As an independent school we are not bound to follow the National Curriculum, but we believe that the balance that this provides is suitable for our pupils.
The three core subjects are English, Mathematics and Science. English counts as two GCSEs with Literature as a separate subject. Science is completed in Year 10 and Additional Science is Year 11 (two GCSEs although all three sciences are studied), making a total of five GCSEs for most pupils.
We agree with the prescriptions of the National Curriculum that a pupil should try to study a humanity – Geography, History or Theology & Philosophy - and a practical or creative subject such as Art, Design and Technology, Music, Physical Education or Drama. Additionally, the pupils have been advised to consider seriously taking a foreign language as some of the more academic universities value the study of a foreign language, even at GCSE level.
Those pupils in the Core Learning Development group in Year 9 will continue this support which will effectively take the place of an option subject.
The total tally of GCSEs from our system is nine and we believe that this represents a more than adequate number. We prefer our pupils to do well with nine GCSEs and avail themselves of all the other aspects that Shiplake has to offer.