Senior School


Academic Life in the Middle School

Pupils usually join Hurst Middle School aged 13 although they can transfer from other schools at any time prior to their GCSE exams. After GCSE, nearly all Hurst pupils graduate to Hurst's Sixth Form where they follow A level courses, or from September 2011, a choice of A level courses or the IB Diploma.

Academic life is core to the Hurst education. We encourage our pupils to be ambitious and independent, as they discover what they can achieve.

Outstanding and enthusiastic staff ensure that Hurst’s 5 day academic week provides the right environment to challenge and support every pupil’s learning and personal development.

Regular challenge grade reviews and coaching by teachers and tutors enable our pupils to realise their academic potential and thereby achieve the best results of which they are capable. Regular and timely communication between home and school allows achievements to be celebrated and strategies for learning developed. At Hurst, we know that this close partnership between school, parents and pupil is vital to success.

Progressively throughout these 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 Hurst, we seek to ensure that they learn how to learn as well as develop a love of learning. As a result, when they graduate to the Sixth Form, they are exceedingly well equipped to meet the challenges of their A-level years.

Academic Assessment and Tracking -
Hurst's Internet Portal and Challenge Grades

Important: parents have direct and immediate access, via Hurst's Internet Portal, to all their child’s Challenge Grade results and accompanying subject and tutor comments.

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 reasoning scores, non-verbal reasoning, common entrance scores and other tests.

Subsequently, each pupil's work is assessed by the teaching staff every three to four weeks.

You will find the link to an extract from a 5th Former's Challenge Grade review below. The Challenge Grade for each subject is the grade that, with hard work, the pupil is expected to reach in his GCSE exam whilst the mark indicates the standard to which he is currently working.

+1 represents achievement beyond expectation;
a green tick indicates that they are on track to achieve their projected challenge grade
-1, or -2 indicates that more work is required to achieve the projected grade

These scores. accompanied by comments from each subject teacher, are supplemented by an assessment of progress to date from your child's tutor.

To see an extract from a Challenge Grade Report, click here


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 child is keeping up with their work.

A pupil's tutor is a parent's first point of contact about any academic matters 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 statements of results.

Parents are also invited to attend a Parents’ Evening once a year to discuss their child’s work and progress and also a Parents’ and Tutors’ meeting which informs parents of issues relevant to their child’s year group.

If a parent has concerns about their child’s academic progress and, having spoken to the tutor or teacher, feels that there has not been sufficient improvement, they should not hesitate to contact me, Richard Taylor-West, directly.


The School operates a two week timetable. This means that the lessons scheduled for every pupil will be different in week A to week B.

The two week timetable allows the School to maximise the use of academic time, structure more time for extra-curricular activities, especially for the younger age groups and create a better rhythm to the working week.

Academic lessons take place in the first four to six hours of the day whilst sport and activities take place in the afternoons.