Academic life is the core of a Hurst education. We encourage our pupils to be ambitious and independent. Regular Challenge Grade reviews and coaching by teachers and tutors enable our pupils to realise their academic potential.

    Regular and timely communication between home and school allows achievements to be celebrated and strategies for learning developed. We know that this close partnership between school, parents and pupils is vital to success.

    Progressively throughout the years, as pupils develop and mature, they assume a greater responsibility for their own learning and take the initiative in pushing back the boundaries of their achievements and ambitions.

    At whatever stage a pupil joins, we seek to ensure that they learn how to learn as well as develop a love of learning. As a result, they are very well equipped to meet the challenges when they graduate to the Sixth Form.

    Challenge Grades

    Every pupil's academic progress is monitored via the Challenge Grade process. At the beginning of each academic year your son or daughter will be set a Challenge Grade in each subject. These grades, set by heads of departments, will be ambitious and - with hard work - achievable. They are based on the detailed academic information we have about your child, gleaned from tools such as MidYIS, verbal and non-verbal reasoning scores, common entrance scores and other tests. Subsequently, each pupil's work is assessed by the teaching staff every three to four weeks. Parents have direct and immediate access, via our Parent Portal, to all their child’s Challenge Grade results and accompanying subject and tutor comments.


    Every child is assigned a tutor with whom he or she will meet each week to discuss academic progress. The tutor will also check prep diaries and ensure each pupil is keeping up with their work. A pupil's tutor is a parent's first point of contact about any academic matter and their names and e-mail addresses are provided to each parent when their son or daughter joins the school. 

    Pupils receive one full report per year and those children who sit formal, internal examinations at the end of the academic year (Years 9 and 10) will also receive a statement of results. Parents are also invited to attend a parents’ evening once a year to discuss their child’s work and progress and a parents’ and tutors’ meeting which informs parents of issues relevant to their child’s year group.



    Shell (Year 9)

    Shell pupils study a core academic curriculum comprising English, Mathematics and Science and a core creative curriculum of Dance, Drama and PE. Pupils also choose five subjects from the following: Computer Science, French, Geography, History, Latin, RS, Spanish and two creative options from Art, Design Technology and Music. Personal, Social and Health Education is covered as part of a personal enrichment programme. Learning Support and English as a Second Language (ESL) may be selected instead of an optional subject.

    Remove & Fifth Form (Years 10 & 11)

    In Remove and Fifth all pupils study the same academic core as they did in Shell (Year 9). In addition, four optional subject choices are selected from blocks which include the following: Art, Classical Greek, Computer Science, Dance, Design Technology, Drama, French, Geography, History, Latin, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Spanish.

    Sixth Form (Years 12 & 13)

    Most A-level subjects have 10 lessons per fortnight and practical subjects have an extra lesson in the Lower Sixth year. All subjects have 11 lessons per fortnight in the Upper Sixth but those taking Maths with Further Maths have 15 lessons per fortnight throughout their course. Students are expected to be working towards university entrance, which normally requires three A-levels.

    Students can choose from the following subjects (in the case of minority subjects the viability will depend on the numbers opting for them): Art & Design, Art & Design (Photography), Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Classical Greek, Computing, Dance, Design & Technology, Drama & Theatre Studies, Economics, English Literature, French, Further Mathematics, Geography, Government and Politics, History, Latin, Mathematics, Music, Music Technology, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies and Spanish.

    BTEC Courses

    BTEC Sport is offered within the A-level blocks which occupies two blocks and has 20 lessons per fortnight.


    Starting in January of the Lower Sixth year, all A-level students undertake an extended project qualification. The project has elements that are taught and elements of independent research, which helps to prepare students for university life. The EPQ is equivalent to half an A-level.

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