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First to Fifth Year

Pupils in a Biology lesson


Pupils participate in a varied curriculum. Their academic progress and personal development are optimised through a combination of excellent teaching, good counselling and sound advice to help our pupils develop an appetite for intellectual enquiry, an enthusiasm for study and the self confidence that comes from establishing effective work habits.

All aspects of the curriculum, the timetable and the school day are kept under regular review. We are firmly committed to the principle of breadth in education and to the promotion of the children’s learning in social, cultural and moral matters.


Senior School pupils follow a two-week timetable. This means that instead of attending the same set of lessons per week, pupils’ timetables vary over two weeks’ worth of lessons. To differentiate between each, the first week is Blue Week and the second Yellow Week. After ten school days of lessons, the cycle begins with Blue Week again. There are five lessons per day, with each lesson lasting one hour. There are fifty lessons per fortnight. This cycle of ten school days gives us more flexibility in delivering a wide curriculum and the five one hour lessons each day allow topics to be explored in depth and in a variety of ways. First Year pupils quickly get used to the lesson cycle which is clearly marked in their school planner.

First to Third Year

The Lower School curriculum is designed to suit the particular abilities of our own pupils, offering a broad and balanced programme of study. Nearly all who join the First Year have followed the national curriculum for key stages one and two. Stockport Grammar School does not follow the national curriculum slavishly, but each subject shadows requirements of key stage three.

Pupils and their parents attend an options evening to provide all the information needed to make their choices.

How many lessons are provided in each subject area over the course of the ten day cycle?

Subject area First Year Second Year Third Year
Mathematics 6 6 6
English 6 5 6
Biology 3 3 3
Chemistry 3 3 3
Physics 3 3 3
History 3 3 3
Geography 3 3 3
Physical Education 5 4 4
Classics 1 0 0
Life Studies 2 2 2
Religious Studies/Ethics 0 0 2
Computer Science 2 2 Pupils choose five subjects, with three lessons for each subject per cycle. Two of the subjects must be a language.
Languages – French 5 3
Languages – German 0 3
Languages – Latin 0 3
Languages – Spanish 0 0
Creative Subjects – Music 2 2
Creative Subjects – Drama 1 1
Creative Subjects – Art 3 2
Creative Subjects – Design Tech
Creative Subjects – Food Tech
Creative Subjects – Textiles
3 2


Full details of the Lower School curriculum are available in the Lower School handbook.

Fourth and Fifth Year

The move from Third to Fourth Year marks the end of one stage of education and the beginning of the next. GCSEs are our pupils’ first experience of national examinations, and one of our aims at this stage is to encourage our young people to take more responsibility for their own development and learning. We regularly monitor pupils’ progress, supporting and encouraging them to aim high and achieve their goals.

In the Third Year, pupils are asked to make their choices for GCSEs. Mathematics, English Language, English Literature and Science are compulsory subjects. Most pupils are entered for nine subjects at GCSE. Pupils are advised to choose to study a Modern Foreign Language as part of their range of subjects to ensure their curriculum is broad and balanced. Careers staff and form tutors advise pupils on their subject choices and all pupils attend an options evening (along with their parents) in the January of their Third Year. Here they are given more help and information as to how to make their choices. Options are finalised later in that term. There is no specific ‘blocking’ structure for option choices and the school timetable is constructed each year in response to the needs of our pupils.

The full list of subject options appears below. All the specifications are chosen to meet all conceivable university and national matriculation requirements.

List of subject options
Art and Design Computer Science French Music
Biology Design Technology: Product Design Geography Physical Education
Business Studies Design Technology: Textiles German Physics
Chemistry Drama History Religious Studies
Classical Civilisation Food Preparation and Nutrition Latin Spanish

Departments are sometimes able to offer co-curricular GCSE courses which pupils study after school or at lunchtimes. These vary from year to year but in recent years we have been able to offer: Classical Greek, Further Maths and Statistics.

The Middle School handbook contains full details on the range of GCSE options.