Thames pupils enjoy academic challenges every day and are inspired to achieve their best. Staff are passionate about their subjects, bringing academic rigour to their teaching. Underlying our philosophy of teaching is the importance of valuing every individual. Small classes enable teachers to build rapport with each pupil and nurture their gifts and talents. As pupils grow in confidence and encourage each other in the classroom, their appetite for academic study increases.
Through their own passion for English, teachers foster in pupils a love of language and literature, whilst maximising the individual potential of each pupil. Precise, detailed and insightful analysis grows from pupils' engagement and enjoyment. Texts are carefully chosen which provide diverse and exciting challenges. Lively debate is encouraged in class as is experimentation in a wide range of writing styles. Pupils take both English Literature and English Language GCSEs and many go on to study English at A Level.
Pupils participate in national competitions such as the Newsquest Young Reporter Scheme, Young Writers competitions and Independent Schools Association creative writing competitions.
What is more exciting than a science lesson with colourful explosions, acid and alkalis or surgery on a heart? These are among the many practicals our pupils experience. Pupils study separate sciences at GCSE and a significant number go on to study at least one science at A Level and beyond.
Pupils take part in dissections club, Bronze and Silver Crest Awards and national competitions run by the Royal Societies of Biology, Chemistry and Physics respectively. Pupils have enjoyed Science/Geography trips to Iceland to learn about the glacial landscape and to the Bay of Naples to learn about the volcanic landscape.
The aim of the Maths Department at Thames is to instil in pupils an enjoyment of mathematics, cultivating belief in their ability and resilience. Pupils follow a curriculum that draws on the best teaching techniques worldwide. The Year 7 curriculum adopts a variety of methods including visual processes so that younger pupils develop an excellent grasp of Number which lays the foundation for algebra, geometry and data handling.
In addition to Mathematics IGCSE, our most able pupils may take the Level 2 Certificate in Further Maths in Year 11 as a preparation for Maths A Level. Enrichment opportunities are also offered to all our pupils who participate in national competitions including the UKMT Maths Challenge.
The study of History is important as it teaches us about people’s motivations and actions and helps us understand our society. Pupils learn about our heritage and culture as well as the significant people and events which have shaped our nation and our world.
Key Stage 3 classes study the Romans, the Middle Ages, the Tudors and Stuarts, the British Empire, the slave trade and the twentieth century world. The IGCSE course is The Twentieth Century with a depth study on Germany, 1918-1945.
Our History department has won a Good Schools Guide Award: Best performance taking History GCSE at an English independent school. History is used to reinforce literacy skills and pupils learn how to structure and write extended essays, developing the ability to evaluate sources, think critically and analyse events.
Geography stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder about places, helping young people make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environment interact, and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. Pupils develop a broad range of literacy, numeracy and map skills and we aim to ensure they complete at least one fieldwork investigation in each school year.
The Cambridge IGCSE Geography course gives pupils a solid grounding in all traditional topics in Geography, as well as the chance to demonstrate their understanding of map reading and completing a geographical investigation.
At Thames pupils are taught to engage positively with other people. Learning to listen, seeking to understand, and respecting others’ faiths and worldviews is essential. The Key Stage 3 curriculum prepares pupils for adult life by teaching them about the major world religions. Religious Studies GCSE is taken by Year 10 pupils and focuses on Christianity, Islam and Christian philosophy and ethics.
Offered only in KS4, Business Studies IGCSE is a popular option that helps pupils understand all elements of business activity, including types of business ownership and objectives, employment and human resources, marketing, the practicalities of operating and expanding a business, basic financial literacy and ways in which businesses can be affected by government decisions. It provides a base from which pupils can study a variety of Business and Economics courses at A Level as well as applying their knowledge to self-employment and business leadership in the future.
At Thames we value languages and believe they are important to education in the modern world. Spanish and French are taught to GCSE with a high percentage of pupils achieving 9-7 grades. Co-curricular provision includes the popular Spanish Spelling Bee for Year 7, international culture and food and Italian. Bilingual pupils may take GCSEs in their second language in Year 8, 9 or 10, including in Russian, Modern Greek, Mandarin and Japanese.
Overseas trips give pupils the opportunity to practise using their language skills and broaden their cultural understanding. Past trips include Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Paris and Lille.
The Year 7 and 8 curriculum focuses on e-safety, website design and coding with use of platforms such as App Inventor. Pupils in Years 9 and above develop coding skills with lessons delivered by outside professionals in keeping with our approach to the creative design orientated subjects. The IGCSE in Computer Science is often taken early. The skills developed can easily be transferred to industry.
Thames is a mainstream school with provision for a small number of pupils with mild Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia. Our excellent learning support for these pupils is recognised by the Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD).
Pupils with mild Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) are often highly creative and take full advantage of the exceptionally high standard of our creative arts departments, often opting to complete two Art GCSEs, take part in performances or become key members of our sports teams. Others may be gifted in specific areas and take advantage of the extension opportunities offered in subjects like Maths, Science, History and English. By providing the correct support, many pupils with SpLD achieve highly and inspire others. Specialist one to one tuition can be provided which is in addition to the school fees.
In 2021 the percentage of 9-7 grades was 70% and 9-4 99%. 28% of our pupils attained 100% 9-7 grades this year and 92% of our pupils achieved at least one 9-7 grade. A high percentage of 9-7 grades was achieved in subjects including: Further Maths, Art, Graphics & Music 100%, History 89%, Biology 86%, Spanish 85%, French 80%, Physics 77%, English Language 76%, Chemistry 76%, Business Studies 71%, Drama 63%, English Literature 56%, Maths 52% and Geography 50%.
The focused teaching, individual attention and personal encouragement provided at Thames together make a real difference in enabling pupils to reach their potential. Based on standardised predictors and Key Stage 2 data most of our pupils consistently achieve grades that are significantly above their ability.
Despite the fact that our leavers are highly sought after by local sixth forms our parents have long wanted us to open our own. In September 2023 this is becoming a reality. Our state of the art facility, dedicated staff team and personalised teaching methods make Thames the ideal environment in which to study A levels.
More details coming soon.
Pupils who display high ability, a specific talent or are gifted in a particular area are noticed and nurtured at Thames. Pupils are inspired to aim as high as possible and not to limit themselves. Challenges involve application of higher order thinking skills and an expectation to identify deeper layers of meaning.
Our co-curricular programme enables able, gifted and talented pupils to expand their repertoire of skills and explore and apply individual areas of gifting. This is through internal and external competitions, clubs, societies and the many opportunities within London.
It is not unusual for pupils to take a broad combination of GCSEs including separate sciences, arts subjects, languages and humanities. They pursue subjects that develop their skills and aspirations to attain qualifications that will open doors to their future career choices.
Many of our pupils achieve highly at GCSE and are successful in their future studies. Since starting their journey at Thames, a significant number have achieved first class honour degrees and some have completed postgraduate studies.
“Pupils display excellent attitudes to their learning across the curriculum. They are well motivated to succeed and say this is because teaching supports their individual needs highly effectively and enables them to develop the confidence to aim for long term success.”
ISI, April 2022
28% of our pupils achieved 100% 9-7 grades
9-7 grades in Art, Further Maths, Music & Graphics
80% of our pupils achieved at least five 9-7 grades
92% of our pupils achieved at least one 9-7 grade