John hampden10

Curriculum Overview

JHGS Curriculum Vision

JHGS is a forward thinking and facilitating academic grammar school, built on a rich history as a Technical Institute, and the traditions of furniture making in Wycombe. Our broad curriculum is focused on preparing boys for their future, where development of the person and transferable skills for the 21st Century are seen as integral to achieving academic success. Our boys are prepared for a dynamic workplace, one in which the industries and careers that they may enter, currently do not exist, and the technologies that they will rely upon are as yet uninvented. JHGS prepares its boys to #BeMore.

Boys in all year groups at JHGS have access to personal technology in lessons, reflecting the practices of the workplace, and developing opportunities for rich blended teaching and collaborative learning opportunities. Industry specific digital technologies, and courses in subjects including Enterprise, Design and the Arts, prepare our boys for the demands of working in these areas, whilst enriching the learning experience offered by our broad curriculum.

The JHGS curriculum is closely aligned to the content prescribed in the KS3 & KS4 National Curriculum, deviating only to allow the opportunity to explore and contextualise the issues relevant to our local and wider community setting. We believe in a rigorous and challenging curriculum, facilitated by a fast paced KS3 delivered over two years. This enables time to extend and explore concepts beyond the constraints of the exam specification into the super-curricular at KS4, and the timetable capacity to develop cross-discipline and 21st century skills. Our boys in Year 9 benefit from a transitional period to learn the bespoke and transferable skills required in their chosen option subjects, alongside an increased element of non-examined content to support their holistic development. JHGS students in KS5 have a diverse range of facilitating academic choices to nurture their love of learning, supported by a broad enrichment programme that deepens their academic growth, provides leadership opportunities, and prepares our young men for the next steps.

JHGS strives for all boys to follow a broad, balanced and enriching curriculum, including a language to Year 11 for all boys. Our carefully guided KS4 options process facilitates a tailored yet balanced experience, with in excess of 78% of boys typically selecting an English Baccalaureate suite of subjects. A broad balance of creative, expressive and humanities subjects is encouraged, however we recognise that some boys have a very clear understanding of their area of study at the next transition stage, and will support and facilitate this.

JHGS recognises the importance of physical and mental health in the education of boys, and mandates physical education for all boys until their final year of A level study. We are proud of our extra-curricular and sporting provision, including bespoke support for elite athletes performing at county, national and international levels in a range of sports, and that places JHGS consistently amongst the top 20 state schools for sport. Mental health and well being are an integral part of the PSD curriculum and the weekly assembly programme. Wellbeing for all boys is supported by the school’s commitment to nurturing good mental health through the provision of dedicated counselling staff in school, and access to our trained therapy dog - Molly.

Our learning support department is large for a school of 1150 boys, and works closely with teaching staff to provide personalised support for all boys with additional needs, including the unique facilities and expertise to provide proven support for boys with significant visual impairment. Our proactive approach to enabling access for our disadvantaged boys, and those at risk of underachieving ensures that our curriculum is designed and implemented to ensure that all boys are able to fulfil their potential. At JHGS, this holistic curriculum journey allows all boys to #BeMore.


Information on all external examination elements can be found here.

Key Stage Outlines

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 is completed in Years 7 and 8 and therefore is studied over the first two years of secondary school as a preparation for Key Stage 4.

The core subjects at Key Stage 3 are the same as those as Key Stage 2 – English, Maths and Science. Science is further broken down into the three natural Sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The core subjects are supplemented by the same foundation subjects in Key Stage 2 and 3, namely Art and Design, Computer Science, Drama, Languages, Geography, History, Music, Religion and Philosophy and Physical Education. In addition, discreet lessons are also delivered on broader aspects of Citizenship, Enterprise and  Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education (HE). These are delivered through the Personal and Social Development programme (PSD), which is taught once per fortnight across all year groups.

All lessons are taught in mixed ability groups within the context of the schools academically selective intake. The exception to this is Mathematics in Year 8 where ability streaming is utilised.

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 is studied in Years 9 to 11 and is assessed through GCSE examinations. Boys choose four elective subjects which they wish to study at GCSE through the guided Options process which takes place in the Spring Term of Year 8.

These Option choices are taken alongside the core curriculum of English, Maths, the Sciences, PSD, Religion and Philosophy and Physical Education. It is the expectation that boys will also continue to study at least one Language at GCSE. The significant majority of boys take 10 GCSE courses.

In addition, boys will also complete a two year course in 21st Century Skills, aimed at developing key transferable and employability skills which will support their wider studies and personal growth.

All lessons are taught in mixed ability groups within the context of the schools academically selective intake. The exceptions to this are Mathematics and English where ability streaming is utilised.

Key Stage 5

Key Stage 5 is completed in the Lower (Year 12) and Upper (Year 13) Sixth Form years and is assessed through GCE ‘A level’ examinations taken at the end of the Upper Sixth year. All subject courses are full two year A levels. AS examinations are not taken.

Boys choose three or four A level subjects, and study these alongside a range of enrichment activities in the Lower Sixth.

All lessons are taught in mixed ability groups within the context of the schools academically selective intake. The exception to this is Mathematics where ability streaming is utilised.

All boys also have the opportunity to undertake the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). This qualification helps boys develop and demonstrate important transferrable life skills such as project management and provides opportunities for extended writing, both of which are highly valued for progression to higher education and employment.

The Sixth Form Curriculum booklet available along with the the Sixth Form Prospectus here.

The School Timetable

The school operates a two-week timetable cycle. There are five one-hour teaching periods each day and therefore fifty periods in total per fortnight.

A significant proportion of the teaching time in Years 7 to 11 are devoted to the core subjects of English and Maths. This is to support students in developing the high standards of literacy and numeracy which will underpin their access to the broader curriculum and therefore form a basis for wider learning and high achievement. Key numeracy and literacy skills will be identified to be mastered within each academic year and where mastery of these skills proves to be a challenge to an individual additional support will be provided to boost progress.

The remaining core subject of Science also receives a substantial lesson allocation. This is to provide sufficient teaching time to thoroughly cover an extensive Programme of Study in a subject which all students will be required to study to GCSE level.

Please see the Curriculum map attached below.

Timings of the School Day






Period 1


Period 2




Form Time or assembly and break time according to form group


Period 3


Period 4




Period 5



Curriculum Overview Date  
Curriculum Cycle Map 2022-23 08th Nov 2022 Download