Upper School

From Years 9-11 boys are prepared for and take their GCSE qualifications. At the end of Year 8, boys go through our ‘Stepping Into Manhood’ process. Parents and boys are introduced to the options for GCSE and discuss with teachers and the Head of Year the best possible programme to take. So by Year 9, all boys have made informed decisions about their GCSE subjects. The benefits of this are numerous: it allows the students to focus properly on their GCSE subjects from a younger age, it allows the teachers to thoroughly explore each topic and it allows the boys to discover their passions for topics and explore and creating within them.

Year 9 is a very creative year. Not only does every boy perform in a Shakespeare play, but they are also invited to complete a ‘Personal Endeavour Project’.

By Year 10, studies become more formal and all subjects have commenced GCSE syllabi. A variety of examination boards, chosen to best fit pupils’ interests and talents, are used. In March, boys complete a leadership programme and go on a cultural trip to Florence.

In Year 11 all focus is on the impending examinations and boys are given a variety of study skills and examination preparation workshops. Despite the obvious constraints of GCSE requirements, St James is acutely aware that boys learn best when there is a love of the material and the greatest care is taken in choosing modules and topics for study.