Music is a core and integral part of life at The Purcell School. However, this does not diminish the importance of other academic subjects. Our curriculum allows students to fulfil their musical potential without limiting their choices. Although most of our students are aiming for a career in music and will progress to a conservatoire or university to read music, this path is never taken for granted. In recent years, Sixth Formers have taken up places at top universities to read other subjects such as English, History, modern languages and the sciences.
We recognise that big and sometimes tough decisions have to be taken during the course of a student’s school career. Students at The Purcell School are characteristically motivated both musically and academically. The key to the success of our curriculum is balance. Depending on a student’s age and instrumental commitments, between 25% and 50% of curricular time is spent on musical activities.
In the words of Henry Matisse ‘creativity takes courage’. To encourage a fearless approach to Art we introduce our students to a wide range of different media early. All students study Art until Year 9, with a large number opting to continue their studies to GSCE (Fine Art) and then to A Level (Fine Art and Photography).
An emphasis is placed on drawing, visual and contextual study, experimentation, and the creative development of ideas while learning a variety of different two and three-dimensional processes and techniques. These include painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and computer-based art.
The schemes of work are regularly reviewed and revised to keep projects fresh and inspiring, with study topics taking inspiration from contemporary and traditional artists, movements and cultures. With the Schools close proximity to London we are able to enrich students’ studies with gallery outings where students have the opportunity to observe art first hand and participate in workshops lead by industry professionals.
Drama is a standard part of the School curriculum from Years 7 to 9, and is also available at GCSE and A Level.
The course aims to encourage students to work imaginatively and creatively in a collaborative context in order to generate, develop and communicate ideas. Students come away with an understanding of the social, historical and cultural influences on texts studied and develop a competence in a range of practical, creative and performance skills. Students will also learn to discuss and write about the experience of live performance.
Cross-curricular links are encouraged with many students seeking help and guidance with introducing pieces of music for performances. Alongside the Music departments, we often perform staged musical performances. Additionally, the School play has become one of the highlights of the academic year.
With approximately 20% of Purcell students hailing from overseas, EAL forms an integral part of the curriculum for students for whom English is not their first language, and is offered at no extra charge.
The programme is personally tailored and aims to equip students with all the necessary skills, not only to engage in their musical and academic studies, but also to allow them to fully integrate into the student body.
EAL is offered from Pre-intermediate to Intermediate. International students are also able to elect to take EAL at GCSE level (IGCSE in English as a Second Language), as part of their A Level programme and also to study towards IELTS for those wishing to remain in the UK for further education.
English at The Purcell School provides growth, knowledge and improvement in the key areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. English seeks to foster creative talent as well as academic success, and each year students engage in creative writing competitions. In an international school we especially seek to work with the EAL Department to further language acquisition and development for our foreign students.
English Literature is offered at both GCSE and A Level. The courses are enriched through educational outings, study days and theatre visits.
MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES (FRENCH & GERMAN)
In our international school community where languages are at the core of our working life, we have little difficulty persuading our students of the importance of language learning. In recent years we have seen increasing numbers of students who wish to study outside the UK, especially in Germany, as such languages are seen as a valued life skill by many of our students.
The department has high expectations and considers that a methodical acquisition of grammar and vocabulary, combined with much speaking and listening, is essential in training successful linguists. However, at all levels, we also value the opportunity to break away from the course books to do an ad hoc lesson on, for example, a current news item or musical theme.
French (Years 7-9) and German (Year 9) are taught as compulsory subjects in the curriculum and are also offered at options at both GCSE and A Level.
The History department aims to develop skills and knowledge that will be used throughout a student’s life. Students will learn the causes and consequences of historical events and develop the ability to deduce the influence such events may have had on the trajectory of history.
The department enriches its curriculum with trips and outings throughout the year.
In Mathematics we aim to develop creative reasoning together with a high level of mathematical competency so that our students can solve problems with confidence and logic.
We follow the English National Curriculum for Key Stage 2, 3, and 4 with a variety of enrichment opportunities offered to students during their time with us in the form of competitions, investigations and outings. In the Sixth Form, we teach A Level Mathematics with the Edexcel Exam Board.
All classes benefit from our newly refurbished maths teaching rooms which feature the latest interactive technology and online learning platforms for teaching Mathematics. We have three Clevertouch 7 Series Interactive boards, with specific maths teaching software and engaging teaching tools, which are used in every lesson by the teacher and students. In addition, all students up to Key Stage 4 have access to a digital learning platform, which complements their classroom lessons and provides them with tailored resources to consolidate, recap and revise their work.
Science at The Purcell Schools hopes to promote students curiosity about the world around them and develop their ability to explore their interests effectively through investigation and analysis, enabling them to deduce satisfying conclusions.
At KS3 all students follow the National Curriculum and are taught by specialists in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students are then able to select to either study Combined Science (single award) or Coordinated Science (double award) at GCSE level. The three sciences are also offered as A Level options.
We are extremely proud, in a specialist music school, to have had a number of students leave The Purcell School in the past to pursue university courses in the sciences, engineering and medicine. Recent destinations include Oxford University (Physics) and Imperial College (Aeronautical Engineering).