Rishworth sees the academic curriculum in three main ways:
- as a means to an end. The 'means' being the nourishment and stimulus which subjects of study provide; the 'end' being the intellectual, moral, spiritual, social, personal and physical growth, and eventual blossoming, of each child;
- as a blend of elements which, singly and aggregately, are of intrinsic interest and worth;
- as a preparation for fulfilment in future life - not only at work but also, more broadly, in society at large.
It follows, that, whilst we embrace the spirit of the National Curriculum - and in many ways go well beyond it in scope - we cherish and exercise our freedom as an Independent School not to adhere to it to the letter. We find that such latitude enables us to meet better the needs of individual pupils. We believe that early specialisation can be unwise. From the age of 11, therefore, pupils are provided with a broad, balanced curriculum comprised of the usual range of subjects found in secondary education.
In Years 10 and 11 pupils are able to be a little more selective about the subjects they wish to pursue but the aim is still to maintain a balance between the arts, humanities, foreign languages and practical subjects in addition to the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. During Year 9, every pupil is given guidance in a carefully worked through process in order to ensure that the best use is made of individual strengths and aptitudes. Parents are consulted throughout.
In Year 7, subjects tend to be taught in mixed ability groups, as experience has shown that at this stage such an approach benefits all pupils. There is, however, progressive setting as children move up the School, starting in Year 8.
Entry to the Sixth Form represents a major step in a pupil's development. A process of social and academic adjustment occurs as students are encouraged to read more widely, think more deeply and develop the skills of intellectual inquiry. Consequently they mature very rapidly at this stage; personalities begin to flower and self-confidence and assurance grow.
The School takes great care to advise and consult students and their parents on the choice of sixth form courses. Most pupils seeking entry to higher education take four subjects at AS Level in the Lower Sixth and then specialise in three of these to full A Level in the Upper Sixth. In addition, an enhanced programme of study is followed including careers advice and life skills, and a wide range of practical, topical, social and moral issues for discussion.
All Sixth Form A Level students are allocated a Personal Tutor. This will be a member of the teaching staff who will take special care to monitor a pupil's progress academically and pastorally and who will advise on careers, further education and the completion of UCAS applications etc.