Boys and Girls : 13 - 18 : Boarding
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Our curriculum broadly "shadows" the National Curriculum, so we follow the attainment targets of the National Curriculum while retaining the flexibility to include in our curriculum more than basic requirements in areas such as Classics or a second foreign language.
All new pupils generally study: English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, French, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Art, Design Technology, Physical Education, Music, ICT and Life Skills (PSE). In addition to French, pupils study either German or Spanish (or both), and also a classical subject, either Latin with Greek, or Latin or Classical Civilisation.
We will contact you in the summer term before you son, or daughter, is due to come, asking whether you would like to express a choice over their modern language and /or classical subject option.
Pupils are set by ability, and sets sensitively reviewed throughout the year for each major subject area: English, Maths, Languages, Science, History, Classics and Geography.
In the Fourth Form classes have around 18 pupils in them. In the GCSE years (Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth) the average class is a little smaller – around 17 pupils. In the Sixth Form the average class size is 9.
There is a "Life Skills" lesson every week for all pupils, which covers in a structured programme such topics as sex education, personal relations and social development. This process continues throughout a pupil's time at Uppingham.
Life Skills includes study skills. In addition each pupil has a Tutor (as well as a Housemaster/Housemistress) who will keep an overview of their work - as well as other areas of their life at the School. Teachers and Tutors communicate regularly – both formally and informally.
There is a period set aside every evening for private study. In the Lower School (years 9, 10 and 11) there are three set preps of half an hour each per evening, normally done in the Houses under the supervision of a Prefect, and Tutor or Housemaster/Housemistress.
In the Sixth Form pupils are expected to undertake as many hours of private study each week as they have lessons; they undertake this private study during the evening prep periods and also during study periods during the day.
The setting of pupils outlined above helps teachers stretch their classes appropriately, and the curriculum is designed to offer subjects which are suitably demanding in line with pupils’ abilities. We also encourage cross-curricular thought with a programme of challenges outside lessons organised by the Head of Lower School. The Leighton Group, overseen by the Master of the Scholars, provides a separate programme of academic enrichment and mentoring for academic scholars and others invited to join the group. Some pupils in the Lower Fifth will be invited to join the Junior Seminar Group, and in the Upper Fifth some will pursue a lecture programme culminating in AS General Studies.
In the Sixth Form pupils benefit from additional seminars, competitions, trips and visiting speakers arranged by academic departments. Many choose to pursue a research project in addition of their taught subjects.
The School's policy is that, while we have no special unit for children with severe learning difficulties, we are able to offer help by means of special assistance from teachers in the Learning Support Department who are trained to deal with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. This help is given on an individual basis. The School will require you to inform us of any previous history of learning difficulty.
There is a brief assembly in Chapel most mornings for the whole School - either an act of corporate worship, or a talk or presentation by a member of staff. There are then two 55-minute lessons, followed by a 25-minute break, followed by two more 55-minute lessons. The pupils then return to their Houses for lunch. On three days a week there are afternoon lessons (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), whilst the others (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) are ‘games afternoons’. Between afternoon lessons/games there are lots of activities, music, drama etc to get involved with. Supper is at 6.20pm, followed by the prep period.
Bed times vary – for the Fourth Form it is 9.45pm, in the Lower Fifth it is 10.15pm, 10.30pm Upper Fifth. The Sixth Form have to be in their bedsits by 11pm.
The study in depth of specialist A level/Pre-U subjects is at the heart of the sixth form curriculum at Uppingham. The courses we offer are rigorous and intellectually demanding, and we offer a great deal of flexibility so that each sixth former can follow a programme suited to his or her interests and aptitudes. All subjects require students to organise their time effectively and develop an appreciation of the value of hard work.
We have, along with most schools, considered the alternatives to A levels.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is admirable in many ways, but requires all students to continue with certain subjects and is still regarded by some university tutors as a less suitable preparation for higher education. By taking four contrasting A level/Pre-U subjects in the Lower Sixth a sixth former can study a wide breadth of subjects, but the A level/Pre-U system also offers the flexibility for some pupils to specialise – whether in the sciences, languages or humanities/arts – which is less easy in the IB system. At Uppingham the opportunity to pursue an individual research projects allows pupils to stretch themselves by writing a lengthy and independently researched dissertation alongside their A levels, mirroring the IB’s extended essay.
The Cambridge Pre-U courses have been adopted by the History of Art, Chemistry and Physics departments in the absence of a suitable A level syllabus.
Although one might not believe it from reports in the media, A levels remain the mainstream curriculum choice for schools in the independent sector.
The government’s A level reforms will affect pupils who enter the Lower Sixth in September 2015 and beyond. By September 2017 all subjects will be teaching ‘new’ A levels that are two-year courses with exams only at the end of the Upper Sixth, instead of the AS/A2 modular system we have been used to since 2000. Not all subjects are being reformed at the same time however; see the ‘A levels from September 2015’ document on the Academic Life section of the website for further details.
GCSEs are also being reformed in stages from September 2015, but these changes will have very little impact at Uppingham at that point, because the IGCSE courses we follow in most subjects will be unaffected.
The prospectus for A levels offered at Uppingham explains how the system works here. The information covers the course syllabuses and content and there is also advice on how to choose courses, and on the sort of combinations that might be considered.
There is an open day on a Sunday in the March before the September that new pupils join the Sixth Form at which there is an opportunity to talk more fully about Sixth Form choices. This day is specifically, though not exclusively, for this purpose. By this time most pupils should be close to making a decision, though even at this stage we fully understand that these decisions might depend on your GCSE results. Even after pupils have joined the School in September, there are opportunities over the first weekend for further discussion if there has been a change of heart.
Each department has the freedom to adopt the qualification it considers best. In some subjects we consider that the IGCSE offers a more rigorous and enriching academic experience and prepares pupils better for A level study, and a number of academic departments have started to offer IGCSE courses in recent years: Mathematics, Science, modern languages, English, History and Geography. The remaining subjects have chosen to continue with GCSE.
This number varies from year to year. In 2013 thirteen pupils received Oxbridge offers; in 2012 there were eleven, and in 2011 there were seventeen.
There is a system of regular Reviews - reports on academic progress written by those who teach your son or daughter, which are sent home each half of term by email. The Housemaster or Housemistress, and the Tutor will discuss these with your son or daughter and help them with any problems. If there are concerns the Housemaster, Housemistress or Tutor will talk to members of staff and discuss the matter with you as well.
There are annual formal Parent-Teacher meetings for each age-group, which all teachers attend to discuss your child’s progress with you. In addition there are half-termly Reviews, which the Housemaster/Housemistress and Tutors will go through with each pupil, and the contents of which are made known to you as they are sent home by email; there are also formal reports. The most frequent forms of contact however, are by telephone and email. If the Housemaster or Housemistress is worried about any aspect of your child’s progress, they will contact you and, similarly, if you feel unhappy about how your child is coping with any aspect of School life, you will be expected to share your concern with them.
Pupils are all provided with a School computer in the boarding houses. Sixth Form pupils are allowed to bring their own laptop, iPad or other tablet device to Uppingham, and if they wish may use it in lessons and when working in the School Library or Cavell Centre. Pupils in the Lower School are only allowed to bring and use their own mobile devices with the approval of the Learning Support department.
In September 2014 we created a new role of Director of Libraries and Learning Resources to provide support for pupils who are working on independent research topics to make the best use of online and traditional resources. She is responsible for the provision of research resources across the School and works in both the School Library and the Cavell Centre, the learning resource centre located in the new Science Centre.
With sixty staff, sixty practice rooms, three organs, state-of-the-art recording and Music Technology facilities, the Music Department can offer an unrivalled range of opportunities to enjoy and inspire. All pupils sing lustily in Chapel, learning whole-school anthems such as Zadok the Priest and the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves. More than half of all pupils have instrumental lessons and as a full time boarding school, there are musical activities every weekend. The Concert Choir comprises over 300 pupils and has recently performed Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Alexander L’Estrange’s Zimbe! in venues such as St Edmundsbury and Ely Cathedrals. The Chapel Choir and Symphony Orchestra have given concerts in recent years in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, and Cologne. A flourishing Wind Band, Jazz and Chamber Music programme provides weekly opportunities for string and wind players.
Mr Williams, Director of Music, and Miss Stevens (Assistant Director of Music) meet all new pupils on the first weekend of the autumn term to explain how, and why, to get involved in ensembles and bands.
Visiting Music Teachers often teach in Conservatoires and come from London, Manchester and Birmingham to offer tuition to Diploma level and beyond. Music Scholars receive Alexander Technique lessons to complement their instrumental studies. Concertos may be performed by leading pupils and by the winner of the prestigious annual Recital Competition. Masterclasses are given by eminent musicians including Stephen Hough, Angela Hewitt, Stephen Cleobury, David Hill and Andrew Kennedy. Music Scholars also have supervised practice times and give high-level performances in the weekly Lunchtime Recital Series. A number of pupils have received Oxbridge Organ or Choral Awards in recent years.
Not at all. The School’s ethos (with its well-known congregational singing) encourages and supports musicians at all levels. Many choral and instrumental groups cater for those at intermediate and beginner levels whilst encouraging pupils to aim for senior ensembles. Pupils take great pride in impressive and collegiate House Concerts. There is universal access to song writing, recording and producing facilities as well as dedicated Rock Rooms. In addition, parents are invited to offer their support at Studio Concerts, Play and Listen Concerts, Composers’ Concerts and the great array of ensemble concerts. There really is something for everyone!
Yes they are and there are three afternoons of games per week. We expect all pupils, in addition to their PE lessons, to take regular exercise, as a healthy body is as important as health in mind.
By no means! There is a full programme of formal and non-competitive games. In the autumn term all first-year boys play hockey, in the spring term they play rugby and in the summer term they play cricket, tennis, or athletics. For the first-year girls, they all play hockey in the autumn term, netball in the spring term and have the option of tennis or athletics in the summer term. Choices, for boys and girls, open up in subsequent years. There are matches at all levels against other schools, as well as inter-House tournaments. There is a wide range of teams, enabling most pupils to represent the School at their own level.
In addition to the 'major' sports, pupils are encouraged to take part, competitively or non-competitively, in a vast range of sports and physical pastimes. The Housemaster, Housemistress and Tutor will encourage them to find their own special niche or skill. The structured sports programme introduces all pupils to, and gives them the opportunity to play some of the following: aerobics, badminton, basketball, cross-country, cycling, dance, fencing, Eton fives, football, golf, lacrosse, rounders, sailing, shooting, squash, swimming, volleyball. After the Fourth Form (first year), pupils who are in the A or B teams of a 'major' sport are expected to continue with that 'major' sport: others are free to choose a different sport.
In pupils' free time there are also the fantastic facilities at the Sports Centre (including a 50-station fitness studio, 25m swimming pool, gymnasium, glass-backed squash courts, an archery corridor and two dance studios) to fully utilise.
The Leonardo Centre is the School's Art, Design and Technology centre. It exists to channel the extra-curricular enthusiasms of pupils of all ages, as well as teach GCSE, AS and A level Art, Design and Technology. Thus all pupils can make use of the Centre in their free time. These facilities are especially valuable over the weekend.
Pupils can get involved with the Theatre as soon as they arrive at the School. There is a Lower School Drama Society which puts on a play every school year and there is also a major school production each autumn and a Speech Day play each summer term. Pupils who enjoy the Theatre but perhaps not being on stage can get involved in the extra-curricular Theatre Technical clubs and also join the Performance Support Teams for each of the school plays. As pupils move through the School there is an opportunity for them to join our Front of House teams and become a Theatre Rep. Every year different Houses put on plays, which also provide an excellent opportunity to get involved. Pupils can can also take the LAMDA speech and drama exams.
Around 40 societies operate within the School, with a further 30 areas of activity on offer.
There are clubs, societies and recreational games covering almost every activity they might want to take part in, such as archery, beekeeping, bridge, canoeing, charity fundraising, chess, Christian Forum, Classics Society, clay-pigeon shooting, climbing, cookery club, dance, debating, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, films, fives, fly fishing, golf, gymnastics, History Society, Geographical Society, law, medical, Motor Workshop, orienteering, parachuting, photography, polo, programming, sailing, Science Society, producing the School Magazine, trampolining, waterskiing, windsurfing and woodwork.
In the Fourth Form (first year), new pupils have art and design lessons on a Monday afternoon, with a view to increasing their practical and artistic skills and interests. At the end of the first year all pupils have the option to join one of the sections of the CCF: Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and RAF and normally serve for three years. Community Service is offered in the Upper Fifth and Lower Sixth to those who do not wish to continue with the CCF.
Yes you can, it is easy to transfer your eDofE account to Uppingham (especially if you know your eDofE number).
Yes, pupils who progress from Bronze to Silver to Gold ought to be able to complete the full Award during their time at the School. The Award is hard work and requires dedication, perseverance, a fair amount of “get-up-and-go” and a significant amount of individual responsibility.
Boarding & Pastoral Care FAQs
Uppingham has separate houses for boys and girls. The boys’ houses are home to about fifty boys; the girls’ houses to around sixty girls. Each of them has a Housemaster and/or Housemistress responsible for the welfare of the pupils in their care; there is also a resident tutor, a senior tutor and a team of tutors attached to the House.
The Housemaster or Housemistress and their family live in the House, not in a separate building, and the House is home for them and the pupils in their care. The fact that this extended family eats together is also important as each House has its own dining room. The Housemaster or Housemistress will see their pupils every day at meals and informally by simply occupying the same building.
Another important member of the House is Matron, who will look after the health and general welfare of the pupils in her care, make sure they keep well organised, and is another person whom pupils can trust and confide in. The management of the house environment is further supported by the domestic housekeeping team.
At Uppingham the House is very much an extended home.
Uppingham is a big place for a new thirteen year-old. It is therefore very important that the process of familiarisation should be as painless as possible. Every new pupil has a more senior pupil whose job it is to look after them and show them the ropes, and each Housemaster or Housemistress will also use their Prefects (also known at Uppingham as 'Praepostors' or 'Pollies') to help the new pupils settle in to the House.
New pupils are invited for a New Pupils' Tea in their boarding house at the end of June. This provides an opportunity for the pupils to meet other new pupils in their year group, some of the key members of staff who will be looking after them, and also their mentors.
Each pupil is given a copy of the School ‘White List’ at the beginning of each term; a booklet which includes the term’s calendar, timetable, prep diary, maps of the School and classrooms, and lots of other useful information. There is also a full programme of events for the new pupils to help them find out what is on offer for them and most Housemasters and Housemistresses organise trips/events for the new Fourth Form (first year pupils) in the first couple of weeks (to go bowling, punting, camping etc) in order to help the children get to know each other and their Housemaster/Housemistress.
After three weeks there is a leave-out weekend when parents are able to take their son or daughter out of school from Friday lunchtime, returning with them on Sunday evening for a special service for new pupils and their parents, followed by an invitation from the Housemaster or Housemistress for you to meet them to discuss progress.
Uppingham also has a long and successful tradition of integrating new pupils in to the Sixth Form. With one girl’s house, The Lodge, made up only of girls who join for the Sixth Form and nearly every house in the School typically welcoming between one and four new Sixth Formers each year, integration at this stage is part of the School’s culture. Every effort is made to assist new pupils through mentoring programmes that run in each House and through the support of tutors, matrons, house staff and teachers. There are also regular social evenings in the Sixth Form Centre and Saturday evening ‘bops’. Each House arranges its own social occasions from ‘Scottish reeling’ to formal dinners and there are many clubs and societies on offer at the School.
The Housemaster or Housemistress and Tutor are responsible for the formal aspects of the pastoral role. They will as a matter of course see each pupil individually on a regular basis to talk about their work, social life, any problems and whether they are making use of the opportunities the School provides for development in whatever sphere they are involved, and equally ensuring they are not doing too much.
Tutors are responsible for advising their tutees about their work, helping them with any problems they may have, ensuring they are making the most of extra-curricular opportunities, and generally being another person to whom they can turn for advice. Every tutee sees his or her tutor on a weekly basis.
Some children, especially if they haven't boarded before, experience home-sickness, though only very rarely is this serious or long lasting. The Housemaster or Housemistress will be in touch with parents in the early days of the term to provide a progress report, and will be very pleased to hear from parents too if they have any reason to be worried. The whole point is that this is a co-operative venture, and it is essential that parents feel entirely free to talk to the Housemaster or Housemistress as and when required. The Senior Mistress (who is a trained counsellor) or the Chaplain are also very much on hand at this time for any new pupils.
As every pupil has their own PC and email account and virtually all a mobile phone, pupils use these for keeping in touch with home. Housemasters or Housemistresses will advise of their policy for the use of mobile phones in the Houses; they are not allowed in the School itself. All houses have an iPad configured for Skype under the control of the Housemaster / Housemistress. This is situated either in the Housemaster’s or Housemistress’ study or in a tutor room.
For the normal cough or cold, the Matron will cope at the daily House surgeries. Anything more serious will be referred to the School’s Health Centre, which is staffed with qualified nurses and has a doctor in daily attendance. The Health Centre is fully covered by an RGN nurse 24 hours a day during term time. All pupils are registered with the School Doctor.
The School has trained counsellors (both dependent and independent) to whom pupils are free to go and chat in absolute confidence. They are always available, and those who may be finding it hard to cope can go to them. The Chaplain is also an experienced counsellor.
The School also retains the services of a Consultant Child Psychologist and an Educational Psychologist, both of whom advise us on the problems of adolescents and the skills required in caring for them.
All the School’s facilities are available for pupils to use. Extracurricular activities are regularly organised on Sundays – House trips, group activities, tournaments and the like – and a range of School societies also function on a Sunday. There is an enormous amount to do, but no compulsion, though Housemasters, Housemistresses and Tutors will naturally encourage your son or daughter to make constructive use of their time. Music, sport and drama also tend to make full use of Sundays, though again this will be for the activities for which pupils have volunteered, such as plays and musical events generated by the pupils' own enthusiasm.
Your son or daughter is probably at a school which encourages parental participation in their education whether they are a boarder or a day pupil. We hope that you will find little difference at Uppingham.
You will be encouraged to come and see matches, concerts and plays, and you will also find yourself invited to House-based functions: most, if not all, Houses organise their own concerts.
Your child's education is in the broadest sense a joint endeavour, and close contact is encouraged between you and the School - most especially between you and your son’s Housemaster or daughter’s Housemistress.
Back to Admissions FAQ List
It is an average of 55% in the compulsory papers. We believe that with a 55% overall pass mark, pupils who join us should in almost all cases be able to perform well at GCSE, and enjoy the demanding A level courses offered in the Sixth Form before continuing to higher education.
The minimum entry requirement for admission to the Sixth Form is six passes of grade B, or above, in academic subjects at GCSE, excluding short-course GCSEs.
Scholarships are awarded annually to children of exceptional talent assessed through test, examination or observation, interview and reference. Scholarship awards may be made either for evidence of a high level of attainment and promise or exceptional specialist aptitude.
Scholarships are available to 13+ pupils in the following fields: Academic; Music; Art/Design and Technology; Sport and All Rounder (The Thring Award). There are also some Exhibitions (minor scholarships) available in Music.
16+ Scholarships are available in the following fields: Academic; Music; Art/Design and Technology; and Science.
For all types of scholarship, awards can range in value from one tenth to one half of the fees. Any award can be supplemented up to the total amount of the school fees, through a means-tested bursary, if need be shown. A candidate may also hold one or more awards, so that Academic, Music, Art/Design and Technology, Sport and Thring awards may be held concurrently. More detailed information can be obtained from the Admissions Department or via the following link.
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