Senior & Sixth Curriculum

Year 9 Curriculum

In Year 9 pupils study up to eighteen subjects over a two week timetable of 58 periods. The aim is to provide a broad, balanced curriculum which allows pupils to experience a wide range of subjects, some of which may not have been offered during their earlier schooling. Each lesson is 55 minutes in length apart from those on a Saturday morning, which last for 50 minutes.

Three Felsted students work together on a laptop


The aim for Years 10 and 11 is to follow a curriculum based on a ‘core’ of English, Maths and Science and four ‘options’ that ensures a broadly balanced programme for all pupils, without inhibiting the specialisation required for a variety of Sixth Form courses.

In Years 10 and 11, every pupil studies English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Science. There are two routes through Science GCSE: pupils can choose to study separate Sciences, in which case they must choose Science as one of their ‘option’ subjects; otherwise, they will study Combined Science: Trilogy (worth two GCSEs). The remaining four optional subjects allow the opportunity for pupils to tailor their programme to suit their abilities and intentions for further study. The framework within the options ensures that a balanced curriculum is followed. In certain circumstances a pupil will be advised to take three rather than four optional subjects so that additional time may be spent on supporting their core subjects. In Years 10 and 11 pupils also follow non-examined courses in Physical Education and PSHE (Personal Social and Health Education).

Felsted senior students perform a science experiment

Each pupil should choose four optional subjects ensuring that they meet the requirements of the two restrictions placed on the choice.

1. One of the following Modern Foreign Languages must be chosen: French, German, Spanish, and Latin

2. A humanities subject must be chosen: Classical Civilisation, Geography, History, Latin, and Theology, Ethics and Philosophy (Religious Studies)

The remaining two choices can be selected from: Art and Design, Classical Civilisation, Computer Science, Design and Technology (Resistant Materials), Drama, French, Geography, German, History, Latin, Music, Physical Education, Theology, Ethics and Philosophy (Religious Studies), Science (for Separate Sciences), and Spanish

Support for Learning (SfL) and English as an Additional Language (EAL) are also available as an optional subject for those pupils who need them. Opting for SfL means that additional time may be spent on supporting the core subjects. This option may be selected upon recommendations from the SfL department. EAL should be chosen by those pupils whose native language is other than English.

A Level

Studying Advanced Levels at Sixth Form presents a transition from the more objective study of a subject at GCSE to a more subjective consideration of a subject at greater depth.

Pupils are encouraged to read more widely and to take a more autonomous approach to their learning; from understanding how to manage their own time more effectively to being encouraged to challenge concepts that are presented to them.

Since the reforms to A Levels, which have increased the course content for each subject and have de-coupled AS and A2 exams, we have altered our recommended programme for Sixth Form pupils wishing to take A Levels. We recommend that pupils take 3 A Levels and supplement this with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), although provision is in place for pupils to take 4 A Levels if this is suitable. These A Levels will be taken as a two year linear course; pupils will not take AS exams at the end of the Lower Sixth.

Sixth-formers work on a science experiment with a mortar and pestle

As pupils no longer start with a fourth subject that will be dropped following an AS exam, it is even more important that pupils choose the right subjects from the outset, and should take advantage of the advice and guidance available to them. At home, it is important for pupils to discuss their long-term university/career aspirations, as well as their short-term choice of subjects, with parents/guardians. In school, support is provided by both academic staff (teachers and Heads of Department) and pastoral staff (tutors and Housemasters/Housemistresses). In addition, we have an experienced Careers Team who can help provide expert advice on university requirements and degree apprenticeships.

Sixth Form provision at Felsted is designed to:

  • ensure a broad and balanced education, both in terms of the academic curriculum and co-curricular activities
  • challenge and stimulate students
  • be responsive to individual academic needs
  • prepare students for further education and employment
  • develop reflective and responsible students, equipped to become fulfilled and positive members of their communities

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Felsted is one of a growing number of schools in the UK to embrace the International Baccalaureate Diploma as an alternative to A Levels and our considerable experience in the teaching of this demanding and stimulating programme means that today’s Felsted students are well placed to make the most of all the IB has to offer.

Recognised all over the world, the IB is a direct route into British and international universities, and offers excellent preparation for tertiary education. The intellectual rigour of the IB Programme, coupled with the breadth of co-curricular opportunities and Felsted’s vibrant international ethos prepares students to take a full part in the world beyond School, wherever their IB qualification may take them.

A Felsted student takes notes during a lesson

The International Baccalaureate Organisation aims to develop enquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The IB encourages students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners, through challenge and rigorous assessment.

Pupils study six subjects, of which three are taken at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. They must also complete the 'Core', which comprises an Extended Essay, a Theory of Knowledge exam and completion of CAS activities (Creativity, Action & Service). Further details of this and subject choices on offer can be found in our IB Diploma Subject Guide.

Felsted has been instrumental in our son's journey over the past few years, not just with his physical and academic achievements, but mental also. From a value added academic perspective, our son has gone from failed SATS in Year 7 to achieving A*’s, A’s and B’s in his GCSE’s, to actually doing A' Levels, something we never really thought he would be able to do. We do not underestimate the role that Felsted has played in this, who saw more in our son than academic achievement. But more than that is how his mental well-being has been supported, particularly as a boarder with Type 1 diabetes. We know that he has got to the end of Year 13 successfully due to all the support he has received, and this is a testimony to the school. When our sons joined Felsted we were told that there was something about the Felsted community, and for both our boys, in different ways, it has been a special place for them to have been. Thank you.