Curriculum | Portsmouth High School


'Lessons proceed at a swift pace, with a variety of activities and tasks to stimulate both co-operative and individual learning.' ISI Report 2015

The Senior School curriculum is academically rigorous and enables girls to develop those significant intellectual skills that go beyond each academic discipline, to ensure they can use their knowledge in new situations and see connections between and within subjects. Such skills are fundamental if pupils are to achieve their maximum potential and develop as independent, focussed learners who are academically successful.

Years 7, 8 and 9

In Years 7 and 8 in particular, the curriculum is based largely around subject specialisms, but seeks to maintain the collaborative enquiry-based approach developed in the Junior School.


The emphasis in science is on thinking like a scientist, before learning the benefits that a more specialist disciplinary focus provides, and covers all three natural sciences. From Year 9, biology, chemistry and physics are taught separately, and IGCSE courses will commence.


Girls entering Year 7 have the choice of Spanish or French as their main language. They may continue with either Mandarin or Latin as their second language. German is also available in Year 9 for those who have studied it before.

Cross-curricular learning

There is a cross-curricular commitment to literacy, communication and numeracy. ICT and thinking skills are taught discretely at first but are increasingly embedded across the curriculum. Computer science is taught as a distinct strand.

Sophia programme

To complement and support traditional subject study there is the Sophia programme, in which pupils are encouraged to think in a critical manner and make cross-curricular links between subjects. This commences in Year 7 and is taught on a weekly basis through to Year 11. 

Creative arts

The creative arts and sport are a vital and fundamental part of every girl’s entitlement, and throughout the school a tailored and enhanced PSHEE (personal, social, health and economic education) programme encourages girls to develop emotional resilience and mindfulness.

Years 10 and 11

Pupils build a personalised programme that ensures breadth and balance. The curriculum is built on a firm academic base, choosing IGCSEs where appropriate, to ensure stability, rigour and progression to specialist A Levels.

The standard offer is nine or ten (I)GCSE subjects, to include as a core mathematics, English language, English literature, a modern foreign language, science(s), plus three options. These include Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, computer science, music, drama, Latin, RS, geography, history, classics, art and PE.

Whole year lectures cover life skills and personal and professional development, which incorporates PSHEE. PE is taken by all pupils in Years 10 and 11.

Find out more about the Sport Curriculum

Find out more about the Performing Arts Curriculum

Parent testimonials


The girls are bright, enthusiastic, have good social skills and are confident – just as you would want your own daughter to be
We are really pleased that she has settled in so well. We were apprehensive beforehand, as she moved to a new school where she didn’t know anyone, but everyone has been really friendly and she is enjoying all the lessons so we are happy we made the right choice for her.
I am absolutely thrilled with her progress at Portsmouth High School this term. My daughter comes home in the evenings very excited and tells me about her day. She is passionate about her academic work, her sports and music and is starting to become much more confident socially. She also loves her mentor. 


prospectus prospectus
Portsmouth High School is part of the Girls Day School Trust

The Girls’ Day School Trust, 100 Rochester Row, London SW1P 1JP
Tel 020 7393 6666