Academic Subjects


We value creativity and imagination and aim to provide all students with a firm basis of skills in Art and Textiles on which to build projects that foster individuality and confidence. We focus on teaching drawing technique as a ‘backbone’ to provide a platform from which students can move into a working with a wide range of different media and materials. Lessons are underpinned by strong contextual links that focuses on the work of a range of artists as inspiration for the students’ own practice. A holistic approach enables students to develop skills in art and textiles throughout the curriculum, building skills in mixed media, printmaking, photography, sculpture and fabric manipulation as well as traditional drawing, painting and sewing techniques. All students receive Art and Textiles lessons in Years 7 and 8 and Art becomes optional from Year 9 upwards, allowing students to focus on the subject in more depth. We offer GCSE and A Level courses in Art & Design that champion individuality of approach and bring students own interests and ideas to the fore. We also offer a wide range of Art-based, extra-curricular activities and clubs that are available to everyone who wishes to be involved. 

  • Lower School

    Lower School Art and Art Textiles lessons provide students with opportunities to explore different media and materials alongside the development of drawing skills, imagination and analysis. Lessons are geared towards working in both two and three dimensions and individual feedback and dialogue with teachers forms the basis for ensuring that each student can flourish. We follow a marking scheme that takes a lead from GCSE and A Level specifications, highlighting assessment areas that make the transition from Lower School to Year 10 smooth for all those who wish to pursue Art higher up the school. All our Art projects are designed to help students become confident and independent learners. 

  • GCSE

    The GCSE course starts with structured projects that aim to provide students with an understanding of how to achieve highly in the main assessment objective areas. They will initially strengthen the key skills that they will be familiar with from their Lower School Art lessons. Following this, they move towards projects where they are supported in developing independent and original ideas where their own interests are embraced. The course is structured in such a way that we are able to cater for a wide range of approaches, allowing students to specialise in their own interests and branch out into areas such as sculpture, photography, textiles and use of digital media. 

  • Enrichment

    We offer a range of extra-curricular opportunities for all students in the school that focus on enabling them to be creative and developing their own interests and skills in Art. Throughout the year students are also given opportunities to enter in house and external art competitions. For GCSE and A Level students, we consider the course content as a ‘baseline’ on which the most able students can build, allowing them to enhance, extend and go beyond what is expected of them in their courses. Sixth Form students are also very ‘hands on’ in helping the younger students to develop their projects and ideas, and passing their expertise onto others. 


When Sir David Attenborough was asked in a BBC interview about the importance of teaching Biology, his reply was simply ‘it’s never been more important, ever, in the history of the world’. This opinion is shared by all members of the Biology department, whose passion is to teach the girls to not only love our natural world, but to be inspired by it. The fascinating relationships and interactions that exist between animals, plants and microorganisms provide the basis of what we teach from Year 7 all the way through to the Upper Sixth. Biology is one of the most popular subjects studied at Tormead, with over half of all girls currently in the Sixth Form taking it at A Level. We are immensely proud of our success in helping those applying for medical-related careers obtain their first-choice university offer, supported by the very best grades.  

  • Lower School

    The Lower School curriculum has been specifically designed to introduce fundamental biological concepts, from the classification of organisms and their reproduction, to feeding relationships and the causes of disease. There are increasing demands for students to be competent in practical investigations, and so the lessons allow for our girls to develop critical skills and competencies in this area. The aims of Lower School Biology are to engage, to stimulate and to prepare girls fully for the rigours of studying the well-renowned Edexcel IGCSE. 

  • Edexcel IGCSE

    Edexcel IGCSE Biology provides a rigorous, demanding, and inclusive biology specification, which helps you not only love our natural world, but to be inspired by it. The fascinating relationships and interactions that exist between animals, plants and microorganisms provide the basis of what is taught in lessons. The breadth and depth of content allows you to develop the skills essential for further study at A Level, as well as helping you to understand scientific developments in the field. 

    There are five core syllabus areas covered in the Edexcel IGCSE syllabus, including: 

    • The nature and variety of living organisms
    • Structures and functions in living organisms 
    • Reproduction and inheritance 
    • Ecology and the environment 
    • Use of biological resources 


    Students will sit two externally assessed papers: 

    Biology Paper 1 

    2 hours in length, worth 61.1% of the final grade. This paper features a mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions. This paper assesses core material from the specification (not in bold). 

    Biology Paper 2

    1 hour 15 minutes in length, worth 38.9% of the final grade. This paper features a mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions. This paper assesses all content from the specification (including sections in bold). 

  • Enrichment

    The KYTOS Biology enrichment programme offers unparalleled opportunities to explore the subject beyond the classroom. Girls can develop their surgical skills in the Dissection Club, enhance the school environment in the Conservation Club and delve deeper into the fascinating world of forensic science and criminal investigation in the hugely popular Forensics Club. Girls can participate in monthly A-Z biology quizzes, annual photography competitions, weekly enrichment sessions looking at topical news stories, and themed trips (ranging from the Old Operating Theatre and Hunterian Museum, London, to Costa Rica). We also encourage girls to enter the ‘Rosalind Franklin Prize for Academic Writing’, which is fully endorsed by the Rosalind Franklin Society, New York, who promote essay winners in their global newsletter. Meanwhile, MED:SEM is a programme of dedicated seminars covering a range of topics for those pursuing medical-related careers. The ‘Guest Speaker’ programme has secured talks from distinguished professionals including: Lord Robert Winston, President of the Genetics Society; Professor Laurence Hurst and wildlife campaigner, Virginia McKenna. Recent additions to the programme include the KYTOS Biology Podcasts (streamed in over 70 countries) and KYTOS Genetics Society. 


Chemistry starts with studying the world around us at a particle level, but it has a global impact in finding solutions which improve human health, preserve energy and natural resources, and help to combat climate change. Studying Chemistry is a rewarding academic pursuit and we are committed to enabling a deep understanding of the principles of the science and to showing their application in the real world. Practical sessions form a large part of our teaching at all levels and girls gain a wide range of transferable skills, from team-working to practical problem-solving. Analysis of results and information, and combining concepts from across the syllabus, are key activities and, at a higher level, these mental practices form an excellent springboard for a range of careers and further study. We encourage girls to get involved in competitions and challenges throughout their school career, but also to maintain their sense of wonder when asking questions of the world around them.

  • Lower School

    The curriculum is designed to give all girls confidence in the laboratory and a range of investigative skills, acknowledging that they will have experienced different levels of taught Science in their prep schools. In Year 7, girls learn about particles and how they behave in chemical reactions, and finish the year with a longer project where planning investigations is a key factor. In Year 8, girls spend time studying the structure and formation of rocks and this forms a good introduction to thinking about materials. They then progress this knowledge by investigating solutions and states of matter.

  • Edexcel IGCSE

    From Year 9 onwards, girls study the Edexcel IGCSE (9-1) in Chemistry. This gives a thorough and excellent grounding in the key areas of Chemistry. The study of Organic Chemistry encompasses crude oil and hydrocarbons, as well as extending into the chemistry of carboxylic acids and alcohols. Physical Chemistry takes in a range of topics and is underpinned by the correct application of mathematics to chemical problems; key areas of study include energetics, kinetics, equilibria and electrochemistry. In the sphere of Inorganic Chemistry, chemical groups are investigated practically and the development and application of the periodic table is thoroughly embedded. Lessons are delivered by subject specialists who regularly extend learning into the sphere of higher level study. Analysis and problem-solving is emphasised and this has wide-ranging benefits across the curriculum. Practical activities form the cornerstone of the course and many concepts are elucidated through laboratory activities. Girls graduate from the course with excellent practical skills and a thorough knowledge of investigative technique. The course forms an excellent preparation for A Level study of Chemistry. Most A Level topics are introduced during the IGCSE and the level of difficulty can be differentiated to allow all learners to progress.

  • Enrichment

    We participate in a range of activities and competitions throughout the year. Girls compete in the RSC Top of the Bench competition and the Salter’s Chemistry Challenge, against other local schools. Year 10 girls visit Science Live for lectures from well-known experts. In the Sixth Form, there are trips to the Bristol University Chemistry Department and we regularly send a team to compete in the RSC Young Analyst Competition. The Lower Sixth compete in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, a prestigious national competition awarding medals to the most talented. In the Upper Sixth, girls pit their wits against the RSC Chemistry Olympiad. Many activities happen within the school each year with practical investigations offered as Beacon Challenges and a Lower School Chemistry club offered by our Sixth Form Chemistry students.


Traces of the Classical World are present in almost everything we do: politics, government, drama, thinking, daily life and beyond. Classics is, without a doubt, an enthralling and exciting subject to learn in the 21st century, and there truly is something for everybody.  Tormead Classics Department aims to give all girls a broad foundation in the language, literature and culture of ancient Rome and Greece. The ability to ‘read Latin’ aside, we aim to foster skills that are valuable in many spheres. It is often said that those with some Latin have learned to analyse logically and precisely, and those with Classical Civilisation knowledge are excellent at seeing the bigger picture and viewing ideas through the perspectives of others. In most years, the girls progress to study Classics-related courses at prestigious universities, including Oxbridge. 

  • Lower School

    In Years 7-8, all girls study Latin for an hour a week. In Year 9, the girls study a more generic ‘Classics’ course, still for an hour a week. We introduce Classical Greek as well as consolidating knowledge of Latin vocabulary and grammar and practising translation. We also begin to study Classical Civilisation, looking at Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, and Roman Entertainment. Year 7-9 all follow the De Romanis course, which introduces Latin grammar alongside accessible background material. Each chapter’s stories align thematically with the background material, allowing students to see the bigger picture. 

  • GCSE

    Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation are offered at GCSE. In Latin, we continue to develop knowledge of language and vocabulary, using more complex structures within translation passages. The girls are introduced to elements of Roman history and myth. We also study a verse set text (in recent years, taken from Virgil’s Aeneid) and Roman Literature and Culture, which involves source study of Roman Myth and Religion, Roman Britain and Roman Entertainment. Classical Greek follows the same rubric as the Latin course. Girls develop their knowledge of language and vocabulary, using more complex structures within translation passages. The girls are introduced to elements of Greek history and myth. We also study a verse set text (in recent years, taken from Homer’s Odyssey or a Greek tragedy) and Greek Literature and Culture, which involves source study of Women in Ancient Greece, Athenian Society and the Olympic Games. Classical Civilisation incorporates elements of the literature and visual/material culture of Greece and Rome. In Year 10, the girls explore the comparative theme of Women in the Ancient World; In Year 11, they undertake a cultural study of Roman City Life. 

  • Enrichment

    The Classics Department has run successful trips to a variety of Classical sites including Rome, Greece and Sicily. The Sixth Form take advantage of our proximity to London to visit the British Museum and to see dramatic productions. We have welcomed speakers such as Matthew Nicholls and Amy Smith (both from Reading University). We also have an enthusiastic Classics Society where students are encouraged to present on their own interests. 

Computer Science

In today’s world, computers are all around us. Shops and businesses rely on computers for ordering, stock control, advertising, business management and even computer controlled robotics for swift dispatch and delivery. The systems on which we rely, such as banking, power or transport, simply no longer function without computers. With the increasing use and development of artificial intelligence it has never been more important to have a basic grasp of computer skills. 

Computer Science combines theoretical study and practical application, which teaches the skills needed for careers across the whole spectrum of industry not just the IT industry. Information Systems Designers and Managers, Games Developers, IT Consultants, Network Engineers and Systems Developers and Analysts are just some of the professionals who will have benefitted from studying computer science at school. Moving forward, as artificial intelligence becomes more widespread it is imperative that the next generation understands the abilities and limitations of such systems and how to use this new technology safely and effectively. 

Computer Science allows girls to develop their interest in computing, gain confidence in computational thinking, and learn the theory and practice of how computers and networks function. The subject also gives girls the practical skills to solve problems by writing their own programs and applications, both individually and as part of a development team. 

  • Lower School

    During Years 7 and 8 girls study Information Technology and gain skills in working with a variety of industry standard packages. Alongside this, girls are encouraged to continually consider safety and how to protect themselves and others in the digital world 

  • Year 9

    Computing is an optional subject on Year 9 and provides an opportunity for girls to begin to bridge the gap between IT and computer science. During the year girls will continue to explore topics around e-safety but will also have the opportunity to begin to learn Python programming. Girls will also undertake a module in robotics, allowing them to put key STEM skills into practice.  

    Whilst most girls who choose computer science at GCSE will have opted for Computing in year 9 , this is not essential.  

  • GCSE

    We offer the Cambridge International GCSE in Computer Science. The course is divided into the two strands, Theory of Computer Science, and Practical Problem Solving and Programming. The theory covers a range of topics, giving girls a broad understanding of the ‘biology’ of a computer and its interactions with other electronic systems and with humans. The practical element provides an introduction to computer programming, with the emphasis on creating algorithms to solve problems. Although we work with the Python programming language, the course emphasises an understanding of structure over syntax, allowing skills to be subsequently transferred to other languages. 

  • Enrichment

    The Computing Department offers an after school robotics club and hope to expand this over the next few years so that more girls can get involved. The company supplying our robotics equipment run annual competitions and it is hoped that in the next few years we will be able to build a team to compete with other schools. To achieve this girls will need to further develop skills in the design, building and coding of robots to achieve different tasks.  

Design & Technology

Design and Technology is about solving problems: how can we use technology and design to address needs and problems that we identify around us? Design and Technology has developed from the traditional subjects of Woodwork, Metalwork, Engineering Drawing and Graphics. It has made huge advances from these subjects, which were considered as life skills, and quite separate to the academic curriculum. The subject is now centred on the design and make process, and specifically covers the area of product design. A focus on the understanding of the design process is a crucial part of the subject and is taught from Year 7. Design and Technology develops project management and problem-solving skills alongside oral, written and graphical communication and presentation skills. The subject is particularly relevant to anyone considering a career in design, including product design, or industrial, graphic, corporate or environmental design. It also has relevance to the fields of mechanical and civil engineering, manufacturing, marketing and advertising, interior design and architecture, as well as other more specialised design and engineering careers, which several Tormead girls have gone on to study at university.

  • Lower School

    Girls study Design and Technology with a fortnightly lesson in Years 7 and 8, and a weekly lesson in Year 9. Each year group will complete a design and make project spanning the entire year. In Year 7, girls are introduced to the design process and taught a range of practical skills, including the use of hand tools and workshop machines. The Year 8 project will build on these skills and develop the girls’ ability to present their ideas graphically and allow them to have more creative control over aspects of their project, as well as focusing on precision and accuracy. Year 9 girls follow a similar format to a GCSE D&T project in which they will be given a context but all other design decisions regarding materials, functions and processes will be made individually by each student, using the knowledge they have built up over the previous two years.

  • GCSE

    Years 10 and 11 students follow the Edexcel GCSE Design and Technology course. In Year 10, designing and making skills are developed through a range of small projects. These will include design tasks and practical work and are intended to be a learning experience, so marks will not count towards the final GCSE qualification. This means that students are free to experiment and explore without prescribed limits. Design and Technology theory will be learned through practical application and some stand-alone theory lessons. Most of Year 11 is used to complete the Design and Make non-exam assessment task. This is developed from a topic chosen by the student from a range of possible contexts set by the examination board. It is submitted as a manufactured product, supported by a succinct and logical design folder, and counts for 50% of the GCSE. The other 50% is a written examination taken at the end of Year 11.

  • Enrichment

    There are several activities allowing the girls to further explore their interest in the subject. In the Lower School, weekly 3D Printing  and Laser Cutting Clubs takes place in which girls learn how to use a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program to design and then manufacture a range of small products. In the Upper School, girls can attend Engineering Club where they solve practical problems as a team. Previously, girls have constructed a go-kart from timber and reclaimed bike parts.


The aims of Tormead Drama are threefold: enjoyment, innovation and self-expression. It has a unique place in the school curriculum. We aim to give every Drama student skills that are transferable and useful in the wider world, such as cooperation, self-control and, most importantly, self-confidence, through a wide and varied curricular and extra-curricular programme. A recent Russell Group survey asked the HR departments of all the FTSE 250 companies what were the most important qualities they looked for in an employee. The two most common answers were teamwork and communicationboth skills which are implicit in drama lessons. We promote a job in the Arts as a possibility to be considered and therefore encourage visits from professionals to teach workshops whenever possible. We make our girls aware of external events and opportunities, as well as offering a varied plethora of internal activities for them to be involved in, both on stage and behind the scenes.

  • Lower School

    The schemes of work devised for Years 7, 8 and 9 have the following objectives:

    1. To develop the girls’ natural performance skills by introducing them to a wide range of theatrical techniques and acting styles.
    2. To encourage a committed, thoughtful and disciplined attitude to Drama.
    3. To offer the girls lesson content of a standard appropriate to an academic school such as Tormead, so that pupils are stretched intellectually as well as in the development of their performance skills.
    4. To encourage enjoyment of the subject in a creative, but non-pressured, environment. No homework or written work is set for Drama at Key Stage 3. Girls are free to experiment and make mistakes. Assessment is done during lessons, both by the teacher & students, as part of their evaluation of their work.
    5. To develop a passion for drama through watching, reading and participating in plays, theatrical events and performances.
    6. All lessons are designed to cover the 5 key skills of confidence-boosting, communication, self-control, co-operation and evaluation and if a girl become an expert in all 5 areas then they are likely to be an extremely talented performer too.

    Year 7 The main aim is to teach the pupils to develop co-operation, trust and communication skills; to build confidence and self-control; the beginnings of characterisation and the basics of stagecraft. This is achieved by structured exercises in improvisation and script work. These skills are then extended into more complicated and challenging work as the year progresses.They will also discover more about how drama can be used as a means of exploring issues.

    Year 8 The pupils learn more about stagecraft and the importance of the audience; movement and voice; focus; maintaining a role; characterisation and spatial awareness. They study specific techniques such as mask-work and commedia dell’arte. In the course of this study, they are introduced to more challenging improvisations and more sophisticated scripts as well as developing a good grasp of drama vocabulary.

    Year 9 The aim is to consolidate basic presentation techniques whilst keeping the focus on the co-operation skills of individuals working in a group. There will continue to be structured exercises in both improvisation and script work designed to test their imagination and this will help prepare students for the GCSE should they opt for it, as well as develop skills for life. They will end this Key Stage with a devising project that will give them the artistic freedom to present drama in a style of their own choosing.

  • GCSE

    Drama at GCSE is a subject that is both active and creative. Lessons consist of practical work, discussion and reflective writing and students will be able to work in more depth than they have been able to previously. We follow the Eduqas syllabus, which places a strong emphasis on practical devising work – there is definitely less written work than most other subjects as the examination board encourages the ability to write succinctly. Students will learn about all aspects of theatrecraft: acting, design and directing. We explore various practitioners such as Stanislavski, Frantic Assembly, Brecht and Boal as well as specific genres such as Physical Theatre and Theatre-in-Education. Candidates can also gain an understanding of how to use make-up, costume, set design, lighting and sound effectively and have the option to choose one of these design areas for assessment, instead of performance. We have many different types of student opt for Drama and it is rated highly by all universities as it helps make you confident, sensitive and a strong leader. Whether you are a naturally outgoing person or a quiet, thoughtful person you can succeed in this subject as long as you bring enthusiasm, imagination, focus and a willingness to work creatively.

    Component 1 (40%) is a devised unit in which you will create an exciting piece of new theatre in small groups, based on a practitioner or style of theatre you have studied. There is a written report about the process (which has a maximum word count of just 900 words) plus an evaluation of the performance which is written in controlled conditions.

    Component 2 (20%) involves the performance of a script to an examiner in small groups/pairs. There is no written work for this component.

    Component 3 (40%) is a written examination consisting of a series of questions based on an interesting set text we will have studied practically, plus one short question analysing a theatre production you will have seen. The examination lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  • Enrichment

    We operate an inclusive ethos and stage at least two productions per year, involving girls from every year group within the Senior School. The style of each production varies to ensure we show a range of comedies, tragedies, modern and classics. Every other year, the school stages a musical. Recent productions have included Pygmalion, The Comedy of Errors, Legally Blonde , Little Women and Guys and Dolls. Girls are encouraged not only to act but also to help in other areas of theatrical production, such as stage management, costume, make-up, lighting and sound. Technical Theatre Club runs once a week to cater for these students and is regularly led by the 6th Form Technical Theatre Mentors. There is also a weekly Year 7 Drama Club, Year 8/9 Youth Theatre and an Upper School (Y10-13) Theatre Company as well as a Glee Musical Theatre Club and the work undertaken at these often leads to public performances in the form of assemblies, small scale productions or as part of the annual Music and Arts Evening.

    A week-long Drama School, run by the Head of Department, takes place at the end of the summer term with Tormead girls and RGS boys combining to devise a play in a week. Additionally, there is a hugely popular annual House Drama competition where entries are written/devised, auditioned and directed by the Sixth Form House Captains, with a cast selected from girls in Year 8 and 9 under the supervision of a member of staff.

    There are at least four theatre trips organised annually as GCSE and ‘A’ Level Drama pupils are required to experience live theatre performances as part of the course. Highlights have included trips to see ‘The Woman in Black’, Frantic Assembly’s ‘Othello’, ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’, Florian Zeller’s ‘The Son’ and‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’. The older pupils also take part in at least one bespoke workshop by an outside practitioner each year. Most recently, we have welcomed Splendid Productions, The Paper Birds and Frantic Assembly to Tormead. We also have good links with the wider community such as the Drama Departments at Guildford School of Acting and at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford and we often undertake joint ventures, such as workshops and productions with their students and staff.

    The Drama department regularly enters nationwide initiatives, such as the National Theatre Connections Project, the Shakespeare Schools Festival or the Leatherhead Drama Festival in order for students to get the chance to perform on professional stages. The girls are also guided through auditions for outside companies such as the National Youth Theatre, G Live Creative Company, Monologue Slam UK and for television work with casting agencies. Pupil initiative is also encouraged – the Sixth Form Drama Scholars sometimes co-direct students from Year 7, 8 and/or 9 in an annual production. Recent productions have included a performance of The Highwayman to the whole of Year 5 and 6.  Speech & Drama is a very popular extra-curricular subject at Tormead. Two highly-experienced and qualified teachers work with small groups of students in a dedicated examination space to develop their communication and performance skills. 

    Students are encouraged to work creatively and sympathetically with each other to acquire knowledge, develop technical skills and have fun in a relaxed, positive atmosphere. The ability to express themselves articulately, whilst remaining relaxed and confident, is an invaluable life skill. LAMDA examinations are held at Tormead twice a year and Grades 6, 7 and 8 earn UCAS tariff points. 


The aim of the English Department is to foster a love and passion for reading and writing which will endure beyond school. In English lessons, students are introduced to drama, poetry and prose from a wide range of historically, geographically and culturally diverse writers. The girls learn how to adapt their writing and speech in style and format for a variety of purposes, honing the skills they will need in almost any career they choose to pursue. English is a very highly valued subject by employers as it ensures excellent written and verbal communication skills, critical thinking skills and empathy.

  • Lower School

    The girls in Lower School follow a curriculum centred around developing their reading and writing skills in both fiction and non-fiction. Lessons cover writers from Shakespeare to Captain Scott, from Greek Myths and Arthurian Legends to speeches by Barack Obama and Greta Thunberg. We ensure they experience a broad range of genres, ages and forms. We also follow the King’s College ‘Let’s Think in English’ programme, which is a suite of high-interest lessons which are undertaken fortnightly for two years in KS3. They are largely oral, based on reading, open-ended questioning and structured group discussion, which increases students’ reasoning skills and metacognition. The girls are also given independent reading opportunities each fortnight to supplement the reading they do in class. We strongly encourage girls to read widely at home as well, challenging themselves to go beyond their comfort zones and expose themselves to some of the truly wonderful literature that has been created.

  • GCSE

    Pupils sit the Edexcel 9-1 IGCSE courses in Literature and Language. The work they complete and the skills they hone during their studies in Lower School stand them in good stead for the start of their GCSE courses, and the specifications followed allow for excellent extension of these skills. For the Literature course, pupils will complete two pieces of coursework (one on a modern drama text and one on a Shakespeare play). In preparation for the Literature examination, pupils will study a modern prose text alongside the Edexcel IGCSE poetry anthology. For their Language GCSE, the pupils will similarly complete two pieces of coursework (one is an imaginative writing response and the other an analysis of poetry and prose texts from the Edexcel IGCSE anthology). For the examination, the pupils prepare to analyse unseen fiction and non-fiction texts, building on the breadth of their reading. In addition, the pupils are taught to write their own texts: journalistic, non-fiction pieces and descriptive and narrative texts. Their command of spelling, punctuation and grammar is also tested here. Knowledge and understanding of non-fiction is of utmost importance, and exposure to contemporary issues and effective examples of non-fiction texts aids preparation

  • Enrichment

    The English Department provides a wealth of opportunities for girls at all ages and levels to appreciate the wider benefits of the subject. We run the National Theatre’s playwriting national programme, offer a creative writing club for the Lower School, an Upper School and Sixth Form book group, a Shakespeare Festival for Year 7, the ‘Poetry by Heart’ competition, RSC actor workshops and a variety of trips and visits to the theatre. The year culminates in our annual writing competition – the Toubkin Cup – which shows off the best of the girls’ writing. Every year group takes part and for the shortlisted students we hold an evening celebration and recitation of the writing, which is judged by a visiting author. Many of these clubs result in girls being entered for local and national competitions, and Tormead students have had great success in these. Through the school’s Beacon Programme, there are opportunities for the girls to tailor their own learning beyond the classroom. We draw the girls’ attention to exhibitions, performances or talks we believe will be interesting and relevant, and many girls take up these opportunities, seeing the broad benefits of the subject in the process.

Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition offers a creative environment that has the potential to give all girls valuable life skills that will benefit them both now and in the future. By studying this subject, they will develop organisational and problem-solving skills, be able to manage their time and resources effectively, and above all, enjoy a sense of achievement when they create delicious and beautifully presented dishes. Never has it been more important to question where our food comes from and the impact this may have on our both our health and the environment. Our girls are increasingly aware of the global issues concerning food production and we aim to encourage an ability to make informed decisions so that they may feed themselves and others affordably, nutritiously and ethically throughout life.

  • Lower School

    In Lower School, we encourage girls to make informed decisions about the foods they choose to eat and aim to give them the necessary skills to prepare and cook successful dishes. During Year 7, we teach the importance of health and safety while building confidence and independence in the Food Room. There is a strong emphasis on current nutritional advice with girls making sweet and savoury dishes that incorporate ingredients based on the Eatwell plate guidelines and the ‘5 A Day’ campaign. In Year 8, we continue to build skills introducing recipes such as shortcrust pastry, bread and cakes. We explore the functions of ingredients and carry out investigative work that allows the girls to adapt recipes and make independent choices regarding ingredients and equipment. By the end of the year, girls also have a useful repertoire of family meals, such as pasta dishes and risotto. The Year 9 scheme gives girls even greater ownership of their work. Weekly lessons allow for focused theoretical work on nutrition and wider issues connected to the subject such as sustainability, food provenance and ethical issues concerning food production. Skills such as meat and fish preparation, filled and shaped pasta and more complex cake and pastry-making techniques are introduced. Each girl will produce a personalised e-book documenting her recipes, along with tips, photos, video clips and weblinks. Girls finish the Lower School Food and Nutrition course with a passion for cooking and an understanding of how food (whether ready-made or cooked from scratch) affects the health and wellbeing of both themselves and others.

  • GCSE

    The Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE is a creative and exciting course. At its heart, this qualification focuses on nurturing students’ practical cookery skills to give them a strong understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials.

    Five core topics are studied:

    Food, nutrition and health – This section requires an understanding of nutrients, the relationship between diet and health, current nutritional guidelines and an ability to carry out nutritional analysis.

    Food science – The functional and chemical properties of ingredients are studied through a combination of practical and theoretical activities.

    Food safety – Students gain an understanding of the principles of food safety, food spoilage and contamination

    Food choice – Factors affecting choice of food such as age, health, lifestyle, ethical and religious beliefs are explored. Students are encouraged to keep up to date with current trends and issues related to the subject.

    Food provenance – Students are encouraged to develop an understanding of the environmental impact and sustainability of food and technological advances in food production.


    How it’s assessed:

    Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

    • 100 marks
    • 50% of GCSE

    Non-exam assessment (NEA) – Both task topics are set by the examination board and completed during Year 11.

    Task 1: Food investigation (30 marks)

    Students’ demonstrate an understanding of the working characteristics, functional and chemical properties of ingredients. Practical investigations are a compulsory element of this NEA task.

    Task 2: Food preparation assessment (70 marks)

    Students’ knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking, presentation of food and application of nutrition related to the chosen task. Students will prepare, cook and present a final menu of three dishes within a single period of no more than three hours, planning in advance how this will be achieved.

  • Enrichment

    Seasonal after schoolclubs are offered to lower school girls each term. These have included making and decorating Christmas biscuits, making hot cross buns at Easter, and finding out about Chinese New Year whilst making spring rolls. A Sixth Form ‘Cooking for University’ club is offered to Year 12 students and this is a great opportunity to learn some healthy, tasty and economical dishes. Cooking as a skill for Bronze Level Duke of Edinburgh is also offered as an after-school club for Year10 girls. The department sometimes hosts themed lunchtime sessions in conjunction with other departments. During Languages week, Year 7 and 8 have enjoyed ‘building a bruschetta’ while learning some Italian and Wartime rationing investigated through cooking some WW2 recipes has also been popular. The House ‘Cook Off’ is an annual event. Each house battles it out to see who can create a winning dish that will be served to the whole school during the summer term. 


The ability to communicate in a foreign language is a life skill as well as a useful academic tool. At Tormead, we foster enjoyment of language learning and a positive approach to other cultures, promoting social interaction, intellectual stimulation and a sense of achievement. French remains a key language within school, reflecting its importance as an International language. 

  • Lower School

    In Year 7, language learning in French has the emphasis firmly on enjoyment of the process of language acquisition and on making connections between the languages. Confidence and communication are key. In Year 8, they continue with their choice of two of the three Modern Languages until they make their GCSE options in Year 9. 

    The Dynamo course we follow provides a lively context for language, with solid underpinning of grammar for building firm foundations. By the end of Year 9, girls have acquired a wide range of vocabulary, linguistic and idiomatic features, and can use past present and future tenses. They will also have had an introduction to the Imperfect and the Conditional. 


    Girls choose at least one Modern Language for IGCSE, with many opting to be dual linguists.

    They study the Edexcel specification and the examination consists of three papers:

    1. Listening 25%
    2. Reading and Writing 50%
    3. Speaking 25%


    Topics for study are:

    • Home and abroad
    • Education and employment
    • Personal life and relationships
    • The world around us
    • Social activities, fitness and health

    Girls have regular conversation classes in small groups with our French assistant to promote oral fluency and to develop their linguistic confidence. 

    During the IGCSE course, as part of our Activity Week provision at the end of Year 10, they have the opportunity to travel to France for an immersive cultural and linguistic residential trip. 

  • Enrichment

    A highlight of the language-learning calendar is our yearly Language Week. We immerse ourselves for a week, both in and outside lesson time in activities ranging from song, dance and poetry competitions to language quizzes, French cuisine, and the opportunity to learn a completely new language. We are launching ‘La Plus Belle Voix’ competition in Year 8 (French version of ‘The Voice’) and looking forward to the pupils’ rendition of the French songs. French cinema is also a strong medium to be exposed to language and culture which is what ‘Ciné Ce Soir’ aims to achieve. Both the Library and the IT department also join in the fun with additional challenges for the girls.

    Speed Debating means our Sixth Formers are becoming quite adept at debating in French, enjoying the social contact with A Level students from other schools at our regular meetings, and discuss such hot topics as ‘What’s the point of getting married these days?’ and ‘Is it worth preserving French traditions?’

    Year 10 have the opportunity in June to visit Paris and absorb the French culture  whilst immersing themselves in cultural visits, French language lessons and a trip to Parc Asterix.

    Lower School Language Club is a celebration of each individual’s cultural background and interests. We have had many fascinating sessions this year with girls finding out about Indian weddings and learning a little Hindi, life in Sweden, South Africa, Rome and Moscow. We also play games, watch cartoons and practise language skills. 

    Francofilles is an Upper School and Sixth Form club which focuses on aspects of French culture such as singer Stromae and the popularity of Verlan. Visiting speakers also always prove to be a highlight of this popular club. 


Geography is one of the broadest and most enticing subjects on the curriculum. From geopolitics to geology, there is something to interest everyone. In this rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever before that people have geographical knowledge to take through their lives. This knowledge will create politicians, scientists, and economists with a better understanding of the interactions of humans and the planet, and therefore a fairer and more prosperous society of tomorrow. Current geographical issues such as Brexit and the climate crisis, highlight the relevance of Geography, and education on these matters should be at the forefront of our priorities. The subject presents many opportunities – Geography degrees are highly respected and over 90% of Geography graduates are employed within six months of finishing University courses. Careers in business and finance, journalism, politics, town planning, environmentalism and many more can be accessed through a Geography degree. After all, there’s far more to Geography than just rocks and map reading.

  • Lower School

    The Year 7 course focuses on topics that are pertinent to the UK ‘Our Island Home’ whilst Year 8 students investigate ‘The World Around Us’. Throughout the course we aim to develop key geographical skills such as map reading and fieldwork. 

    From Year 9, we cover topics from the AQA GCSE such as Tectonic and Climatic Hazards and Urbanisation. Through a range of case studies, we consider the impacts of human and physical processes on people and learn how the physical processes of the Earth can be managed. We are able to deliver the lessons in a variety of ways, including individual and group work. We also seek to develop the skills of graphicacy, numeracy and data presentation within the topics that are taught. 

  • GCSE

    We study the AQA GCSE course for its breadth and contemporary content. The topics include both Physical Geography (The Challenge of Natural Hazards, The Living World and Physical Landscapes in the UK) and Human Geography (Urban Issues and Challenges, The Changing Economic World and The Challenge of Resource Management) and allow the girls to gain an understanding of the processes shaping our planet. Fieldwork is examined as part of Paper 3 and, during the course of Years 10 and 11, girls undertake two pieces of fieldwork – one Physical and one Human – in the local area. In the final weeks of the course, we consider an issue identified in a pre-release booklet published by AQA, understanding of which tested in Paper 3.

  • Enrichment

    In the Lower School, the girls complete a river study on the Tillingbourne and have a chance to navigate in the countryside around Shere putting their map skills to the test. GCSE fieldwork is designed and timed to complement the topics being taught whilst enabling the girls to experience a range of data collection techniques. In the Sixth Form, there are residential visits to Dorset, Birmingham and Bristol where course content can be exemplified, and fieldwork skills are developed further. This allows the girls to gain confidence with the skills required for their own Independent Investigation. We hold regular Beacon sessions and there is a lunch-time Geography Club which is run by the Geography Mentor and open to all year groups in the Senior School. Current issues are presented and then fervently debated. The Sixth Form are members of the local Geographical Association and attend a range of lectures throughout the year related to aspects of the course. Each year, we invite a speaker to talk about a Geographical issue. This may be related to our ECO Schools accreditation to raise awareness of ECO themes of water, waste, energy, biodiversity and transport, or related to another current geographical issue.


The ability to speak another language broadens the mind and opens doors in the future. German is the most sought-after language by employers in the UK, and the most widely spoken native language in Europe. Germany is the fourth-largest economy worldwide, and home to some of the biggest and most influential science and technology companies.   

The German Department prides itself on being engaging, supportive and successful. Our lessons include opportunities for creativity, critical thinking, teamwork and resilience, whilst gaining competence in the four key language skills. 

  • Lower School

    Many of our pupils choose to study German as one of their two modern languages, with three hours of teaching per fortnight. The aim is to build their confidence as linguists and allow them to practise the skills required to continue to GCSE level and beyond.  The Lower School curriculum follows the Stimmt!  textbooks. There is a real focus on the key skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. By the end of Key Stage 3, the pupils are competent with using the main tenses, can converse in everyday situations, and have met many of the topics that they will cover in greater depth at IGCSE.  

  • IGCSE German (Edexcel)

    significant number of pupils decide to continue with German and follow the Pearson Edexcel IGCSE course. This provides seamless progression from the Key Stage 3 course, allowing students to study a number of varied topics that are interesting and relevant to them. These include education and future plans, environmental issues, holidays and tourist information, and shopping and money matters. The examinations at the end of Year 11 assess the students’ ability in all four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. All girls studying for their IGCSE in German have a weekly speaking session in small groups with our German assistant. During Activity Week, girls studying German in Year 10 have the opportunity to travel to Germany. Teachers work hard to ensure that lessons are engaging and give the pupils as much of an insight into the culture of the German-speaking world as possible. 

  • Enrichment

    The German Department fully understands the importance of enrichment when learning a language, not only to boost linguistic competence, but also to broaden the pupils’ horizons to the cultural and social landscape in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. At Key Stage 3, all pupils can attend the weekly Modern Languages Club. These sessions are often led by our Sixth Form language mentors. At IGCSE level, all girls have the opportunity to take part in a visit to Germany and attend language workshops, as well as enjoying cultural trips to local landmarks. At A Level, we run visits to London where we take part in A Level workshops on our selected novel and film. We also have links with local schools, where we attend debating evenings and A Level conference days run by local universities. We are actively involved in the Guildford-Freiburg twinning association, where we enjoy taking part in the lectures and events provided for students following the A Level German course. All girls are encouraged to read the many magazines on offer in the library. 



Studying History enables us to understand the world around us and equips us with a range of skills to engage with society in a critical and discerning manner. Our Department aims to bring the past to life through study of a curriculum that is broad, academically rigorous and highly engaging.  History is not merely what happened; it is an understanding of the how the past has been interpreted and the development of our own evaluation of key historical events and figures.  We aim to offer an varied and inclusive curriculum at Key Stage 3 and 4, which enables pupils to understand the relevance of History as a subject and to see how the past has shaped the world we live in.  

  • Lower School

    In Year 7 we develop girls’ source analysis and essay-writing skills through studies of the Norman Conquest, the significance of Magna Carta, the impact of the Black Detath on Europe and developments in science in the medieval Islamic Empire.  Year 8 are focused on the development of Empires, examining the impact of the Chinese, Islamic and European Empires in the medieval period, followed by a study of Native American responses to colonialism. Later in the Year, we examine the interaction of the Industrial Revolution on the development of the British Empire and slave trade, as well as case-studies on the impact of Empire on India, South Africa, Australia and Canada.  This allows the girls to evaluate and debate the controversies of the country’s colonial past.  

    In Year 9, girls focus on twentieth and twenty-first century History, covering a broad course ranging from the female suffrage movement, through both World Wars, to reviewing terrorism in the modern age.  


    In Year 10, our fascinating and academically stimulating unit on Germany, 1919-45 looks at the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic, and charts Germany’s descent into totalitarian dictatorship. We also tackle the advances, demands and failures of the Civil Rights movements of America from 1945 to 1974. In Year 11, we cover the Vietnam War and its political consequences, which have obvious links with the Civil Rights study. Then, in an interesting contrast, we spend our last term in a thematic study of developments in medicine from 1848 to the creation of the NHS in 1948. 

  • Enrichment

    There is a weekly after-school ‘Past Times’ Club, when students engage in a range of activities, including a Jack the Ripper Escape Room, a recreation of the Battle of Hastings and scripting a Tudor dating TV show.  The department also runs a series of trips and themed activities for girls in Years 7-10 during activity week in the summer term. In Year 9, there is an annual residential trip to the Battlefields of Somme and Ypres, which is very popular, and students have the opportunity to participate in the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate. Year 9 also lead the school’s annual Remembrance Assembly on 11 November.  As part of their study of World War II, Year 9 and 10 students participate in annual screenings of material from Holocaust Learning UK, which feature Holocaust Survivor testimony.  We are part of the Parallel Histories international digital debating programme, and students debate on controversial historical topics each half term, including the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Irish Famine. Year 11 are offered the opportunity to engage in a walking tour of London for their medicine unit, including a visit to the Old Operating Theatre. 



The discipline of mathematics teaches pupils to be accurate, to communicate clearly and to construct rigorous logical arguments. It enables them to think independently and to apply these skills to mathematical problem solving. Many of the topics the girls study have applications in real life, as well as direct links to other subjects and topics. Pupils are encouraged to enjoy and appreciate the intellectual challenge of mathematics and to be motivated by the techniques and methods taught. Starting on entry to the school in Year 7, students are taught in tiered groups set on ability based on thorough assessments. Student setting continues to be reviewed each half term during the Lower School. Investigative and exploratory work is encouraged in the learning of mathematics together with a strong emphasis on the essential algebraic, numeric and geometric skills. In any year, a mixture of learning activities is used, including teacher-led discussions and tasks, small group investigations, the use of IT, practical projects and textbook practice. To assist in our teaching, every classroom has an interactive whiteboard. Our aim is to make mathematics as accessible and enjoyable as possible for all our students through a variety of teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles.

  • Lower School

    In the lower school, lessons include tasks where pupils have to apply their knowledge to solve real life problems, functional maths problems, investigations or problems in context. These problems are either integrated into normal lessons or taught as specific problem-solving lessons. In addition, we encourage girls to approach their mathematical learning with a growth mindset, taking risks in their learning, and reinforce that mistakes are a useful part of the learning process. 


  • Edexcel IGCSE

    All of the major components of Mathematics are covered by the Mathematics IGCSE course: numeracy, data handling, shape and space and algebra. It includes ‘everyday’ mathematics and unstructured problem solving. Mathematics IGCSE is assessed at the end of Year 11 by two calculator papers. In Year 10 and 11, the top two sets have a specially enhanced programme designed to increase the academic demand and to further their interest and enthusiasm for the subject. The AQA Level 2 Further Mathematics course motivates and challenges able mathematicians by covering more complex problems across all topics and provides a solid basis for students wishing to progress to A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. It provides candidates with an introduction to the subjects studied at A Level, including the extension of topics such as algebra, trigonometry and calculus, and applications such as kinematics and probability. Girls in the top set(s) take this qualification alongside their IGCSE Mathematics examination. 

  • Enrichment

    Puzzle Club and Chess Club are run by the Mathematics department along with regular competitions to promote problem solving skills. We also run a Mathematical Art competition to encourage the students to combine their mathematical and artistic skills in innovative ways. Annually, all Mathematics students participate in the UKMT Mathematical Challenge at Junior, Intermediate and Senior levels. Many students achieve Gold, Silver and Bronze awards depending on how they perform in relation to their peers across the UK. Selected students go on to participate in the Kangaroo and Olympiad competitions.  Mathematicians are also encouraged to take part in other national competitions including the Mathematical Olympiad for Girls and the National Cypher Challenge.   


Music thrives at Tormead, both in and out of the classroom and plays a major part in the wider life of the school. Music is centred in the JCS Building, with two main teaching classrooms. One contains a suite of Macs running Sibelius & Logic and there are seven individual teaching practice rooms for music lessons. Around 150 girls take part in musical performances during the year. The Music Department has excellent relationships with a wide variety of venues and professional musical groups and we are always looking to build on these still further. In recent times, members of the Chamber Choir and the Symphony Orchestra have participated in professional recordings in a studio in Islington. Girls are encouraged to sing in one of four choirs and to learn to play at least one musical instrument. Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band and Jazz Band are just some of the ensembles available to girls. The Jazz Band undertakes a biennial tour to Europe during the summer holiday. Approximately 40 percent of girls in the Senior School have individual music lessons, many of them entering for ABRSM, Trinity and LCM examinations. The ethos the Music Department is that all girls should have the opportunity to perform in public at whatever level they have attained.

  • Lower School

    Music is taught as a class subject in Years 7, 8 and 9. One lesson of 60 minutes is given every two weeks. Class music lessons are based around the core activities of listening and appraising, composing and performing. Topics in the Lower School curriculum include: the six elements of music, time signatures, notation, major and minor tonality, a study of Holst’s The Planets, an introduction to composing using ‘Sibelius’ software, chords, texture, jazz, minimalism, ground bass and film music (using ‘Logic’ composing software). Attention is given to the musical ability of each pupil and differentiated accordingly. There are many opportunities for practical music making within lessons, both solo and in ensemble.

  • GCSE

    Typically, around 10% of Year 10 opt to take Music GCSE. The course is continuation of the core activities of Listening and Appraising, and Composing and Performance, but to a higher level. The course is open to anyone who can sing and/or play an instrument, and it is recommended that a pupil will have reached grade 4 on their instrument at the start of Year 10. 60% of GCSE Music comprises Composition and Performance coursework. Two compositions are to be completed by the deadline of March in Year 11. A solo and an ensemble recording must also be completed by the same deadline. Recordings take place under the supervision of the Director of Music and are marked internally, before being sent for moderation with the examination board. Usually the Director of Music will perform the accompanying role, but in the case of the ensemble recording, sometimes a pupil’s external music teacher will play one of the ensemble parts. Minimum lengths for composition and performing coursework apply and girls are sent a comprehensive policy document when they start the course. A written paper taken at the end of Year 11 comprises analysis questions on set works by composers as diverse as Bach, Queen, John Williams and Stephen Swartz.

  • Enrichment

    The strength of the Music Department lies in its extensive extra-curricular programme. Numerous opportunities are available to the girls to perform at all levels. Concert performances are available to both the virtuoso musician, as well as those who have less experience of playing a musical instrument. There are opportunities to perform in informal concerts such as those given in year groups during the school day and more formal concerts given at Tormead and other performing venues. In recent years these have included G Live, Holy Trinity Church, St Mary’s Church, Esher Parish Church, The Guildford Institute, Cranleigh Arts Centre and Guildford Cathedral. Tormead choirs also regularly sing Choral Evensong at cathedrals including Southwark, Chichester, Blackburn and Christ Church, Oxford. Tormead Choir travels to Manchester each year and broadcasts live on BBC Radio 4 as part of the long running ‘Daily Service’. Tormead Jazz band gives numerous performances in the local area and tours every two years. Recent tour destinations have included the Italian Lakes, Germany and the Netherlands. In recent years, members of the choir have performed in a professional recording of a song broadcast for the BAFTA video games awards ceremony, while the Choir and Orchestra performed in a chart-busting song which reached number 2 in the Classical iTunes chart. Other musicians have played in the Pit Band for the musical Singing in the Rain. Collaborations with professional musicians beyond school feature regularly in the program of events, and these include performing with the composer Will Todd, Vivace Choral Society, Southern Pro Music, Guildford Choral Society and Mosaic Chamber Choir. A typical year in the Musical calendar involves some twenty concert or public performances, in and out of school.

Physical Education

Many are surprised by the breadth of content involved with academic Physical Education. It is a challenging but very rewarding subject to study. The variety of topics examined in the theory aspects of the course make it appealing to a wide range of pupils. The practical aspects allow pupils the opportunity to apply the knowledge from these topics and develop their overall performance level in an array of sporting disciplines. To study Academic PE, it is important that candidates are interested in the world of sport and that they enjoy the process of applying theory to practical examples within the physical activity setting. At both GCSE and A Level, pupils achieve a proportion of their marks through demonstrating their ability to perform effectively in the practical setting. Regular participation in physical activity is therefore vital for success in this aspect of the course.

  • GCSE

    GCSE PE provides an opportunity for pupils to study the wider aspects within sport and physical education. This course combines practical performance of three sports with the study of the theoretical concepts involved in sport and exercise. Pupils will develop knowledge, skills and understanding in the following theoretical areas:

    • Applied anatomy and physiology
    • Movement analysis
    • Physical training
    • Use of data
    • Sports psychology
    • Socio-cultural influences
    • Health, fitness and wellbeing

    Performance and the written analysis of performance make up the coursework section of the qualification.

  • Enrichment

    Previous enrichment opportunities have included visiting speakers and excursions to sports science labs and the Wimbledon museum.


Physics is the fundamental science which studies how objects in the physical world behave and interact – encompassing everything from sub-atomic particles to the largest structures in the universe. The subject’s amazing analytical and predictive power underpins almost all the technologies which enable our modern way of life. As well as being a rigorous and intellectually satisfying subject in its own right, Physics is a gateway to a wide range of technology–based university courses and careers. Students who enjoy the theoretical aspects of physics may wish to study it, or a related field, such as astrophysics or materials science at university. Many Tormead girls who have taken A Level Physics have gone on to study engineering and related subjects at university, which can lead to a wide range of professional careers in industry, management, business and project delivery. Others have gone on to study unrelated fields such music, archaeology, animation or medicine. People who have studied Physics at higher level are valued by universities and employers because they have demonstrated academic rigour and developed robust analytical, problem-solving and mathematical modelling skills.

  • Lower School

    Lower School

    Physics is taught as a separate subject by specialist teachers from the start of Year 7. Our intention is to give all girls, whatever their previous experience of science, a solid foundation in measurement, experimental techniques and the correct use of units, as well as the confidence to apply methods they have learnt in mathematics to problems in physics. In Years 7 to 9, girls study introductory topics within

    • Forces & Motion
    • Electricity
    • Waves
    • Energy
    • Solids, liquids & gases
    • Magnetism

    The Edexcel IGCSE Physics syllabus helps girls to understand the technological world in which they live and to take an informed interest in scientific developments, as well as being an excellent preparation for studying science subjects at higher levels. During the IGCSE, girls learn about the basic principles of physics through a mix of theoretical and practical studies. They gain an understanding of how physics is practised, as well as developing problem-solving skills by applying mathematical techniques such as the use of graphs and simple algebra.

    Topics studied are:

    Forces and motion: motion, forces and momentum

    Electricity: static electricity, electric circuits and mains electricity

    Waves: wave theory, sound, light and the electromagnetic spectrum

    Energy resources and energy transfers: work, energy, power and electricity generation

    Solids, liquids and gases: changes of state, pressure and gas laws

    Magnetism and electromagnetism: magnets, electromagnetism, motors, generators and transformers

    Nuclear Physics: radioactivity, fission, fusion and nuclear power

    Astrophysics: orbits, stellar evolution, cosmology

    The course is examined by two papers consisting of multiple choice, short answer and structured questions, which are taken at the end of Year 11. Questions about practical work are included in these papers.

  • Enrichment

    The Physics Department leads a number of visits each year including: Year 11 Astrophysics, Engineering and college tour at Cambridge University; Year 12 “Inspirational Physics” afternoon of lectures at the University of Surrey Physics Department; Year 13 Particle Physics Masterclass at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire; and Year 12 & 13 Visit to JET Nuclear Fusion Research facility at Culham. 

    Older girls are encouraged to attend public evening physics lectures at Surrey University & Royal Holloway (University of London) 

    All girls are encouraged to learn how to use the Tormead Observatory and to join observing sessions after school in the winter months. Sixth Form students may be offered GCSE Astronomy as an enrichment subject alongside their A levels. 

    The Physics Department encourages girls to compete in the British Physics Olympiad competitions in Years 10,11,12 & 13. We also welcome Tormead Old Girls back to talk to current pupils about their university course and subsequent careers in physics, science engineering and related fields. In addition, girls are encouraged to consider applying for Smallpeice Trust & Headstart STEM subject short taster courses at universities. Finally, girls considering engineering as a career and/or as a university course are encouraged to apply for a national Arkwright Sixth Form Engineering Scholarship scheme in Year 11. 

Religious Studies

Through this subject, we seek to introduce pupils to the richness and diversity of religion and the range of issues it raises. Religious Studies encourages students to recognise the central questions of life with which religion engages and enables them to respond thoughtfully to these. The subject challenges students to look at their own assumptions, beliefs and values in the light of those studied and to consider both with a critical eye. Thinking clearly and critically is essential when engaged in such a study, and the Department strives to teach those skills. In addition, the RS department tries to instill in the pupils’ recognition of the importance of reflective stillness, believing that from inner quiet comes a keener understanding of the world. By naming the subject Religious Studies (as opposed to Religious Education), we recognise that the subject aims to foster independent study skills and develop students’ research into, learning about and critical evaluation of religions and religious or moral issues.

  • Lower School

    Religious Studies in the lower school explores a great number of the major world religions. We introduce the girls to Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. In addition, we investigate the question of the historical person of Jesus verses the Christ of faith and there is a student-led group research project into Judaism and Jewish practices. However, religion is not the sole focus – there is an inquiry into environmental ethics and animal rights which has the capacity to engender fascinating debates. The girls get their first taste of real philosophy with our introduction to philosophy of religion, wherein we discuss some of the classic arguments for and against the existence of God, before moving onto an introduction to ethics and ethical theories set in the context of issues surrounding medical treatments.

  • GCSE

    With the Religious Studies GCSE the girls examine the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam. The examination is thorough and pupils gain a deep understanding of denominational and branch differences and the reasons behind these differences within Christianity and Islam. There is also the opportunity to study different philosophical and ethical arguments and their impact and influence in the modern world. We examine issues arising for relationships and families; differences around attitudes to marriage, divorce, cohabitation, homosexuality, and the roles of men and women. We unpack the philosophical discussions arising from arguments surrounding the existence or nonexistence of God. We explore issues arising from difference concepts of justice and the legitimacy of the use of violence; is there such a thing as a “Just War”?

  • Enrichment

    In the lower school, we have the opportunity to visit a functioning Thai Buddhist monastery in the heart of Wimbledon. Experiencing both the beauty of the architecture and symbolic interior decorations but also having the privilege to discover the life and work of Buddhist monks. The Sixth Form have the opportunity to go with the Religious Studies department on a trip to Krakow to visit the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps; a moving and valuable experience. Sixth Formers also have the option of attending conferences which deal with hotly debated topics surrounding ethical, epistemological and ontological issues in a formal academic setting held in London. The department also engages with the Beacon sessions throughout the year offering debates on economic justice, the origins of Christmas and contentious issues surrounding the ownership of the Holy sites in Jerusalem.


In today’s multicultural world it has never been more vital to be able to speak another language. Spanish opens the doors to so many countries and – with over 500 million speakers – it is the world’s second most spoken language by native speakers. Let’s not forget that many people also learn Spanish, so you really can communicate with millions of people.  Studying Spanish allows students to open their minds to other cultures and to understand their own better. Students opting for Spanish find that it complements many other A Level subjects and allows you to keep your language skills alive whilst focusing on your chosen career path. Universities are keen to take on those who have a language, or who wish to continue studying a language course, as it makes you a flexible learner. In lessons, we believe in supporting our students to make language connections, build their confidence, and develop the skills required to be successful both in the classroom and later in life. Learning Spanish is an investment in a brighter, globally connected future. 

  • Lower School

    Studying Spanish at Key Stage 3 offers students a rich and rewarding experience that extends far beyond the classroom. We aim to foster a love of learning and support students to master the grammar needed to communicate in this beautiful language. As part of the course, students will develop communication skills, a global perspective and intellectual curiosity. 

    In the Lower School we use the Claro course and by the end of Year 9, students will have touched upon some of the topics covered in the IGCSE syllabus. They will also be able to apply present, past and future tenses to their work and conversations.   


    “The qualification supports seamless progression to further study, with up-to-date content reflecting the latest thinking in the subject.” (Pearson Edexcel) 

    We study the Edexcel specification and the examination consists of three papers: 

    1. Listening 25% 
    2. Reading and Writing 50% 
    3. Speaking 25% 

     Topics for study are:

    • Home and abroad 
    • Education and employment 
    • Personal life and relationships 
    • The world around us  
    • Social activities, fitness and health 

    The examination covers the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking and is examined at the end of the two-year course. During the two years, pupils have opportunities to practise these skills both in and out of the classroom with their teacher and Spanish assistant. In Year 11, students take advantage of small group conversation classes. 

    Embracing Spanish at this stage of education is an investment in a brighter, more globally connected future and by continuing on to A Level you will be even more employable.  

  • Enrichment

    In Lower School, the Modern Foreign Languages club includes delving into the culture of the many Spanish speaking countries, making a piñata or watching some Spanish films. These sessions are led by the Modern Foreign Language subject mentors and Language teachers.  

    In Senior School, there’s the chance to visit Spain where pupils have language lessons and are able to visit key landmarks of this rich, diverse, cultural and historical country. 

    During the A Level course, students can attend film and literature conferences and visit the British Film Institute in London. We also organise opportunities to interview experts in their field such as immigration workers via Skype. Speed debating with local schools is also a popular event where girls get to socialise with other A Level Spanish students. Most years, we can secure a pen-pal for every girl studying Spanish and during the year they will exchange letters.

2024 – 2026 GCSE Options Guide

To view our 2024-2026 GCSE Options guide, please click below.

Where next?

Academic Enrichment