King Edward VI Grammar School Chelmsford

The Curriculum at KEGS


The curriculum at KEGS is designed to prepare students for the future by giving students a thorough grounding in the best that has been thought and accomplished in the past.

The importance of breadth

“As a selective grammar school, KEGS will remain committed to a broad curriculum …”

KEGS Vision Statement

We believe that the most effective way of getting students ready for a rapidly changing world is to give students a broad education, covering a wide range of disciplines and subjects. The comprehensive knowledge and skills developed by students through exposure to a wide-ranging curriculum will give them the flexibility to adapt successfully in our fast-paced world. This emphasis on breadth at KEGS can be seen in the importance given to the extensive range of subjects studied at KS3 right up until the end of Year 9, the high number of GCSEs that all students prepare for, the way in which all our students start the Sixth Form studying four A Levels or Pre-U’s (or sometimes even more) and, finally, in the wide diversity of subjects that we offer at both GCSE and A Level/Pre-U.

Subjects studied at KEGS

Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design & Technology, Drama, Economics, Electronics, English, Food Technology, French, Geology, Geography, German, History, Latin, Mandarin, Maths, Music, P.E., Philosophy, Physics, Politics, PSHE, RE, Russian, Science.

The importance of depth

“… and the highest possible academic standards.”

KEGS Vision Statement

We also believe that true academic development comes from immersing oneself thoroughly into a field of study. Deep knowledge of a subject area unlocks skills that are simply not accessible when one is restricted to a quick overview. We teach beyond the syllabus, we set extension work and we provide many opportunities to enable students to take their studies further, such as through clubs, entering students into national competitions, and organising visiting speakers and trips.

The importance of knowledge

…”at the very heart of education sits the vast accumulated wealth of human knowledge and what we choose to impart to the next generation …”

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector

We also are convinced of the primary importance of knowledge as a prerequisite to the development of skills. Students cannot think like a scientist, for example, until they have gained some mastery of the knowledge that informs the scientist’s thinking. Skills are built on a bedrock of knowledge, rather than the other way round. We place a high value, therefore, on the importance of instruction by the teacher: the teacher, as the expert in the classroom, plays a crucial role in passing on knowledge to our students. Testing of knowledge is similarly an important part of what we do at KEGS as we believe in its long-lasting value. We want, for example, a student to remember for the rest of their lives the work that they study in History, or the texts that they study for English, or their knowledge and understanding of musical notation that they acquire in Music lessons. In addition to frequent testing, we help students retain knowledge for the long-term by spacing out and interleaving the teaching of topics.

The importance of subjects

Much research has shown the domain-dependence of knowledge: knowledge acquired in one field is not easily transferable to another subject domain. We want our students to have a broad and deep education, where they are able to make links between different subject areas, but we believe that this is done more successfully through studying a wide range of subjects in depth, rather than from constructing a curriculum that is built on cross-curricular themes and where the importance of each subject is diminished. Each subject is part of the curriculum because it offers something different from other subjects and cross-curricular work is at its best when the unique context of each subject is given due prominence.

The importance of choice

“Our overarching mission is for all KEGS students to be nurtured as uniquely talented individuals, finding fulfilment through their love of learning …”

KEGS Vision Statement

Without sacrificing breadth, we try to give the students as many opportunities as possible to choose a curriculum that fits their individual talents. Students can choose French or German when they start in Year 7, a second language or Drama in Year 9, four different GCSE options to accompany the GCSEs they take in compulsory subjects, and four or more different A Levels or Pre-U’s. In the Sixth Form, most students also opt to take an Extended Project Qualification. Every year we reconstruct the timetable from the ground up so that we can maximise the number of students getting their first-choice options.

The importance of the whole curriculum

“Without a curriculum, a building full of teachers, leaders and pupils is not a school.”

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector

Whilst allowing students to choose some subjects at different stages of their education at KEGS, the curriculum as a whole is compulsory and, where there is no element of choice prescribed by the school, then all students will study all topics and all subjects. A lot of thought and care has gone into our curriculum and it should be seen as a coherent whole rather than a collection of isolated topics. The only exception to this is that parents have the legal right to withdraw their child from RE or from some parts of sex and relationship education, but, for everything else, no such right exists and, when a parent sends their child to KEGS, they are agreeing that their child will study the full curriculum as set out by the school.