The College is one of our two Senior Schools, welcoming students from Years 10 to 13. College students are expected to be strongly self-motivated and have a pro-active approach to their studies. They take responsibility for their learning and have the academic ability to succeed on the traditional GCSE or A Level curriculum, following a demanding study programme. 

The College: Rated Excellent by ISI

The latest ISI report awarded The College the highest rating of 'excellent' along with the other three schools; Chapter House, King's Magna and The Faculty. The glowing report detailed that pupils have extremely positive attitudes towards their work and activities, showing the ability to work both collaboratively and independently, and a strong desire to take responsibility for their own learning. 

"Pupils achieve very high standards in their GCSE, IGCSE, BTEC and A-level examinations and make excellent progress across all areas of learning throughout their time in the school."

Independent Schools Inspectorate, February 2019

College Ethos


Life in the College is demanding, yet exceptionally rewarding, for those students who are determined to rise to the challenge.

College students are highly aspirational and are encouraged to aim for excellence in all that they do. In their academic subjects they achieve the highest grades and will challenge themselves to apply to the best universities in the UK and overseas.

Students in the College are naturally curious about the world in which they live, always seeking to learn more. The pursuit of knowledge is celebrated, with an emphasis on always asking questions of their teachers and their peers to gain a greater understanding.

As students prepare for life beyond the College, we ask them to develop increasingly more independence, building their own opinions and ideas and thinking critically about their subjects.

The College is a diverse community made up of students from many different nationalities and cultures. It is fully representative of the world today and helps to create a stimulating, enjoyable and caring community in which they can thrive.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

Key Stage 4 students work towards GCSEs in up to 12 subjects, depending on their interests and abilities. Those with strengths in English will do both English Language and Literature, strong mathematicians will complete both GCSE Maths and Further Maths, and those with a passion for Science can take separate science GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

In addition, students can choose up to 4 optional GCSE subjects.

For their optional subjects, the College has a relatively unique approach with students choosing 2 GCSEs at the beginning of Year 10 with the aim of taking examinations in these at the end of the year. Those that do and gain grades 7 and above, choose 2 further GCSE options in Year 11. This fast-track approach is beneficial in providing challenge and a clear academic focus for both years of the course.

GCSEs are available in a range of subjects including in Social Science and Humanities subjects, in Modern Foreign Languages and the Creative Arts.

For those students with English as an Additional Language, it may also be possible to take a GCSE in their own language.

The College also offers a 1 year GCSE course for those students joining from other education systems or other schools.

Key Stage 5 Curriculum

Students in the College choose 4 A Levels from a wide range of more than 20 options. Courses are offered in Mathematics, English, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Languages, Creative and Performing Arts, often with more than one class in each subject allowing most subject combinations to be possible.

At the end of Year 12, College students take AS examinations to help provide an external benchmark for their progress and to support with reliable predicted grades for university applications. These grades also help in the decisions over any subject students may wish to drop before commencing Year 13 studies, and thus ensure they gain an AS qualification. Most students will go onto complete 3 full A Levels at the end of the course though some may continue with all 4.

In addition, the College also offers the Extended Project Qualification, highly prized by universities and helping to build on students’ independence and research skills. This is most usually completed in Year 12 but can also be undertaken in Year 13 if required.

Students with English as an Additional Language are supported in preparing for IELTS examinations to support their university applications.


Supercurricular and Enrichment

Every Queen Ethelburga’s College student is uniquely talented. They all possess their own areas of interest and curiosity, often outside the constraints of the traditional GCSE or A Level syllabus. Our super-curricular programme allows them to explore new ideas and stretch and challenge themselves beyond the curriculum.

Students in the College choose a super-curricular option at the start of each year. These may link to certain academic subjects such as economics or history, may allow them to develop their skills within a particular creative area such as music performance or playing high level sport, or may support them in entering specific careers in the future such as medicine or law. Students will be able to explore current issues in their area of interest, gain valuable experience and work to a higher level than anything they would be doing in the GCSE or A Level classroom.

Alongside the academic success, we aim to provide a broad enrichment curriculum to ensure students become well-rounded individuals, developing self-confidence and self-awareness, respect for others and their environment. Enrichment options allow students to broaden and deepen their knowledge in areas of interest and give a challenging and stimulating experience.

College students benefit from all of the opportunities that you would expect in a day and boarding school, including a huge range of music, drama, sporting and co-curricular activities. They also have many opportunities to develop and demonstrate leadership skills and contribute to the community, with roles as Prefects, Peer Mentors and as members of the various school councils. 

Find out more about our excellent enrichment provision 


Pastoral Care

The good physical and mental health and well-being of students is essential, especially during their teenage years. Academic studies can be stressful, with students feeling under pressure to effectively manage their time and achieve highly. The pastoral care provided at QE is superb, with an extremely high level of support provided in a caring and secure environment.

We have an excellent pastoral team which run our industry-leading THRIVE@QE programme, ensuring that our students' mental health and resilience is priority. The team is available for students at any time of day or night.

Find out more about our award-winning pastoral care  


Year 10 boarders enjoy the advantages of being the most senior students in our 'vertical' boarding houses. These are for students from years 7 to 10 and ensure the oldest students act as role models for the younger ones. Students respond well to this level of responsibility and also provide the house with a strong family atmosphere.

In Year 11, the boarding students have a specific transition house; they have increased privileges and an environment dedicated specifically to them as they prepare for their examinations at the end of the year. The routine is changed to mirror some aspects of Sixth Form boarding life to ease the transition into Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13).

Boarding facilities in our Sixth Form reflect that our students are now independent adults, with the need for more private, personal and study space.

Beyond The College

Academic results for students in The College are strong across both Key Stages 4 and 5. Students achieve at a high level which allows them to move successfully to the next stage of their education.

View Our Results

Students in the College benefit from a well-resourced and experienced Careers Department and a College school team who can offer advice and guidance at all stages of a student’s education, supporting them to apply to top-ranking universities and progress into excellent careers.

Each year, students from The College go on to study on a wide range of university courses including Medicine, Engineering, Veterinary Science, Business, Finance, Economics and Law. Most students go to their first choice of university with popular options including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, University College London and Kings College London.

Each student has individual aspirations for the future. The support and guidance provided in the College, alongside the superb facilities and surroundings, and the outstanding teaching and results, ensures we help them to realise their ambitions.

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