Beyond the Curriculum

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An education at Berkhamsted Boys equips our pupils with the academic qualifications they will need to meet their future aspirations, combined with the opportunity to gain the life skills and experiences that will shape their future success and happiness.

We teach our pupils to do their best in their exams, yet we also encourage them to develop a broad range of interests outside of their core academic subjects with our variety of co-curricular activities.

At Berkhamsted, we believe our students develop through the struggle to achieve good results, whether in the classroom, on the sports pitch or on the stage.

We do not shield our pupils from difficulties, rather we believe they develop by learning to fail as well as to succeed.

Our teachers encourage every pupil to stretch themselves, motivating and inspiring them to challenge their own expectations.

Our students leave us as resilient, ambitious and motivated young adults who have a true sense of purpose and compassion, with the desire to succeed in the next stage of their lives.

At Berkhamsted Boys, we develop remarkable people.

Co-curricular subjects at Berkhamsted Boys

Art and Design

The heritage of art and design in British culture is revered and is highly respected here at Berkhamsted Boys. The department is well-supported both financially and technically at Berkhamsted and our results have been consistently good, maintaining a 100% pass rate at all levels.

Each year many pupils go on to study Art at university or various prestigious art colleges. Areas of speciality at Berkhamsted include:

  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Ceramics
  • Sculpture
  • History of Art

Art and Design at Berkhamsted Boys includes such a wide variety of topics, with this diversity keeping the students engaged and helping to develop innovative minds.

These subjects encourage creative and independent thinking, fine-tuning skills such as hand-eye coordination and enhancing the boys’ cultural literacy.

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education begins on the first week at Berkhamsted Boys for Year 7, when all boys take part in a Bushcraft experience.

In House groups, the boys learn how to light a fire from just a spark – linking science theory to practical reality – and then cook lunch using the hot embers. This is a great way to start at a new school and helps to develop friendships early.

Throughout their senior years at Berkhamsted Boys and into the Sixth Form, boys may take part in a variety of outdoor activities. This could be by choice as an alternative games option or as part of a House team-building event.

All our activities are delivered by our own ‘in-house’ Outdoor Education Department, which is also supported on expeditions by other members of staff drawn from within the Berkhamsted family of schools.

We are able to offer our students alternatives to the traditional PE and games options, with activities to motivate and engage our students. These activities are designed to spark the boys’ sense of adventure, including orienteering, mountain biking, climbing or scaling the high ropes climbing tower.

Performing Arts

Every student has the opportunity to be involved in the Performing Arts at Berkhamsted Boys – whether that is as a performer or to support their peers as a member of the audience.

Many music and drama productions take place throughout the year and every pupil has the opportunity to perform at our House Music and House Drama competitions.

Performing Arts at Berkhamsted Boys can benefit your son in many ways – from building their confidence and self-esteem to enhancing their memory and developing their empathy and compassion.

Berkhamsted Boys benefits from a range of Performing Arts venues. Our modern 500 seat Centenary Theatre is fully equipped and our smaller venues include our studio theatres.

Our traditional Dean’s Hall has vaulted ceilings and a spectacular stained glass window and there is a special ambience to our historical Old Hall and School Chapels.

Wherever your son performs and however big the venue, there will be a warm, supportive and encouraging atmosphere where all boys are given the chance to explore this art form.

Drama

Berkhamsted Boys have an excellent Drama department and facilities, with an ongoing programme of drama productions both large and small throughout the school year.

Students are taught Drama in Years 7, 8 and 9 and those with an aptitude for the subject may then progress to study at GCSE level and beyond.

In 2018, 94% of our GCSE pupils achieved grades in the range A* – B and at A level, 91% of students achieved a B grade or higher.

All the venues for Drama productions at Berkhamsted Boys have their own lighting and sound equipment and productions are enhanced by an ever-growing wardrobe, props and scenery store.

Our full-time Theatre Technician helps to ensure every production runs smoothly and is able to provide expert training to those pupils who are interested in the technical and design side of drama.

Numerous theatre visits are organised for our pupils, alongside regular trips to London’s West End and local venues.

Berkhamsted Boys also has a large number of students who take extra drama and public speaking lessons, leading to LAMDA and English Speaking Board (ESB) examinations, taught by several peripatetic teachers. These are accredited examinations and the higher grades count toward points on our students’ UCAS applications.

There are examination sessions booked each term, often followed by a Speech and Drama Evening providing an opportunity for the boys to perform their examination work to an audience.

Each year, nearly 400 LAMDA examinations are taken by pupils from Years 3 to 13 with a 100% pass rate and many distinctions achieved.

Music

Berkhamsted Boys has a strong tradition in music, with flourishing choirs and orchestras.

We understand that music greatly contributes to children’s intellectual development and early musical training helps develop certain areas of the brain. Learning music also promotes craftsmanship and discipline which in turn teaches the boys how to improve on their school work.

Music also builds intellectual curiosity and an ability to think innovatively. Music also relaxes the boys and builds their confidence. We place great importance on our students’ wellbeing at Berkhamsted Boys and learning to play music can often help students to relax.

All pupils at Berkhamsted Boys are taught Music in Years 7, 8 and 9 and those with an aptitude for the subject may then progress to study at GCSE and beyond.

Our School choirs and orchestras perform regularly throughout the year at services, concerts, informal community recitals and as part of large-scale drama productions, most of which are joint productions between our Senior Girls and Boys.

Berkhamsted Boys’ most talented musicians are given the opportunity to compete for the title of Young Berkhamsted Musician of the Year, which is decided by an external adjudicator each Spring.

Sport

Sport has numerous benefits for the students at Berkhamsted Boys. As well as recognised health benefits, Sport also has emotional and social benefits and is also linked to improved academic performance.

Sport enables our boys to develop a success mindset – encouraging them to be adventurous and motivated, compassionate and resilient – which all helps them develop into remarkable young men.

The impact of school based sport will never leave the boys, building confidence, developing character and encouraging lifelong participation.

Students at Berkhamsted Boys are encouraged to participate in a broad range of sports and physical activity within a competitive and supportive environment. Good sportsmanship is taught so that the boys learn to be compassionate to their opposition while also taking any loss as an opportunity to learn. They are encouraged to work hard to reach their full potential, improve their performance and strive for excellence.

The Berkhamsted Boys PE Department consists of 10 specialist teachers. We provide expert teaching and coaching, before, during and after school. To assist this programme the school employs a number of external coaches to support our major and minor sport programmes.

More details on our Sports fixtures and results can be found below:

SPORT.BERKHAMSTED.COM

 

Trips and Outings

At Berkhamsted Boys we find that our students learn best when they experience things first-hand, broadening their knowledge and horizons and helping them to develop into remarkable people.

Educational trips and outings can be used to support every subject in our curriculum. In different ways, these experiences help to develop the students’ self confidence and independence, as well encouraging a sense of adventure.

The trips and outings at Berkhamsted Boys are also designed to be enjoyed. If learning is fun, it is more effective and the students are motivated, encouraging them to want to learn more.

Examples of inspiring trips and outings undertaken at Berkhamsted Boys include:

  • A London trip for our Year 8 Classical Civilisation students to visit the British Museum and the National Gallery looking at how Classical Mythology is depicted in art throughout the ages.
  • A trip to London to watch a live concert performed by a professional symphony orchestra
  • A mosque visit in Year 9 to facilitate a knowledge of Islam in the modern world
  • A Year 7 trip to St Albans to visit the Abbey and a synagogue to bring studies in Religion and History to life

Residential trips at Berkhamsted Boys are always age-appropriate and are designed to be fun and exciting as well as to nurture independence and resilience away from home.

Trips include:

  • Years 7 and 8 French trip to La Loire Valley to learn about the French history, culture and cuisine (including a trip to Le Mans F1 circuit!)
  • Year 9 – An adventure trip to stay at Skern Lodge, North Devonshire, studying the coastal habitat
  • Year 9 – a History trip to Normandy in France to remember the D-Day landings
  • An annual History trip in Year 10 to Berlin to enhance studies on Nazi Germany and the Cold War
  • The Year 11 annual trip to the First World War Battlefields in Belgium and France
  • The occasional long-haul trip such as the MFL department trip to China to learn about Chinese history and culture and practice Mandarin speaking skills!
  • A trip to Cantabria in Northern Spain for students to immerse in Spanish culture and lifestyle and the GCSE Spanish Homestay in Andalucía.

All these trips offer a valuable learning experience both academically and socially and the students love their experiences of time spent away from home.