Academic Curriculum

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Combining high-quality teaching with a deep understanding and modern facilities

At Berkhamsted Boys we combine high-quality  teaching and modern facilities with a deep understanding of our pupils and their needs.

While we have a strong focus on academic achievement, we also believe that opportunities beyond the curriculum are just as important to our pupils’ development.

We create a warm and welcoming environment where your son will thrive as he is given the attention and support that he needs to flourish – one of the many benefits of a small class size and nurturing staff.

This combination will not only guide and support your son through his school years, it will also serve him in good stead for fulfilling his true potential and achieving success in his life beyond Berkhamsted.

We seek to inspire and encourage our pupils to enliven their interests, cultivating their appetite for learning.

We teach boys at Berkhamsted to be ambitious yet compassionate, courteous and honourable. Our aim at Berkhamsted Boys is to nurture our pupils, developing them into remarkable people with the motivation to succeed in the future.

Academic Enrichment

At Berkhamsted, we recognise that intelligence takes many forms. We will always recognise, support and encourage your son’s talents and interests.

There are so many avenues at Berkhamsted where our pupils can fulfil their potential – from the classroom to the stage and beyond.

We encourage adventurous learners, so your son will find a wealth of enrichment opportunities such as reading recommendations, essay competitions, clubs and excursions, as well as conundrums and challenges.

Our student-centred website, Horizons invites pupils to explore the range of enrichment activities available in (and beyond) the school.

The values of Berkhamsted Boys are reflected in our value to ‘aim high with integrity’. We encourage every pupil to have a growth mindset which is open to learning. The effort our pupils put in is praised, leading pupils to understand the capacity for success if they work hard. In this way, our boys are motivated to take an extra step academically.

Berkhamsted boys are also taught to see that hard work can achieve exceptional results outside the classroom too. We also value being adventurous with many GCSE pupils completing their Duke of Edinburgh Award during Year 11, while others see success on the sports pitch, art studio or music and drama stages.

These extra-curricular achievements and commitments not only provide an all-round education, but they also help to minimise GCSE exam stress and promote good mental health.

A learning-powered school

At Berkhamsted Boys the pupils adopt a “Building Learning Power” (BLP) approach to learning. 

BLP creates a learning friendly classroom culture, encouraging your son to be an innovative, confident, curious and independent learner. Our staff create a classroom environment that enables pupils to become lifelong learners, facing any future difficulty calmly and creatively.

At Berkhamsted Boys we see the positive impact of BLP on our boys on a daily basis. Our pupils:

  • Understand the different roles that need to be deployed when working together as a team in the classroom
  • Can explain how different topics and subjects are related and rely on each other
  • Know how to improve their communication using active listening and to respond with empathy, understanding and compassion – even when they disagree
  • Are able to spot patterns and identify the big picture as well as the fine detail
  • Develop strength and resilience by learning how to implement strategies so that they can view any failure as a valuable learning opportunity
  • Learn how to use questioning as a powerful way of learning by asking probing and insightful questions to mature their understanding and encourage innovative thinking
  • Understand the importance of planning ahead and reviewing progress regularly

These skills equip your son with the learning habits and skills he will need to thrive in the 21st century.

They also provide the ability for your son to take control of their own learning, which you will see when they write their own summary report comments.

You will see how they are able to identify areas of learning habits where they have made progress and where they need to make more effort.

If you would like to know more about BLP, talk to our boys when you visit our School. We believe they provide the best example of the benefits of Building Learning Power.

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Why do we offer Building Learning Power?

Estimates now suggest that two-thirds of current school pupils will end up working in roles that don’t yet exist. Teenagers today are expected to have had between 10-15 different jobs by the time they are 40.

Where focus exists concurrently, progress will be made. In addition, establishing the concept of ‘learnable intelligence’ will stimulate independent learning, which in turn will allow pupils to develop their resilience and flexibility when confronted with difficulty.

We believe these core skills will benefit our students as they move through the school and beyond, onto university or an apprenticeship then into the workplace.

Our chosen BLP dispositions

We have chosen dispositions which, between them, represent four areas of development:

Cognitive
Emotional
Social
Strategic

Our chosen dispositions are:

Persevere Explore
Notice Plan
Question Review
Link Collaborate
Reason Listen

Each disposition is then further subdivided to provide our teachers with opportunities to provide targeted interventions to help each pupil develop their ability to become reflective, independent and interdependent learners.

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Digital Device Provision

Our core mission is to prepare young people for the world in which they will live, study and work. Educational research shows that putting pupils at the heart of their own learning helps develop strong metacognition, and digital tools enhance enquiry, collaboration, organisation and self-direction. Pupils value the opportunity to develop these skills, and will benefit in their future lives from a strong blend of digital and analogue literacies.

At Berkhamsted, we believe that digital devices have an important part to play in creating engaging lessons in the classroom. We also aim for pupils’ learning beyond the physical classroom to be as rich and intellectually stimulating as possible; capitalising on the interactivity and immediacy of our suite of tools. Pupil devices allow for a seamless learning experience between School and home, and the best possible resilience against disruption to education.

Watch the video to see the pupils experiencing the change to learning Microsoft devices have provided in the classroom.

GCSE Options – Changes from September 2021

At Berkhamsted Boys the curriculum provides a broad and balanced education. From September 2021 Berkhamsted is making some innovative changes to the Key Stage 4 Curriculum. As part of these changes, pupils will now take three core GCSE subjects (English Literature, English Language and Maths) and alongside this have the option to choose six further subjects (one of which must be a Science). In order to keep breadth in their academic portfolio, pupils are encouraged to choose at least one language, one humanity subject and one creative subject as part of their option choices.

For some pupils there will, in addition, be the opportunity to join an Ad Science group that will undertake all three Sciences but only use two GCSE option choices. Furthermore, the most able Mathematicians will be invited to take Ad Maths GCSE. These additional options mean that some pupils will take up to 11 GCSE option choices.

Alongside their GCSE subjects, pupils will take part in the Learning Pathway Programme – an in-house curriculum designed to allow pupils to develop key skills in preparation for A level study and beyond. Some pupils will also be invited to complete an HPQ project (equivalent of ½ a GCSE).

To hear more about this change to the curriculum please watch the video below from our Vice Principal, Mr Andy Ford, who explains why Berkhamsted has introduced this new way of learning.

Further details of the pathways and the subject choices can be found in the GCSE Information Booklet. 

We fully support and encourage every pupil throughout the exam process, making sure that the boys’ wellbeing is a priority.

The boys are taught how to be resilient – to prepare for their exams mentally as well as academically. Our staff are always on hand to discuss any worries or concerns your sons may have.

We are proud that our pupils achieve excellent exam results with the School’s full support and encouragement.

One of the Schools’ values is to ‘aim high’ and this approach promotes a growth mindset. We seek to equip pupils with the ability to understand their own capacity for success if they work hard. In this way, our boys are motivated to take an extra step academically, challenging themselves to exceed their own expectations.

Pupils at Berkhamsted Boys are also taught to see that hard work together with a positive mindset can achieve exceptional results both inside and outside the classroom, whether on the sports pitch, the stage or in co-curricular subjects. This well-rounded approach to education sets our pupils apart in an Oxbridge interview.

During the GCSE years, we encourage our pupils to continue to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities as these additional achievements and commitments not only provide an all-round education, but they also help to minimise GCSE exam stress and promote good mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Level Options

Berkhamsted Boys move up to Berkhamsted Sixth where we offer our students a choice of 28 core A Level courses.

The majority of Berkhamsted Sixth students study three subjects at A Level and we support them to achieve the highest possible grades in their chosen subjects.
In some instances, some students may take four A Levels or more. Our aim is to maximise your son’s chance of receiving the best possible grades to secure a place at his chosen university or take the first steps in their chosen career path.

Academic Results

The majority of our students earned a place at their first choice of university, , taking up places at the top institutions in the UK including Oxford, Cambridge and the Russell Group universities.

While excellent A Level results are crucial, we also develop your son’s soft skills which are now highly sought after by universities and employers. Berkhamsted Sixth students have the option to attain the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

Being able to demonstrate soft skills such as problem-solving, time management, conflict resolution, leadership and the ability to work under pressure equates to great potential to succeed and progress in their chosen career path. This also provides the boys with resilience and self-motivation.

Libraries

A warm and friendly environment where culture and learning thrive.

Berkhamsted School libraries are warm and welcoming environments where culture and learning thrive.

The libraries are enjoyable spaces for our pupils which offer information, support and knowledge.

Library-led sessions at Berkhamsted Boys are established within the Key Stage Three curriculum and help the boys to develop their research skills which are fundamental for lifelong learning.

Reading

There is a strong connection between reading skills and academic success. It is important that pupils see reading as a pleasurable activity, so we have a large collection of books that allows them to read about any subject or genre about which they are passionate.

As well as providing mental stimulation, expanding vocabulary and improving concentration and focus, reading also reduces stress and anxiety.

Throughout the year the library collaborates with academic departments to organise activities and celebrate events. Our younger boys will also benefit from storyteller and author visits to bring the books to life – inspiring the boys’ imaginations.

Research Skills and Project Work

Our library staff help to develop the boys’ research skills in Year 7, providing access to a variety of electronic databases containing reliable and scholarly content on a range of topics to support pupils with their project and course work.

Learning Support

A positive environment for every pupil

At Berkhamsted Boys our Learning Support department aims to develop a positive learning environment for every pupil, supporting the boys to achieve to the best of their ability across the curriculum.

We are aware that the needs of every boy differ with our inclusive ‘Whole School Approach’ which is designed to support individual strengths and learning styles.

Our Learning Support department helps pupils with their planning and organisation, enabling the boys to become motivated and independent learners.