“ Royal High School Bath is built on the firm foundation of over 150 years of educating young women. We are an innovative, high-achieving school that provides a wonderful environment for girls to excel academically, thrive emotionally and develop socially”
Mr Hadrian Briggs
The Art Department is housed in the beautiful Art School, which is bathed in natural light.
It was opened by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling in November 2008 and consists of four beautifully lit studios which accommodate facilities for printmaking, sculpture, drawing and painting. We also have a dark room and Macs for film-making and photography.
We follow a fine art syllabus as we feel it is the very best way in which to support a young creative mind. The GCSE course aims to establish a clear understanding of core foundation art and design skills, which in turn become empowering for the student. This means that we spend some of the time in Year 10 drawing, painting, collaging, sculpting and printing. We do this in order to establish a clear visual language by which the GCSE Art Students can communicate. Y11 is the year that we encourage more focused study on painting. This further develops a student’s ability to establish their own strengths and identity within art and design – fine art.
Alongside the studio work, each student will develop a workbook/sketchbook. This workbook will support the studio work and act as a visual diary. This is often the area where the students excel, as they are able to personalise their studies. We also endeavour to take the GCSE group out on Art Trips. In the past, we have visited Hauser and Wirth Somerset, Roche Court, Ashmolean Oxford and London Galleries.
The GCSE Art Course is the perfect foundation for further study in Art. Any student, having completed this programme, would find the transition into either A’ level or IB Visual Arts quite straightforward. This is because our aim, throughout the art school educational programme, is to establish creative and independent minds underpinned by secure knowledge which is the perfect platform from which one can excel through creativity.
The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web.
- Pablo Picasso
Our Biology Department is housed in the dedicated Science Building and is made up of a team of motivated, enthusiastic, talented teachers and a technician who all specialise in delivering an excellent all-round Biology education.
Lessons take place in our three specialist Biology laboratories. These are excellently resourced with modern, innovative equipment. Items such as a Gel Electrophoresis machine which enables students to understand the fascinating topic of DNA analysis. We are fortunate to have constant access to our beautiful school grounds, including a well-maintained pond, which means the study of ecology is at our fingertips at all times. We are pleased to have the use of the newly refurbished greenhouse; this will allow the students to experience the joys of horticulture both within lessons and in the extra-curricular clubs.
We challenge the girls throughout their study of Biology. Beginning to teach the IGCSE syllabus a year early, in Year 9, this allows time for more varied activities and deeper investigations into the topics at hand. Through this, we find our students’ understanding is both enhanced and enriched.
Our teachers are dedicated to helping our students achieve their very best. Approachable at all times and on hand to help with extra revision or group work whenever required. The team run a number of clubs and societies to further stretch and support the girls. These range from the Key Stage 3 Science Club, the KS4 and KS5 Science Society, featuring speakers from top universities, to our annual involvement in the national Biology Challenge. Every member of Year 10 enters this online competition, which attracts thousands of entries across the UK. Each year, we are proud to award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to our girls for their impressive results.
Classroom-based teaching is supported by a range of fantastic trips throughout the year. Highlights include a trip to Folly Farm in Year 8, where the girls have the chance to study animals in their natural environment and get to grips with hands-on ecological practices. A visit to the stunning Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Year 7. By the time, the girls reach Year 10 they are in a position to take full advantage of the annual Science Live Conference, where they listen to excellent speakers such as Professor Robert Winston, the renowned Richard Dawkins, and advice given by the Chief Examiner of the GCSE syllabus. In order to give the girls a taste of careers utilising Biology we also offer the opportunity to participate in workshops such as Operating Theatre Live or Medical Mavericks.
Business and Economics
IGCSE Business Studies (CIE) is an ideal subject for those who want to go on to study PPE, Politics, Accountancy, Management, International Relations, work in the City or Law, be an entrepreneur, a journalist or a civil servant. It complements both arts and science subjects.
The rise of China and India, the growth of AI and the financial crash have made the subject more relevant and popular than ever. The growth of an entrepreneurial society and ease with which a new business can be launched using the Internet and new technologies, such as 3D printing, have brought links with IT and DT and the subject is vital for anyone considering their own start-up in the future. Those who are most suited to Business Studies are able to communicate their ideas in words and numbers, so you need to be literate and numerate as well as having a keen interest in current affairs, both in the UK and overseas.
We offer the CIE Business Studies IGCSE course, this well-established IGCSE looks at all the functional areas of a Business, People, Finance, Production and Marketing as well as exploring what makes a successful entrepreneur and how events beyond the control of a firm can determine is the business will succeed or fail. Fans of Dragons’ Den or The Apprentice will enjoy having the opportunity to find out how it should be done. We offer a number of opportunities for students to demonstrate their Business acumen over the two years of the IGCSE course.
Our Chemistry Department is made up of a team of dedicated and highly experienced teachers who specialise in delivering a top quality education in Chemistry theory, principles and knowledge in a manner which engages and enthuses our girls.
Lessons take place in our three specialist Chemistry labs, which are well resourced with modern, innovative equipment, including a fume cupboard in each lab, allowing the girls to learn how to handle hazardous materials in a safe manner. We make extensive use of molecular modelling kits to enable us to visualise how matter interacts on an atomic level.
During Year 7, chemistry is studied alongside biology and physics with a single teacher as part of a general, skills-based study of science. We teach chemistry as a separate science from Year 8.
Chemistry is a challenging and deeply enjoyable subject and we are keen to inspire a love of the subject from the beginning of their time in the Senior School. In Year 8 we teach the fundamental ideas and practical techniques underpinning the subject. We begin to teach the Edexcel IGCSE syllabus during Year 9, in order to allow more time for more varied activities and deeper investigations into the topics at hand. Relevant chemistry, including plastics and the environmental impact of fossil fuels is covered. We even make sustainable plastic from potatoes and biodiesel from cooking oil!
The girls are given opportunities to explore chemistry further by attending a range of clubs and societies. These include the Key Stage 3 Science Club, where the principles of the subject are investigated at an in depth level.
Classroom-based teaching is supported by a range of trips throughout the year. For example, in Year 10 the girls are take part in the annual Science Live Conference, where they listen to world-class speakers such as Professor Alice Roberts and Dr Andrea Sella, as well as gaining valuable exam tips from a GCSE Chief Examiner. KS3 students are given the opportunity to attend the Salter’s Festival of Chemistry at a local University.
A classical education truly offers something for everyone.
This subject captures the imagination, enriching students’ understanding and appreciation of both their own language and cultures, as well as those that at first may seem more distant. It develops a range of transferable skills including analytical and critical thought, reasoned debate and argument, as well as greater empathy and compassion of civilisations not our own. With its insight into the people, images, iconic buildings, ideas and texts, it provides dazzling perspectives on the way we write, speak and think today.
Etymological explanations enrich the English language and students consider the nature of the human condition via our study of archaeological evidence from ancient Greece and Rome as well as through their study of literature, whether in translation or in its original language. The study of Classics truly is the study of life.
In Years 7 and 8, all girls study the Latin language and the culture and daily lives of the Romans through an exploration of Pompeii via The Cambridge Latin Course. In Year 9, they continue to study either Classical Civilisation, Latin or ‘Gratin’, a mixture of Latin and Classical Greek. Students may then opt to pursue their study of Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation at GCSE, further testing and cementing their knowledge and understanding of classical culture and language.
Trips to local sites, such as the Roman Baths, Chedworth and Corinium, where we can see the evidence first-hand and even handle some ancient artefacts, help to enrich students’ understanding of the influence of the Romans in Britain. Further afield, trips to classical sites abroad, such as to Greece, Rome and Pompeii, really bring our studies to life.
‘non scholae sed vitae discimus’ – We learn not for school but for life (Seneca the Younger)
“Computing is a subject that all young people should learn in order for them to have a well-informed understanding of the increasingly digital world that surrounds them. Employers project that the number of careers depending on computing skills will grow. Many pupils currently starting out in school today could end up in jobs that do not currently exist.”
“Although many great pioneers of computing were women, across the UK computer science is an overwhelmingly male-dominated subject and workforce. At GCSE, there is a 20% uptake from girls, 2017. At A level, there is only a 9% uptake from girls, and this has not changed for many years.”
Here at the Royal High School we are committed to giving girls the opportunity to help address the gender imbalance and create confident and knowledgeable girls to help pave the way for the future.
We offer both GCSE Computer Science and ECDL so that students can opt for the qualification which suits them best. In Computer Science, we encourage students to take control of the computer to create programs, and in ICT we ensure that our girls have the necessary digital literacy skills to participate in the modern workplace.
We enter the University of Oxford’s BEBRAS computational thinking competition every year, along with the UK Schools Computer Animation Competition, GCHQ CyberFirst girls competition and Google Code-in. This takes part either in timetabled lessons or in the weekly programming club – which also acts as a drop in support session for GCSE students. We also run a Digital Leader scheme and attend a GDST conference each year.
Dance is thriving at the Royal High School.
Academically, it is taught at Key Stage Three as part of PE, and at GCSE level. It is an incredibly rewarding option. It requires commitment and dedication, as well as an open and creative mind. Dance is a distinct art form, which has its own history, body of knowledge, aesthetic values, cultural contexts and artistic productions.
GCSE Dance is taught after school as an additional subject, enabling the girls to gain an extra GCSE in this performing art. Girls can choose to start the course in Year 9 or Year 10, and complete it in two years. It is not just about learning and copying routines, but the study of dance as a whole art form. The course is made up on 40% Theory, studying a critical appreciation of choreographic processes and performing skills; 30% performance and 30% choreography. We train mostly in contemporary technique to improve performance skills, but any style of dance can be used to influence the girls’ choreography. Both practical and written work is undertaken each week so each lesson requires an active body and a creative mind.
Taught in our performing arts venue, the Sophie Cameron Centre, and in our specialist Dance Studio, the girls benefit from top quality facilities, such as barres, mirrors, a portable dance floor and a strong sound system. The close-knit, small group nature of our GCSE dance lessons enables teaching to be personalised to the strengths and interests of the individuals in the class. All abilities are well catered for, with girls of varying levels of experience being stretched and challenged throughout the course.
Each year, the GCSE dance group are always included in the brilliant GDST Day of Dance event, where schools from across the UK have an opportunity to perform and show what they have learned during their course. This is a great chance for the girls to perform on a large stage in front of a big audience. The girls also perform in our annual Dance Show, giving the audience an insight into the creative world of this course.
Product Design in particular is one of the most popular choices at GCSE, bucking the trend for girls’ education across the UK, something of which we are especially proud. These girls, most certainly, can.
- Our dedicated Product Design workshops are equipped with highly advanced resources, such as a laser cutting machine, 4-axis routing machines and a brand new 3D printer. This printer, in particular, enables the girls to see the designs they create on our specialist computer-aided drawing software to come to life in top quality, sophisticated models.
- Our recently refurbished Food Technology room contains a full range of modern cooking equipment, including a brand new Sous Vide machine.
- Our Textiles suite is also fantastically equipped, with each girl in each class having access to their own brand new sewing machine. Other resources include over-lockers, sublimation printers, and the ability to undertake computer aided embroidery.
Throughout the GCSE course, the girls receive specialist tuition in their chosen subject, and our results and the quality of work produced speaks for itself:
- Product Design: This course encourages students to be able to design and make products with creativity and originality, using a range of materials and techniques. Girls are taught manufacturing skills such as metal turning, welding and brazing, traditional wood joining, forming and laminating, Computer Aided Design using Pro Desk Top and Computer Aided Manufacture, to name but a few. Packaging, labelling, instructions, advertising and points of sales are very much seen as part of the complete design proposal, meaning girls are introduced to the importance of commercial viability and real-life application as a core element of their studies. In Year 11, students opting for A-level DT with Maths have the opportunity to apply for an Arkwright Scholarship, a prestigious national award to support talented designers wishing to pursue a career in an engineering type profession. Each year we are proud that at least 1 or 2 students are successful in winning this scholarship.
- Food Technology: This exciting and creative course focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials. Through cooking, experiments and classwork girls learn about Food, Nutrition and Health, Food Science, Food safety, Food Choice, Food Provenance. At its heart, this course focuses on nurturing practical cookery skills and giving a strong understanding of nutrition and how to be an informed consumer. With links to local food businesses such as Celia Adams (an alumna)from award-winning Bath Cake Company and guest visitors including Great British Bake Off favourites Mary Berry (also an alumna of our school) and Frances Quinn, the girls are supported in their studies by a fantastic range of opportunities and cooking competitions. Our well appointed, modern and light Food room is a fantastic environment for inspirational cooking and is well resourced with equipment for modern and traditional styles of cooking.
- Textiles: throughout the Textiles GCSE, the girls explore ways in which aesthetic, technical, economic, environmental, ethical and social dimensions interact to shape the design and production process. They develop skills in creativity and critical analysis by making links between the principles of good design, existing solutions and technological knowledge. For example, in the Autumn term the girls are tasked with designing and making a unique top inspired by a trend for Spring/Summer 2016. The girls have the same sewing pattern to follow and the same plain white fabric but they must add colour, prints, and/or graphics using suitable fabric colouring techniques to help make their top an appealing one-off. Being based in Bath, we often make great use of the wonderful Fashion Museum at the Assembly Rooms to help inspire and inform our students.
In the Summer term of each year, a dedicated DT exhibition is held to display the impressive range of work produced by the girls, a collection and experience which is enjoyed by the whole school community and which brings great admiration from outside visitors.
"Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it…" - Augusto Boal
A popular choice at GCSE level, girls study the Eduqas specification. Students experience a range of dramatic styles and techniques and are introduced to a variety of theatre practitioners, including: Steven Berkoff, Emma Rice and Joan Littlewood. Through workshop style lessons, girls are encouraged to reflect on their practice and take on the perspective, not only of the actor, but of the director, designer and most importantly, the audience.
Beyond the classroom
Alongside course study, we believe it is vital that our students experience a range of live performances by professional practitioners. To this end the department organises numerous visits to both local and London theatres as well as the chance to participate in enrichment through our own, regular school productions. Recently we have staged : ‘Annie’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’; ‘Oh! What A Lovely War’; ‘The Crucible’; ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Oliver!’.
We aim to build a passion for drama which is rooted in the development of both skills and self-confidence. We regularly enhance our teaching with visiting workshops from outside practitioners and professionals so students gain an insight into the industry. Each year, we offer an exclusive workshop season, open to all of our students and delivered by professional actors and directors, at the end of the Summer term.
In addition, we actively encourage and prepare girls to audition for established local and national opportunities in Drama such as: TRB Engage, National Youth Theatre, National Youth Music Theatre and Monologue Slam.
Recent alumni have gone on to train at nationally and internationally recognised Drama schools and Universities such as: Central School of Speech and Drama, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Bard College New York, The National Institute of Dramatic Art and both Royal Holloway and Goldsmith Universities. Many students go on to pursue professional careers in the theatre, television and film, both as actors and behind the scenes as directors, producers and technicians. Recent alumni have enjoyed careers in the West End and English National Opera as well as establishing their own theatre companies.
In many ways, English is at the creative heart of the Royal High School. As a department, we constantly seek to develop the flair for language which will enable the girls here to be effective, impassioned and confident learners – inside and outside of lessons.
We want the girls we teach to think critically, to engage with ideas and to be able to express themselves in the fullest and most compelling ways possible. To this end, we offer girls the richest diet we can of reading, discussion, analytical and creative writing, poetry and all the related aspects of self-expression associated with English. Popular at all levels within the school, the subject is taught by experienced specialists who seek to convey their passion for the subject to the girls they teach.
The curriculum we follow is both rigorous and flexible in ensuring our students become discerning and reflective readers. Believing passionately in the value of literature, much of the time we teach through books, which we read as whole texts so that girls can gain the confidence to become independent and informed in their literary judgements.
In Years 10 and 11, we follow the Edexcel IGCSE in English Language and Literature. We choose this course for the freedom and space it offers. We broaden our students’ experience of literature through a study of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and modern drama and novels, and by reading widely in fiction, poetry, drama and non-fiction. We teach how to analyse a text, teasing it apart so the girls can see what rhetorical strategies lie beneath the surface. Girls will be tasked with writing in a myriad of forms and discussing topics with verve and panache, both in written work and through developing skills of oracy and rhetoric.
Outside of lessons, there are many ways to expand one’s English education further, from theatre trips to the Bristol Old Vic to taking part in a lunchtime debate, from local literary festivals and visits from authors, and from getting involved with public speaking to writing competitions for the school magazines – learning does not stop when a lesson ends.
Bienvenue dans le départment de français.
We are a department of vibrant, experienced and enthusiastic multi-linguists who specialise in teaching French. Our teachers are Mme Daguenet, Mme White, Mme Destribats and Mr Roca. Several of us are native speakers and all gain great enjoyment and satisfaction from helping the girls develop their French language skills.
French is an ever-current and ever-important language. It is spoken by more than 200 million people worldwide, is the language of the international job market and is the language used for travel in many French-speaking countries – Tahiti, Monaco, Switzerland, the Seychelles and many more. It is also the language of culture: cooking, fashion, theatre and literature; and is, of course, the language of love.
Learning French provides a wonderful base on which to build knowledge of other languages too, such as Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, which is why all of our Year 7 students learn French during their first year in our Senior School. Girls can then go on to choose to study French further in Year 8 and 9, and onto GCSE. All girls are taught by our highly experienced team of French teachers who place the learning emphasis on developing communication skills, but with an element of fun.
We run many supporting clubs and activities, which all provide extra opportunities to develop language skills, pronunciation and knowledge of French culture. At this level, these activities include the Key Stage Three French club, cooking workshops and special French breakfasts, as well as a visit from a theatre company specialised in French plays once a year – this remarkable company takes the girls on an adventure that sees them immersed in the French language, and is an experience greatly enjoyed by the girls. We also enter students to different competitions run by the French Institute and GDST.
All girls who study French get the chance to partake in a study trip to France, during which they stay with host families and enjoy many fun activities and leisure excursions, and also lessons in the morning are taught by French specialist teachers. One student who took part in the trip said “My highlight of the trip was the tour of Nice and seeing all the colourful houses and the waterfall” (Freya, Year 11). A sixth former also said: “I enjoyed the host family and the conversations we had with her. The cinema was my favourite activity but I also really enjoyed the trip to Eze. The school was also good and our teacher was really friendly” ( Molly, Year 13).
In our multi award-winning Geography department, we set the very highest standards in our teaching and our teachers are experienced specialists.
We are recognised as a Centre of Excellence in GIS (computer mapping) Education. We are also a Geographical Association Centre of Excellence in the teaching of geography. Raphael Heath, our Head of Geography was presented with the Ordnance Survey Award for Excellence in Secondary Education by the Royal Geographical Society in June 2015 and was awarded a Pearson Teaching Award in October 2016.
We focus on making Geography a dynamic and relevant subject by teaching topical issues using the latest technology and techniques to bring the subject to life. We teach students a broad range of physical and human geography topics. Our teaching is underpinned by exploring concepts of sustainable development and environmental issues. Students have the option to take the subject for GCSE and we follow the AQA GCSE course.
Students undertake fieldwork experiences in all year groups. For example, our Year 10 geographers attend a residential trip in North Exmoor where they study fluvial hydrology. We also run numerous optional field trips throughout the year, such as to Iceland, Italy or Morocco. These are fantastic opportunities for our students to study some unusual geography up close. They get to experience new cultures and landscapes which are very different to those in the UK.
We regularly use iPads or laptops in lessons so students can easily access stimulating and complex information to develop their understanding. For example, we get students to look at live earthquake data patterns, engage with simulations such as planning for a hurricane or to experience immersive virtual reality and augmented reality such as exploring river landscapes.
We also run a geography club where students can explore geographical issues beyond the curriculum. In these clubs, we also give students the opportunity to enter national competitions. We have great success in these. In the last few years, our students have won the Trinity College Cambridge essay prize, the Royal Geographical Society Young Geography of the Year, The Geographical Association Post 16 competition, a bronze medal at the International Geographical Olympiad, and GDST essay Geography competitions.
We have also run global mapping events, which schools from around the world have participated in. These included a quality of life study and a hazard risk mapping activity. In total, over 28,000 students from all around the world have participated in these activities. We were presented Esri UK’s Best Community Project Award for these events.
There are more native speakers of German than any other language in Europe. It is an official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. German is fun, intellectually challenging and its mastery will help an individual to stand out from the crowd.
Upon entering our school in Year 7, all girls study German for half a year. They may then opt to study it further up to A Level or IB. All girls are taught by our highly experienced team of German language specialists and conversation assistants, who place the learning emphasis on developing practical communication skills.
We introduce German, Austrian and Swiss culture by telling the girls about festivals, customs and traditions, encouraging creativity by making Karneval masks, Weihnachtsplätzchen (Christmas biscuits) and lots more.
Beyond the curriculum, every year we invite a theatre company to perform a play for students entirely in German. The comedy is great fun and the girls learn that they can understand more than they think! At German club, girls take part in quizzes and learn about aspects of German-speaking culture including food, music and special celebrations. We also offer a very popular Film Club. Our learners also participate in the annual MFL speaking competition, GDST Languages Festival and the UK Linguistics Olympiad which they find inspiring and enjoyable.
We run a very successful exchange programme with a school in Münster, Germany, with whom we have a long-standing connection. Girls from Year 9 and above have the chance to attend the school, live with host families and become totally immersed in German culture.
We believe that the study of History should be fun but rigorous and we have developed our curriculum to combine both the skills of the historian and the topics which we see as essential for a rounded education.
Our department consists of one full-time and three part-time specialist teachers. Our dedicated classrooms house our extensive history library and provide a well-ordered learning environment. We constantly review recent publications, such as Hindsight and History Today and have a well-stocked range of textbooks and historical publications available for the girls. Displays of girls’ work and of trips are constantly shown in order to encourage and stimulate. Historical skills are fostered rigorously and we ensure that historical study is both academic and absorbing.
We currently run two major overseas trips: to the First World War Battlefields with Year 9 and to Berlin with our GCSE classes. Both aim to be memorable and stimulating providing girls with a physical appreciation of the events they study in the classroom and allowing them to make vital connections. We also regularly take year 10 and 12 students to the Chalke Valley History Festival for stimulating talks and hands-on experiences. All girls can attend our lunchtime History Film Club where we show a range of enjoyable and interesting historical films.
We follow a broadly chronological approach at key stage 3 starting in 1066 with the Norman Conquest through to the 1960s and the campaign for Civil Rights in the USA. Lessons aim to be engaging using contemporary source materials and encouraging critical analysis. We want to ensure that women’s voices are heard and have a units on the Witchcraze and an depth study on the campaign for Women’s suffrage and equality.
We have strong up-take at GCSE with two classes studying the Cambridge IGCSE 20th century World History course. This allows us chronological continuity, looking at International Relations from 1919-1991, and a depth study on Germany. At sixth form girls can choose either the IB or A level (OCR) and many students carry on with the subject or related disciplines in Higher Education..
The Department is energetic, with clubs and book groups for all, to stimulate and enrich. Whether re-enacting the lives of medieval peasants or reading Victorian novels with insights into social history or contributing to the understanding of Women’s History, we ensure that our study of History is always thought-provoking. We constantly explore History beyond the classroom and point out the important connections between past and present which make our subject so very relevant
"Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda" (A great flame follows a little spark) Canto I, line 34, Dante Alighieri
Italian is an important language for people in business, the arts, technology and many professions. It is useful if you are planning careers in art history, music, linguistics, education and international relations. Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, etc. If you are planning a career in one of those fields, you will benefit from knowing Italian. Art historians need Italian. According to UNESCO over 60 per cent of the world’s art treasures are found in Italy.
Italian language, literature, history, and culture have been a source of admiration and study for many writers from Chaucer and Shakespeare to E.M. Forster, and so many other writers around the world. Italian is a language of poetry and music, which allows you to read and study great works by Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Pirandello, Calvino and others in the original language.
It is a department of experienced and enthusiastic multi-linguists, who enjoy teaching Italian and gain great enjoyment and satisfaction from helping the girls develop their Italian language skills.
Learning Italian provides a wonderful base on which to build knowledge of other languages too, such as Spanish, French and Portuguese. Girls can choose to study Italian in Year 10 and 11 for the IGCSE and then take it further to A level. All girls are taught by a highly experienced team who place the learning emphasis on developing communication skills, but with an element of fun.
We run many supporting clubs and activities, which all provide extra opportunities to develop language skills, pronunciation and knowledge of Italian culture. At this level, these activities include the Key Stage three Italian club and Key Stage four and five Italian film club.
Chinese language has over 5000 years’ history and is described by The Independent as “the language of the future”. Chinese attracts millions of learners not only because of its fascinating culture, but also the uniqueness of its pronunciation and written form. At the Royal High School Mandarin Chinese has been offered to students for over 10 years. The language is taught from KS2 up to KS5 by our two native speaker Mandarin Chinese subject specialists.
At GCSE level, the study of Mandarin is practically based and develops the skills necessary to understand and to communicate in the language studied. AT KS3, basic knowledge of Chinese language and culture will be introduced, for example, 1) Pinyin and tone marks; 2) Radicals and stroke orders for students to comprehend characters and handle the pronunciation and intonations; 3) Fundamental knowledge of Chinese geography, history and culture. Simplified characters and pinyin are the main form in the text. Four language skills are taught through thematic units, task-based activities and ICT.
Extracurricular activities are offered throughout the year. At KS4 topics which relate to students’ own experience and needs, such as the family, school, languages, travel, etc. will be taught. Lessons are taught largely in Mandarin and regular use is made of the IT Suite. Four language skills are focused on through the teaching and learning. Students start to pick up and understand longer and more complicated passages and authentic materials. Formal and informal language will be introduced and students will be encouraged to use it independently. Students are encouraged to use Chinese with the teacher within and beyond the class. The class is conducted using a communicative approach and uses task-based activities.
- After school club for all Keys stages
- Chinese New Year Celebration
- Annual China trip to Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and Xi’an
- Regular conversation lessons with native Chinese speaker
- Visit to East Asian Museum
- Visit to Chinese restaurant
- Speaking competition
“Mathematics is the means of looking at the patterns that make up our world and the intricate and beautiful ways in which they are constructed and realised. Numeracy is the means of making that knowledge useful.” Anon
Mathematics contributes to the school curriculum by developing pupils’ abilities to calculate; to reason, logically, algebraically and geometrically; to solve problems and to handle data. Mathematics is important for pupils in many other areas of study, particularly Science and Technology. It is also important in everyday living, in many forms of employment, and in public decision-making. As a subject in its own right, Mathematics presents frequent opportunities for creativity, and can stimulate moments of pleasure and wonder when a problem is solved for the first time, or a more elegant solution to a problem is discovered, or when hidden connections are suddenly manifest.
At the Royal High School we enable pupils to build a secure framework of mathematical reasoning, which they can use and apply with confidence. They learn Mathematics as a connected body of knowledge and develop an understanding of how seemingly disparate ideas interrelate. Our highly experienced teachers employ a variety of resources so that pupils engage fully with their learning. The power of mathematical reasoning lies in its use of precise and concise language and symbolism to reveal and explore general relationships. These forms are used for modelling situations, increasingly by using advancing computational technologies.
Our pupils are given opportunity through trips and invited speakers to hear first-hand how Mathematics is used in real life situations. In recent months, they have seen Mathematics being used in fields as diverse as Encryption, Fluid Dynamics, Acoustics, Gambling, and Human Relationships.
The subject transcends cultural boundaries and its importance is universally recognised. Their learning of Mathematics helps our pupils to understand and change the world for the better.
Music is such an important part of all our lives and at the Royal High School we ensure that every girl has the opportunity to fulfil their potential and enjoy getting involved – whether as a performer or a composer.
GCSE and A Level Music is very popular here at the Royal High School and many pupils enjoy furthering their knowledge through more detailed analysis of set works from many genres, compositions to a specific brief and practical performances in any style. Many of our past students have continued their musical education at prestigious conservatoires and universities such as the RWCMD.
This course offers you the chance to discover more about music and your own creativity through working in a very practical way – performing, appraising and creating music is the basis of all lessons.
It's open to musicians from all backgrounds and interest, from rock singers to violinists.
During the course there are lots of opportunities to share your performance talents with others from concerts to leading workshops in primary schools. We also offer opportunities to attend concerts and masterclasses given by professional musicians locally and nationally.
GCSE PE is a great subject for girls to study and is popular at The Royal High School.
We are very fortunate to have high-level athletes on the coaching staff, and their personal experiences provide a fascinating insight into the life of an elite athlete and add to the learning experience of the girls.
There are two components to the Physical Education GCSE syllabus: Practical and Theory.
The Practical component is worth 30% of the overall marks. Here you take part and are assessed in 3 activities of your choice, selected from a wide range of sports including: hockey, netball, tennis, basketball, badminton, athletics and dance. You are also able to submit additional activities through video evidence such as horse riding, skiing, swimming and rowing.
Each practical activity is studied for a half-term module with ongoing assessment of a variety of areas.
The Theory component supports work done in the practical sessions and is examined by a 2 x 1 hour 15-minute paper worth 70% of the marks.
Areas covered include applied Anatomy and Physiology, movement analysis, physical training, use of data, sports psychology and socio-cultural influences.
Our Physics Department is housed in our dedicated Science Building and is made up of a team of motivated, enthusiastic and talented teachers who specialise in delivering an excellent all-round Physics education.
Lessons take place in our two specialist Physics labs, which are excellently resourced with modern, innovative equipment, including items such as a PAScar dynamics system and an infra-red camera, which enable our students to understand the fascinating topics of motion and heat transfer.
We challenge the girls throughout their study of Physics. We begin to teach the IGCSE syllabus a year early, in Year 9, in order to allow additional time for more varied activities and deeper investigations into the topics at hand. Topics are often delivered through the study of real-lif applications e.g. the development of an electrical quiz circuit in Year 8 and how electromagnetic and sound waves are used in medicine in Year 9, and always include practical investigations, many of which involve the use of toys. Through this, we find our students’ understanding to be both enhanced and enriched.
Our teachers are dedicated to helping our students achieve the very best. Approachable at all times and on hand to help with extra revision or group work whenever required, the team also run a number of clubs and societies to further stretch and support the girls. These range from the Photonics Club, the Science Society, featuring speakers from top universities, the HISPARC Club, which investigates high energy cosmic rays, to our annual involvement in the British Physics Olympiad Physics Challenge competition.
Classroom-based teaching is further supported by a range of additional activities and trips throughout the year. These include going to the Institute of Physics Schools and Colleges lecture and attending the Science Live Conference, where our Year 10 students can listen to world-class speakers such as Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, the renowned space scientist, as well raise questions with the Chief Examiner of the GCSE syllabus.
Religion and Philosophy
In a world where religion and philosophy together play such a critical role in global events, this subject encourages the girls to think for themselves and develop their own personal response to some of the essential human questions.
Through studying this subject, our students explore the traditions, diverse values and beliefs which are relevant to them and the world in which they live. They also examine how different forms of religious, philosophical, humanistic and scientific knowledge can conflict with, and also complement each other. They learn that there is no simple or totally ‘right' answer to so many of the problems facing humanity today, and instead learn to view, evaluate and reflect on a personal level about their developed understanding of the issues.
In Years 7, 8 and 9 we aim to study a variety of beliefs and practices in world religions as well as looking at some ethical and philosophical questions. There is a focus on discussion, enquiry and argument skills. Students learn from each other, investigate and develop their own responses to the material. Project work in the summer term allows students to get to delve into a topic and bring their creativity and thinking to its presentation.
The GCSE is currently offered as a full course in the option block, and the short course in the extension block. The course offers the opportunity to learn about two religions in depth, as well as various ethical and philosophical questions.
Philosophy Club meets in a lunch time to discuss a wide variety of questions. The aim is to offer students a chance to explore ideas that are not directly related to the curriculum, and provides students with a fascinating opportunity to extend their learning and dig deeper into their understanding of a whole range of issues and concepts.
We have a team of specialists who engage and inspire our students.
Miss Jo Cossey, Sra Andrea Knight, Sra Susana Martínez-Gran and Sr Vicente Roca teach through each of the key stages. As well as giving students an excellent command of the Spanish language and the confidence to express themselves orally and in written work, students explore the rich culture of Spain and South America. We encourage the creative use of language and use authentic materials. For example, as part of their curriculum Year 7 write about South American animals in the target language, Year 9 create voiceovers for their fashion show in Spanish and Year 10 write their own songs, with Spanish lyrics and their own original melody. Year 10 students have been awarded prizes in the South West MFL pop video competition for their original and brilliantly performed songs. This sense of ambition, enjoyment and creativity is celebrated alongside academic rigour and outstanding results at IGCSE.
Key Stage 4 students have the opportunity to enhance their linguistic skills on our annual language trip to Spain. Students stay with host families and attend the language school in the mornings. In the afternoons we enjoy the cultural experiences that Spain has to offer, for example, flamenco lessons (the favourite!), tapas and visiting museums and historical sites. Fantastic progress in language skills is made over the week and students have plenty of fun too.
We organise visits to the theatre, tapas evenings and cinema trips. Every opportunity is taken to give the students the opportunity to explore and experience Spanish and South American culture. Our Peruvian conversation assistant, Sra Knight, regularly hosts fiestas inviting students to share in her cultural heritage.
The Spanish department is vibrant, exciting and high-achieving – ¡ven a estudiar con nosotros!