Overview & Curriculum

The main purpose of the Dean Close curriculum is to offer a challenging and balanced academic education, equipping pupils for the opportunities and demands of their future lives. We aim to stretch the minds of the most able pupils while ensuring that those of more moderate ability obtain the necessary qualifications and the greatest intellectual satisfaction of which they are capable. The Director of Studies advises pupils on subject choices at all stages of their progression through the School.

A committed common room uses a range of teaching styles to deliver a broad-based curriculum, with most pupils sitting 9 or 10 GCSEs. Alongside core subjects, there is a genuine breadth of choice from Design Technology to Greek and from Physics to Spanish to Drama.

Class sizes average between 15-20 and all classrooms, laboratories, library facilities and seminar rooms are fitted to the very highest standards with state-of-the-art technology. Coupled with an excellent teaching staff, this is what accounts for the 98 percent of pupils who obtain university places each year.


Fourth Form (Year 9)

All pupils in the Fourth Form study the following subjects: English, History, Mathematics, Latin/Classical Civilisation, Geography, French, Physics, Religious Studies, Chemistry and Biology.

  • The creative Studies course introduces the scholars to a wide range of artistic and creative subjects, embracing Design Technology, Art & Design, Drama, Music and Physical Education.
  • Spanish is studied as a second modern foreign language by the majority.
  • Classical Greek is an extra subject for the most able Latin students.

Remove & Fifth Form (Years 10 & 11)

GCSE subject options are chosen in the second term of the Fourth Form. Most pupils will take 10 GCSEs. The core curriculum studied by all pupils consists of: English, Mathematics, Physical Education and PHSE. The majority of pupils take French or English as a secondary language (ESL). The rest of the available subjects are in option groups.

Members of the top set in Mathematics sit the IGCSE examination at the end of the Remove Form, which enables them to further their studies in both depth and breadth in the Fifth Form by taking Additional Maths.

New Grading Comparison


Sixth Form

The Sixth Form application form should be submitted as well as the main Registration form. The minimum requirement for pupils wishing to join the Lower Sixth is six Grade B’s at GCSE. An A Grade is also normally required in the three subjects that applicants are planning to study at A-Level.

The majority of pupils will take three A-Levels and an option from the Enrichment Block, however other options do exist and we would encourage you to discuss these with the Director of Studies team to see how we can best meet your needs. The majority of courses are now linear which means that subjects are studied for the full two years, with exams being sat at the end of the course.

At present we are able to offer the following A-Level courses: Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Computer Science, Design technology, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Gratin/Latin/Greek, Maths (single), Further Maths, Fast Track Maths, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies and Spanish.

Gratin is viewed as one A-Level choice and if you complete the full course you will achieve two A-Levels, Latin and Greek. Further Maths is available as a separate subject option and students must also take single Maths. Fast track Maths is for the very able Mathematicians with a strong GCSE profile and is viewed as one A-Level choice; but if you complete the full course you will achieve two A-Levels, Maths and Further Maths.

Dean Close believes that pupils should follow a balanced programme of study that prepares them effectively for life after A-Levels. There are a range of extension and enrichment opportunities that already exist ‘off timetable’ including Combined Cadet Force (CCF), Leiths Certificate (as an extra-curricular choice), Duke of Edinburgh scheme and The Quad (school magazine editorial team).

In order to complement the three A-Level choices, we have also introduced a range of Enrichment Courses ‘on timetable’, each of which lead to a qualification. Every pupil in the Sixth Form will be expected to follow an Enrichment Course. Pupils should discuss their Enrichment Course with their Tutor and Houseparent and the viability of courses will depend on the level of pupil interest.

Fuller details of A-Level courses and Enrichment options are published in separate booklets which are sent to parents at the appropriate time and are also available on the website.