Lower  School Curriculum

In the Lower School pupils cover a broad range of subjects to give them a good grounding in essential skills and subject knowledge. The table below shows how many hours of each subject they study a week. This broad and balanced curriculum allows them to cover a number of different types of learning: mathematical and technological; arts; physical education; humanities and the sciences. Pupils study two Languages in the Fourth Form, and can add another Language in Lower Fifth.

The Benenden
Diploma

The Benenden Diploma is our bespoke curriculum for our Fourths (Year 7s) and Upper Fourths (Year 8s), which they follow for their first two years at the School when they are in a year group of around 45 students.

They graduate from the Diploma at the end of the Upper Fourth in a special ceremony with accompanying exhibition, where they showcase their best work and achievements from the two years.

Using the acronym CREATE, we focus on developing the skills that we believe all students should acquire throughout the two-year course.

Skills  Covered in The Benenden Diploma

What is Special About
The Benenden Diploma?

Our unique curriculum has been designed to capture the sense of awe and wonder that students of this age have about discovering new knowledge and skills. We have the freedom to teach our Fourth and Upper Fourth outside the requirements of any exam-led syllabus.

The Benenden Diploma is a dynamic and interactive curriculum that fosters curiosity, intellectual growth, and critical thinking. It encourages students to become active learners who think critically, solve problems, and apply their knowledge. Our aim is to cultivate individuals who are not solely focused on exam success but instead develop a genuine passion for learning and exploration.

Drawing on the World Economic Forum’s Skills for 2025, our Diploma is specifically designed to develop the attributes that are essential for the modern workplace. We focus on the crucial skills that we want our pupils to possess as well as the valuable subject content that they learn.

We continue to teach through 50-minute subject specific lessons, but each half term a different skill is emphasised across all subjects. These skills are reinforced in lessons, Prayers (Assembly), year group assemblies and in House. As part of the Diploma assessment, students record evidence of their use of these skills.

Each term, for a few days, we suspend the normal structure of the day to allow students to work on projects that allow them to learn new content or work in a cross-curricular way. Here, we emphasise both the skills and knowledge links between the subjects to show the exciting results that can be achieved from drawing these connections. These sessions are often led by professionals alongside Benenden staff.

For example, as part of our Communication and Collaboration focus, students in the Fourth will collaborate to make a School vegetable garden. Students will be communicating with external agencies and the School community in this project and honing cross-curricular skills learning about cultivation.

The revamped Diploma provides traditional subject content but in a way which also develops vital skills, preparing students for the rest of their time at Benenden and the demands of the modern workplace.

Curriculum at a Glance

The table below shows how many hours in lessons are devoted to each subject per week.

Subject IV (Year7) UIV (Year 8)
English 4 4
Mathematics 4 4
Science 3 3
Electives 3 3
Modern Languages 2+2 2+2
Latin (or in LV Classical Studies as an alternative, or Gratin, which includes Latin and Greek) 2 2
Geography 1 1
History 1 1
Philosophy and Religion 1 1
Art 1 1
Creative Technology 2 2
Drama 1 1
Music 1 1
Physical Education/Sport 4 4

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