Twitter Wall


How fantastic! Some are on display on the art board for all to admire!


Retweeted From Samuel Ryder Academy

Thank you to our students, staff and families for working hard to create a safe and productive learning environment during our first half term back at school. We look forward to welcoming everyone back on Monday 2 November 2020.


A busy spooky week at Ace Club. The children have had lots of fun!  Have a great half term.


What a brilliant afternoon we had in Imperial class this afternoon. We completed our ‘Egg Drop Challenge’ putting the design and creation of our egg structures to the test! 🤩🥚🍳


Year 1 have had a fantastic day- they have had a pyjama party and been making autumn wreaths 🍂🍁


Taking in feedback and improving all the time.


Year 6 took inspiration from Martin Luther King and created their own poems after listening to his ‘I Have Dream’. Miss Leat and Miss Bacon were blown away and inspired by the words and feelings shared. Have a listen to some of those we heard...


Retweeted From SRA PE dept

King of penalty shootout during Football club this morning! Well done Jack!


In Year 5 this morning we have been working on our inference skills, exploring who we think the shoes may belong to and why. A brilliant effort from all of the children. 👠🥿👢👞👟🥾


The children are always eager for these every week! Some solve them before the staff!!!


Year 3 are having a brilliant morning exploring shadows. It is definitely a perfect morning for it☀️👣


Amazing collaborative learning in Year 4 this morning- they have been focusing on the Anglo Saxons and what life was like at this time 🗡🛡


‘Year 6 dancers have had great fun in Dance Club! Well done girls on your progress and commitment over the last few weeks! More members welcome!’ - Mrs Battersby


The Year 6 Dance Club run by Mrs Battersby has been a great success. The numbers of members is growing and the smiles are clear every week.


ACE club fun!


Year 4 have been on a quest with Beowulf to destroy Grendel.


Year 5 have thoroughly enjoyed this book and have used it to inspire art and history lessons.


Year 6 have been using Letters From The Lighthouse in English as well as linking it to history and geography learning


Take a peek at some of the great texts that the children have been reading and using for their learning...


Year 1 have been taking a practical approach to their science learning by drawing and labelling body parts. They really enjoyed it!


St Andrews had a fantastic science lesson today experimenting with separating mixtures. 🧫🧪


Retweeted From Samuel Ryder Academy

In order to celebrate National Poetry Day this Thursday, we are holding a competition for all students at Samuel Ryder Academy. More information will be displayed in form classrooms and sent via EduLink. Closing date 19 October. Good Luck to all!


Retweeted From SRA Art

We are super proud of our year 5 students and their fabulous Greek tile designs, such much detail, well done!


In Year 5 we have been looking at the internet and networks. Today we had to model how it works, here is an amazing interpretation using drama! 📧💻🎭


Some Wartime tunes to accompany our learning this afternoon. The children enjoyed listening to Dame Vera Lynn, The Andrew’s Sisters and many more.


Year 6 have been learning about WW2 across their subjects. Today in History in Oxford Class, we have been designing our own evacuation leaflets. Such wonderful discussions and great questioning shown to further understanding.


Year 6 Film Club began today and linked to our WW2 topic and English learning, we have been watching Carrie’s War based on the book by Nina Bawden


Retweeted From Samuel Ryder Academy

We are thrilled to announce that our Headteacher, Matt Gauthier has been announced as a Silver Winner in this year’s Pearson National Teaching Awards for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School award category.


Fantastic news. Congratulations Mr Gauthier!


Retweeted From Herts Advertiser

St Albans headteacher wins national award


Year 5 enjoying our class text outside today. ‘Who Let The Gods Out’ is a definite hit! ☄️🌟💫💥📚


What a way to end the week! The children (and staff) thoroughly enjoyed celebrating Roald Dahl Day. What a fantastic end to our full first week back. Thanks to Miss Leat for organising and to parents and carers for the wonderfully inventive costumes.


Smiles all round in Cambridge Class.


We wonder if this Wonka Bar has the GOLDEN TICKET??


This afternoon Year 5 made their very own lava lamps inspired by ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’! It was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone🤩 🧪💊🌋#RoaldDahlDay


Year 5 having been creating their very own marvellous medicine 🧪🧫

Secondary Transfer Open Evening

24 September 2020

For the health and safety of our school community, we unfortunately will not be able to welcome you to our usual Open Evening this year. Therefore, a Virtual Open Evening will be available from Thursday 24th September at 6.00pm and can be accessed until the deadline for admissions on the 31st October.  

The Virtual Open Evening will comprise a presentation from our Headteacher, Mr Gauthier; a virtual tour of the school; further information about the school and our faculties that will showcase the quality of our education and pastoral provision.

Headteacher's Presentation

Head Boy and Head Girl Presentation

Self-Guided Tours - 29th October 2020

We understand that, in addition to the virtual open evenings offered, those applying for a secondary place in 2021 may wish to get a feel for our school grounds and the facilities we offer.  Therefore, we would like to welcome prospective applicants to a socially distanced, self-guided tour of our school on: 

Thursday 29th October 2020


No booking is required - please arrive during the times specified and report to the main reception. Before considering your attendance, please read the important information below.

Important information regarding the self-guided tour

In order to welcome you into our school, and in accordance with government guidelines, you will be required to sign in via the NHS COVID-19 app.  During your visit, we request that you wear a mask at all times and adhere to social distancing guidelines when following the self-guided tour arrows around our school. 

Please note that the tour is for those wishing to walk the school site and view the facilities on offer.  Teaching staff will not be present on the day.  If you would like more information, please email

Virtual Tour of the School

We have therefore put together a short video of the school, its facilities and some of the new classrooms to give you an idea of the superb learning environment we have at Samuel Ryder Academy. 



Prospectus and Ofsted Report

To view our Prospectus, please click here.

To view our latest Ofsted Report, please click here.

Samuel Ryder Academy Admissions Criteria 2021-2022

To view our Admissions Policy, please click here.

Secondary Transfer Guidance HCC

To view the Secondary Transfer Booklet from Hertfordshire County Council, please click here.

Welcome to Art & Design

Year 7 students are introduced to the formal elements of tone, shape, form, line, composition, colour, texture and pattern. They use sketchbooks to explore techniques and complete artist research at home and in class. Their sketchbooks allow them to be experimental and show the progress they make throughout the year. Students will also produce different outcomes each term related to their projects: these will be either a drawing, painting or a relief sculpture. 

Key Stage 3

Year 7 and 8 students will study three large projects throughout the year, such as ‘exploring drawing’, colour and abstraction, textiles art, natural forms, world art and architecture. Within each project a variety of observational drawing and painting skills will be taught, as well as a range of practical techniques such as printing, clay, construction, tin/wire, collage and sculpture. Each student is encouraged to work creatively and independently to produce their own individual outcome within these projects.

Students will also be set half-termly homework projects, linked to key artists and art movements. Students homework and classwork will be showcased on the school Twitter account, the weekly newsletter as ‘Artwork of the Week’ and on the homework wall in the Art atrium, to celebrate achievement.

Year 9 students can opt to take art in Year 9 and during this year students create an in-depth body of work based on a set theme. The theme is set by their classroom teacher and they begin by creating a high quality drawing sheet, they then research and present artist information that they have independently gathered. From this they will experiment with a wide range of media and techniques and finally they will design and make a final outcome in the style of their choice.

Key Stage 4

The OCR GCSE Art & Design course consists of two components with each being worth 60% and 40% of the final assessment.  Pupils are set a theme by their classroom teacher for component 1 and for component 2 the students choose a theme set by OCR.  Within these components, pupils develop skills such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, critical analysis and evaluation.

All students will have the opportunity to take their projects in their own direction and to work with the materials and techniques that suit them best.  All drawing and practical techniques will be taught by the classroom teacher and students will be given full 1:1 support in all lessons, as well as fortnightly written formative feedback.


The art department is open every lunchtime for students to come along and work independently, we also open after school twice a week. We often run technique workshops during lunchtime too, to introduce students to materials and processes that they may not always explore in class, such as marbling and weaving.  The art department is also proud to be a part of ‘The Big Draw’ competition each year, with the big launch event taking place in November. Students will also be given the opportunity to go on gallery trips throughout the year to see art first-hand.

The Samuel Ryder Academy Art Department and Social Media

We are proud of our students’ work and regularly display their work in the classroom and in the central atrium. We have a Twitter account that is regularly updated.

Twitter: @SRA­_Art_


GCSE Art: Our results continue to be outstanding year on year.  In the Summer 2020, 100% of students gained grades 9-4 which is significantly higher than the national average.

Frequently Asked Questions in Art and Design

Q: What will Year 7 be doing in art in term 1?

A: We start the academic year with a term of ‘Exploring Drawing’ whereby we cover a wide range of drawing media, techniques and artists and have lots of fun experimenting with composition. We also cover the formal elements of art in this term and by December their sketchbooks will start to look very exciting indeed!

Q: Do I need to buy lots of art equipment for my lessons?

A: Absolutely not, the art department provides you with everything you need with regards to art materials and we are open every lunch for you to come and use them too. However, we do expect all students to arrive to every art lesson with a pencil, charged iPad and their black SRA Art Department embossed sketchbook. The SRA Art sketchbook is included in your Year 7 equipment pack and it is also available to buy in the school shop. Furthermore, if you choose to set yourself up with some paints, glue, coloured pencils and other art materials at home then this will only help you to be even more creative when working on your homework, but it is not a requirement.

Q: What if I can’t draw?

A: We certainly do not expect our students to arrive in Year 7 with expert skills, that’s what art lessons are for and your art teacher will be teaching all you need to know about drawing and other exciting art techniques. There is also a lot more to art than drawing!

Q: Will we be using our iPads in art?

A: Absolutely! We use them for all sorts of different things in art: to research, to create digital artwork using a variety of drawing/painting apps, to create digital sketchbooks and to watch technique videos. The list goes on…

Welcome to Business Studies

Key Stage 3

Year 9 business studies introduces students to business concepts and issues concerning the activities of a business. It explores the purpose and role of a business from first spotting an enterprising opportunity through to the growth of an established business. It takes a closer look at the role of marketing and human resources. It also looks at the role of operations and finance and introduces students to external influences on business. It explores the importance of these influences and how businesses change in response to them.

Business Studies Image 1

Key Stage 4

Students can select to take EDEXCEL GCSE Business Studies course in Year 10. This includes 2 examined units. Theme 1 concentrates on the key business concepts, issues and skills involved in starting and running a small business. It provides a framework for students to explore core concepts through the lens of an entrepreneur setting up a business.

Theme 2 examines how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. It focuses on the key business concepts, issues and decisions used to grow a business, with emphasis on aspects of marketing, operations, finance and human resources. Theme 2 also considers the impact of the wider world on the decisions a business makes as it grows.Business Studies Image 2

Key Stage 5

Students have the option to select A-Level Business which include the following topics:

  • Theme 1 – Marketing and People
  • Theme 2 – Managing Business Activities
  • Theme 3 – Business Decisions and Strategy
  • Theme 4 – Global Business


Students have the opportunity take part in the Micro-Tyco challenge. Micro-Tyco inspires an entrepreneurial environment that fosters creative thinking, resourcefulness and teamwork as well as helping pupils to develop financial literacy, communication, leadership, project management and networking skills. All money created by Micro-Tyco is invested by WildHearts into micro-loans for poor entrepreneurs in the developing world. Participants ‘become an entrepreneur to fund an entrepreneur’.

Another activity students can participate in is the Student Investor Challenge. Teams will invest their virtual money in a set of stocks and other investment instruments and they must create two portfolios:

  • The Active Investor portfolio allows teams to trade every day.
  • The Strategic Investor portfolio only allows a limited number of trades per month, encouraging long term thinking.

Teams have a virtual £100,000 to invest in each portfolio.

Frequently Asked Questions in Business Studies

Q: What careers can studying business lead to?

A: Accountancy, advertising, banking, investment and financial services, general management, hr/personnel, management consultancy, public relations, retail management.

Welcome to Careers

Our careers provision is designed both to help students explore potential career paths and to enable them to identify and articulate the key skills they have developed.

As students progress through the school our programme encourages self-reflection, helping them recognise and develop the key skills demanded in the work place and to communicate effectively the extent of their growing skill set to universities, apprenticeships and future employers. We are introducing Unifrog an online careers platform to enable students to gain a greater understanding of the range of careers available and develop their employability skills. The school works with the Careers and Enterprise Company to implement the eight Gatsby Benchmarks through the curriculum and super-curicular opportunities.

The Eight Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance:

  • A stable career programme
  • Learning from career and labour market information
  • Addressing the needs of each pupil
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Experiences of workplaces
  • Encounters with further and higher education
  • Personal guidance

Year 7 students will prepare for their future choices.  We encourage students to have aspirational career choices through curriculum activities and guest speakers.  In conjunction with curriculum learning, students will follow the Year 7 Unifrog programme. A ‘What’s my job?’ event, introduces students to a range of careers to encourage ambition.

Year 8 students will have independent advice and guidance about their futures through discussion and assemblies.  Students will continue their career learning pathway using the Unifrog platform which will enable them to reflect on their employability skills and work on projects with local employers. Students will prepare for their option choices for Key Stage 4 examination study.

Year 9 students will have independent advice and guidance about their futures at Parent Consultation Evenings, GCSE Options Evening and assemblies. Students will use Unifrog to support their research and decision-making skills in preparation for choosing GCSE options. A range of events will enable students to work in more detail with employers and the University of Hertfordshire Pathfinder Day introduces students to Higher Education.

Year 10 students will have abundant opportunities to work with local employers, including a mock interview day, work experience week and external exhibitions such as Big Bang and World skills Day to explore a wide range of career pathways. They will be invited to have impartial careers advice. This is integrates with the Year 10 Unifrog programme.

Year 11 students and their parents and carers will be invited to a Post-16 Information Evening during the Autumn term.  Students will focus on their success in examinations, and will have the opportunity for a 1:1 careers meeting with the school’s in-house careers adviser to explore opportunities for their next steps. Events we aim to offer include a mock assessment centre day. Students will be actively encouraged to research future career providers, apprenticeships and higher education to support their decisions. We aim to furnish the students with sufficient knowledge so that they can consider all their options, and make informed choices about their future.  

Year 12 and 13 students will have the opportunity to visit numerous universities, participate in work experience, and work with various employers and motivational speakers to support their post Sixth Form choices. They will have independent careers advice and will be supported to make the right Post-18 decisions for them. Once again, Unifrog will enhance this process.

Careers 3

Organisations who support the school’s careers programme:

  • Deloitte LLP are in partnership with the school to provide mentoring and employability skills to students at Key Stages 4 and 5.
  • EV Cargo Logistics, a local logistics company, are the school’s Careers and Enterprise company partner. 
  • University of Hertfordshire are the school’s newest Careers and Enterprise company partner.  Additionally, the University has supported the school at curriculum evenings to raise awareness of higher education for all students.
  • Amazing Apprenticeships have provided an apprenticeship evening for students and parents in Years 10 to 13.
  • National Citizens Service (NCS) the programme is offered to Year 11 and 12 students to develop independence through community projects and teamwork.
  • University College London are our newest partnership, to support our aspiring medics and scientists.

Leadership and Personal Development Awards

Students will have the opportunity to complete the bronze, silver and gold awards; this will include volunteering and skill development in line with the SCHOLAR attributes.

Frequently Asked Questions in Careers

Q: How do I apply for Sixth Form?

A: Review the websites of schools that have Sixth Forms for the A-Level subjects you are interested in studying.  You will need to apply for Sixth Form in the November of Year 11. Unifrog will help you to find appropriate courses in the local area, taking into account your predicted grades.  Samuel Ryder Academy have a Post -16 Information Evening where subject content can be viewed and talk to teachers about potential A-Level subjects and BTEC courses.

Q: How do I apply for college?

A: Search the college website for the course that you are interested in applying to and then complete the online application by clicking the button on the form.  Unifrog will help you to find appropriate courses in the local area, taking into account your predicted grades.

Q: How do I apply for University?

A: Register on UCAS, complete the online application form and personal statement. There is a cost of £26 for up to five choices.  Unifrog will guide you through the process using the interactive programme to find appropriate university courses based on your predicted grades.

Q: How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

A: Unifrog has an interactive search facility with live updates of current vacancies. You should also register with Amazing Apprenticeships and

Q: How do I contact Mrs Rabinowitz, the school’s in-house careers advisor?

A: Email Mrs Rabinowitz for an appointment

Sixth Form Destinations







University of York


Politics with International Relations


University of Warwick



University of East Anglia

Physical Education


University of Sussex

English Literature



University of Greenwich



Management Marketing


Middlesex University

Psychology with Counselling


London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London



University of Surrey

Accounting and Finance



King’s College London, University of London


Nursing Studies





University of Hertfordshire


Accounting and Finance





Brunel University London

Digital Design




Queen Mary University of London

Business Management


Gap Year




De Montford

Creative Writing



University of Birmingham

Physics and Astro Physics





University of Reading



University of Portsmouth

Creative Writing Technologies


University of Lincoln

Biomedical Science


Southampton Solent University

Criminology and Psychology


Primary Teacher Training




Welcome to Computer Science

Year 7 students will develop their computational thinking skills and ability to problem solve through a wide range of activities. They will learn and develop key programming concepts through Swift Playground and Scratch and learn how to manipulate different forms of data effectively with spreadsheets.

Key Stage 3

Students will get to experience both a fun and stretching curriculum that includes the fundamentals of computer science, digital literacy and e-safety. Throughout the Key Stage 3 curriculum, students will explore the concepts of computer science and have a clear understanding of what the subject entails. Students will also be able to attend the coding club and continue to enhance their knowledge of computer science.

Key Stage 4

Students can select to study OCR GCSE Computer Science at Key Stage 4. This will build on the foundations of the skills and knowledge developed at Key Stage 3 and give students the opportunity to further their understanding of computer science. The qualification is made up of two exams and a programming project: Paper 1 focuses on the theory of computer science and Paper 2 focuses on computational thinking.

Key Stage 5

Students can continue to develop their knowledge and skills of computing concepts and opt to take A-Level computer science at Key Stage 5. The A-Level course is made up of three components: Paper 1 - Computer Systems; Paper 2 - Algorithms and Programming; and there is also a programming project to complete.


As part of the extra-curricular offer, students can join our popular coding club, enabling them with the opportunity to experiment with programming, spheros and drones. Students can also take part in the iDEA award. This is the equivalent to Duke of Edinburgh, but for digital skills.


GCSE: In 2020, 72% of students achieved grade 9-4 in Computer Science.

Frequently Asked Questions in Computer Science

Q: What programming languages do you teach?

A: We use Python mainly but there are some JavaScript and HTML units taught.

Q: What extra-curricular opportunities are there?

A: Students can attend a Key Stage 3 coding club. There is also the chance to compete the digital awards IDEA. There are numerous house competitions along with the Bebras computational thinking challenges.

Welcome to Dance

Key Stage 3

Within the Key Stage 3 curriculum students will experience a unit of dance in Year 7, 8 and 9 core PE lessons. During these units students will learn how to develop choreographic skills and perform to an audience. These dance units link with the PE curriculum looking at topics such as anatomy and healthy living.

Dance 1

There is also the opportunity in Year 9 for students to study dance as one of their option subjects. As part of this course, students will have the opportunity to experience the GCSE Dance curriculum exploring professional works and a variety of dance styles. During the unit students will work as an individual and in small and larger groups to develop their confidence to then be able to make an informed decision whether they are suitable candidates to continue into Key Stage 4 and study GCSE Dance.

Key Stage 4

At Samuel Ryder we study AQA GCSE Dance, where students have the opportunity to perform, choreograph and appreciate dance. Students will perform two solos and in a group dance, and choreograph their own piece. They will also sit a written paper based on their own practice in performance and choreography, and the GCSE Dance anthology which comprises of six professional dance works in a range of styles. GCSE Dance develops creative, imaginative, physical, emotional and intellectual capacities which is similar to and different from other art forms and physical activities.

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5, students will study A-Level Dance, this is an exciting qualification which encourages students to develop their creative and intellectual capacity, alongside transferable skills such as team work, communication and problem solving, and building on the skills of performing, creating and appreciating dance studied at GCSE. All of these are sought after skills by higher education and employers and will help them stand out in the workplace whatever their choice of career. This course reflects both historical and current dance practices, making it more relevant and inspires a lifelong passion and appreciation for dance. Students can perform and choreograph in a style of their choice for the group work.


There are extra-curricular dance clubs for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. In these clubs the students will have the opportunity to learn a range of styles, and will be encouraged to choreograph their own dances along with the opportunity to perform in the annual dance show.

Dance 2

All GCSE Dance students are strongly advised to attend extra-curricular clubs and they have the option to become dance captains and run clubs, creating dances for the dance show.  Also, within these sessions they will take part in workshops with professional dance companies and have the chance to rehearse for upcoming performances and exam work.

In 2022, Samuel Ryder will be taking part in the CDTA Dance Festival in the Alban Arena.

Frequently Asked Questions in Dance

Q: Do boys have to do dance?

A: Yes, both boys and girls will have a unit of dance as part of the Key Stage 3 curriculum in Year 7 and 8. Students are welcome to attend clubs and have the option to choose dance at Year 9.

Q: Do I need dance experience before attending club?

A: No, the clubs are inclusive and for students of all abilities.

Q: Can I perform in my own style for GCSE and A-Level dance?

A: Yes, you can perform in any style as long as it meets the criteria.

Q: Can I still come to dance club in Year 10 and 11 if I don’t study GCSE dance?

A: Yes, students are welcome to attend these clubs and are encouraged to do so if they enjoy the subject. It will also be essential to attend if student wish to be part of the dance show and other performance opportunities.

Q: Can I audition for the dance show with my own choreography?

A: Yes, auditions will be held to select pieces for the dance show about a month before.

Welcome to Design & Technology

Year 7

Students are introduced to product design through their first design and make project.  They learn the importance of the design process, problem solving, creating a range of ideas, sustainability and the environment, finishing off by making a product that they can take home and use.  They will have access to a design room with computers that are used as a designing tool, also a fully equipped workshop that includes a CNC router, 3D printers and a laser cutter.

Key Stage 3

All students follow the same national curriculum programme, with schemes of learning created to stretch and challenge them, to achieve their best academically and creatively.  Students are taught in mixed ability groups: they experience work in most material areas in each academic year, creating projects that they can take home and use.  The subject is allocated two 50 minute lessons per week in Year 7 and 8, and three 50 minute lessons per week in Year 9.  The students will have lessons delivered in the practical workshop and classroom.  Within the designing section, they create their portfolio work as E-Portfolio using various apps on their iPad, which after each stage is completed, is then upload onto an app, Seesaw, to be assessed and feedback given.  The use of technology is important in this subject and iPads are a very important tool to have for every lesson, as we use various apps for learning (like Seesaw) and students record their progress throughout the practical part of the project.

All students in Year 7 and 8 study product design for half the year, approximately 18 weeks, rotating to then study food technology for half the year.  Students in Year 9 will study product design for the whole year as this has been a subject that they have opted for at the end of Year 8. In Year 9 students will be given 2-3 design and make task, continue to build upon knowledge and skills covered in Years 8 and 9.

Some topics covered in Key Stage 3 for product design are: a mobile device holder, a mood light, DIY amp, product with personality, sustainable materials, jewellery making, a structures project and much more.

Key Stage 4

All students have an opportunity to follow a GCSE course in Design & Technology, called Resistant Materials, which has seen numbers increase year on year as the subject gains popularity. The course is allocated three 50 minute lessons per week, with the addition of lunchtime and after school workshop sessions available for those who need additional support, or want to extend their practical work.  The lessons, where possible, are supported by a technician who can also aid in the creation and development of their ideas.  Students have access to a fully equipped workshop: a CNC router that can be used to create individual parts for a project; a 3D printers that can be used to develop models and parts that cannot be bought; and the use of a laser cutter that allows them to make parts of their project, models and difficult sections that can not be made by hand.  In order to use these machines, students have access to a computer room where they are taught how to use 3D software to create ideas and to complete ideas ready to be manufactured.  Alongside this we also use the iPad, like in Key Stage 3, to aid and support their learning.  The students’ work is completed in the same way as Key Stage 3, as an E-Portfolio and then uploaded onto Seesaw for feedback and assessment.  The students, at GCSE level, work through more of the stages within the design process.  Students are also required build on the knowledge and theory from Key Stage 3, in preparation for their final GCSE exam. The teaching of this subject, the intrinsic enjoyment and the knowledge acquired, students will have opportunities to further their studies in areas such as product design, engineering, architecture, interior design and much more.

The final year of the course consists of two separate elements:

  1. The first element that runs from September until February is a design challenge, which requires the students to choose only one of three challenges that the exam board sets.  Once chosen, the students begin to work through the design process, this consists of an E-portfolio of up to 20 pages and a quality 3D self-manufactured outcome. The course is carried out under supervised conditions in lessons and workshop sessions.  It is all assessed internally and given a weighting out of 50% of the overall final grade.
  2. The second element is a 2 hour written examination, which is worth up to the final 50% weighting of the overall result, this is usually sat in May or June. The exam covers all theoretical knowledge learnt in Key Stage 3 and built upon in Key Stage 4. AQA revision guides are available from AQA’s website, AQA books are available to buy online from well-known stores and individual revision sessions will begin during Year 11.


GCSE: In 2020, 88% of students achieved grade 9-4 in Design & Technology.

Frequently Asked Questions in Design & Technology

Q: What types of apps do the students use in the subject?

A: We teach students to use various apps with the subject. We use Keynote for them to present their E-Portolio work, this is like PowerPoint, but more intuitive. We also use apps for sketching ideas, like sketchbook, which allows students to take photos of their models and the sketch developments over the top. Other useful apps are Clips, Popplet, TinkerCad and many more.

Q: If students are not always confident in using the iPad to create their work is this an issue? 

A: No, they can create certain pieces by hand and simply photograph the work and place it into a digital presentation.

Q: How much time is spent doing practical work?

A: Roughly half the amount of time creating the product from introduction to end is spent doing the practical work. The practical element of the subject is as much important to the development of their E-Portfolio.

Q: Do you do much metal work in the school?

A: We do create products using metal, within the capabilities of the machines and equipment we currently have. This is not an issue when doing their GCSE in Year 11. As they only need to focus on one material area and for the theory only need to know about metals, characteristics and uses.

Q: When do students get to use the 3D Printers and/or the laser cutter?

A: They get to use these machines in Year 7 onwards. We begin to develop their knowledge and independence using 3D software like TinkerCAD, Google Sketch-Up and 2D design. If they really get into CAD designing then we get them onto Fusion 360, which is very similar to the type of software used in industries.

Q: We see that there is building work going on in this area, what is been developed?

A: We are having an existing room redeveloped with more machines for students to use, which will continue to be a workshop. There is a new product design room, that will have a suit of PC’s, more 3D printers and another laser cutter. This room is been developed to look at developing courses offered within D&T, for example Graphic Products. The final room is to be a brand new Food Catering Room, new ovens, hobs and working areas for students to develop their love of baking. 

Q: Does the department offer A-Level after the end of studying GCSE?

A: Yes, this year we have the first class of Year 12 students to study the course, which is very exciting. The students will be covering the WJEC Product Design course, a course that we have taught before and confident this is suitable for the students at the school.

Welcome to Drama

Lessons in drama are both theoretical and practical and focus on developing a range of drama knowledge, skills and techniques that will not only prepare students for drama in Key Stage 4 and beyond, but are also invaluable across all other subject areas. Students are taught how to engage imaginatively and intellectually with drama forms and conventions through scripted and devised performances.

Drama 1

Key Stage 3

Year 7 students attend one lesson of drama a week. Students are introduced to the subject by learning key drama techniques as well as exploring a range of topics and issues. Students will learn different skills: how to co-operatively work in a group; how to evaluate work they have seen, as well as being encouraged to develop their confidence, interpersonal skills and performance skills by sharing work with their peers. Students will also develop their knowledge and application of key drama techniques such as still images, thought tracking, facial expressions, gesture and body language. Students are assessed at the end of each half term – where they will be expected to analyse and evaluate the success of their practical exploration by writing comments in their drama workbooks. This will enable students to successfully track their progress and keep a log of the skills they have learnt.

Year 8 students attend one lesson of drama a week, building on the foundations laid in Year 7. Students develop their understanding and appreciation of different performance styles and genres such as Greek Theatre, Character Creation, Mask Work & Storytelling, Issue based Drama and Shakespeare. Students also hone their craft as actors, directors and designers in devising their own performances using a range of stimuli. In addition to this students will be introduced to working with some published plays and the process of working with a script. Students will begin to understand the purpose of drama and how it can be used effectively in different contexts not only as a form of entertainment but also to educate different types of audiences. Students are assessed at the end of each half term – where they will be expected to analyse and evaluate the success of their practical exploration by writing comments in their drama workbooks. This will enable students to successfully track their progress and keep a log of the skills they have learnt.

Year 9 students attend two drama lessons per week and have the opportunity to develop their practical skills through a range of different historical genres, including Naturalism, Theatre of the Oppressed and Physical Theatre. Students also study key influential theatre practitioners - Stanislavski, Boal and Frantic Assembly. They apply these techniques and theories to GCSE play texts, such as The Exam by Andy Hamilton. Students will also have the opportunity to learn more drama theory and begin to understand the mechanics of how a professional production is put together – in terms of staging, set, props, costume, lighting and sound. Year 9 drama students will also attend at least one professional theatre production, of which they will evaluate and analyse during lessons – this will give those opting for GCSE Drama a taster for some aspects of the course, in particular the written exam. This means that by the end of Key Stage 3, students can independently create performances for different audiences and purposes using various genres, styles and conventions – through both devising and scripted theatre. Students are assessed at the end of each half term – where they will be expected to analyse and evaluate the success of their practical exploration by writing in depth comments in their drama workbooks. This will enable students to successfully track their progress and keep a log of the skills they have learnt.

Drama 2

Key Stage 4

Students attend three lessons per week. Students study the 2016 new specification Edexcel GCSE Drama course, during which they explore many different techniques that further enhance the skills gained in Year 9. In Component 1 students develop their devising skills by creating original drama using the influences of different genres and practitioners, using a choice of stimuli set by the department. The set text studied for the Component 3 written exam is DNA by Dennis Kelly. This is studied practically and theoretically throughout the course, focusing on analysis from the perspective of an actor, director and a designer. During the course, students will take part in professional workshops and will attend at least two professional theatre productions, one of which they will evaluate and analyse in their final written exam. Students have the opportunity to specialise in design for the GCSE course, rather than choosing performance for the practical components. Design students can choose between lighting, sound, set (including props) and costume (including masks and make up).  The course is 30% practical and 70% written, with one piece of coursework and a final written exam.  The course is split into 3 components: Devising, Performing from text and Theatre Makers in practice.

Key Stage 5

For students wanting to follow the A-Level pathway – then the GCSE course will prepare them fully for the demands of the Edexcel A-Level Drama and Theatre Studies syllabus as it mirrors the three components of the GCSE course. The only difference being is that the content is greater (research material, performance durations, exam timings, coursework length, study texts). It is also the same weighting of 70% theory and 30% practical.

Over the course, students will study two contrasting play texts including Woyzeck by George Buchner and Fences by August Wilson. They will practically study the work of two practitioners or theatre companies and create work using elements from their style. Students can specialise as either a performer or a designer throughout the course.  During the two years, students will take part in a variety of professional workshops from visiting practitioners and theatre companies and will attend a number of professional theatre trips to expose the students to as many different genres of theatre as possible. The students are both internally and externally assessed for the practical components and also sit a written exam at the end of the course.

Drama 4


Outside of lessons, students are encouraged to take part in the school drama club which runs on different lunchtimes for Key Stage 3 students. This club allows students to play drama games, continue to develop their drama skills and have fun creatively devising their own performances for an audience.

GCSE have two intervention sessions a week at lunchtime which provides them with the opportunity to rehearse for examined performances, catch-up on coursework and revision and receive extra guidance and support from the drama staff.

The school production is performed in the Spring term each year and rotates between a musical and a play. Previous productions have included Sister Act, Alice in Wonderland, The School of Rock, Grimm Tales and Little Shop of Horrors.  Auditions are held in the Autumn term and students are also encouraged to get involved with helping backstage if they would like to. This always involves students from each Key Stage.

There is a popular house drama competition every June in which houses are able to compete against each other in year groups.

Drama 5


Students make good progress in Drama both at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

GCSE Drama: In 2020, 89% of students achieved grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in Drama

Q: How much theory is involved in a Drama lesson?

A: At Key Stage 3, not a great amount, some research and script writing/storyboarding for homework, evaluating in a drama work book after each half terms assessment.

At Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 – a lot – research, logbooks of rehearsals, final evaluations of practical work, notes from live theatre visits, text analysis and practice mocks for the final written exam.70% theory, 30% practical assessment.

Q: Do I have to act in class or are there other areas I can specialise in?

A: At Key Stage 3 you will be expected to practically explore the work – but if you find this difficult, then you can help direct work or speak off stage.  At Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 – you can get the option to do the design element of the course (costume, lighting, sound, set).

Q: Will I see live theatre?

A: Definitely once in Year 9, twice at Key Stage 4 and four or five times at Key Stage 5

Q: What is a typical lesson like?

A: Key Stage 3: Usually – register, homework checked or given, practical warm up game, connecting to the previous lessons learning aims/content, main activity - practically developing skills and tasks further using specific drama techniques (bite sized chunks), then at the end of the lesson watching and evaluating some work – with feedback.

Q: Can I do A-Level Drama if I haven’t done GCSE?

A: Yes – but you would have had to of had some previous experience of drama out of school and a very good level of English.

Q: Where will I be taught drama?

A: The Drama Studio – which has theatre lights, sound and interactive screen or the multi-purpose studio which is part of the new music block.

Welcome to English

Year 7

Students start Year 7 exploring Suzanne Collins’ dystopia, The Hunger Games.  In the first half term, students immerse themselves in Collins’ writing in order to ultimately produce their own piece of creative writing.  In the second half term, students are introduced to analytical reading skills and use these to examine Collins’ use of language throughout the novel.  Following this, they study The Tempest by William Shakespeare. This unit teaches students how to approach Shakespearean language and introduces them to some of the key context and themes of Shakespeare’s work.  This is used as a springboard for an exciting piece of creative writing based on a shipwreck. Students then study the conventions of gothic writing, analysing different examples of gothic writing and creating their own gothic story. Students then move on to a unit on identity poetry.  In this unit, we explore a selection of poems written by a diverse range of poets.   Ultimately, students will produce their own identity poem.  Students end the year with a unit on non-fiction writing styles.  After practising some key writing skills, students will create their own reflective piece of non-fiction writing based on their first year at secondary school. 

English 2

Key Stage 3

The Key Stage 3 curriculum is designed to develop the skills necessary for the study of English. Students are exposed to the work of William Shakespeare throughout Key Stage 3 and they also study a variety of novels, poetry and non-fiction texts. We have purposefully selected novels such as Noughts and Crosses and The Hunger Games to develop our students’ understanding of the world around us and the issues that exist in society. In Year 8, students study Romeo and Juliet, considering themes, structure and characterisation and learn how to write a well-structured analytical essay. 

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, courses currently follow the AQA specifications and students achieve both English language and literature qualifications at GCSE. The course is rigorous and develops skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening through a range of text types and activities. This course is linear and examined through four exams at the end of Year 11.

For their English language GCSE students are taught how to write a description inspired by a picture, how to construct and write a short story and how to structure an argument. Additionally, we develop their reading skills by introducing them to a range of both fiction and non-fiction texts from different centuries, which they then have to analyse. 

For English literature we study novels, plays and poetry. Some of the texts studied include:  A Christmas Carol, Macbeth and An Inspector Calls, as well as a range of poetry, both modern and older.  Each year we invite an acting company to put on a performance of one of these plays for the students.

English 3

Key Stage 5

English Literature

English literature at Key Stage 5 offers students the chance to study a wide range of texts, and encourages independent study and original interpretation.  We follow the AQA specification and the texts we currently study are: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Othello by William Shakespeare and the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, as well as an anthology of poetry exploring love across the ages. 

English Language

English language at Key Stage 5 offers students the chance to study a really interesting and broad range of topics.  Some areas students will explore are child language acquisition, meaning and representation within language and how factors such as gender, age and social class affect language use. 


The English department offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities, including various reading clubs, a Key Stage 4/Key Stage 5 LitSoc and creative writing club.  We also extend World Book Day into a week and enjoy an exciting timetable of book-themed events, including workshops from authors.  Each year, we invite The Globe Players in to school to perform for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.  

English 4


English is a well-established, successful department staffed with subject specialists.

GCSE English: In 2020, 90% of students achieved grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in English

Q: How do you support dyslexic students?

A: We work closely with the Inclusion Department to support students who need extra support.  It might be that students are timetabled for extra sessions in the learning zone or that they receive targeted Teaching Assistant support in lessons.  As well as this, our teachers are skilled in differentiating their lessons to support the needs of all learners.  We are also lucky to be able to use many of the accessibility features on the iPad in order to support students. 

Q: What do you do to encourage reading?

A: Encouraging regular reading for pleasure is a whole school focus.  Every Thursday, the entire Academy ‘Drops Everything and Reads - DEAR’ during morning tutor time.  Across all subjects and phases, staff display what they are currently reading on their classroom doors.   In Key Stage 3, one English lesson a week is dedicated entirely to reading for pleasure.

Q: How do you set students?

A: Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 are taught in mixed ability groups and we find that this creates a positive learning environment for all of our students.  Our teachers work hard to differentiate their lessons and respond to the needs of all students, whether this be stretching more able students or providing extra scaffolding where needed.  When students begin their study of the GCSE course in Year 10, they are set based on their target grades and working level.  Our aim is for all of our students to achieve or exceed their target level. 

Q: How do you select the texts students study?

A: At Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 we select texts from the AQA GCSE and A-Level curriculum.  We aim to select a range of texts that provide appropriate levels of challenge, are engaging and that teachers are passionate about.  At Key Stage 3 we have worked hard to curate a broad and balanced curriculum that exposes students to a range of texts from a diverse selection of writers from all over the world.  

Welcome to Food Technology

Food technology at Samuel Ryder Academy is a popular subject and enjoyed by all students.

The aim of the food technology department is to provide each student the opportunity to develop a knowledge and understanding of a broad range of practical skills, techniques and recipes with emphasis on their understanding of food as part of a healthy diet. 

Students will explore healthy eating and balanced diets and will learn about the nutritional needs of different groups in society.  Students will learn how to adapt basic recipes for different target audiences and social groups.   

All students have the opportunity to study food at Key Stage 3. At Key Stage 4 students can opt to study GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition. 

Key Stage 3   

The subject is allocated two 50 minute lessons per week and is delivered in the kitchen and classroom. Practical cooking lessons will be once a week and students are required to bring ingredients.

Progress and continuity are monitored through target setting and creating work digitally on the iPad.  Their work is then uploaded to Seesaw where the teacher can give individual, guided feedback for them to work on in the future.   Subject sketchbooks, which have focus areas and progress indicators, this can also be seen as dialogue, on a green sheet at the front of their sketchbooks.  All students are assessed throughout the teaching and learning process and at the end of a subject rotation (approximately 20 weeks).

Year 7 students study hygiene and safety, healthy eating, including balanced diets and The Eat Well Guide and 5-a-day.  

In practical lessons, students will cook a range of simple dishes and will learn the basic preparation skills. In addition to developing their practical skills, pupils will learn about choosing a healthy diet and the importance of food safety and hygiene. They will also learn how to develop recipes and design and make healthy food products.

Year 8 students will study food choices which covers a range of topics including the importance of healthy eating, planning for different target groups, special diets and dietary needs. Practical work will include the preparation of individual dishes, development work and investigation work. Skills will include cake making, pastry making and bread making. 

Year 9 students will continue to develop their understanding of food science and nutrition. They will reinforce this through the study of different commodities, investigative work and through completing a street food project. This enables them to develop both their practical and theoretical skills further, giving them more opportunity to focus on developing skills of their choice and planning what they cook. The focus of Year 9 is to provide students with a good foundation for further GCSE study in Food Preparation and Nutrition. 

Key Stage 4 

We offer the Eduqas GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition qualification at Key Stage 4, which equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating. The course encourages students to cook and enables them to make informed decisions about food and nutrition.  It allows them to acquire knowledge in order to be able to feed themselves and others affordably and nutritiously, now and in later life.

The course is broken down into two component parts:

Component 1: Principles of Food Preparation and Nutrition

Written examination (50% of the qualification) taken in the summer of Year 11.

Component 2: Food Preparation and Nutrition in Action

Two non-examination assessments (NEAs) (50% of the qualification), available during the final year of learning.

  • Assessment 1: The Food Investigation Assessment (15% of the qualification)
  • Assessment 2: The Food Preparation Assessment (35% of the qualification)


GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition: In 2020, 86% of students achieved 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in Food Technology

Q: What happens if the ingredients are forgotten for the lesson?

A: This can happen and as long as the reason is communicated by a parent to the member of staff, this is understandable and we can accommodate for this by giving the student a study task to complete. If the mistake is the students and is repeated twice in a term, this concern will be communicated with parents and hopefully resolved. We want all students cooking at the same time and enjoying what they do, so please get in touch if you have concerns.

Q: What if my child has a nut allergy?

A: The school has a strict code on no nuts, also meaning that our recipes are carefully considered before we send them out for students to gather the ingredients. But if your child does have another type of allergy then this will be on the details you have given the school and we will be aware of this, taking the necessary precautions so they can still be involved in the practical lessons.

Q: How do we find out what the ingredients are?

A: The ingredients are set on Edulink, which you also have access to and parents can therefore see what the ingredients are for the next lesson.

Q: Are there any extra-curricular clubs for Food?

A: Yes, there are House Competitions to get involved in, food club that runs once a week at lunchtime/after school and visits/trips to food manufacturers.

Welcome to Geography

The geography curriculum aims to promote a sense of awe and wonder about our planet. We embed the SCHOLAR attributes to ensure that students are aware of the present and their influence upon the future while aspiring to embrace every opportunity.

Geography 1

Year 7

Students will embark on their journey through geography by considering their place in the world; through the study of their local area, and by reflecting up on how their lives are linked to, and influenced by, different cultures and places. They will begin to explore the notion of themselves as Global Citizens and how their actions can have an impact on the people and environment of other parts of the world. In addition, a range of map skills are introduced during the autumn term, enabling students to navigate both on a local and global scale.  From the UK, the curriculum then travels to wider topical issues such as climate change and our use of energy, to population changes on local to global scales. Finally we learn about how humans are influencing rivers as well as learning about weather, and look at how economic industries have changed and developed in a globalising world.

Key Stage 3

In Year 8, the journey continues with a focus on dynamic and fragile environments.  Students will explore the destruction as well as preparation and mitigation of natural hazards, how nations are developing and impacting on our valuable but vulnerable resources, then we finally learn about the contrasting hot and cold environments and different ecosystems.

Then in Year 9 our exploration takes us to a variety of issue based geography in a variety of places, considering our dynamic environment, human exploitation and approaches to sustainability. Issues include plastic pollution and the fragile environment of the Galapagos Islands, the housing crisis and further exploitation of our human settlements and natural environments. Finally students will independently carry out their own investigation through research and evaluating a geographical issue which is meaningful to them. This year will embed the skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to evaluate further issues in GCSE and explore the world through an analytical eye.

Key Stage 4

Geography is explored through a range of human, physical and environmental issues where students embed a broader range of geographical skills including cartographical and graphical. They also develop an appreciation for the complexities (and conflicts of opinion) involved in the development of countries and will learn to evaluate and reach decisions about such issues; for example is the economic and social development of Brazil more important than protecting the rainforests?

Geography 2

At GCSE, students study the AQA specification. Through enquiry-based learning, the course offers a broad and diverse study of geography; content develops students’ knowledge and understanding of place, process and interaction in both physical and human geography. Furthermore students use a pre-release booklet to learn about a recent issue and complete a geographical investigation into its impact while drawing on wider knowledge and understanding from across the course. The qualification is examined through three externally assessed papers:

  1. Living with the Physical Environment (35% of qualification)
  2. Challenges in the Human Environment (35% of qualification)
  3. Geographical Applications (30% of qualification)

Geography 3Geography 4

Fieldwork is a compulsory element of the GCSE and is aimed at enriching, reinforcing and enlightening classroom-based learning. The third examination includes assessment upon the fieldwork experiences using opportunities such as a river and urban studies in the UK.


We have a large cohort of geographers at Sixth Form and take great pride on embedding our A-Level further in the coming years. The physical geography covers a systems approach to examine concepts and processes developing knowledge of places and environments. In human geography you will learn about how the world has become increasingly connected through globalisation and the implications of this approach, develop a sense of place and the importance of resource security, amongst other things.

Furthermore the A-Level enhances their ability of problem solving and critical thinking in a range of different issues. The final aspect is a piece of Non-Examination Assessment which is similar to a piece of coursework. Students are required to independently investigate an issue of their choice, carry out fieldwork and research then ultimately evaluate the idea drawing on wider knowledge and understanding from across the course. The qualification is assessed by:

  1. Physical Geography examination (40% of qualification)
  2. Human Geography examination (40% of qualification)
  3. Geography fieldwork investigation - NEA (20% of qualification)

A-Level offers excellent opportunities in geography including a 4 day compulsory residential to Dorset and we are starting to look at an overseas enrichment trip too.


Within the department, we are lucky enough to have a wide range of equipment, knowledge and expertise. We will be running a geography club to discover more and inspire students who want to learn so much more outside of the classroom environment.

In Key Stage 3 we have run a humanities cross-curricular trip into St Albans; this includes fieldwork in Verulamium Park and a visit to the Cathedral. We will be doing Gifted and Talented trips to embed learning from the Key Stage 3 topics for example, the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.

GCSE brings 2 days of compulsory fieldwork where students will develop their knowledge and skills for a river and urban study.

A-Level offers excellent opportunities in geography including a 4 day compulsory residential to Dorset and we are starting to look at an overseas enrichment trip too.


GCSE Geography: In 2020, 66% of students achieved grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in Geography

Q: What can we do to prepare our child ready for geography at SRA?

A: Being curious about the world around you is essential! Here are some suggestions.

  • Do and create - create a model of an ecosystem, make a weather station or design a campaign for an issue which your child is interested in.
  • Visit places to experience geography - museums, explore your local area.
  • Watch and listen to documentaries and geographical films - David Attenborough and Simon Reeve programs, also there are great podcasts too from the Geographical Association and Royal Geographical Society.
  • Read and research - you need to keep an eye on the news to see what is happening around the world and develop your awe and wonder in the places around you.

Q: What will my child learn in geography?

A: In Key Stage 3, we have updated and created completely new topics which will excite and enrich your child’s geography experience. This includes human and physical geography, issues in the subject and developing skills such as the use of maps. GCSE and A-Level continue to build upon this learning. All the topics can be found on the geography section of the SRA website.

Q: How will students be assessed in geography?

A: In Key Stage 3, we believe that students should attempt a wide variety of assessments which is reflective of the post education world. This includes presentations, independent projects, tests, essay writing and using IT to produce maps and videos. In GCSE there are 3 exams at the end of Year 11 and for A-Level there are 2 exams at the end of Year 13 and 1 piece of coursework called the Non-Examination Assessment.

Q: What trips and fieldwork are available?

A: In Key Stage 3, we do a humanities cross-curricular trip in St Albans to develop skills and knowledge about the local area. We will be doing Gifted and Talented trips to embed learning from the Key Stage 3 topics. In GCSE, we carry out 2 days of compulsory fieldwork to develop skills and understanding of river and urban studies. Finally, in A-Level we do a 4 day residential trip to Dorset and will be looking to do an overseas enrichment trip too.

Q: What skills will my child develop?

A: Geography covers a huge range of transferable skills which can be used in other subjects. Also these are the skills all employers look for when striving to achieve the best qualities from their candidates. Some of those skills include: problem solving, team work, critical thinking and interpersonal skills. Students also develop their confidence in handling numbers and statistics, evaluating issues and extending their quality of writing. These are skills and qualities all employers are looking for in the post education world. This shows the importance that geography can bring to your future.

Q: Where will geography take me?

A: Geography graduates are the most employable post study. All avenues of employment are open for geography students. Many find work in business, finance and human resources and many journey into marketing, public relations and sales. More geographers are now venturing into education, engineering and building. Other sectors include town planners, architects, journalism and working with charities, to name a few. Due to the geographer’s ability to problem solve and critically think, we are a highly sort after subject.

Welcome to History

“A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”  Marcus Garvey

Our aim is to create individuals who are curious and evidence driven thinkers with a sense of time and place and a knowledge of the key events which underpin modern British society.

Key Stage 3

Year 7 students will be introduced to the key historical skill of evaluating the extent of change and continuity across historical periods, vital to later success at GCSE, through a local history study of St Albans. Starting with the Romans and continuing through to the English Civil War, the focus will be on changes in crime and punishment and also in warfare. Students will then look into Britain’s role in the Slave Trade and its long-term impact on modern society before studying the Industrial Revolution, focussing on the social, political and economic impact of this period on the lives of people in the Britain.

Students will begin Year 8 studying World War 1, looking at the origins of the conflict and investigating life on the Western Front as well as the social impact of war on the Home Front. This is followed by looking at the causes and events of the Russian Revolution, looking at violent political change and the role of ideology in shaping society.  Finally, the students will investigate the Holocaust, and how Hitler was able to escalate persecution of the Jews to a policy of extermination.

Students who choose to study history in Year 9 will build on the skills and knowledge learnt in Years 7 and 8 through a study about the rise of Adolf Hitler, looking at the reasons for the failure of democracy in Weimar Germany and the extent to which Nazi ideology transformed German society.

Assessments mirror those that students will be required to take at GCSE, with exam questions based upon those they will be expected to answer in their final examinations but intended to be accessible to younger students. This will provide students with an excellent understanding of the examination requirements should they choose to take history as a GCSE option.

Key Stage 4

Their studies will culminate in three exam papers based upon the following content:

  • A thematic study covering a long period that spans medieval, early modern and modern history (Crime and Punishment)
  • A period study covering at least 50 years (Cold War)
  • A British depth study and a non-British depth study from different eras (Elizabethan England and Nazi Germany)

History 2

Key Stage 5

History is a widely respected A-Level choice with a variety of transferable skills that prepare students effectively for further study at university or for entering a range of jobs. The course explores a range of issues affecting different countries in times of change, focusing on the development of Fascism and Dictatorship in Europe in the 20th Century and the changing political, economic and social landscape of Europe.

In the second year of the course students move on to study The Russian Revolution as their research-based coursework which familiarises students with academic works and prepares them for extended research-based writing. Students also study Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors which focuses on the difficulties the Tudor monarchs faced controlling a nation undergoing huge social, economic and religious change. The new A-Level course builds effectively on written and analytical skills that students developed at GCSE which they will find invaluable in a range of subjects at A-Level and beyond.

Students will develop critical reasoning skills, plan and conduct research effectively, learn to effectively analyse evidence, think creatively to solve problems and to construct an argument which can be delivered persuasively. Students will also engage with historical problems and gain the confidence to undertake independent learning which will further prepare them for study or work after Sixth Form. The study of history also allows students the opportunity to investigate other cultures and the development of the world to better understand the current climate in international relations and the culture of the state we live in.


There are many visits, trips and opportunities to see historical sites and learn from visiting the places where history happened.  We run a trip for Year 9 and 10 students to Berlin every two years, Year 8 students have the opportunity to visit The Western Front and take part in the annual Holocaust survivor workshops at Borehamwood Synagogue. There are also collaborations with other agencies to expand the students’ knowledge and understanding outside of the classroom.


History in 2020 saw GCSE results with 71% of students obtaining grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in History

Q: What trips do you run?

A: We run a range of trips to provide students with the opportunity to discover history is all around us and that learning can be done in and outside of the classroom. We aim for each year group to have the opportunity to do this and offer trips to Berlin, The Western Front and a Borehamwood Synagogue. In Year 7 a cross curricular Humanities trip is ran to St Albans Abbey and Verulamium Park.

Q: Is history all about remembering dates?

A: Having a sense of time and place is vital to understand history. Like any good story history has a narrative for which time and sequence are important in order to understand the overall sweep of events and how each event, individual or idea influences the next. This broad understanding of the chronology of history is therefore vital but the focus is on being able to explain and analyse rather than simply regurgitate dates and events and these skills are what we focus on in our teaching.

Q: What’s the point of studying the past?

A: Events in the past have a direct impact on the present as the recent controversy over the Edward Colston statue in Bristol illustrates. From defining the very language we speak to the prevalence and importance of British culture around the globe our history makes us who we are and an understanding of that helps us makes sense of the world we live in.

Q: Is history all about writing?

A: Written communication is a key skill in history and contributes to the development of students’ ability to produce ordered, supported and evaluative arguments which are vital for any number of careers. Working closely with English we focus our teaching on developing those vital skills but we also have a determination to enthuse students with a passion for the past and so we encourage students to be creative in their learning. Building models, producing presentations and taking part in class discussions and debates help develop that confidence and oracy which is a key part of preparing our students for life beyond Samuel Ryder.

Welcome to Inclusion

Year 7

All Year 7 students are assessed using the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) and Lucid Assessment (LASS) on entry to the Academy.  These assessments identify the areas of strength for every child as well as any areas where a student might need additional support. Students receive personalised intervention programmes following these assessments, and the differentiation and support strategies are shared with staff.

The Life Skills Group provides a nurturing and supporting environment for those who find the transition to secondary school challenging. During these timetabled sessions, students engage in stimulating and interactive project based learning. The sessions incorporate all aspects of literacy, numeracy and the social and emotional aspects of learning. They take place in a small group setting.

Inclusion 1

Key Stage 3

The Learning Zone offers small group support for identified groups of students. In these timetabled lessons, students participate in a range of exciting project based learning, delivered by experienced members of the Inclusion Team.

Identified students also receive targeted one-to-one reading, spelling, handwriting, numeracy, fine motor skills and mastering memory sessions which is reviewed half termly. Parents are informed of the type of provision prior to the start. In addition, we also offer a ‘Talking Partners’ intervention to support communication, speech and language skills to those students for whom English is an additional language.

Inclusion 2

Key Stage 4 and 5

A number of students receive in-class support from our experienced team of Teaching Assistants. The support is dependent on the need of the individual and is co-ordinated by the classroom teacher.

As students move through the Academy we monitor their progress and additionally use psychometric assessments to decide if they would benefit from Exam Access Arrangements. These students subsequently are given the identified level of support in classroom and during their examinations.

The Inclusion Department hosts half termly coffee mornings for parents. The purpose of these sessions is to share information, offer advice and enable parents to network.

More Able Students (MASt)

More Able Students (MASt) are challenged and inspired in a number of ways. We ensure differentiation is robust in every lesson so that students are experiencing the stretch and challenge that enables them to surpass even their own expectations. Our aim is to provide opportunities for students to excel. By offering a varied enrichment programme which exposes them to new and diverse experiences it will empower them to shine in other areas. This in turn widens the access to opportunities in school, university and work. Because the MASt programme is personalised it enables students to consolidate and develop their skills and knowledge.

Inclusion 3

Welcome to the Learning Resource Centre

Learning Resource Centre 1

  • The Learning Resource Centre (LRC) is open from 8am giving students an opportunity to work quietly or access the computers before the school day begins.
  • The LRC houses its own ICT suite with thirty computers and three wide interactive screens. This is open for all throughout the school day and also during homework club Monday - Thursday until 5pm.
  • Teachers use the Learning Resource Centre for lessons and research. There is a large teaching area within the library with its own interactive screen.
  • Throughout the year, the library works closely with all subjects to provide stimulating activities to promote reading. Book week engages both primary and secondary students. Competitions and author/illustrator visits, enrich their education and stretch their capabilities.
  • Research has found that children who read for pleasure are more likely to be lifelong readers. They are more likely to succeed both academically and socially.  At Samuel Ryder Academy we have a whole school ethos of promoting reading.  Students are encouraged to have a fiction book with them at all times and once a week we have ’DEAR’. This is when the whole school will Drop Everything and Read.

Welcome to Mathematics

Upon joining the Academy, students will review and consolidate various aspects of Primary Phase mathematics. This period of review, alongside Key Stage 2 data provided by primary schools, CAT test results and class teacher judgement, ensures students are grouped together with students of similar attainment. Due to an innovative and comprehensive curriculum, these groupings are flexible and reviewed regularly; we are empowered to make any necessary changes as they emerge. 

Maths 1

Throughout Year 7, students will build on and develop their understanding and knowledge of number; algebra; geometry; probability; statistics and ratio; proportion and rates of change. In recognising the variety of experiences students receive at Primary Phase, the mathematics department deliver a weekly Study Club to support students with the transition to Secondary Phase mathematics.

Key Stage 3

The knowledge gained through Year 7 is consolidated and compounded, as students move through Key Stage 3, developing their understanding of our mathematical world. They will continue to utilise their mathematical proficiency in real-world contexts, alongside learning the importance of pure mathematics and abstract thought. The teaching and learning will be centred on the six key areas of mathematics: 

  • Number
  • Algebra
  • Ratio, proportion and rates of change
  • Geometry
  • Probability
  • Statistics

Higher attaining students are encouraged to attend our popular Key Stage 3 Enrichment Clubs where mathematics is applied in novel contexts to solve problems. This is a great preparation for the UKMT Junior Mathematics Challenge where Samuel Ryder Academy students are developing a great reputation of success. For those who prefer to take mathematics at a more leisurely pace, the mathematics team deliver a weekly chess club where the competition is intense for the crown of Champion Chess Master.

Maths 2Maths 3

Key Stage 4

In Years 10 and 11 students are placed in attainment groups based upon teacher feedback and performance in the Key Stage 3 assessment undertaken during the Summer term of Year 9. Students continue their exploration of mathematics in Key Stage 4 with the GCSE goal in sight. Teaching methods remain broadly similar with an increased focus on examination preparation. Key Stage 4 students follow a structured curriculum with topic assessments scheduled fortnightly. The results of the assessments are used to enhance student progress and inform future lesson planning.

Our objective is to prepare all of our students for life in modern Britain by ensuring they are able to:

  • Consolidate their numerical and mathematical knowledge from Key Stage 3 and further extend their understanding of the number system, along with other mathematical concepts.
  • Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, developing conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • Reason mathematically by following a line of inquiry, developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
  • Solve problems by applying mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps.

Maths 4

As such, students will further their understanding with the six curriculum areas from Key Stage 3 (number; algebra; ratio, proportion and rates of change; geometry; statistics and probability). There is no coursework element within GCSE Mathematics. Students are assessed through three equally weighted public examinations, following the Edexcel Mathematics specification, at the end of Year 11. The first paper is non-calculator, while calculators are permitted during the second and third papers.

Key Stage 5

As members of our Sixth Form, mathematics students gain a greater appreciation for the real world applications of mathematics. There is an increased focus on problem solving, mathematical argument, reasoning and modelling. In addition, students will become familiar with using large data sets to support their learning and assessment of statistics. To support this there is a greater emphasis on the use of technology, including iPads, to support the development of mathematical concepts. The A-Level Mathematics and A-Level Further Mathematics courses are assessed through 100% examination at the end of Year 13. Each module is assessed individually and carries equal weighting for the final overall examination grade.

Maths Week

During the Spring term students from across the Academy engage with mathematics in a variety of unusual contexts. In recent years this has included workshops on the Enigma machine, robotics and modelling solutions to real-world problems. Running in parallel to the exciting activities in school is a regular series of inspirational education visits to: Bletchley Park, The Science Museum, The British Museum and MathsFest.

Maths 5


Mathematics is a well-established, successful department, fully staffed with subject specialists.

GCSE Mathematics: achieved 81% of students with grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in Mathematics

Q: How do you arrange the groups for mathematics lessons?

A: We set our students after conducting baseline assessments in Year 7, which we consider alongside the information provided from their primary schools. These groupings are not rigid. There is movement throughout the year which ensures that students are in the group which enables them to be both fully supported and challenged sufficiently to reach their potential. We have eight sets, four in each of the two halves of the year group during Years 7 and 8. This moves to seven sets across the whole year group from Years 9-11.

Q: How will you support my child who finds mathematics particularly challenging?

A: In Years 7 and 8, the lowest ability set in each half of the year group is much smaller than the other classes, in order to allow the mathematics teacher to provide the relevant support to children throughout lessons. Content across all sets is differentiated fully, to meet the needs of every student in the class. We are lucky to have a brilliant Inclusion Department who provide tailored support - this can include Teaching Assistants in lessons, one-to-one or small group sessions in the Learning Zone, assistance with mathematics homework, and the use of games and activities to build confidence and enthusiasm. 

Q: How will you challenge my child who finds mathematics easy?

A: The setting helps us to pitch the learning in each lesson at an appropriately challenging level. Content across all sets is differentiated fully, to meet the needs of every student in the class. We offer enrichment clubs each week in the Mathematics Department which are incredibly popular. To have a taster of the types of material used in these clubs you could look at which is one of the resources we use. We organise trips to Maths Inspiration lectures and University taster experiences.

Q: What extra-curricular provision do you run?

A: Every year we run a Maths Week. This week involves activities for each year group which differ from what the students are used to in lessons. We aim to provide the students with an insight to what mathematics in the world looks like. Activities range from code breaking, to maths in art and music, to working with Civil Engineers to build bridges. There is also ample opportunity for the secondary students to work with the primary phase. Most recently, the 10 students designed their own probability games for the primary students.  A huge focus of the week is the opportunity to expose the students to the wide range of careers mathematics can offer and lead them towards, hence we always have external visitors delivering speeches and sessions to our students. 

We run Puzzle of the Week which everyone in the whole school, staff and students alike, takes part in. These challenging puzzles are completed as a form, encouraging collaboration, teamwork and leadership within mathematics. We provide enrichment clubs, study support groups and chess club each week, with large numbers of regular attendees. We also arrange a yearly mathematics trip to places such as Bletchley Park, the Science Museum, escape room experiences and we are always looking for other places that students will find both interesting and inspiring to visit.

Q: What is your mathematics provision in the Sixth Form?

A: We have ever increasing numbers of students choosing to study mathematics in our Sixth Form. We run both A-Level Mathematics and A-Level Further Mathematics within the department. We have consortium students choosing to study both of these courses with us as well as our own SRA students. Since the 2017 curriculum changes, A-Level Mathematics has only compulsory elements, made up of 2/3 pure mathematics, 1/6 statistics and 1/6 mechanics. Further Mathematics has retained choice though, and we are fortunate that through our experienced, committed and highly qualified staff we are able to allow individual students to choose between statistics, mechanics and decision mathematics, alongside their compulsory pure material which they study together.  

Welcome to Media Studies

Media literacy has become one of the most important factors of modern education as we strive to make students more aware of the messages behind the media and how to locate, critique and utilise information and media content in the ultra-connected world we live in.  At Samuel Ryder Academy we offer opportunities throughout the key stages to engage with the concepts, contexts and theories at the heart of the media.  Study of media engages students in developing a range of academic and practical skills, giving lots of hands on experiences, using our excellent resources, such as our television studio, which enables them to be effective students.

Key Stage 3 – Introduction to the media

Media 2Media 3

Elements of the media are studied in the English curriculum in Year 7 and 8. Students can then choose to take media studies as a taster option in Year 9, allowing them to experience different elements of creative media. This course is tailored to the interests of the students, but includes creating adverts, using Photoshop and studying video games. The aim of the Key Stage 3 course is to introduce media as an area of study and to allow students (and parents) to make an informed choice for GCSE options.

Key Stage 4 – Theoretical approaches to the media

Students will study a two-year GCSE Media course using the 9-1 grading. The course offers a practical element that requires the students to engage in research, design, location work, photography and post production and using creative software such as Photoshop and iMovie. The practical “NEA” is worth 30% of the overall grade.  Students will also complete two written exams at the end of Year 11 based on their GCSE set products that they will study over the duration of the course, including newspapers, print adverts, film posters, magazine covers, music, radio, TV shows and computer games.

Key Stage 5 – Critical analysis of the Media

Media studies is both an academic and a practical subject at A-Level and students are able to further develop written skills to a high level.  They are also able to develop some excellent computer skills and explore the potential of new technologies such as the iPhone.  They will learn how to make magazines look professional, create a website, as well as film and TV projects, all of which will provide the students with a number of exciting opportunities that will help equip them for life in a new media world.  We also offer a Level 3 BTEC course which is the equivalent of three A-Levels.  Here, the students complete a range of units that cover the media rich world we live in, equipping them to access university and go on to higher education or to enter straight into the media industry.  Both courses develop skills that enable them to critically analyse, as well as create, media products at a high level.


Outside of the classroom, students of all ages have a range of media based extra-curricular activities that they can sign up to, whether they are budding newscasters, taking part in the BBC School Report or journalists in-the-making working on our Ryder Review.  There are plenty of ways for students to take advantage of the array of resources on offer in our media suite.


Media Studies GCSE: 74% of students achieved grades 9–4.

Frequently Asked Questions in Media Studies

Q: If I don’t take Year 9 media studies can I sit the GCSE?

A: Yes, there is no requirement to have taken the Year 9 course to join the GCSE in year 10.

Q: Will we be watching films?

A: We do use films in the Year 9 course to study narrative structure. We also watch James Bond – The Man With the Golden Gun in the GCSE as the film poster is a set text and watching it provides context.

Q: What is the difference between A-Level and BTEC?

A: The BTEC is a vocational course focusing on preparing students to work in the media or to study media production at University. The BTEC utilises practical work such as producing advertising campaigns and magazine design to help simulate a professional working environment with students working towards completions of a brief. There is still a substantial written element with each unit of work including reports, presentations and essays examining different sectors of the media.

Q: What equipment do we use?

A: Samuel Ryder is lucky to have a range of media equipment available to students both for media studies and for use in other subjects. Our TV studio sports a green screen and full sound insulated recording space as well as editing software. We also have a range of photography and digital film equipment.

Q: What careers can media lead to?

A: Media studies is part of the “Social Sciences” that are amongst some of the most valuable areas of study for employers. Media studies is utilised in a number of professions including; advertising, Marketing, PR, media law, audience behaviour, research and technology, film and TV production, radio production, Web Design, social media management, press offices, journalism, talent management and many more.

Welcome to Modern Foreign Languages

Why we love languages...

Studying French or Spanish is not only opportunity to develop students’ language skills.  Students learn about French and Spanish culture, try foods from different countries and have the opportunity to take part in trips too!  Plus, apart from giving a fascinating insight into other countries and ways of life, being able to speak a foreign language is an excellent way to stand out when applying to college or university later in their academic life.

A language can be combined with almost any subject at degree level and is a particularly popular option with subjects such as Law, History and Business. 


Year 7

In Year 7, students will learn all of the basics, with a new book and online package called “Allez”.  Students will be able to use their iPad regularly in lessons and at home to access their resources through the digital textbook. The Year 7 curriculum has been designed to be engaging and fun while giving the opportunity to students to learn about French culture and develop their understanding of the French language. Later in the year, students will have the opportunity to sign up for a residential trip to France to show off what they have learned.

Key Stage 3: Building the basics

Students will learn French in Year 7, then take Spanish as well in Year 8.

At Key Stage 3, language lessons focus on building the basics: describing themselves and their family, asking directions, ordering food and discussing everyday life. The 4 skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing are practised. Students also get to learn about the cultures of French- and Spanish- speaking countries. A particular focus is also put on Phonics as we know that students are keen to make progress with their pronunciation and sound French when they speak!

New technologies, both in lessons and for home learning, are used. Students are engaged and learn through games, group work, role play, competitions and of course a variety of apps.

Year 9 students have the amazing opportunity of a four day trip to Barcelona in May. Highlights include a visit to Las Ramblas, La Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou and the Picasso Museum as well as sampling the local food and even trying their hand at salsa dancing!

Key Stage 4: Confidence and competence

At the end of Year 9, students can choose to take French, Spanish or both languages for GCSE.

The GCSE course builds on the work they have already completed at Key Stage 3, as well as introducing new and exciting topics such as social issues, festivals and the environment.  As the GCSE course includes a wider range of topics and more challenging grammar, students can become confident at having a conversation in another language.

The Spanish Exchange is becoming a Samuel Ryder tradition for Year 10, with every year more students taking part.



French GCSE: In 2020, 94% of students achieved grades 9-4

Spanish GCSE: In 2020, 85% of students achieved grades 9-4

What our students say…

‘I chose a language because it looks impressive on your CV if you have a language GCSE. I also thought it would be exciting to be able to speak another language.  I enjoyed learning about a different culture as well as practising my speaking since it’s quite fun to be able to speak a new language. Learning a language helped me to develop a lot of confidence in speaking in front of people as well as teaching me how to say lots of things in French.’  MW, achieved Grade 7 at GCSE French

‘I chose to study languages because I personally find them interesting and find them a useful skill.  I enjoyed learning about the culture and being able to converse in a new language.  Learning a language helped me to develop my confidence and memory. It also helped me develop different revision techniques.’ AP, achieved Grade 8 at GCSE French and 7 at GCSE Spanish

Key stage 5: Mastering the language

We are very proud to be offering French and Spanish at A-Level. Over two years, students will work on fascinating topics related to modern-day living in those two countries. They will have the opportunity to develop they’re understanding of France and Spain by discussing topics such as the role of women in Spanish society, the importance of workers’ rights and strikes in France. We will also work on a film and a book by French and Spanish speaking authors and directors. Our students enjoy being taught in small groups and received tailored teaching as this helps them make excellent progress during the course. Our expert teachers always make the lessons interesting and provide an invaluable insight into the French and Spanish societies.

What our students say…

‘Taking French for A-Level felt like a bit of a risk to at the beginning of the Summer after my GCSEs because I didn't quite attain the grade that I wanted in French and I had heard that taking a language in Sixth Form was really challenging.  But since starting the course I haven't regretted it for a second!  I really enjoy the lessons because the way that they're structured and the content that we study is so different and more topical than the content of other subjects that I chose, which is really refreshing.’   FDW, currently study French A-Level

‘The A-Level course so far, in my opinion, has gone really well. Partly because I am a native speaker, but also because the topics we are covering are interesting and enjoyable. At the moment, I am finding the workload reasonable and effective for the development of my learning. In addition, the fact that we are only 6 people in the class helps a lot for understanding and focusing.’ JH, currently study French A-Level

Frequently Asked Questions in Modern Foreign Languages

Q: Are there any trips?

A: At the moment, the government has suggested that trips abroad should not be happening during the first half-term. As most or our trips happen in the Summer term, we will await for further guidance to make a decision on running those trips. Our main concern is the safety of our students and staff so any decision made will follow official guidelines and ensure students are able to enjoy their trip and make the most of it.

Q: Do you set them for languages?

A: Students are not set in languages. However, we have created two classes in Year 7 for students who show excellent linguistic abilities. Those students are taught in small groups and explore the French language in great depths. Students follow the same curriculum as other classes, but will be prompted to use and learn extra grammatical skills and vocabulary.

Q: How can I support my child learning a language?

A: We would suggest that you regularly discuss what they have learnt and encourage them to teach you! There are also a lot of great programmes to watch online via different platforms and on demand TV. It is also important that you regularly test their vocabulary knowledge. This can be done by following their progress on apps such as Duolinguo and Memrise or encourage them to use key words at home adapted to the topic they are currently working on (meal times, clothes, family members, etc).

Q: My child speaks another language that is not taught at school, can he / she take the subject at GCSE externally?

A: Yes, at the start of Year 9, students who speak another language fluently will be invited to an information meeting where we will explain how they can be assessed if they want to get a GCSE qualification for this language. Not all languages are offered by the exam boards so we will need to make sure that their language is available. Students will then sit four different exams: speaking, reading, writing, listening. For the speaking exam, we will arrange for an external assessor who is a native speaker of the language to come in school to conduct the speaking exam with your child. The other exams will also happen in school, at the same time as other GCSE subjects in the May-June period.

Welcome to Music

Key Stage 3

During Year 7, students will develop their musicianship skills through a range of performing, composing and listening tasks. They will learn how to read music notation, perform songs in groups, and study a range of world music styles.

In Year 8, students complete various projects which includes learning popular songs as part of an ensemble and understanding and creating film music.

Music in Year 9 bridges the gap from Key Stage 3 music to further studies at GCSE level.  The course looks at the 3 main strands of music: performing, composing and listening.  Practical work is at the heart of the Year 9 curriculum and pupils will have the opportunities to further their instrumental skills as an individual and ensemble. The areas of music that pupils will study include: popular music from jazz and blues right through to music in 2020, creating music using technology and song writing. Furthermore, students will carry on developing their understanding of music theory as an integrated part of units of work to prepare them for music at GCSE level.  Students also have the opportunity to undertake a bronze/silver Arts Award in Year 9 as part of this course, which is equivalent to a GCSE grade 3-4 for bronze and grade 6-9 for the silver award.

Music 1

Key Stage 4

This new and exciting GCSE Music course offers students the opportunity to study music from around the world and back in time.  It also focuses on the students performing and compositional skills.  Students study the following topics:

  • AOS 2 – The concerto through time: Baroque Solo Concerto/Concerto Grosso/Classical Concerto/Romantic Concerto
  • AOS 3 – Rhythms of the world: India and Punjab, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, Africa, Central and South America
  • AOS 4 – Film music: Music specifically for a film, western classical that is used in film, music composed for a video game
  • AOS 5 – Conventions of pop: Rock ‘n’ roll, rock anthems, pop ballads and solo artists

Key Stage 5

As Samuel Ryder Academy continues to grow, music is becoming a more popular choice and we are hopeful that A-Level Music will be able to be introduced in the near future.

Music 3


  • Many students continue learning beyond the classroom on a whole range of instruments including singing.
  • The music department runs a wide variety of ensembles including Choirs, Chamber Orchestra, and a Soul Band. Students also take part in their own smaller ensembles.
  • Students also have the opportunity to take part in whole school productions and showcase concerts. Previous shows have included We Will Rock You, School of Rock and 2020 saw our production of Sister Act the Musical.
  • We work in partnership with the Hertfordshire Music Service to offer students a wide variety of instrumental lessons.

Music 4

  • There are a variety of trips each year including theatre and concert trips, most recently Year 9 and Year 10 students went to see WICKED in the West End.
  • Students perform at a range of events outside of school, which last year included the first Trust Concert at the Alban Arena, and our Year 7 Choir took part in the Hertfordshire Schools Gala Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
  • The music department has a suite of Apple Mac computers with some of the latest music software.  The use of iPads is an integral part of the music curriculum, students use them to record and give feedback and use a number of Apps in class, such as Seesaw.


GCSE Music: 100% of students achieved grades 9-4 in 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions in Music

Q: How does my child go about starting to learn an instrument?

A: All of our instrumental teachers are employed by the Hertfordshire Music Service, and visit us each week for one or more days. Parents need to apply for lessons at school directly with the Herts Music Service ( Students can always start lessons later in Year 7 or higher up the school, by applying through the Service.

Q: What opportunities are there for my child to perform?

A: Each year we have a number of performance opportunities when students are given the opportunity to showcase the work they have been doing. These include the annual Christmas and Summer Concerts, smaller performance evenings for different year groups (including our New Starters’ Concert for Year 7 in November) and of course all students have the chance to audition for our school musicals.

Welcome to Physical Education

Year 7

We aim to provide a diverse and interesting curriculum which educates all of our students to enable them to lead healthy, active lifestyles.  We believe that by offering a wide and varied programme in lessons and extra-curricular activities, all of our students will find something to challenge and motivate them and hopefully continue enjoying and participating in physical activity throughout their lifetime.

PE 1

Key Stage 3

All students have a minimum of two lessons of core Physical Education (PE) each week (in Year 7 they have three lessons per week).  At Key Stage 3, students are introduced to a variety of different activities and learn about how to develop new skills and apply them in a sporting context. Students are assessed regularly in lessons by the teachers. In PE lessons, students are expected to evaluate their own performance and their peers, a vital skill in preparation for the GCSE exam pathway.  Students work closely with our grading criteria to understand the different levels for each activity, so that they know how they are progressing and what they need to do to improve. They are also set home learning tasks on their iPads, via Seesaw, which we use to help assess their understanding of theoretical content.   All students are given high expectations by PE staff regarding their time keeping, appearance, behaviour and conduct towards each other. Students are strongly encouraged to attend at least two clubs per week to supplement their learning in class. We have a range of teams that compete within the district, county and national competitions.

PE 2

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students can opt to study GCSE PE.  Many of our Year 11, 12 and 13 students have been very successful with the Level 1 FA Coaching course that we run in conjunction with St Albans City Youth.  Through these courses students develop good planning, organisation and communication skills. Pupils have to opportunity to begin their GCSE in Year 9 through our options pathway. As part of the GCSE course students will need to have a good grasp of theoretical concepts as well as being able to perform competently in 3 team and individual sports. We strongly encourage students to be attend extra-curricular clubs and join teams outside of school as this supports their success in GCSE PE. All students will receive 2 core lessons of PE regardless of their choices in Key Stage 4.  

PE 3

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5 students have the option of choosing A-Level PE. The exam board we follow is currently OCR.  This course gives our students the opportunity to experience a variety of different topics, whilst getting the experience they need should they wish to go on to higher education.

PE 4

Sports Academies

We are delighted to now have expanded our Sports Academy programme at Key Stage 5. These programmes focus upon the development of students wishing to pursue rugby, netball or football at a higher and more professional level. Our comprehensive programmes aim to provide opportunities to achieve both sporting and academic success. Being in the unique position of being the only school partnered with Saracens, Saracens Mavericks and Watford FC, Samuel Ryder Academy offers state of the art facilities for both male and female rugby, netball and football players.


The programmes develop players’ specific skills and assists those who are aspiring to play at a higher level. As part of the programme, students will be offered opportunities to gain qualifications in; officiating, coaching or fitness training. Across the season students will have access to top level coaching from both our own qualified staff and our partnership coaches. This is supplemented by a full fixture card that includes entry to district, county and national competitions.

Pupils in the Sixth Form, involved in the programme, will benefit from a tailored timetable that includes 6 additional sessions per week that are specifically focused on specific sport related matters. In addition, they will be given individual training programmes to improve both their physical fitness and position specific skill base. To enable this, we built our own fitness and weights room this summer to provide them with weekly access to high quality fitness equipment.



Our sporting success has also continued to thrive with several teams making and winning district cup semi-finals and finals, and individuals winning medals in district athletics. We host an annual sports awards evening that celebrates the growing success of our students. We are also in the third year of our rugby and netball sports tours that allow students to travel to UK destinations including; Bath, Cardiff and Derby. We run an annual ski trip, last year travelling to Andorra taking 30 students, and this year to Italy.

At Samuel Ryder Academy we are pleased to recognise the success of several students at the elite level of competition. Currently within the Academy we can boast success at various levels of the elite participation pyramid. This includes several district and county footballers, district swimmers, members of the national final fours basketball team, England youth internationals in fencing and disability cricket, a black belt Second Dan in Taekwondo with national honours and British representatives in skiing and gymnastics.



GCSE:  In 2020, 70% of students achieved grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in PE

Q: Are PE classes mixed or single sex?

A: All PE classes at Key stage 3 are single sex groups. Students will be put into sets in September of Year 7. From Year 9 upwards, some classes are mixed, depending upon the options taken by the student.

Q: Do boys do gym and dance?

A: Yes, all students will have a block of gym and dance at Key Stage 3 as this is a requirement of the National curriculum, but also a key part of developing students’ creativity and movement skills.

Q: What sports are on the curriculum?

A: We offer a wide and balanced curriculum across Key Stage 3 which includes activities from each of the main groups. Some activities include team sports such as rugby, football, netball, handball, basketball, cricket, rounders, athletics. Individual activities include dance, gymnastics, athletics, badminton, table tennis, swimming.

Q: Is there a girls’ football team?

A: Yes, there is a girls’ football team for U13, U15 and U18’s. Girls do football as part of curriculum lessons, as well as being able to attend weekly football training sessions. These sessions are separate from the boys, however, girls are also welcome to train with the boys teams if they so wish.

Q: Is there a swimming club?

A: All students will have swimming lessons as part of the curriculum. These lessons are taught in single sex classes at Key Stage 3. There is also a weekly swimming club that all students are welcome to attend regardless of their ability levels.

Welcome to Religion & Society

The religion and society curriculum at Samuel Ryder academy aims to provide our students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to play a vital role in their communities and to embrace a multi-faceted world. They will have the opportunity to explore who they are, their ideas, and what beliefs and practices exist around us. This is achieved through up to date resources, outside agencies, challenging and engaging projects, debates and discussions.

Key Stage 3

In Year 7, we start with looking at the concept of ‘Identity’, exploring uniqueness, the need to belong to a community and treating people with respect and tolerance. We then study the founders and leaders of the six main world religions, their key teachings and places of worship. We finish the year with a creative project Faith in Action where students delve into finding out how belief drives positive change in the world.

RS 1

Year 8 has a greater focus on philosophy and ethics, exploring the big questions such as arguments for and against the existence of God and the problem of evil, with a specific focus on the Holocaust. We then investigate prejudice and discrimination challenging common stereotypes and injustices in societies. We also explore wellbeing looking at how we can look after our mental health with links to substance misuse.

In Year 9, students are encouraged to apply their knowledge and skills to topics such as Relationships and Families and Crime and Punishment. We further examine the law through lessons on drug use.  The topic of moral issues is always popular as students enjoy expressing their views and learning about alternative ones through looking at recent case studies for example animal testing, euthanasia and organ donation. The main focus is Christianity, however links are made to other world religions as well as humanism and atheism.

RS 2

Key Stage 4

In Year 10 and 11 we offer the full AQA Religious Studies GCSE course. We study the religions Christianity and Islam and look at their beliefs and practices. We then apply this knowledge to four themes:

  • Religion and Life looking at religion and science and life after death
  • Religion Families and Relationships looking at marriage and divorce
  • Religion and Crime and Punishment looking at the aims of punishment and the death penalty
  • Religion Peace and Conflict looking at the issues surrounding war and the importance of peace.

There are two exam papers at the end of the course that give an overall grade.

Alongside this, all students will have one lesson a week where they are able to further enhance their personal skills. We cover topics such as personal finance, careers, knife crime and medical ethics.  Students are encouraged to develop greater self-awareness of their own qualities and attitudes that helps them in their future personal and career development.

Key Stage 5

We offer A-Level Religious Studies: Philosophy and Ethics.  The GCSE is designed to lead into the A-Level and therefore students will be well equipped to take the subject.


As part of the extra-curricular students can join our popular debating club open to all secondary groups. Current topics are debated in a professional manner. We also run a Year 7 humanities cross-curricular trip into St Albans; this includes fieldwork in Verulamium Park and a visit to the Cathedral. Some of our guest speakers include the charities STEP and Herts Young Homeless. The Sixth Form are taken to Houses of Parliament where they gain an insight in to British politics.

RS 3


Religious Studies GCSE: In 2020, 96% of students achieved grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in Religion & Society

Q: Which religions do you cover in Key Stage 3?

A: We cover the 6 religions; Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. When other beliefs and practices are mentioned in the classroom these are also explored.

Q: How are they assessed at Key Stage 3?

We have a range of assessments that place throughout the year such as; quizzes, research projects, presentations, and creating leaflets to show learning, as well as formal assessments at the end of certain topics.

Welcome to Science

Year 7

Year 7 students will be learning key scientific concepts such as cells, organs, microscopy, atoms, elements, changes of state, forces and motion.  They will learn these concepts in a unique way through engaging, activity-based lessons.

Science 1

Key Stage 3

Throughout Key Stage 3, students are encouraged to develop their scientific skills through a range of different tasks.  They will learn the skills of evaluating information, interpreting and presenting different forms of data, to communicate with other scientists using appropriate terminology and to be able to gain an understanding of the science that is used in our everyday lives.

The overall aim of Key Stage 3 is to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed at GCSE, while at the same time being engaged in fun and exciting lessons.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, all students follow the Edexcel Science suite which emphasises explanations, theories and modelling in science along with the implications of science for society.  Students can study for GCSEs in combined sciences or they can opt in Year 9 to study the sciences separately: biology, chemistry and physics.

We are pleased to report that since introducing the triple science GCSE option to students, the number of students choosing this pathway has increased year on year. This demonstrates the popularity of the triple course which better prepares students for the challenges ahead when studying science at A-Level.

All students are encouraged from the start to take responsibility for their own learning. Workshops on how to revise are set up from the start of the year, so that when needed, students can draw on a vast knowledge of revision techniques to sail through their exams.

In Year 10 and 11 pupils have separate teachers for the separate sciences to ensure they receive specialist teaching. They also receive access to the Pearson ActiveLearn resources, allowing them, amongst other things, to access the textbook online.

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5, students follow Edexcel courses for A-Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  The A-Level Biology course is designed to encourage our students to develop enthusiasm for biology, whilst learning and improving practical skills which can be backed up with scientific understanding and application. 

In A-Level Chemistry students study materials, their reactions and the laws that govern them.  

A-Level Physics involves the study of matter, energy, force and motion and topics which can challenge the imagination and lead to world-changing discoveries such as lasers and computers.

At all key stages we make extensive use of the student iPads.


We offer students a variety of experiences in which they can develop their love of science outside the classroom setting and we are always looking for new events to enthuse our students. Currently we offer a lunch time science club, which has proved very popular with the students. Activities include: observing dissections, analysing blood, creating elephant toothpaste and making volcanoes.

Science Week is a big annual event at the school. Students have taken part in group-based project work and competitions as well as hearing from guest speakers, watching science shows and visiting a mobile planetarium.

We also work closely with STEM providers, who deliver workshops to students in order to promote science related careers, particularly in the engineering field. This has involved building model cars and trebuchets, as well as visiting the SKY Academy studios in London.

Every year we take students to the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham and the GCSE students have the opportunity to hear from current scientists at the popular GCSE Science live lecture in London.

Science 2


Science is a well-established, successful department staffed with subject specialists.

GCSE: 76% of students achieved 2 or more standard passes in GCSE science with grades 9-4.

Frequently Asked Questions in Science

Q: What is the difference between combined and triple science?

A: In both qualifications, pupils study biology, chemistry and physics. Combined science is 2 GCSEs, triple science has more content and is worth 1 GCSE per subject. All 3 sciences are covered in both qualifications

Q: Do they have to study triple science to do science A-Levels?

A: No, not at all. You can study all science levels, and indeed go to University, having sat combined science.

Q: Are pupils set?

A: We do not currently set in Year 7. In Years 8 and 9 we have a top set and a bottom set to help support these pupils best. In Years 10 and 11 we have triple groups, higher groups and foundation groups.

Q: Are all 3 sciences offered at A-Level?

A: Yes, they are, and we are hoping to offer an Applied Science qualification in the future.

Q: How often do students do practical work?

A: Frequently, we make science a practical subject so practical work is conducted whenever it is appropriate

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