Curriculum by Academic Year, by Subject

To see the content of the curriculum that we follow in each academic year for every subject, please select a SUBJECT and YEAR GROUP using the drop-down menus in the header above.

Curriculum: Key Stage 3 to 5

For more information on the curriculum at each key stage, please use the links in the sidebar. 

(On mobile devices these links will appear at the bottom of the page). 

Further Information and contact details

For further information about the curriculum on offer at North Halifax Grammar School (NHGS), please contact us on 

Curriculum Statement

Living to Learn & Learning to Live

We want our students to learn how to live. To develop character and values that will sustain them and others as they go through life. We want them to learn how to be happy and to positively impact the lives of others.

Learning to live requires young people to grow in understanding the value of love, happiness, health and belonging. With us they learn how to live fully and completely, to be the best version of themselves.

Living to Learn. We expect our students to discover their passion, their element. To light a fire within that will burn bright throughout their lives. To discover and sustain a sense of curiosity and wonder about themselves and the world.

The Wonder Years

To prepare our young people to be knowledgeable, creative thinkers, able to question, challenge and form their own opinions. Our curriculum is rich, balanced and challenging.

We wish our students to know and understand the very best of what has been thought and said.  Most importantly we want them to experience a sense of wonder about the world and become lifelong learners.

Key Stage 3

“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” Plutarch

All students study English, Maths, Science, French, Spanish, History, Geography, RPSE, PE, Computing, Music, Art, and Technology.

In the last curriculum review, we increased the time allocation for creative subjects to 3 hours per fortnight (Art and D&T). In Design & Technology, we offer a range of design experiences including Graphics, Resistant Materials, Textiles, and Food.

A further change following the last curriculum review, saw the introduction for Cultural Studies.  In Year 7 and Year 8, students follow a programme of Cultural Studies which is designed to improve students’ hinterland knowledge and give them a broader appreciation of culture. In Year 7, we explore Greek mythology and Old Testament stories and then look at commonalities between these stories and other religious narratives, exploring archetypes that are shared the whole world over. In Year 8, we start with the medieval world and contrasting development in the west and east, we then consider how society and culture shifted with the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and then reactions to that with Romanticism and revolution. We then move on to Victorian culture and culture through and after the wars before considering some key changes in culture in the last half of the 20th Century.

In Year 9 students continue with all their core subjects, all students study either French, Spanish, or both French and Spanish. The time allocation at Key Stage 3 demonstrates our commitment to students’ language education ensuring all students to have an excellent grounding in one language, and enabling those who choose to, to study these two languages to GCSE level. One small group of students are offered the alternative of a Media GCSE, instead of a language,to enhance their verbal and written communication skills.

All students also begin their course of GCSE Religious Studies in Year 9, which is completed at the end of Year 10. This ensures all students complete at least one humanity at GCSE whilst allowing a breadth of choice in Year 10 at Key Stage 4. An excellent grounding in moral, spiritual and ethical issues.

Key Stage 4

“Reach out to the world with an open hand.” Zeno

All students follow an academic pathway and take 10 GCSEs, except where adjustments to the curriculum have to be made in collaboration with students with a special educational need.

All students study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Religious Studies GCSE (taken in Year 10).

Five out of seven groups of students opt to study separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics reflecting the depth of interest and enthusiasm for the Sciences, the other two groups choose to take the Combined Science GCSE which enables a broader choice of GCSE subjects.

We aim for all students to pursue either French or Spanish to GCSE level. One group of students opts to take both French and Spanish.

There is a wide offer of subjects at GCSE with 4 options.  Students can opt to study Art, Business Studies, Computing, Food and Nutrition, Design &Technology, Geography, History, Music, PE and Psychology. In addition, to support their personal development, students follow non-examination courses in PSHE and PE.

Key Stage 5

“Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar.” Nnamdi Azikiwe

We offer a wide variety of courses, including all the facilitating A Levels, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Geography, History, English Literature and Modern Languages, plus a wide range of specialist subjects including Art, Politics, Media Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Product Design.  

All of our students are expected to study a minimum of three A Level courses, with the option to study a fourth A Level where suitable.  Students are also given the opportunity to demonstrate broader research-based skills with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
All students complete a study skills programme in Year 12  to support their own independent learning.  Students are able to reflect on their current approach, learn and develop how to manage their workload and how to be more effective scholars in order to be successful in A level study. A similar approach is implemented in Year 13 linked more closely with the student’s  individual courses to refine the specific key skills required.

Students also engage in an extensive programme of enrichment. Work placements in the community, a range of societies, online courses and leadership programmes are made available and students are directed and encouraged to gain a breadth of experience to set courses of their own choosing and make the world a better place.


The origin of the word Ambition is in the Greek root Ambit. This actually means wingspan and changes how we at NHGS view ambition. While you can be ambitious for careers and success, in climbing the proverbial ladder, it is perhaps more important that our students are ambitious to grow and develop; to become the best version of themselves.

That is why we have created our Ambit programme. The programme aims to cover all of the extra-curricular opportunities offered to our students from Year 7 through to Year 13. Within the programme students have a host of clubs and activities to engage in. They have opportunities to follow programmes such as the DofE, to develop leadership skills and to take part in an exciting range of trips and visits both national and international. By enabling our students to “spread their wings” we offer them the chance to discover new interests and a new perspective on the world.

Click here to see our Clubs & Activities.

Wider Curriculum

We offer a wide range of enrichment activities to complement the curriculum.

Year 7, students begin to receive specific careers guidance through RPSE lessons as well as one to one interview and a range of planned activities such as the Tenner Challenge in Y7, the Employer Engagement Day in Y8, careers guidance during the options process for Y9 and university visits, and mock interview sessions during their GCSE course.

A rich range of enrichment opportunities and extracurricular trips continue in KS4. These include the 3 D printing club, Badminton, Camp (Year 9), Choral Group, Concert Band, Creative Writing, Dance Club, Debating, D of E Bronze, First Bow, Flute Ensemble, Football, Guitar Ensemble, Hockey, Percussion Ensemble, Pride (LGBTQ+), Rock Choir, Saxophone Ensemble, Science Club, Theatre Tech, Woodwind Group, Workshop Club and others.

The curriculum aims to be accessible to all our students regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, special needs etc. 

The vast majority of our students follow the same academic pathway. We don't feel that a blanket approach which sees students disapplied  from a subject due to their Special Educational Need or Disability is the right course of action. Therefore the majority of our students  access our full curriculum offer, including learning an MFL.  However, inclusivity is built in to our curriculum offer.  We treat each of our students as individuals and when necessary we do adapt the curriculum to suit their individual needs. When we do need to adapt the curriculum we aim to involve all stake holders, this includes the child and their parents.  

There is a high retention rate into the Sixth Form, and all students are placed on suitable courses with no students categorised as NEET.

At NHGS we also believe that our curriculum goes beyond what is taught in lessons and we are duly proud of our extracurricular offer. Our co-curriculum aims to provide a wide-range of experiences and the school actively encourages all students to participate in these.  Student Progress Tutors monitor participation of their students and the school surveys students regularly to analyse the levels of take-up of activities by different groups  within the school.