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Academic success and the pursuit of excellence are key features of a Princethorpe education. We offer a broad range of subjects and a stimulating and well-resourced curriculum. We aim to foster a love of learning. Whilst Princethorpe is not an ‘academic hot house’, our passionate and enthusiastic teachers challenge and motivate our pupils to have the highest expectations.

The academic performance of the school continues to go from strength to strength. In public examinations our pupils excel: in 2019 at the top end 30% of all A-level grades were A* or A and 75% of grades were C or better; at GCSE 48% of grades were new 9, 8, 7 or A* or A grades and 28% of pupils achieved eight or more 9, 8, 7 or A* or A grades.

When looking at the academic “value-added” we give to our pupils, these results compare with any school in the country – bright students achieve outstanding results and children who find their academic studies more challenging achieve results between a half and full grade better than could be expected.

We are of course delighted by these academic achievements, but we are equally proud of the qualities our students show as they leave the school to continue their education: kindness, respect and a strong sense of right and wrong.

In the last few years we have changed our timetable to increase teaching time to the core subjects in the Lower School and all subjects at A-level. We have also developed robust internal monitoring and tracking programmes which run along our assessment and reporting schedules to ensure pupils are aiming for, and achieving, their best academically. Our aim is to ensure we develop all our students so they become resilient and have the independent learning skills they will need for life after Princethorpe be it university or work.

For more in depth curriculum information please click on the attachments at the bottom of this page.

years 7, 8 and 9

Pupils in Years 7 to 9 follow a traditional programme, which draws on the best of and goes beyond the National Curriculum.

The subjects studied are English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Studies, Latin, History, Geography, Computer Science, Technology, Art, Modern Languages, Music, Drama, PE and Games. Personal, Social and Health Education are catered for within our REAL Programme.

In Year 9 a degree of choice is introduced to allow pupils to personalise their curriculum.


years 10 and 11

In Years 10 and 11 the curriculum needs to be broad and balanced, in order to keep as many doors open for subsequent choices to be made at A-level and then for degrees, apprenticeships and careers.


Core GCSE subjects:

  • English Language

  • English Literature

  • Mathematics (and Further Mathematics for some)

  • Science - Pupils study either Combined Science or Triple Award. Combined Science is worth two GCSEs and covers Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Triple Award leads to three separate GCSEs, one in each of the Sciences.

  • Religious Studies



Pupils then choose three further options from the following 17 option subjects:

  • Art
  • Business Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Design and Technology:
  • Design and Technology: Electronic Systems, Programmable Components and Mechanical Devices
  • Design and Technology:
    Resistant Materials
  • Drama
  • Food Preparation and
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Latin
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Psychology
  • Spanish
  • Sport (BTEC)

(In the interests of balance, only one Design and Technology subject may be chosen).

Learning Support can be available in place of one GCSE option if appropriate.
In addition all pupils continue with non-examined Games and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) through the REAL Programme.



Most pupils will take three subjects through to A-level as well as undertaking a Project Qualification (Level 3 Extended Project Qualification or Level 2 Higher Project Qualification). There is also the opportunity to take an AS Level in Core Mathematics for students who are not taking A-level Mathematics but would like to continue with their maths, perhaps to support other A-levels with considerable mathematical content. This would normally be in place of a Project Qualification.

Help is given in choosing A-level subjects wisely, taking into account strengths and preferences, sensible subject combinations and future degree choices and career choices.

Group sizes in the Sixth Form enable staff to give pupils a great deal of individual attention.

A-level Option Choices:

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business Studies (A Level & BTEC)
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Core Mathematics
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama and Theatre Studies
  • Economics
  • English Language and Literature
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Latin
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Physical Education
  • Sport (BTEC)
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

provision for exceptionally able pupils

The da Vinci Programme

At Princethorpe College we aspire to the Renaissance ideal that all people should endeavour to develop their capacities as fully as possible, to enjoy broad interests, profound knowledge and wide ranging accomplishments. Whilst we may be born with certain predispositions, we are completely able to change and develop skills as much as we wish to and when a student demonstrates three interlocking traits - ability, task commitment and creativity - they will achieve high level performance.

We recognise that young people can only perform at a high level if they are given opportunities to do so and this growth mindset is an integral part of teaching and learning at Princethorpe College. It is a mindset which encourages students to become independent, robust and enquiring and embeds a culture of challenge, aspiration and dedication throughout the school. Tasks which offer our pupils the opportunity to demonstrate their ability, task commitment and creativity are firmly embedded in the day-to-day delivery of the curriculum, exposing learners to complex resources, challenging questions, high-level thinking skills and within-class grouping.

When a pupil performs at da Vinci level they are awarded a da Vinci merit. These merits are
logged on a data base and this allows us to carefully monitor high performance across all subjects and
year groups.

Those pupils who consistently perform at da Vinci level are celebrated and offered further opportunities
for stretch and challenge (such as invitations to guest lectures, Level 1, 2 and 3 Project Qualifications
and days out to the Challenger Learner Centre at the National Space Centre). Ultimately, the student who
achieves the most da Vinci merits in an academic year and who most embodies the Renaissance ideal is
awarded the da Vinci Shield at the College’s annual Prize Giving.

The Elite Sports Programme (ESP) and numerous opportunities in every subject across all years - as well as
a wide range of co-curricular activities - allow pupils who demonstrate these three traits to further develop
their prowess in their areas of interest. The termly College magazine, The Pinnacle, celebrates outstanding
work produced by the pupils of the Foundation and is a showcase for our Renaissance ideal.

Project Qualifications

The College offers Project Qualifications to Academic Scholars in Year 8, high performing da Vinci pupils
in Year 9 and to all students in the Lower Sixth. A Project Qualification is like a mini PhD, comprising an
individual research project rather than an exam. Project outcomes can be in the form of a dissertation,
investigation, artefact or performance. Upon completion, students give a ten-minute presentation on their
research to teachers and a group of fellow pupils and take questions at the end.

Pupils are assigned a mentor who provides advice and guidance as required and with whom they meet regularly for direct teaching, instruction and assessment, or other structured learning such as directed assignments or supported individual study. Pupils also meet regularly with the librarian and other pupils to be taught the necessary research and independent learning skills needed to undertake such a project. Pupils’ own private study is an additional commitment to these guided learning hours.

Extended Projects are welcomed by many universities, and admissions tutors may well use them in differentiating between applicants for offer making.

The Level 2 Higher Project is worth the equivalent of half a GCSE. The Level 3 Extended Project is worth
the equivalent of half an A-level.

To view some of the outstanding work produced by our talented pupils take a look at our magazine, The Pinnacle.