Lower School

The Lower School and GCSE

Our aim at Cranleigh is to work within the spirit of the National Curriculum, but to offer more, taking full advantage of our independence and the extra time available to a boarding school.

We retain a very broad curriculum in the first three years so that few options are ruled out before A Level choices are made in the Upper Fifth year. To encourage our pupils we offer an options system in the Fourth Form as well as a GCSE options system for the Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth years. Fuller details are provided below but suffice to say this is a manageable, though demanding, workload over a range of subjects wide enough to satisfy universities and future employers.

Brief descriptions of the subject courses are given in this booklet. All courses are sufficiently rigorous to provide adequate preparation for Sixth Form work. For Sixth Form entry, we expect our pupils to achieve C grades in Maths and English Language and a total of six “points” from their GCSEs as a whole. For this purpose, A* or A grades count as two “points” and B grades as one “point”.

The Fourth Form

Core subjects for all are Biology, Chemistry, Digital Literacy, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Physics, and Religious Studies.

In addition, a pupil will study at least one modern foreign language (French, Spanish or German) and either Classical Civilisation or Latin.

Pupils will also have the choice of three subjects from the following five options: Art, Design, Drama, French (as an optional second language) and Music.

Please note: Fourth Form pupils selecting French as their primary modern foreign language will have three 50-minute lessons per week while those pupils selecting French as their second language will have two 50-minute lessons per week.

The Lower and Upper Fifth Forms

Core subjects for all are Mathematics, English Language and English Literature.

In addition all pupils are required to study:

Biology, Chemistry and Physics – as either a Double Award Science (DAS) or Triple Award Science (TAS) course. Note: these courses are of a similar intellectual standard: both represent an appropriate challenge and an appropriate base from which to study science at A Level. Students opting for TAS will study each of the three sciences as separate IGCSEs. This will be covered through 9 lessons per week. Alternatively students opting for DAS will pursue a slightly reduced syllabus (still covering material from each science subject) with their assessment combined under the umbrella of ‘Double Award Science’. This option will be delivered through 6 lessons per week. With this in mind, TAS is likely to be chosen by those students who are particularly passionate about their science subjects, or alternatively chosen by those students who would benefit from the additional classroom time allotted to the course. DAS is likely to be chosen by students who wish to retain a wider breadth of subjects, thus retaining a wider availability of A-level choices.

A modern foreign language – French, German or Spanish.

Religious Studies – as either a certified short course, which is examined externally at the end of the Lower Fifth year, or as a full GCSE course.

For those pupils opting for Double Award Science, they will then choose a further five subjects, whilst those choosing Triple Award Science will choose a further four subjects from the following list:

  • Art
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Drama
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Gratin
  • History
  • Latin *
  • Music
  • Spanish

Greek and Latin combined into a single option.