Pupils in the Junior School (First to Third Form) study a broad range of subjects with the objective of providing a solid academic foundation and enabling opportunities for all pupils to achieve across a range of subject areas.

All pupils in the Junior School attend lessons in: art, biology, chemistry, design technology, drama, English, French, geography, history, information technology, mathematics, music, physical education, physics and religious studies. In addition, First Form pupils experience library skills lessons whilst pupils in the Second Form and beyond study Spanish as an additional language. Specific PSHE lessons are provided to all First and Second Form groups and EAL (English as an Additional Language) is also available.

The GCSE years in our Middle School (Fourth and Fifth Form) are ones of increased academic momentum. Pupils choose three option subjects at the end of the Third Form, and at least one modern foreign language (in nearly all cases), to go with compulsory core GCSEs (maths, English, science, religious studies), with a possible combination adding to 11 GCSEs. All compulsory subjects are taught in subject-specific sets, with five or six sets in each core GCSE subject. In this way we believe the College is an optimal size, being big enough to offer a wide choice of options and appropriate setting, but small enough to offer good pastoral care and academic oversight.

Recent government-led changes mean that all pupils now entering the Middle School will sit all exams at the end of the Fifth Form (with the exception of science and additional science exams), although many GCSE courses involve controlled assessment tasks that are staged at various times within the two years of the course. Towards the end of the Michaelmas Term in the Fifth Form, pupils begin the process of choosing their preferred AS Level options, with a structured system of guidance involving tutors and subject teachers supporting pupils and parents with these decisions.

All Sixth Form students at Denstone study three or four AS subjects in their Lower Sixth, with most opting to continue with three subjects at A2 in the Upper Sixth. There are currently 21 different subjects available in the Lower Sixth, alongside the recently established EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) available within the College’s activities programme. Overseas students can also participate in additional lessons leading to the widely recognised International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate. As students look ahead to life beyond Denstone they can take advantage of a vast array of support in their important UCAS decisions, with specialist staff such as the Head of Sixth Form/Careers and Oxbridge Admissions Tutor available to offer guidance alongside academic tutors and subject staff.

The College follows a number of examination boards and details are given on the examinations page.