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The Charter School

East Dulwich


We have designed a curriculum rich in the powerful knowledge and concepts all students need--first, to understand the world in depth; and eventually to thrive in it both personally and professionally. This involves students acquiring a thorough grounding in the most challenging and rewarding content that each subject has to offer. This is no small undertaking, but it does guarantee that our students, whatever their background, receive the same entitlement to knowledge as the 96 percent of students in independent schools who go on to study at a university.

Foundations (Key Stage 3) 

Our Foundations (Key Stage 3) curriculum runs from Year 7 to Year 9. The core curriculum is based on the English National Curriculum but is not bound by its constraints. Instead, we apply the most appropriate elements and enhance students' learning through units of study specifically designed to stretch them scholastically and personally and to lay solid foundations for future success.

In Foundations we:

  • Ensure that all students quickly achieve the high standards of literacy and numeracy necessary to underpin success across the curriculum.
  • Emphasize science, history, geography and modern languages, as these subjects develop the analytical skills that universities and employers prize, as well as giving students a more rounded understanding of the world around them.
  • Give generous time to creative and expressive arts, such as drawing, painting, music, drama, design technology and physical education.
  • Encourage independent study through extended learning projects that develop students' own interests and passions.  

All students will study:

English language
& literature


& Design Technology







Biology, Chemistry
& Physics



Global Awareness


Learning in all areas is underpinned by a series of deep 'enquiry questions' with real-world relevance. These questions give a focus to learning activities, helping students to develop essential knowledge and skills. Each learning cycle will focus on a single enquiry question and will culminate in a formative assessment that is used to refine students' understanding.

The following is an example of the sort of enquiry questions Year 7 students tackle in their study of Humanities.

Autumn Term  Spring Term  Summer Term

Enquiry question:

Why are there people everywhere? 

Learning topic:

The pre-historic peopling of the world.

Enquiry question:

What is the difference between truth and authenticity? 

Learning topic:

The emergence of organised religion.

Enquiry question:

Who gets to be in charge and why?

Learning topic:

The emergence of hierarchy in the ancient world.  

The curriculum also has an overall coherence that help ensure rapid mastery and long-term recall of key knowledge and ideas. For example, in Autumn Term, students in Year 7 tackle the philosophical question of identity in English and in French. At the same time, they learn about the cellular structure of the human body in Science and, in Humanities, they discover how human beings adapted to their environments and spread around the world. Alongside these units of study, they will learn about the make up of their local and national community in Global Awareness. 

Learning is not limited to the five timetabled lessons per day. The Tutorial programme will have a clear daily focus designed to help build character and positive learning habits (e.g. active reading to support literacy, Work-Related Learning, ethics, etc). Form Tutors and Heads of House will closely monitor each pupil’s academic progress, as well as their personal growth and social development.

All students have the opportunity to extend their studies by attending Enrichment classes which will be on offer every week. Pupils who learn most quickly are given additional opportunities to study enriching subjects such as Mandarin or Latin. Students needing help with literacy, numeracy or the use of English as a primary language for learning receive additional support. Some of this support is offered in lessons; some takes place after school. 

Sporting provision is also be a key feature of school life. Students will be offered opportunities to join teams with their peers at The Charter School North Dulwich.

Senior School (Key Stage 4) 

In Key stage 4, students follow more tailored pathways of study, reflecting their individual aptitudes and interests. All pathways include the core subjects of English language and literature, mathematics, and science.

Almost all students will have the opportunity to study for the English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications, which offer the widest field of professional opportunities in later life. Students are also be strongly encouraged to pursue a high-value qualification in at least one creative subject such as Music or Art and Design.

Some students will earn the opportunity to study for additional GCSEs in Further mathematics and Triple Science in order to provide additional challenge and opportunities for progression in later study. The following table contains illustrative examples of the pathways students face in Year 10. 

Support curriculum
(8 GCSEs)
Core curriculum
(9 GCSEs)
Stretch curriculum (11 GCSEs)
English language and literature* English language and literature English language and literature
Mathematics Mathematics Mathematics
Science (combined award) Science (combined award) Science (triple award)
History OR Geography French OR Spanish French OR Spanish
Creative Arts choice History OR Geography History OR Geography
  Creative Arts choice Creative Arts choice
  Free choice Further mathematics
    Free choice
*Including additional Accelerated English tuition

The Key stage 4 tutorial programme will focus on the development of professional and life skills that will prepare students for fulfilling adult lives. Community and work experience placements will be part of the Key stage 4 curriculum for all pupils. The school will also offer opportunities for leadership development activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

Senior School (Key Stage 5) 

Students will be provided with information, advice and guidance in order to create a personalized programme of study in Years 12 and 13. The school will offer a wide range of A Levels and other Level 3 qualifications. Work Related Learning provision will remain a key feature of school life in Years 12 and 13. All Year 12 pupils will undertake one hour a week of Community Service, in-line with provision at The Charter School, in North Dulwich. We will expect all of our students to secure offers from the higher education provider of their choice or positions on higher level apprentice schemes. Students with suitable levels of academic achievement will be provided with bespoke support for applications to Oxford and Cambridge colleges and medical schools.