Please see below for more information on the wide range of subjects we offer.
Pupils who study Art at College are supported to develop independent thought, take ownership of their work and develop pieces that are very personal to them. Led by our three specialist Art teachers, they are able to do this in a range of materials and processes that is much wider than at many other schools. This all takes place in the dedicated Art wing of Thirlestaine House, a Grade I listed building with high ceilings and large windows that combine to create the perfect space for artists.
The outcomes are extremely positive. Pupils explore and develop their thoughts and opinions, learn to express themselves and regularly exhibit their unique work in our dedicated art gallery and across the country.
Almost all A Level students go on to university to study an Arts degree at universities including Edinburgh, The Courtauld Institute and The Slade, in subjects including Art, Creative Materials, Architecture and Graphic Design.
Pupils study AQA Fine Art at both GCSE and A Level. We also offer Sculpture/3D courses through AQA for those pupils who are primarily sculptors.
Biological research and understanding is progressing at a rapid rate making it a fascinating subject to study, with an ever-developing curriculum. Since the turn of the millennium, the world has seen the complete sequencing of the human genome, advances in the therapeutic use of stem cells and further analysis to explain climate change.
We encourage pupils to actively investigate and explore many of these developments for themselves as they build an appreciation of the biological world around them. As they explore this subject, pupils develop problem solving and experimental planning skills.
The Biology Department is a modern, light and bright learning environment which is extremely well resourced in the practical equipment necessary to support study. We constantly stay abreast of the latest developments in the subject and forge strong relationships with pupils to offer the best learning support and guidance available.
Pupils study Edexcel IGCSE Biology and OCR A Level Biology at College.
The study of Business and/or Economics enables students to understand and engage with the economic, financial, environmental and political issues of the day. It is a valuable part of preparing them for the future, wherever that takes them.
The purpose of both subjects is to understand how individuals and organisations function and the effects they have on the world around us. To bring the subjects to life, our starting point for studying these subjects at College is always reality rather than textbooks. This approach enables pupils to engage with, relate to and see the relevance of what they are studying.
There exist numerous conflicting opinions about how the economy and business function and should be governed. No 'right' stance is ever promoted at College and mainstream views in both subjects are continually challenged. We encourage students to test different theories and perspectives for themselves and make their own judgements.
The department is full of relevant, real-world expertise, gained from working in commercial organisations across the globe. Our expertise allows for the provision of wider opportunities for students, such as the department's bespoke and nationally renowned Mini MBA programme, as well as subject-related trips in the UK and abroad.
Pupils at College study AQA A Level Business and Economics.
Studying Chemistry at College equips pupils with the skills to explain and understand concepts from first principles rather than rely upon a body of learnt knowledge. We achieve this through lessons that focus principally on practical experiments undertaken by the pupils themselves that bring these first principles to life.
We encourage all pupils to be free thinkers about the subject and explore its principles independently, developing a deep understanding and literacy in all areas of the Chemical Sciences. We offer a range of opportunities to do this, including external competitions, enrichment visits and the chance to take part in our annual Chemistry lecture, 'The Chemistry Spectacular'.
Pupils at College study Edexcel IGCSE and OCR A Level Chemistry.
The study of Classics promotes logical and structured thinking that pupils can apply to all other areas of their study as well as their lives beyond College and into Higher Education.
All pupils at College benefit from the range of provision by the Classics Department, which includes the opportunity to study Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation at GCSE, A Level and Oxbridge level. We also provide an Ancient History Elective for Lower Sixth pupils and Sanskrit activity is available for all year groups.
We support classroom lessons with opportunities designed to bring the subject to life and offer deeper insight. In recent years pupils have enjoyed visits to the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Roman Baths in Bath, Provence, lectures, plays and Classical speaking competitions. The Classics Society also provides an extra-curricular, pupil-led opportunity to present on any Classical topic, perform material from the ancient world, or run a game based around Classical knowledge.
Pupils at College study to the OCR exam board for Classics.
In GCSE Computer Science, pupils learn through a blend of practical and theory how computers and computer systems work, developing understanding and skills in programming and the main principles of algorithmic problem solving. It is an exciting and extremely relevant subject; pupils explore current and emerging computing technologies, the benefits of their use and the potential risks they pose. Any pupil with a good level of proficiency in Maths and Science, and a willingness to work on their skills outside of lessons, will be well-suited to the course. Pupils at College study CIE GCSE Computer Science.
Design and Technology at College provides an opportunity for pupils to develop their creative, practical and team-work skills. The subject combines lessons from other areas of the curriculum including using Maths and Science in a practical context.
Our Design and Technology classrooms have a range of sophisticated and traditional machines to allow all pupils to develop a wide range of skills. All teaching staff have experience of working in industry in their specific field, bringing a wealth of knowledge that is delivered directly to the classroom. We provide access to the Design and Technology classrooms for a number of dedicated additional hours each week for pupils to work independently on their projects, allowing them to develop their independent learning and thinking skills within a supervised and creative environment.
Pupils study Edexcel GCSE DT (Textiles or Timbers pathway), Edexcel A Level Product Design and Eduqas A Level Fashion & Textiles.
Drama as an academic subject at College provides pupils with a comprehensive understanding and experience of all of the functions within a performance. Pupils are challenged to think not only as an actor, but also as a director, a lighting engineer, and a costume and set designer, too. To ensure that all pupils are engaged and inspired, the theory aspect of the course is taught largely through practical workshops in the studio.
Our study of Drama at College is truly a community activity, with lessons often blocked at the same time so that our students from different year groups can work and develop together.
Outside of Drama as an academic subject, all pupils have the opportunity to participate in regular College and House productions. More information can be found about this here.
Pupils at College study AQA GCSE and A Level Drama.
In Lower College, all pupils study both English Literature and Language. Through the former, pupils explore a wide range of poetry, prose and drama. They learn to recognise and analyse the ways in which writers use words and stylistic techniques to achieve a range of effects. In English Language, pupils are taught to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively. They are encouraged to develop a personal written style, and to communicate with an awareness of the audience being addressed.
At A Level, pupils have the opportunity to study some of the greatest works of literature produced in the English language, from early texts, right up to contemporary works such as Owen Sheers' 'Pink Mist' and Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'. Pupils will begin to discover the breadth and diversity of literature, and to explore its relationship with history, culture, politics, art and critical theory.
English is a subject that thrives on lively debate and our lessons at College reflect this. Pupils read widely and independently beyond the set texts in order to explore different interpretations of the works they are studying in class and to develop their own views.
We offer a number of English co-curricular activities including a Literary Society, the local Cheltenham Literature and Poetry Festivals, and regular theatre trips. Furthermore, authors, speakers and workshop groups are regularly invited into College to give students a fresh perspective on the texts they are studying.
Pupils at College study CIE English Literature IGCSE, Eduqas English Language GCSE and OCR English Literature A Level.
Studying Geography at College encourages pupils to become truly global citizens, exploring diverse topics, and their impact on our world. Study areas include global migration, the impacts of climate change, our threatened carbon and water cycles and human rights issues, to name but a few.
We aim to provide a comfortable but purposeful environment for pupils to explore the subject. We have a well-stocked Geography library, dedicated computer suite and support clinics for all year groups.
To encourage even greater exploration and passion for the subject, Lower College pupils have the opportunity to become members of the Bingen Geography Society, which meets regularly for discussion, debate and a series of lectures from academics, explorers and geographers in the workplace. We run regular field trips to supplement the classroom learning including a biennial expedition to Iceland.
Pupils at College study Edexcel IGCSE and OCR A Level Geography.
Delivery of History is driven by a sense that the study of what it is to be human and humane matters deeply within our society. We want pupils to see the subject as both an enjoyable escape from, and at the same time, a vital means of engagement with, the wider world. The characters, situations and exotic locations explored are in many cases extraordinary and beg many questions: frequently, there is the joy of discovering that “you couldn't make it up.”
Pupils are well supported throughout their study of History at College. Staff are always available to meet pupils outside of lesson time and our dedicated History Library is designed to enable pupils to pursue both breadth and depth in our subject.
The History curriculum arms pupils with the skills to take the next thinking and working step in life beyond College, whether they choose to study the subject to degree level or not. We build the skills of source and interpretation analysis, synthesis of evidence, argument and judgement, all articulated via sophisticated written expression. Complex conceptual thinking is challenging, and rewarding. Employers thus value History as a superb platform from which to pursue a great range of career paths.
Pupils study the Edexcel History IGCSE and AQA History at A Level.
History of Art at College is studied as a Pre-U course, which means that pupils can do much to direct their own learning and investigation of the subject. The Cambridge Pre-U is an alternative to the current A Level qualification and has recognition for university entrance.
In addition to this self-directed approach, our teaching staff for the course are all constantly on hand to introduce pupils to the theory within the subject and help guide their learning throughout the course. This works in much the same way a lecturer or tutor relationship would within a university setting. This method of study helps to prepare students for their future in Higher Education.
Our History of Art Department has a high profile within the academic world, with staff regularly contributing to Art History Abroad, The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies, Soho House and Radio 4.
Throughout the course, pupils studying History of Art will have the opportunity to explore the subject during visits to Paris, Barcelona, New York or Rome.
At Cheltenham College, ICT is a daily part of all of our lives and so there is also a focus on developing pupils’ skills in this area through their work in each subject they study, as well as through participation in co-curricular activities. Teachers support all pupils to become confident, independent and safe users of ICT. Digital health is increasingly important in a modern world where we all spend more time online. Preparing young people for this reality is woven into the over-arching aims of the pastoral care that we provide, thus ensuring that all pupils develop healthy habits in their engagement with technology during their time at College and beyond.
The Maths Department at College supports pupils to become independent mathematicians who can apply their knowledge to many different situations, and to promote the enjoyment of problem solving and the relevance of Mathematics to other disciplines.
Throughout their study at College, we track pupils' progress carefully to ensure that each individual is developing their skills to the highest level and receiving the correct support to achieve this.
We provide Maths Clinics, staff one-to-ones and a co-curricular Maths Society to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to explore deeply all areas of the Maths curriculum and beyond.
Pupils at College study Edexcel IGCSE and A Level Maths.
Whilst studying a language at College, we support all pupils to develop an understanding of culture as well as the language itself. Our teaching, trips, experiences and societies are all designed to reflect this.
Pupils joining College in the Third Form usually study two modern foreign languages. Those who have taken a language in their previous school continue with it and, in addition, they start a new language; German, Spanish or French. In the Fourth Form, all pupils study at least one language and many continue with two.
Trips are regularly arranged to Spain, France and Germany for pupils across the whole age range. Pupils can choose to participate in one-to-one exchanges with young people of their age or homestays with teachers of languages they are learning. We also provide the opportunity to attend conferences, lectures, plays and films as a part of the Modern Languages Society.
Pupils at College study CIE IGCSE and AQA A Level languages.
Music at College is taught in a way that ensures every pupil has the opportunity to learn about and create music; inclusivity is key.
Our class sizes are limited to no more than 12 pupils per class and all areas of musical interest are catered for. Staff teach both co-curricular and academic music to ensure a joined-up learning experience for those who choose to partake in both. Everyone has the opportunity to perform within the many performance spaces at College including our theatre, Big Classical, the chandelier-lit recital room, Thirlestaine Long Gallery, and the magnificent College Chapel.
The transferable skills developed in music are vast, including: fine motor skills, research, analysis, contextual understanding, critical and abstract thinking, communication, discipline, and confidence. We encourage all pupils to develop these skills as part of the music curriculum at College.
College is proud to be an ‘All-Steinway School’. We are the only school in the country to have two of the world famous Steinway 'Model D' concert grand pianos housed in our main performance venues. In addition, there are a further three smaller Steinway Grands, complimented by 13 of Steinway’s Essex brand upright pianos in the teaching and practice rooms.
Pupils at College study AQA Music at GCSE and A Level.
Pupils studying Physics both at GCSE and A Level have the opportunity to discover and explore the building blocks of the universe in state-of-the-art facilities taught by specialist subject teachers.
All pupils take their Physics lessons in one of our five recently renovated, well-equipped university standard laboratories. Beyond the classroom, each pupil has access to further opportunities to explore the subject through dedicated subject evenings, the Science Society, regular speakers and Physics Olympiad competitions.
Many students from College go on to study Physical Sciences or Engineering courses at Russell Group universities.
Pupils at College study Edexcel IGCSE Physics and AQA A Level Physics.
Studying British and American politics is probably more exciting now than it has ever been. The Politics A Level at College gives pupils the chance to be informed about and engage in this conversation.
Politics classes are collaborative and engaging, allowing pupils to explore different political systems, clarify their own beliefs and to debate and discuss them with others. The course develops skills of analysis, and both oral and written communication, all of which are invaluable in today’s employment market.
The Politics Department runs the Morley Society jointly with the History Department. Some of the society’s meetings are dedicated to History, and some to Politics; some have a joint focus. The society encourages students to present their own papers at meetings. It also invites external speakers and academics to give lectures.
Pupils at College study Edexcel A Level Politics.
Psychology is the fascinating study of human thought and behaviour. Through a variety of different learning techniques, pupils at College discover theories that have been developed in the field of Psychology. Every pupil will carry out investigations of their own and gain a wide range of skills including essay writing, how to design research studies, data interpretation, statistical analysis, presentation skills and revision techniques.
The Psychology Department at College contains a wealth of experience both in teaching and examining. Our examination expertise means that pupils have the opportunity to develop first-rate exam skills to achieve their Higher Education goals.
We have a thriving Psychology Society that meets half-termly and features visiting speakers as well as internal talks or activities designed by our pupils. We encourage pupils to take an active role in running events within the society, which enables them to develop their skills further.
Pupils at College study AQA A Level Psychology.
Sports Science at College is made up of practical and theoretical elements. The two are not distinct and we always ensure that the practical element supports the theoretical specification giving each pupil a variety of learning opportunities.
Beyond the core curriculum, pupils learn the importance and value of all that sport offers to the individual and society. Combined with their own sports participation outside of the classroom and the community work that all College pupils have the opportunity to partake in, the result is a group of well-rounded, inspired and engaged sports scientists.
The Sports Science Department at College collects the required practical video footage for both GCSE and A Level pupils. We have found that this relieves the pressure on pupils to coordinate and record their own footage and creates more time for practical and theoretical learning within the subject.
Pupils at College study CIE IGCSE Physical Education and AQA A Level Physical Education.
Studying Theology, Philosophy and Ethics (TPE) at College creates inquisitive, thoughtful pupils, who want to make a difference in the world. We aim to prepare students to do jobs that do not yet exist by encouraging a flexibility of thinking and developing analytical skills that will not be superseded by artificial intelligence or analytic algorithms.
Our pupils are encouraged to learn how to ask better questions. They will develop critical thinking skills and consider their place in the world in relation to a range of ideas from established philosophers and theologians, both ancient and modern.
The development of these skills helps to support study in other areas and at Higher Education. College TPE students have excellent exam results and the subject has proven useful to students moving into a range of careers including medicine, law, technology, the Armed Forces and teaching.
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