Library and ICT

The Library and Resources Centre offers a wide range of current fiction titles and classics to suit all ages and abilities with recommended reading lists available. The centre is equipped with 24 computers and has over 6,000 nonfiction books as well as a range of newspapers and magazines. All pupils also have access to a selection of online reference resources such as encyclopaedias and newspaper archives.

The ICT Centre houses more than 70 workstations and is open with supported access for all pupils from Years 7-13 during most lunchtimes and after school. Pupils also have access to the suite of computers in the Library and Resources Centre during the working day, evenings and weekends.

On enrolment at West Buckland School, all pupils are issued with a personal school email address and pupils can access their files anywhere in the world through a web browser or a remote desktop system.

Full Wi-Fi is also available in the sixth form and boarding areas of the school.

Entry to Higher Education

2017 - Entry to Higher Education

2016 - Entry to Higher Education

2015 - Entry to Higher Education

In each of the past three years, a consistent 50% of students have taken up places at universities in the Russell Group, often recognised as our most prestigious, research-intensive universities. These universities invariably make very challenging offers to A-level students, usually expecting grades of at least ABB and in many cases significantly higher than this.

Many students frequently move on to specialist courses at other outstanding higher education institutions of all kinds, including music conservatoires, specialist dance and drama schools, colleges of art and agricultural colleges, as well as excellent departments in many of the newer universities.

Increasingly, students are considering other options. Some are choosing to study overseas in areas such as Hong Kong, the USA and Europe. The school also has a positive relationship with the University of Sydney and facilitates discussions on scholarships for talented sportsmen and women at colleges in the USA. Others prefer to move straight into employment, including self-employment, apprenticeships and employer-led school leaver programmes in a range of sectors including agriculture and finance.

West Buckland sixth formers benefit from first-class information, advice and support from the Head of Careers and Higher Education and the team of tutors who possess a wealth of experience in a variety of key areas. The diversity of courses West Buckland sixth formers choose to study is remarkable and is a clear reflection of the breadth of their education at this school.

All international students benefit from guidance and support when it comes to deciding what to do after completing A-levels. A summary of our guidance is available here.

Academic

Learning for achievement, learning for pleasure

The support, guidance and encouragement given by our dedicated teachers to our pupils provides confidence and sound values to enable them to enter adult life with a sense of self-worth and enthusiasm.

Academic standards are high at West Buckland School, and we are proud of them. We have an impressive range of extra curricular activities that are an important part of school life for pupils and staff and we have high expectations of every pupil in terms of academic work, commitment, conduct and their responsibilities to each other.

We aim to provide a challenging and exciting curriculum for all our students.

While the National Curriculum influences our work, we take full advantage of our independence to provide wide ranging and stimulating experiences for our children. We encourage them to enjoy learning and prepare them for the opportunities which will face them in their lives beyond school.

The details of our curriculum vary from year to year, and are published in the special booklets available to all parents.

From Year 7 our pupils study three separate sciences, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, each taught by subject specialists. This provides a very stimulating course and a secure foundation for those taking sciences at A-level. All students are encouraged to learn modern languages, with many studying two languages to GCSE and A-level.

Year 11 pupils normally take a further eight or nine GCSE subjects. Our students usually study English Language and Literature, Mathematics, at least one modern language, two or three sciences and one or more practical or creative subjects. We provide a very flexible range of options which makes full allowance for the individual needs and interests of pupils, and choices are made with the guidance of the Director of Studies and other staff.

Pupils study using modern facilities with increasing use of Information and Communications Technology for teaching and learning in all subjects. The IT Centre forms the heart of the whole school network. There are many clusters of computers in classrooms, library and resources centre and other buildings throughout the campus, ensuring students have every opportunity to work independently.

Students from overseas receive individual support from the English as a Second Language Department. A mixture of individual, group and self-access courses ensures that students make rapid progress and are able to study the whole curriculum in English.

The Personalised Learning Department also provides support for children with specific learning difficulties taught in small groups as well as in the mainstream curriculum. The Department also provides advice for subject specialist teachers to enable them to work successfully with all children across the curriculum.

Curriculum

Years 7-9

We aim to provide a broad and balanced programme for all our pupils, which builds upon the National Curriculum and provides the basis for subsequent study at GCSE and Advanced Level.

In Year 7 all pupils study the following subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • French
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics studied as ‘separate sciences’.
  • Geography, History and Religious Studies
  • Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Food and Nutrition, Information Technology, Music
  • Physical Education and Games

In Year 8 we offer the opportunity for pupils to take up a second modern foreign language, Spanish.

On entering the school pupils join one of four houses – Brereton, Courtenay, Fortescue and Grenville. A significant proportion of a pupils lessons in Year 7 are taught in these groupings, which helps to provide new pupils with stability, and our ability to monitor their progress.

As pupils move through the school, and setting is introduced in some subjects, the proportion of lessons taught in house groupings diminishes.

GCSE

GCSE 2018/2019

The curriculum that has been studied at Key Stage 3, the first three years in the senior school, has been designed to form a broad educational base on which to build. It has been modelled on the National Curriculum, but we have taken advantage of our independence to depart from that where we saw opportunities to offer advantages to our pupils. The same principle underlies the curriculum in Years 10 and 11: to adapt the National Curriculum in order to develop further certain key areas of study. This extension lies particularly in the fields of science and languages.

An element of choice becomes important at this stage of education. There will still be opportunities for pupils to develop special strengths and interests.

Compulsory Subjects

The following subjects are compulsory:

  • English: English Language and English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics are offered as separate sciences. Pupils must select at least one. It is our strong recommendation that the majority of pupils should select at least two sciences, in which case, for aspiring scientists, one should be Chemistry.
  • A modern language: French or Spanish. Pupils with a significant learning difficulty may have the option not to take a modern language, following discussion with the Director of Studies.