Upper School

Upper School is further structured to ensure children learn at their optimum pace in preparation for secondary school

From the age of nine the children experience specialist teaching for most subjects in the Upper School. Children are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their work and expected to arrive on time at the right location with the appropriate equipment. This proves an excellent preparation for secondary school. With a host of opportunities for personal growth and leadership, the Upper School at Duncombe provides an ideal bridge between class taught education and a Senior School experience.

Pastoral Care

Outstanding pastoral care is based around swift and effective communication between staff, pupils and parents. Each child has a dedicated Form Teacher who they see regularly through the day and for PHSE sessions. As the pupils in the Upper School are taught by a number of staff each day so the staff are in constant communication to ensure that information is passed on quickly and effectively. Our aim is to initiate contact with home if it is needed and ensure that parents are kept as well appraised as possible of their child’s well-being at school.

Upper School Curriculum

The Upper School works to a Senior School timetable where pupils move classrooms regularly and are taught by a range of specialist teachers. Our small classes ensure that teachers can monitor the learning needs of each child. English and Maths are taught in sets while other subjects are taught in mixed ability form groups. Within these groups work is tailored to the individual needs of our pupils. Teaching is based on the National Curriculum but with the flexibility that encourages staff and pupils to express themselves.


The Upper School is led by Nicola Sands who also acts as the Deputy Head. Each year group has a team of Form Teacher staff who work closely together. The staff and pupils operate within a culture of mutual respect that allows all pupils to thrive and grow.

See our full staff list

The School Day

Pupils are welcome to attend from 7.30am by joining our Breakfast Club and the day starts at 8.30am. The day is based around 6 x 50 minute lessons. There is a morning break and the pupils have an hour for lunch. The teaching day finishes at 3.50pm but all pupils are welcome to stay for After School Clubs/care until 6.30pm.