Academic Focus


Learning and the Curriculum at Fitzharrys

At Fitzharrys we want each of our students to be happy, engaged, resilient, resourceful, ingenious, independent, confident, curious and creative.

To achieve this we are committed to getting the best from all of our students through learning that is stimulating, relevant and enduring. The curriculum at Fitzharrys offers our students a rich range of experiences alongside the core subjects, skills and values. Alongside subject knowledge and content, the commitment to strong and consistent teaching and learning runs through our school, nurturing each student’s enthusiasm for learning and helping to prepare them for whatever the future holds.

Your exercise book is an important record of your learning. You must take pride in your presentation, participation and effort. Always aim for your best, always aim to do better than last time. Make sure your work is of high quality and the right quantity. Please read this link - Fitzharrys expects  ..... the very best

Fitz Focus

We are excited about the impact it has on our students. Each day begins with an unusual question or challenge to get our students thinking and energised about their learning. This is followed in the afternoon tutorial period by sessions that encourage students to reflect on what they are learning and how they can make progress to achieve a wide range of goals. Our individual mentoring programme helps each student to be the very best they can be.

Additional opportunities

Students’ learning is supplemented by a wide variety of trips, events and activities across all subject areas, both in and out of school, home and abroad. These help bring learning into context, and create memorable experiences for all involved. Further information and pictures of these events can be found on our website.

Years 7 to 9

All Students in Key Stage Three (years 7 to 9) follow courses in English, Mathematics, Science, Art, Computing, Design & Technology, Drama, Geography, History, Modern Languages, Music, Physical Education, Philosophy and Ethics (Religious Studies) and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship education (PSHCE or Fitzfocus+). These courses meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and build upon students’ prior knowledge, understanding and skills.

All students study French in year 7.  Spanish is introduced in Year 8 and both languages continue side by side in year 9.

We have developed our Year 7 curriculum to incorporate a series of Wider Learning Days where students develop confidence, leadership, independence and team work through a series of exciting challenges in and out of school.

Years 10 and 11

During Key Stage Four students follow courses in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Philosophy and Ethics (Religious Studies), Physical Education and PSHCE.  All students study both English Language and Literature.  Science options currently include the three separate sciences, double science and BTec science (applications).

In addition, students may select from a wide range of GCSE options within a system of timetable blocks.  Courses currently on offer include GCSE in Art, Physical Education, Music, Drama, Geography, History, Spanish, French, Catering, Resistant Materials, Computer Science, Business Studies, Sociology, Systems & Control and Textiles.  The Skills for Work & Life course offers the opportunity of support for the rest of the curriculum as well as access to wider skills qualifications.

We aim to review, update and adapt the curriculum each year to meet the needs of our students.

Years 12 and 13

Fitzharrys Sixth Form is part of the very successful Abingdon Consortium for Education, a longstanding partnership between the three Abingdon comprehensive schools.  A common timetable structure enables students to choose from an excellent range of 31 subjects at AS and A2 Level.  Most students study four AS Levels in Year 12 and three A2 Levels in Year 13.  A student’s programme will also include general studies and PSHE.  There are opportunities for sport and community service as well as extra-curricular activities.

PSHCE Programme

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education aims to help improve the ways in which students learn, relate to others, grow socially, choose healthy lifestyles and become independent citizens playing a positive part in society.  The curriculum is enriched by specialist outside speakers who may specialise in certain areas, for example, drugs education, relationships and careers advice.

The aim of the school’s sex education programme is to develop a clear understanding of the facts with encouragement to use the knowledge responsibly and with full consideration for others.  The various aspects of sex education such as physical development, the biology of reproduction, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases are covered in the curriculum notably within science and PSHCE.  In year 9 a day focuses on sex and relationships education during which students participate in a series of expert led workshops including the topics of contraception, relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, parenting and personal safety.

The school is aware that its role is no more than complementary and supportive to the role of parents but our aim is to create an atmosphere in which responsible attitudes to all relationships are expected and encouraged.  The full detail of the school’s policy on sex education (approved by the Governors) is available on request.

Personal Study

All students are set regular personal study to reinforce and extend their classroom learning. Personal study is set according to a schedule which is published on the website.  The time for which students are expected to study beyond the timetable increases as they rise through the school to a minimum expectation of 4 hours per week per subject in the sixth form.  Students are issued with a planner to help them record and plan their work and this is regularly checked by their tutor.


Students are taught in ability sets in English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Foreign Languages and Humanities subjects.  Students are taught in all ability groups in Art, Design & Technology, Computing, Drama, Music, Physical Education, and PSHCE.

Assessments and Exams

Throughout all key stages students are assessed regularly to monitor progress and help students and their teachers to set targets for further improvement.  A student’s performance is reported home between five and six times a year.  Formal national examinations in all GCSE are sat at the end of Key Stage 4.  AS and full A level courses are examined at the end of each academic year.

Arts and Performance

Our Arts & Performance Faculty brings together a mix of our creative and expressive departments including:


The Communications Faculty comprises of the English and Modern Foreign Languages Departments, clearly with language and communicatiion at their core.

Humanities and Enterprise

There are a number of Departments within our Humanities & Enterprise Faculty, including:


The Mathematics Department is also a Faculty. In every school maths skills are important to teach and so we give it focus:


The Technology Department Faculty contains Catering, Graphic Products, Resistant Materials, Systems & Control and Textiles. 

Design & Technology


The Science Faculty breaks down into three specialisms: Biology, Chemistry and Physics represented in each subject area with specialist teachers.