in its teaching of History, to celebrate. In developing their appreciation of History, King Edward’s pupils go far beyond the classroom. History teachers help to run the Debating Society, History Extension Club, and Model UN Club. In addition to various day trips, we run biennial trips to Washington DC (Sixth Form) and Berlin (GCSE). 

We are staffed by six inspiring teachers. As a department, we are committed to sharing our enthusiasm and appreciation of the past and its role in shaping the present.


In Year 7 we investigate the period 1066-1485, asking questions about the nature of power and kingship, the role of religion, and what constituted ‘progress’ in the medieval period. 

In Year 8 we focus on revolutions. Starting with the Reformation, we study the religious turmoil of England in the 1530s-1560s and again in the 1620s-1680s. We also look at the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the British Empire and slavery. 

In Year 9 we focus on World War One and its impacts, including on the fight for women’s suffrage in the UK and on the collapse of Tsarism in Russia. We then study World War Two and also look at different waves of migration into the UK in the 19th and 20th Centuries. 


Around half the year group opts to study History for GCSE. In Years 10 and 11 we follow the Edexcel IGCSE course, allowing us to study the troubled Twentieth Century through a truly international lens. We study Germany 1918-45, International Relations 1943-72, Vietnam 1945-75, and China 1911-89.



Our aim is for our pupils to feel confident with their Maths and appreciate the applications and beauty of the subject. We are always looking for new initiatives to update and enhance our teaching of the syllabus, as well as trying out new ventures to generate interest and pleasure from the subject. These range from the ever-popular Inter-Form Maths Relay to talks from visiting speakers, trips to Maths Inspiration lectures, weekly drop-in support sessions, and the Sixth Form extension sessions to name just a few.

Mathematics is going from strength to strength at King Edward’s. This can be seen not only from the department’s recent examination results, but also from the successes that we have had in regional and national competitions, such as winning the National Cipher Challenge three times since its inception, most recently in 2022, and regularly qualifying for the National Finals of the Team Maths Challenges in London, both at Intermediate and Senior level. Particularly impressive is our pupils’ enthusiasm and dedication to the subject and, as a result, we regularly see over 50% of our pupils choosing to study Mathematics when they reach the Sixth Form, with many continuing their study of Maths, or Maths-related subjects, at university.


Years 7 and 8 receive five hours of Maths teaching per fortnight. This increases to six hours from Year 9 onwards, when pupils embark on the IGCSE course. The programme of study is intended to provide pupils with the fundamental skills of number, algebra, shape and data handling. At the same time, we aim to provide stimulating lessons that offer a variety of learning experiences. Each scheme of work includes investigations, practicals, ICT-based activities and topic-based games and puzzles to supplement their learning. We feel that it is important that pupils do not rely solely on calculators and so all Year 7 tests and exams are non-calculator. Scientific calculators are introduced in Year 8.


We follow the Edexcel IGCSE course which we start in Year 9. Pupils are taught in sets from Year 7 to 11, which allows us to differentiate and teach at the right pace for each group. Regular testing enables us to monitor progress and full resetting occurs after the end of year exam in Years 7, 8 and 9. Once in Year 10, pupils remain in the same set up until their IGCSE in Year 11. Since the numerical grades were introduced, we usually see around 60% of the cohort achieve an 8 or a 9 and around 80% achieve a 7 or above. 

In order to extend our most able Mathematicians, our top sets in Year 11 also work towards the AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Maths, which they sit alongside their IGCSE at the end of Year 11.

Modern Foreign Languages (French, German and Spanish)

Soyez les bienvenus! Willkommen! ¡Bienvenidos! 

Modern Languages are an increasingly important tool in the global 21st century. Competition for jobs often means that applicants with additional skills are advantaged. Linguists are considered as possessing all-round capabilities, have confidence in communicating and have well-trained, logical minds. If someone has spent time abroad, they have a wider cultural awareness, can show proof of enquiring minds and a willingness to take on a challenge. Hence excellent opportunities exist for competent linguists, both those who have specialised in the study of languages to a high level and those who can combine them with other subjects.  
All three Modern Languages (French, German and Spanish) are taught in a lively and interesting way. We aim to combine a thorough approach to vocabulary and grammar knowledge with as many opportunities as possible to practise communication. All language teaching rooms have listening equipment and interactive screens to ensure as much exposure to authentic language as possible. Pupils are thus able to develop a good accent and strong listening skills, as well as the confidence to produce their own language. In addition, we make frequent use of our language laboratories to further enhance independent study and subscribe to on-line language sites for reinforcement.  
Generally, smaller set sizes enable much individual tailoring of our teaching to the particular needs of pupils, and support and extension sessions are offered. In all languages we have the service of dedicated foreign language assistants who work full-time at KES and give pupils the privilege of working closely with native speakers on a weekly basis.
 We aim to offer a course that is both rigorous and enjoyable and which opens the eyes of every pupil to the rich diversity of European and indeed global culture. Each language offers unique and exciting trips, and the details of these are outlined below.


As pupils have varying experiences of languages at a primary level, we begin our studies in Year 7 assuming pupils have no knowledge of a language and quickly bring everyone up to speed, developing confidence across the four skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking. In Year 7, all pupils learn two Modern Languages and are guaranteed to be allocated their first choice of language. During the year, pupils learn to introduce themselves and talk about their home lives, as well as beginning to discuss opinions and develop an understanding of the grammatical structures which form the basis of each language. Pupils are exposed to the culture of the countries and territories in which these languages are spoken from the very start of the course and have numerous opportunities to take part in clubs and events with a cultural focus.

In Year 8, pupils build on the knowledge they gained in Year 7 and begin to utilise additional tenses. We continue to promote written and spoken accuracy, whilst encouraging and supporting pupils to develop their passive and active vocabularies. 

By Year 9, pupils will be confident in using the three main tenses (past, present, and future) and will be able to give advanced opinions and justify these in their target language. Vocabulary is learned and practised on a regular basis using our online subscriptions to numerous language-learning websites and programs. Pupils are encouraged to develop their confidence and their capability whilst enjoying their study.


All three Modern Foreign Languages are examined using the Edexcel iGCSE qualification, which is an approachable but rigorous course that gives equal weight to the key skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. There is no coursework, and the speaking exam is conducted by each pupil’s usual teacher, which is widely considered a much less intimidating prospect than that of a visiting examiner. Pupils benefit from fortnightly conversation classes with our native-speaking language assistants and are encouraged to develop their knowledge and understanding of grammar in a more formal context. Pupils are given the skills to develop their opinions regarding several interesting and engaging topics and are given the confidence and ability to express them clearly.


Pupils across a range of year groups have the opportunity to benefit from a number of educational trips and visits throughout their study of Modern Languages at King Edward’s, and each language offers unique opportunities.


Year 8 and 9 pupils have previously had the chance to visit Paris during Activity Week. From this year onward, students will get to visit a city in the South of France as part of Activity Week. 


In Year 8, pupils have the opportunity to visit Cologne and the Rheinland, taking in some of Germany’s most spectacular scenery, a theme park, the Lindt chocolate museum, and much more!

Our long running German Exchange programme continues to be a success and is very popular amongst Year 10 and 12 pupils. This trip gives pupils a chance to visit Braunschweig, the partner city of Bath, and provides outings to Berlin, a trip to the zoo in Hanover, a visit to the award-winning and interactive ‘Phaeno’ science museum, an afternoon investigating the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, as well as time within Braunschweig itself and a visit to the idyllic German village of Goslar (where a Wiener Schnitzel or portion of Kässpätzle are not to be missed!)

As part of our Activities Week programme, Year 9 and 10 pupils also have the chance to visit Berlin for a week, taking in all the most important sites of the city, a moving and educational visit to both the Sachsenhausen memorial and the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz, a street art and graffiti tour, and a visit to one of the largest, indoor water parks in Europe!


The Spanish Department organises several trips to Spain.  As part of the Activities Week programme, pupils in Year 8 have the opportunity to visit Barcelona and in Years 9 and 10 there is a very popular trip to Marbella.  During these trips pupils take part in a flamenco dancing workshop and they taste tapas and the popular “chocolate con churros” as well as visiting the main sites.  The trips finish with a meal in a popular Spanish restaurant and a trip to the water park. The GCSE students (Years 10 and 11) take part in an immersion course in Malaga, where they speak Spanish for the whole week as well as experiencing the culture of the country.  Some of these activities include a visit to a Spanish school, ordering tapas in a restaurant, buying products in the local market and a trip to Cordoba.  Pupils return to England inspired and motivated to continue with the study of Spanish.  


Music. With the A Level section now split away into a separate curriculum section within Sixth Form, please consider whether a sentence or two of introductory text now needs to accompany the curriculum info.

The Music department’s aims are to develop confident, polished and above all, independent musicians capable of interacting with almost any style of music. We strive to engage all KES pupils with relevant, fun and inspiring music from any style that highlights the subject’s importance within the cultural ethos of both the School and the wider world. This is aided significantly by our professional partnerships with Bath Philharmonia (Instrumental) and Bath Abbey (Vocal). 
Emphasis is placed on practical music making at all levels and singing and playing a range of classroom pitched and un-pitched instruments are key ingredients to music lessons at KES. Activities such as whole class string instrument tuition, class band, Steel Pans, African Drumming, Samba music all help develop a deep passion and intellectual curiosity, as well as the ability to relate to our multi-cultural surroundings.
The Music department has benefited from some first-rate investment over the past few years, both in classroom instruments and in the latest Apple MAC computes with Sibelius Ultimate and Logic Pro X software.
Our GCSE and A Level musicians are predominantly awarded 7-9 / A and A* grades for their inspired performance, compositional and analytical skills. Recent KES GCSE and A Level compositions have been performed to public audiences by our own instrumental and vocal musicians to great acclaim. Beyond the classroom we have a huge range of instrumental music lessons supported by over 20 specialist music teachers and a wide range of instrumental ensembles and choral groups.


Set firmly in our ethos is the drive to deliver practical and compositional class activities that engage and stretch all levels of musical ability through differentiated tasks. Pupils who are starting their musical journeys work alongside pupils who have special musical gifts and talents which builds group confidence and a great sense of personal achievement.
All musicians up to Year 8 explore the interaction and handling of the musical elements within exciting and energetically delivered topics that range from Salsa music, through Pop and Classical styles that are above all, relevant to their later life and careers.
Around 30%-50% of pupils take Music as an option in Year 9, where further popular styles of Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Music Theatre, Hip-Hop, Rapping, Beat-boxing, as well as Electronic Dance music are explored in depth.


This academic and creative course is highly regarded by both employers and top universities alike. The presentation skills, analysis, logical reasoning, creativity, rigour and discipline required of musicians are key skills in the work place.
This diverse and, above all, enjoyable course allows pupils to further develop their creative skills through the practical exploration and academic study of the main elements of composing, performing, listening and appraising. Pupils develop an increased sense of confidence and understanding of their own musicality through challenging aural analysis of well-known pieces.

Physical Education

Academic Physical Education is currently taught at GCSE and A Level. It is a challenging but highly rewarding subject which examines the physiological, psychological, sociological and technological issues that affect sport and physical activity in a wide range of settings.

Both courses are popular and offer the pupils the opportunity to apply their knowledge into the practical setting through their written coursework and practical performances. 

Pupils learn how the body responds and adapts physically to exercise. Analysis of the respiratory, cardiovascular, dietary, skeletal and muscular systems gives pupils a real insight into how our body is stressed during exercise and what can be done to improve the efficient functioning of each of these systems.

Psychological aspects of sports performance are also studied, with topics such as confidence, arousal, aggression, anxiety and motivation analysed so that pupils can see the significant impact that these can have on sporting performance. 

The final aspect of the course looks at the more social and technological aspects that affect participation. This enables pupils to look at current issues such as equality and discrimination, the effect of drugs in sport, the impact of the media and sponsorship and how technological advances are changing the sporting world.


We follow the AQA specification which divides the course between theory (60% of the overall course) and Non-Examined Assessment (practical and written coursework), covering the final 40%. The theory element examines the human body and movement in physical activity and sport, as well as socio-cultural influences and well-being in physical activity and sport. For the Non-Examined Assessment, pupils are assessed on their performance in the competitive version of three sports (one individual, one team, plus one other) and also produce written analysis and evaluation on how they could bring about improvement in one activity. 


The Physics department aims to encourage and stimulate pupil curiosity, interest and enjoyment of Physics at all levels. It is taught by specialist staff, as a separate science subject, providing pupils with the opportunity to have their interesting questions answered from an early age. Through a mixture of experimental and theoretical work we endeavour to not only expand pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Physics principles, but develop their practical, investigative, and problem-solving skills. Learning to appreciate the physical world around us, develop these key transferable skills and be confident scientists is as much our aim as it is to give pupils the grounding they need to do well in public examinations. 

The department encourages pupils to be involved in Physics outside the classroom. We have run trips to the Rutherford Laboratories and hosted virtual events. Pupils also take part in the annual national Physics Olympiad competitions. 

This wider interest in the physical world is reflected in the additional course of Electronics offered in the Sixth Form and of the numbers of pupils pursuing Physics and related subjects at university. We see Physics as a key STEM subject and support pupils every year in pursuing careers in engineering. 

Physics and Electronics are taught in four specialist, newly refurbished laboratories, resourced and supported by our experienced technician. 


The first three years of the course introduces pupils to fundamental physics concepts through a mixture of practical work and everyday examples. The Year 7 course begins with a variety of measurement experiments before exploring Forces, Energy Stores and Transfers, Static Electricity, Electric Circuits and the Solar System for the first time. The Year 8 course builds on these concepts and becomes more mathematical, introducing simple density calculations before studying Magnetism and Electromagnetism, Energy Resources and Generation, and aspects and applications of Light and Sound. In Year 9 we begin to look at some of the topics explored at GCSE such as Stretching Materials, Pressure and Thermal Physics, including looking at energy efficiencies in the home. Through detailed investigative work the pupils are introduced to resistance and Ohm’s law before moving onto techniques for modelling movement using formulae and graphs in the Motion topic. The year concludes with a look at the Life of Stars. 


The majority of pupils in Year 10 and 11 study Physics as a separate IGCSE, following the Edexcel IGCSE course.  This has eight major topics covering areas such as Forces and Motion, Electricity, Waves, Energy Resources and Energy Transfer, Radioactivity and Astrophysics. There is no formal assessment of practical skills, although plenty of practical work is still carried out. Two exams are taken at the end of the course. 
A small number of pupils follow the Edexcel Combined Science qualification. For these, Physics is still taught as a separate science and leads to two GCSEs when combined with examinations in the other two sciences. 


It can be difficult for adults to remember that today’s school-age children know nothing of the economic and political optimism of those golden post-1989 years, when liberal democracy seemed ascendant, the internet was going to change our lives for the better, and when centre-ground politics seemed impregnable. 
By contrast, today’s teenagers, born after the 2008 financial crash, have become used to crisis: war in Europe once again; mass migration; a climate breakdown; political extremism even in mature democracies and huge democratic backsliding in developing ones; divisive referendums; a toxic social media culture; falling living standards; a looming AI revolution which threatens millions of jobs; not to mention the lingering impact of an unprecedented pandemic. 

At KES, all History teachers also teach Politics, and pupils benefit a wide array of opportunities – from trips to Westminster, visiting speakers, access to the Debating Society and Model UN, to our flagship biennial trip to Washington DC.      


We have bold and ambitious aims with our Learning for Life (PSHE) programme. The subject aims to help pupils develop good character, make wise choices, and foster the skills and attributes they will need for a successful life beyond school. Devised and coordinated by the Head of Learning for Life and delivered by form tutors as part of the academic curriculum, the fortnightly one-hour lesson also makes use of expert visiting speakers and is reinforced in form time and assemblies.   
An essential part of a KES education, it is a pupil-led approach that continuously evolves in response to pupil needs. Each year group may well have what appears to be a ‘standalone’ lesson, but every session develops on previous teaching. This enables a spiral programme which starts in Year 7 and continues throughout a pupil’s time at KES.  
Sessions cover a broad range of topics, including digital citizenship, period poverty, TikTok’s privacy settings, how to vote, the science of drugs, controlling relationships, the difference between debit and credit cards and so on. By providing our pupils with a programme that reflects their needs in this modern world, we aspire to investigate and strengthen pupils’ own feelings of well-being and self-worth and to motivate them to discover and create informed opinions about the world around them.  


Learning for Life is so much more than a traditional PSHE programme. It avoids the didactic approach and instead aims to promote healthy debate and attitudes that are founded on respect for others. The beauty of our tailor-made program is that it evolves throughout the year, reflecting both topical issues and pupil voice.

Hannah Dawes, Head of Learning for Life

Religious Studies

The curriculum is planned so that pupils engage with the basic key principles and tenets of each religion in a reflective and evaluative way, analysing each from an academic perspective. At the same time, all personal faith positions are respected and a tolerant attitude towards those of different faith positions or none is a precondition of study.

Pupils at all levels are introduced to core philosophical principles and arguments, particularly those relating to religion.  This again is handled in an evaluative and analytical way, pupils being encouraged to scrutinize arguments and formulate fresh principle and ideas where possible.

In addition to the classroom-based activities outlined above, pupils are offered a wide variety of enrichment activities. These include field trip and conference activities, as well as a departmental debating society, Socrates Club.


We introduce the main religions of the world, examining the timeline of religions and when they came into existence. We also endeavour to encourage pupils to consider these questions:
Why do people believe in gods/God?
What means do people employ to express the inexpressible? 
What are Holy Books, Worship, Visions and Conversions?
Is religion a positive social force?

By the end of study, pupils will have considered the questions above in relation to Judaistic, Hindu, Sikh, Islamic, Christian and non-religious perspectives.


Over the last 20 years our subject has changed almost beyond recognition. The modern study of religious and ethical issues is a demanding and objective logical analysis of the reasons behind what people believe, and how their beliefs determine the way they behave. Courses at this level are designed to provide an enquiring and critical approach to important life questions and moral issues in today’s world. Linguistic and historical skills are developed, alongside a growing understanding of philosophical and theological concepts. Pupils are not required to hold any particular personal religious beliefs, but they should have a serious academic commitment and an open mind.

Learning Support at KES


All teachers at the Senior School and Sixth Form work together to ensure that the right support (including access arrangements in examinations, where appropriate) is in place to enable pupils to achieve their potential. 

In addition to the general support on offer, adjustments may be made to the curriculum to support pupils with specific needs. Typically, these involve minor adjustments within lessons and form part of the day-to-day educational provision, but some pupils also receive individual Learning Support lessons, delivered by a qualified teacher, and/or an adjustment to their timetable. 

Student Support Plans are shared with teachers to ensure that appropriate strategies and information are in place to support the pupils, who are also encouraged to take greater ownership of their own learning journey.

Teachers work closely with the SENCO to ensure that pupils with additional learning needs are identified and appropriately supported, and any pupil who may be eligible for access arrangements at GCSE or A Level is considered for these in line with the relevant examination board regulations and application process.

Members of the Learning Support team are always available to offer help and guidance to Senior School pupils, including our Sixth Formers. They can have timetabled lessons to support their learning or simply book one-off sessions for advice regarding a particular issue, including opportunities beyond KES in Higher Education and Careers.

We hope that these learning support pathways will enable all our pupils at the Senior School and Sixth Form to thrive and to leave KES with the confidence to flourish in the future.


KES ranked joint second highest performing independent school in the South West and the top performing co-ed independent school regionally.

The Sunday Times Parent Power Guide 2024


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