Each of Sherborne’s academic departments is staffed and led by passionate teachers who have in-depth knowledge of their subject areas. The result is inspiring teaching that stays with boys for a lifetime.
The academic study of English is at the heart of Sherborne’s intellectual life. We help boys express themselves with clarity and precision – enhancing their skills across curriculum areas. We deepen their knowledge and appreciation of literature and encourage them to think with open minds.
All boys sit the more stretching IGCSE English Language and Literature courses, gaining excellent results. Many go on to study English A level, and a good proportion read English at university.
In addition to curriculum-based study, boys have ample opportunity to develop their writing and communication skills. They can attend Newsroom, which produces the School magazine under the guidance of a successful print journalist. They can join in with The Sherborne Sessions – Sherborne’s very own literary festival, and sixth formers can share their creative writing in our regular salons.
In all these ways and more, the English department exerts an influence throughout Sherborne’s community, enhancing boys’ learning in manifold ways.
If you want to understand and interrogate the world, a good grounding in Mathematics is essential. At Sherborne, we bring the subject to life by locating our studies in the real world, giving boys the freedom to explore topics that excite and inspire them.
Our 10-strong team of mathematicians strives to deliver teaching that does justice to Sherborne’s heritage in the subject. This is the School that nurtured Alan Turing, and his legacy lives on in the status of Mathematics as one of our most popular academic subjects.
Maths is a core subject in the Third Form, and at GCSE. Many pupils choose to take it at A level, and go on to read it at top-rated universities. We enhance learning through a variety of enrichment activities, including a weekly problem-solving club and regular involvement in Mathematics Challenges and Olympiads, at which our boys tend to excel.
With an option to study Further Maths at A level, we stretch the most promising mathematicians, giving them a solid base from which to pursue higher study in the field.
We have a strong Computer Science Department with two full-time and one part-time member of staff. In the Third Form, boys study for two periods a week on algorithmic and computational thinking and coding skills but also have some exposure to Cyber-Security, Ethics and other IT skills such as touch-typing.
The Department has two GCSE sets per year which is an option for boys who tend to be more mathematical and keen on problem-solving. In the Sixth Form we have a good number of boys opting to study the AQA A level with many of those going on to study Computer Science at prestigious universities.
The Department also run Co-curricular clubs, such as the Student Robotics and Coding Clubs.
We help boys find their place in the world, through a programme of core disciplines that shapes them for a lifetime of critical thinking.
Our core curriculum in the Third Form is wide-ranging, ensuring boys have a good grounding in Geography before making GCSE choices. We engage with both Human and Physical Geography, showing the diversity of the discipline, and drawing out its relation to the contemporary world.
Geography is a popular subject at GCSE and A level, during which boys have a chance to pursue their interests in greater depth, and gain a thorough grounding in the essentials of the discipline.
History and Politics
The study of History and Politics helps boys understand where we have come from, and where we may be going as a society. Our nine members of staff have a diversity of interests, but are united in their commitment to delivering first-rate teaching that stimulates and inspires.
In addition to curriculum History, we have three societies with a historical focus, and run regular excursions to help bring the subject alive.
In recent years, we’ve visited the naval dockyards at Portsmouth, the tank museum at Bovington, and taken part in the Chalke Valley History Festival. We take the fifth form on an annual trip to Berlin, where they learn at first hand about the Second World War.
Every boy studies Theology at GCSE, giving a good understanding of at least two major world religions. This helps boys find their place in the world and understand the Christian ethos that underpins Sherborne’s common life.
Teenagers enjoy wrestling with big questions, so it is no surprise that Theology and Philosophy is popular at A level. Boys can also choose to study for an AS in the field as an enrichment option, and there are regular opportunities to enter essay-writing competitions or participate in symposia.
In addition, we are lucky to attract high-profile theologians and philosophers to address our pupils. In recent years, we’ve welcomed Professor AC Grayling, Professor Peter Vardy, and Professor Douglas Davies.
Uncovering the fabric of the universe, and asking what the future holds for our planet: that is how we use Science to prepare boys for tomorrow’s world.
Science is a core subject from the minute boys arrive at Sherborne. Biology, Chemistry and Physics make up a significant proportion of their studies in the Third Form, and Science is central to their GCSEs. Most pupils take a double award, covering all three sub-disciplines, but some choose to study them separately, garnering three Science GCSEs in the process.
Biology, Chemistry and Physics are popular choices at A level. Pupils work in first-rate laboratories, and are encouraged to foster a spirit of experimentation and inquiry that is akin to university study. As a result, they are well placed to apply for a Science undergraduate course, and many of our boys go on to achieve great things in their chosen discipline, including a large number who read Medicine and train as doctors.
A mastery of languages lasts forever. It equips boys for life in a multicultural and globalised society, where communication across borders is essential to individual and communal flourishing.
At Sherborne, every boy has the chance to sample a variety of Modern Languages in the Third Form, and is encouraged to take at least one of them up at GCSE. In addition to Spanish, French and German, we offer a host of languages off-curriculum, including Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin and Russian.
At GCSE and A level, we’ll do our utmost to provide courses in any language, if a boy wishes to study it. That way, they can play to their strengths, and develop skills that equip them for the future.
Boys with a passion for the ancient world can develop their interest by studying Greek or Latin, or by taking Classical Civilisations, which is a very popular course at Sherborne.
By studying ancient languages, pupils learn a huge amount about grammar, syntax and the economical use of words. Allied with the insights into society, politics, philosophy and religion derived from the Classics, this area of focus gives boys vital skills that enhance their learning across a range of disciplines.
English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Sherborne’s EAL department supports boys whose first language is not English. We prepare them for the IGCSE in English as a Second Language in the Lower School, and the IELTS in the Sixth Form. Boys attend EAL classes either individually or in small groups, depending on demand. They are given opportunities to extend their learning by participating in essay writing and public speaking competitions. If they need targeted support for a particular area of study, our team is happy to provide it.
A healthy society is one in which the creative arts are enjoyed, appreciated and nurtured. That is why we put them at the core of our curriculum, helping every boy discover gifts and talents that he can draw on forever.
To view the departments, please click here for our virtual tour.
Art is a very popular subject at Sherborne, with a good number of boys enrolling at GCSE and A level. Many go on to study Art at university, or at prestigious Art Colleges.
At the core of our approach is a commitment to giving boys access to a variety of media. We want them to find their favoured techniques and materials, to establish their artistic identity. To that end, we provide ready access to our studio, including at weekends, giving boys every opportunity to work on projects and explore their creativity. Examples of GCSE art can be found here. A Level artwork, can be found here.
History of Art
History of Art is available at A Level. It involves a rich and rewarding exploration of human creativity and artistic achievement. We consider overarching themes such as war, identity and nature, equipping pupils with the intellectual wherewithal to navigate issues of global importance.
The course involves visual analysis, giving pupils experience of dissecting an image, sculpture or building and seeking to excavate meaning. In our intensely visual culture, these skills are of huge value.
The A level syllabus also involves in-depth study of a selected period, such as Renaissance Italy. This helps pupils place artworks and artists in their historical context and underscores the multi-disciplinary character of History of Art. As well as connecting with the creative processes learned in Art, the subject has much in common with subjects such as English Literature, Philosophy, Politics and History.
Drama at Sherborne consists of both curriculum Drama, with courses at GCSE and A level, and a very strong tradition of co-curricular Drama, in Houses and School wide.
We have a purpose-built 240-seat theatre that benefits from the latest sound and lighting technology. Performances also take place in the School Room, which seats 440 people and is perfect for musical theatre.
The Drama Department is housed in its own well-equipped building. We have a well-stocked wardrobe, a classroom area, and a state-of-the-art black box studio. We work closely with the School’s Theatre Manager, ensuring productions have a professional quality that gives our aspiring performers and backstage workers invaluable experience for the future.
Music is at the centre of Sherborne’s community, thanks in no small part to our regular choral worship in the Abbey. Our Music School is regarded as one of the finest in the country, and is due for expansion in the coming months. More than two-thirds of our boys play musical instruments, and many choose to study Music or Music Technology at GCSE and A level.
Whether or not they study it formally, we give every boy a passion for, and appreciation of, music, and the confidence to enjoy making it. We timetable Music for all third formers, giving them experience of composition, performance and listening. Whatever their prior experience, boys are inspired by this experience, often discovering abilities they never knew existed.
As well as curriculum Music, boys regularly achieve impressive results in Trinity College Diplomas and grading exams. To study Music at A level, boys need a minimum of Grade Six in their chosen instrument. Music Technology is available to all.
Design and Technology
Design & Technology (D&T) develops the boys’ skills and abilities to support them in engaging with the commercial world. They learn to harness the benefits of technology to help to solve practical problems, studying how products and systems are designed and manufactured, how to be innovative and how to make creative use of a variety of resources including digital technologies.
Our approach to the discipline is to ground pupils’ work in real-world projects and focus on relevant, effective and structured problem solving. Boys communicate their creative ideas through a variety of media, utilising and developing their confidence in their design communication and they will learn to use the latest design and manufacturing equipment.
These widely transferable skills and abilities will set them up to work professionally, efficiently and with decisiveness. The majority study the subject to build a firm foundation and a confidence in taking their first steps in exciting creative careers such as Engineering, Architecture, Product Design and Aeronautical or Automotive Design.
For an insight into the boys work, please click here.
In a School where pastoral concern is at the very heart of our life together, our carefully considered Wellbeing programme has an important status.
The subject area is just one part of our overall package of pastoral care. It is a way of helping boys think through difficult or sensitive subjects, raising awareness over challenges facing teenagers, and enhancing their understanding of themselves as they mature.
We work closely with experts to develop sessions that are helpful and supportive for our boys. In the Third Form, Wellbeing is delivered in Houses and led by the Housemaster. The focus is very much on settling into life in the Sherborne community, making an effective transition from prep school.
By the time pupils reach the Sixth Form, the focus of Wellbeing is on helping them to thrive when they leave School. We provide advice about finance, sexual health and time management. Many boys come to value this input, because it’s helping to form them for the next stage in their journey, in ways that bear the distinctive character of Sherborne’s special culture.
At a School like Sherborne, Sport plays an important role. Everyone is encouraged to participate in a variety of activities, with a clear encouragement to find a sport they enjoy, and feel as if they’ll stick at for the long term.
Such encouragement begins the moment a boy arrives at Sherborne. If he chooses, he can study PE as a curriculum subject at GCSE and A level. The focus of these programmes blends physical involvement in sport with theoretical learning about subjects as diverse as anatomy and physiology, sports psychology and the history of sport.
Pupils who choose to study PE often go on to pursue it as a subject at university, or make it an important part of their career. As a discipline, it dovetails very well with Science, helping enhance a pupil’s understanding in ways that benefit both subjects.
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