Senior School

We know how important the transition to Senior School is for your child’s education and their personal development.

Our dedicated and experienced staff will give your 11 year old the skills and confidence to take them from their first tentative steps in Year 7, to becoming an articulate young adult ready to face the challenges beyond Derby High School.

Our small class sizes enable each child to progress at their own speed, with the support and challenge of exceptionally well qualified teachers. Our academic record is particularly strong, regularly placing Derby High significantly ahead of all Derbyshire schools for both A level and GCSE results.

Pupils’ attitude to learning are exemplary. They demonstrate excellent initiative and independence.



Our Students

Derby High School prides itself on the level of pastoral care offered to our students, who are encouraged to seek the advice and help of their teachers if they are experiencing difficulties.

We also encourage parents to inform the school if there is anything happening outside school which might have an impact on the well-being of their children. Experience tells us that good communication between parents and the school is the most effective way of enabling the school to offer students appropriate guidance and support, whether through Form Tutors, Heads of Key Stage, our full-time Chaplain or other staff with pastoral responsibilities.

Derby High Senior School

Older pupils in the senior school display a wide range of sophisticated study habits and organisational and thinking skills.



The curriculum at Derby High School is designed to offer girls and boys breadth and balance whilst establishing a strong base that will allow progression to a wide range of choices at A Level and to any future degree course they might wish to take.

All subjects throughout the Senior School are taught by specialist teachers. Students in Year 7 have lessons in the traditional core subjects; English, Mathematics, History, Geography, French, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (taught from the start as separate sciences) together with Art, Music, Drama, Design Technology, Food and Nutrition, Religious Studies, PE, ICT and Personal Social and Health Education. They also follow our ‘Thinking for Learning’ programme, which is designed to help them become more independent thinkers and learners. They spend a single period a week on this and also participate in workshops to help them develop these skills.

Students in Year 7 also have a single period a week of Spanish and German taster classes to introduce them to both languages. In Year 8 they continue with French and take either Spanish or German as a second foreign language.

STEM subjects are always popular amongst Derby High students and we are proud to be STEM Ambassadors.

In Year 9 students are given careers advice before making their GCSE choices. Mathematics, English Language and Literature are taken by everyone. In addition to their GCSE subjects students also have lessons in Religious Studies, ICT, Thinking for Learning, PSHE and Core PE.

Please download our GCSE Options Booklet 2024 - 2026 for further info.


and Careers Information

Derby High School is able to offer a wide and varied range of subjects. All students should seek advice on subject balance and ask lots of questions before making their final decision.

Derby High School is able to offer a wide and varied range of subjects. All students should seek advice on subject balance and ask lots of questions before making their final decision.

In Year 9 students study the current labour market and context of careers.  They undertake online personality profiling on the Unifrog platform and consider the results generated ahead of their Options Evening.

The following GCSE Options Booklet provides an outline of the subjects students must study (the core curriculum) and the subjects they can choose to study (key curriculum options). Students are invited to talk to their teachers to help make their option decisions.

For more information on attending our GCSE Options and Careers Information Evening which is usually held in February, please contact our Registrar, Kristy Orpwood, via email or telephone 01332 514267.


Our vast and diverse programme of extra-curricular activities enables all students to explore and develop new interests: it offers them opportunities to challenge themselves, develop teamwork and leadership skills.

Whether their interests lie in Sport, Music and Drama or in developing new skills in areas such as Science, Photography and Computer coding, there is something for everyone. To view this term’s club and activities timetable, click here.

Alongside our weekly super curricular activities many students will participate in day or residential trips. School trips are normally subject based and help consolidate learning, for example, a trip to the theatre, an art gallery or the Yorkshire Moors.

Each year we have a number of optional trips which go abroad, for example a ski trip to Austria or a language trip to Berlin.    

With a calendar of house events throughout the year, our house system encourages co-operative links between all year groups and nurtures a sense of team spirit, competition and fun.


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme at Derby High School is thriving. Approximately 85-90% of our Year 10 students enrol for our Bronze programme annually. Many will go onto to complete the Silver and Gold Awards over a three year period.

Students participate in several trips, visits and challenges in order to achieve their Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE awards.  

To enable us to manage this popular co-curricular option, and to enhance the overall experiences of the students staff who manage the DofE programme are fully qualified by DofE to deliver training and support programmes in school at all three levels. 

As well as helping the students to form new friendships, the scheme gives them a wide range of valuable life skills including independence, strength of character, self-confidence, responsibility and leadership.


Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) forms an important part of the PSHE, Truly Educated and tutor programmes, and is provided for pupils in Years 7 to 13.  We are proud to be fully compliant with the eight Gatsby benchmarks which define world-class career guidance.

The CEIAG curriculum aims to promote self-awareness regarding individual strengths, weaknesses and interests relating to the world of work, and to motivate and enable pupils to explore and research careers using a range of resources, including access to the online platform, Unifrog.  Students can meet with the Head of Careers at any time to discuss their next steps.

Our Career Fairs are an excellent opportunity for students to explore a wide range of career pathways and to meet representatives from a variety of industries and higher education organisations.

I was a pupil at Derby High for 15 years, it was a wonderful place to be. I Simply loved it!