Senior Academic

Learning at Tranby is much more than just about passing exams, it is about developing a shared love of intellectual adventure which seeks to bring out the best in everyone.

Our academic ethos is one which does not seek to put limits on what our students achieve. We look to give the students floors not ceilings, to give them roots and a safe environment in which to try themselves out.  Central to this is the way in which teachers inspire the students to develop a love of learning for its own sake and look for ways to develop the students’ passion for their subjects so that their intellectual curiosity is aroused, and they go well beyond what is expected by their examination courses.

  • Art

    Here in the Art Department at Tranby, we offer a unique a range of experiences and opportunities within the suitably inspiring Art Studio, with its open plan workspaces and specialist facilities. Due to our favorable pupil numbers, staff can provide pupils with bespoke 1 to 1 support, mentoring, and tuition. Our pupils begin their art journey in year 7 and continue up to year 9, after which pupils can opt to take GCSE in Art & Design, and A Level Fine Art, Textile Design and Photography. 

    Throughout all the key stages our focus is all about developing the pupils existing skills and knowledge.  Specifically cultivating contextual awareness, exploring, and developing new talent and processes, refining ideas, and realising meaningful and appropriate outcomes. We do this via a range of carefully developed Art and Design schemes of work.  Within these, we explore painting, drawing, life drawing, printing, clay work, textiles including fashion design, wet/dry felting, weaving, knitting, tie dye, hand and machine embroidery, photography with access to the Adobe suite of software for editing. 

    We also offer an extensive range of lunch time activities, including our Key Stage 3 Art clubs that include fun curriculum activities, GCSE and A level workshops and an open art studio for private study.  

     Throughout the year we regularly invite visiting Artists, Examiners, and Alumni into school to talk and work with pupils and to provide curriculum days where pupils explore activities like clothed life drawing with a live model. In Year 8, the Art Department takes part in the faculty-wide Technology Day that focuses on ‘Sustainability’ where the pupils work alongside the Food & Nutrition Department and Design Technology Department to produce a range of sustainably designed and made products. Our end of year Technology Show is an opportunity for the Art Department to opportunity to celebrate and exhibit both GCSE and A Level artwork, inviting both parents and the wider community to view. 

    Lastly, the Art Department aims to provide pupils with opportunities for cultural trips and visits, both nationally and internationally. In the past we have travelled to London to visit the Tate Modern, the V&A, The Fashion & Textile Museum, National Portrait Gallery to mention just a few. Internationally, we have visited Barcelona to study the work of Gaudi. 

  • Biology

    Biology, by its very nature, is interesting and engaging. As with the other sciences, practical investigation and the ability to experience Biology ‘happening’ is at the very core of how the subject is taught here. In slightly more formal language, scientific method is applied alongside subject content so that our pupils develop a full appreciation of how scientific ideas have become accepted as scientific theory.

    So, from delving into leaf litter to gather data on pyramids of numbers and biomass in Year 7, extracting DNA from a strawberry at GCSE to transforming bacteria, at A level so they ‘glow in the dark’, Our pupils given a rich and interesting experience of living organisms from the very start to the end of their school career. 

  • Chemistry

    Chemistry helps us to understand the world in which we live and underpins a wide range of science-based degree courses and careers. Chemistry is everywhere and at Tranby we hope to instil this concept into out students’ way of thinking. For example, look more closely at the bottle of mineral water you are drinking from. Chemistry will have been involved in the development of the container, recycling, new biodegradable polymer technologies, the paint and glue on the labels and of course testing the mineral content in the water itself. We cannot escape chemistry in the world around us and in everyday life! 

    Chemistry is sometimes known as the "central science" because it helps to connect physical sciences, like maths and physics, with applied sciences, like biology, medicine and engineering. By studying chemistry at Tranby you will be developing questioning and experimentation skills which can be key in building a wide range of skills for work and further study. Chemistry helps you to develop research, problem solving and analytical skills. It helps to you challenge ideas and show how you worked things out through logic and step-by-step reasoning. Chemistry often requires teamwork and communication skills too, which is great for project management. 

    Chemistry will help you get ahead in most STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers and more besides. Chemistry is an important subject for careers in: medicine, environmental science, engineering, toxicology, developing consumer products, metallurgy (studying how metals behave), space exploration, developing perfumes and cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, energy, teaching, science writing, software development and research. Success studying A level chemistry will help prepare you particularly for a future in chemistry, pharmacy, pharmacology, chemical engineering, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, medicine and dentistry. 

    The courses taught at Tranby are designed to be stimulating, enjoyable and challenging. At Tranby we want you to develop a passion for the subject and understand its practical relevance. At Tranby we have well equipped chemistry laboratories and students here will tell you there is a huge focus on developing excellent practical skills. Students studying A level chemistry have the opportunity to participate in the RSC Chemistry Olympiad and the RSC Schools’ Analyst competitions. Students in younger years have the chance to participate at Salters’ Chemistry Festivals, where past Tranby students have enjoyed much success. 

  • Design & Technology

    In the Design and technology at Tranby, we offer a unique a range of experiences and opportunities in a creative and safe environment. The workshop has specialist facilities allowing pupils to both design and make their projects in a range of material choices. The pupils have access to dedicated D&T software within the room, this allows pupils to develop their CAD skills and build their subject knowledge.  

    Here at Tranby D&T we use the projects as the vehicle for learning. At all key stages our focus is about developing the pupils existing skills and knowledge, therefore building it to the next level. The projects undertaken at each age group are designed to stretch and develop the pupil’s understanding of design and the world around them. This allows the pupils to develop their own understanding and with time to master arrange of important skills and knowledge. Due to the good staff to pupil ratio the pupils can produce high quality outcomes and challenged themselves.  

    Learning is not confined to lesson times and we offer extensive range of lunch time activities, including our Key Stage 3 D&T kit clubs were the pupils can take part in small making activities. Engineering club is also offered to the older pupils with more advanced projects such as making a pizza oven for the school.  

    D&T takes part in a faculty-wide Technology Day that focuses on ‘Sustainability’ where the pupils work alongside the Food & Nutrition Department and Art Department to produce a range of sustainably designed and made products.  

    Trips and visits are offered to support the in-school learning. These visits provide pupils with opportunities to see inside the real-world of factories from Morgan and Jaguar cars to the heavy engineering that takes place at JCB. In the past we have travelled to London to visit the Harry Potter studio tours to see design and film making. 

    Each year exam classes in Art and Design along with the Design and Technology department showcases the pupils work in an Art show allowing the parents and younger pupils to see and appreciate the high quality and hard work invested in the creative subjects here at Tranby. 

  • Drama

    The Drama department at Tranby is vibrant and enthusiastic. We work hard to fit in and carry out all the imaginative and interesting projects that take place within the school year.

    Drama is taught as a discreet subject from Year 7 until Year 9 after which GCSE and A Level courses are offered. In KS3 the emphasis is on imaginative learning and confidence building combined with skills-based work. There is a steady developmental process through the year groups in order to create a strong base foundation for those wishing to carry drama into GCSE and A level.

    Across the year groups we look at; performance skills, rehearsal skills, basic technical skills and group skills. However, the emphasis will still be focused very much on learning through pleasure and although the work may be hard it will be enormous fun. The department will put a strong emphasis on interactive group skills, focusing on positive feedback, constructive criticism, respect for others, co-operation, and group problem solving. This work develops good working practice and confidence, which are transferable skills that are invaluable in the workplace.

    During the year we go out of school on a variety of theatre visits and workshops, as well as inviting theatre companies and working practitioners into the school to offer advice and experience. Pupils are encouraged to watch and evaluate the work of other drama groups within the school.

     As well as year group work we have an annual whole school productions that all senior pupils are encouraged to audition for. These productions involve the art, textiles and music departments who will work together with pupils to create sets, costumes and live music. Consequently these projects are demanding for pupils and staff involved, but the experience is a rewarding one.

    During the year we offer lunchtime drama activities that focus on encouraging KS3 pupils. During the school year pupils have plenty of opportunities to practice their drama skills, ranging from reading at the school carol service to performing within their year group or school production, or preparing for the National Youth Theatre auditions. But whatever the task the work is always carried out in an atmosphere of enthusiasm and commitment and the confidence that pupils gain from the experience is invaluable.

  • English

    Tranby’s English department strives to ensure that every student is nurtured and inspired to become a confident communicator in the wider world. In addition to an enjoyable yet challenging curriculum, our students have the opportunity to engage in a range of extra-curricular activities such as debating, public speaking, creative writing and poetry recitals in order to discover and celebrate their individuality with linguistic flair.

    As firm supporters of Margaret Fuller’s notion of ‘today a reader, tomorrow a leader’, the English department pride themselves on fostering a literary buzz around the school via inter-class reading competitions, author visits and research tasks which stoke a passion for reading beyond the classroom and a desire to maximise use of our exemplary library and resource centre.

    Therefore, let our experienced team facilitate your child’s literary journey and transport them from Dickensian England to Airstrip One, from Verona to Ancient Greece and from the dining room of an Edwardian stately home to a one-bed bedsit in New Orleans whilst encouraging creative curiosity, personal interpretation and the ability to have their voices heard in a comfortable environment. 

  • Food & Nutrition

    The Food and Nutrition department at Tranby has a long-established legacy of laying down foundation culinary skills that will stand pupils in stead for years to come. 

    At the start of Key stage 3 pupils are introduced to the basic skills through making baked products like cakes and biscuits, breads and pastry. The progression to making simple meals occurs towards the end of year 7 and continues into year 8 & 9. By the end of KS3 pupils should be competent in being able to make a range of products. Emphasis is now placed on product presentation and pupils are taught how to decorate sweet dishes using techniques such as sugar spinning and fondant work and how to garnish savoury products. An element of practical work in KS3 is investigative work and pupils are encouraged to link food science principles to the function of ingredients in recipes. For example, they may conduct experiments into the effect of using different flours in the making of bread or what affects the foaming properties of eggs. Alongside practical work pupils are given a grounding in Nutrition and the importance of eating responsibly, in addition to developing an awareness of Food Hygiene and Kitchen Safety. 

    A GCSE course is offered in Food Preparation and Nutrition following the OCR specification. In addition to covering theory subjects such as Nutrition and Food provenance, this course is creative and practical too. As Heston Blumental said “This course is a great opportunity to follow your instincts, take some risks and above all have some fun in the kitchen" 

    Post sixteen, a Level 3 diploma (A-level equivalent) is offered in Food Science and Nutrition. This qualification enables students to demonstrate an understanding of the science of Food Safety, Nutrition and Nutritional needs in a wide range of contexts, and through on–going practical sessions, to gain practical skills to produce quality food items to meet the needs of individuals.  

    Outside lessons, the department offers a variety of exciting extra curriculum events and activities. As part of its STREAM programme the prep school, on a rolling programme, undertake a food activity which gives them an introduction to some basic culinary techniques. Competitions are regularly entered, recent ones being the styling of a Tunnock’s teacake and another Baked beans on toast. Year 8 take part each year in a Sustainability Day where workshops are carried out in each of the ADT (Art, Design and Technology) disciplines. At KS4 from time to time, selected pupils organise and prepare ‘Canape and Mocktail’ lunches which are served in the drawing room to external guests and staff. Planned for the future are residential trips to Normandy, where pupils will visit snail/goat farms and participate in chocolate and patisserie workshops and also London where pupils will attend ‘Jamie Olivers’ cookery school and visit some renowned London Food markets. 

  • French

    French is not only a beautiful, rich and melodious language but is also incredibly useful; French is an official language of the European Union, the Olympics, NATO and UNESCO.

    Pupils at Tranby have the opportunity to learn French in the Senior School from Year 7. During Years 7 - 9 pupils study a range of topics including how to talk about themselves, their opinions and interests as well as learning about the culture of France and French speaking nations. 

    Cultural projects include a study of the beautiful francophone island nation of New Caledonia, the popular cartoon characters, Asterix and Obelix, a project on the French capital and a study of the award-winning film Les Choristes (The Chorus). In Year 9, pupils also complete the Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education (FCSE) which provides the perfect springboard for their GCSE studies. During Years 10 – 13, pupils are invited to take part in a 5-day trip to Paris.

    Travelling on the Eurostar and staying in a central Parisian hotel, pupils visit all the major sites and practise their French in daily activities to support their GCSE or A Level preparation.  

  • Geography

    Geography at Tranby enables pupils to journey all over the world studying human and physical environments across all continents.

    Geographers at Tranby study human topics such as globalisation, development and population in the UK and beyond. This not only gives them an understanding of how the human world works but also highlights current world issues and progress. Human Geography takes pupils to different parts of the world, developing ideas of what life is like for a range of communities and how this compares to life in the UK. Pupils are given the opportunity to study varying regions, countries and continents such as the Middle East, India and Africa and learn about the different ways of life.

    In physical Geography pupils at Tranby learn about features of the Earth and how it works. Geographers study a range of topics such as ecosystems, coasts, rivers, weather and tectonics in a range of places both local (Holderness) and distant (Indonesia). These topics give pupils an insight into the functioning of the world as well as the hazards that it presents such as hurricanes and volcanoes. Pupils also develop a good understanding of key environmental issues in the world such as climate change helping them to join in world-wide topical debates on relevant issues.

    Tranby Geography lessons are varied, engaging and interactive helping to inspire a passion for the subject. Pupils are able to learn through discussion such as group work, debates and presentations; technology such as interactive maps and GIS; creativity such as posters and models; practising skills such as practical fieldwork and research and through interactive videos. In Geography, class and homework competition is used to motivate pupils and celebrate talent within the subject and to help pupils extend learning.

    As an academic subject with practical elements, Geography at Tranby gives pupils both the knowledge and skills to pursue future careers of their choice from Accountancy to Land Planning and teaching. This makes it a popular subject choice to continue through to A-level and is ideal for nurturing the potential of future Geographers.

  • German

    German is widely spoken in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, all of which offer a wealth of culture, art, film, literature, architecture, music and history as well as fabulous tourist destinations.

    At Tranby, we offer German from Year 7 - alongside French, Spanish and Latin - all the way through to GCSE and A level. In Year 9, pupils complete the FCSE, which provides the perfect springboard for their GCSE studies.  We combine a range of the latest interactive resources with established and effective teaching methods which enhance pupils' learning and passion for the subject. In an encouraging and enthusiastic environment, pupils at Tranby have the opportunity to study a range of topics including how to talk about themselves, their opinions and interests, school, food and drink, holidays, as well as the fascinating culture of German-speaking countries.

    In recent years, a local international business leader - fluent in German – has regularly volunteered to develop pupils’ conversational German at all levels, as well as offer insights into the benefits of the German language in trade and industry.

  • History

    Studying History at Tranby will allow you to reflect on the past, make sense of the present and prepare you for the future. The importance of historical understanding may seem self-evident at a time when statues are toppled, and demonstrators are protesting against age-old wrongs. We cannot avoid the myriad of moral dilemmas that History presents, but neither should we.  By developing the skills of evaluating evidence and trying to empathise with different mindsets we encourage historians at Tranby to discuss the issues gifted by the past and engage in rigorous, thoughtful debate.  

    At Tranby we have developed a curriculum which spans from the Norman Conquest to the fall of the Berlin Wall. History should be fun and we believe that pupils learn most by doing. We act out events, bring lecturers and expert speakers into school, take pupils on field trips and visit museums in Britain and abroad.  The History classrooms at Tranby are often noisy and active! 

    History is very practical and teaches you valuable skills which employers want. Our pupils frequent chose to continue with their study of History at undergraduate level as the career opportunities and earning potential for History graduates is excellent.  Historians at Tranby are taught to develop their written voice and create an argument based on reason, we think critically and weigh-up evidence. It is no surprise that some of our Tranby alumni now work in law, public service, government and journalism.   

  • Latin

    Studying Latin at Tranby will encourage pupils’ curiosity and to draw parallels with, as well as improving their grammar and vocabulary in Modern Foreign Languages and English.  In addition to studying the Latin language, we explore the ancient culture of Rome, which often gives rise to lively debate about social norms in the 1st and 21st centuries.  Topics studied include Roman leisure and entertainment from chariot racing to gladiator fights; the invasion and Romanisation of Britain; slavery and manumission to name a few.

    The KS3 Latin curriculum is designed to inspire subject passion, giving the pupils a love for and a grounding in the subject which they can then choose to explore further at KS4; GCSE Latin allows for the nurturing of pupils’ potential, introducing the analysis of texts in the original Latin language based around a certain theme, for example chariot-racing, or superstition and magic. 

    At all points of a Latin pupil’s learning journey, every opportunity is taken to celebrate their talent, recognising effort and attainment in language, history or literature studies – be that accurate translations, expertly compiled Roman news reports or insightful literature analyses, each and every pupil has the chance to shine in this broad and rewarding subject.

  • Mathematics

    The Tranby Maths Department is made up of experienced practitioners who teach pupils across the school, from the Prep school all the way up to Further Maths A level in Year 13. 

    We run the Edexcel Maths IGCSE in Year 10 and Year 11 as well as GCSE Statistics and GCSE Further Maths for the top sets to stretch them. Our Maths and Further Maths A level courses are popular, and pupils get involved in the department, helping out with tasks such as mentoring younger pupils and demonstrating their work on Open Days. 

    We know how important Maths is and do everything possible to support our pupils to get a pass at GCSE, from mentoring in KS3 to Maths Clinic to Maths+ options, and the extra help leads to a 100% pass rate most years.  

    We can often be found in the Maths department running Maths Challenge clubs, Oxbridge preparation sessions, homework help sessions or just working through Maths puzzles for fun! We hope to inspire pupils of all levels with an intellectual curiosity to help them explore our beautiful subject. 

  • Music

    "Music is at the heart of our School. The position of the teaching rooms in the old building means that evocative sounds of harps, strings, voices, guitars and drums perpetually waft into the main foyer and corridors. But it’s also at the heart of a broad and rich education, developing pupils’ sensitivity, community spirit, discipline, expressive maturity and cultural literacy.  

    Every week over 180 individual music lessons on all types of instrument and voice take place in school, given by a team of the very best, inspirational visiting teachers. This is combined with engaging and rigorous class teaching from Year 7 to A Level, aiming to help all pupils develop their practical and creative abilities, and also to enhance their love of all types of music from Bach to Billie Eilish and from Bali to Bangalore.  

    Many pupils have progressed to top UK universities and conservatoires in recent years to study and work at the highest levels. Workshops are staged at least once a year (recently we have had special sessions from Indian musicians, Gamelan workshops, folk music, jazz, etc.) Trips to see shows (recently ‘Wicked’ in the West End) and also to perform in larger events with other schools. 

    Our varied extra-curricular program involves larger groups (e.g. orchestra, string orchestra and jazz band) and smaller dedicated chamber groups (e.g. guitar group, percussion ensemble). Our choirs perform many times throughout the year both inside school at events such as Remembrance and Christmas, and outside school; in recent years we have given public concerts at Hull Minster and Beverley Minster. We also stage regular musical shows in collaboration with the Drama department and organise music tours abroad. All this has one main aim: to give pupils lifelong and life changing experiences through an engagement with and love of music in all its forms." 

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

    All students have the potential to be critical analytical thinkers, spiralling from superficiality to immense depth. Nurturing their philosophical potential, allows our students to identify hidden agendas, misinformation, unreliable sources of evidence, and reveal deception.

    Philosophy and Religious Studies gives every student a voice in a safe environment, allowing them to develop subject passion through sharing their perspective and respecting the valid views of others.

    The worlds’ religions are among the most powerful influences on peoples’ lives and societies today. We study the major beliefs, traditions and cultural practices that shape billions of adherents’ mindsets. Getting the opportunity to analyse and evaluate major influences, that mould and shape societies today, empowers our students to hold informed views and think big, with an understanding that they can powerfully influence society and political trajectories.

    As well as celebrating diversity, we also celebrate the common heart of all belief systems and build bridges by appreciating universal common values across all major belief systems.

    Our weekly lessons are highly dynamic and vibrant with a variety of interactive activities ranging from lively, focused debates on the most important social and political issues, to guided, supportive independent research and opportunities for student presentations. We also help students to develop an appreciation of various ethical, religious and nonreligious philosophies and belief systems. We not only broaden students’ horizons with critical evaluation and analysis but apply critical thinking to current affairs issues that directly impact on their lives and the world around them.

    Students also look forward to and enjoy their Philosophy and Religious Studies lessons because of the variety of interactive and multimedia-based activities offered them. They value it because they see its relevance and impact on their lives. The variety of trips to religious landmarks and architecturally stunning places of worship, gives them experiences and memories that also helps to fire their subject passion.

    Pursuing the GCSE Philosophy and Religious studies develops the above-mentioned academic skills of critical analysis and evaluation. It is particularly useful for any profession that involves significant human interaction, as studying major belief systems and cultures, equips students in future management positions to motivate and inspire employees from increasingly culturally diverse backgrounds. For the same reason it helps with professions operating in a global marketplace. The qualification is highly valued by universities and employers. We have had an excellent record of nurturing the potential of students to achieve the highest available GCSE grade 9, and A level A*, with a high value added.

    Philosophy and Religious Studies at Tranby appreciates, values and nurtures faith and spirituality. All students’ religious beliefs are celebrated. The department works towards building unity amongst students, inspiring a passion to extend that unity into their communities and wider societies. It helps to build bridges across socioeconomic and cultural barriers. Students learn the power of philosophical systems to influence the paths of their own families, schools, business practices, societies and entire countries.

  • Physics

    Physics helps you to understand the world around you and satisfy your curiosity. Studying physics at Tranby develops your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Physics will help you to build up your problem solving, research, and analytical skills with the extensive practical work that takes place at Tranby. With these skills you’ll be able to test out new ideas plus question and investigate other people’s theories. 

    Physics is a seriously useful subject for the majority of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers and you’ll find physicists everywhere, in industry, transport, government, universities, the armed forces, the secret service, games companies, research labs and more. 

    Physics is especially helpful for jobs that involve building things and developing new technologies, including engineering, astronomy, robotics, renewable energies, computer science, communications, space exploration, science writing, sports and games technology, research and nanotechnology. 

    Physics is fundamental to our understanding of how the universe works. You are studying an enormously stimulating subject that also sits right at the heart of technology development. Physics today is a very rewarding and exciting field with new discoveries occurring at the frontiers of human knowledge. Its methods and insights are widely applicable, and its practitioners widely sought. 

  • Spanish

    “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” (Nelson Mandela). Language is about communication, but it does more than that. Speaking to a person in their own language makes a human connection with that individual in a way that using other words cannot. 

    At Tranby we are passionate about the Spanish language. We believe that it is a pure, beautiful language with long vowels and soft consonants which allow it to flow from one sound to another with ease and grace. Whether a beginner in Year 7 or a more advanced pupil in Year 13, you will be taught the language learning skills at an appropriate level to enable you to engage with local people in Spain or Latin America in a convincing and empathetic manner. 

    You will be speaking to their heart, and you may be surprised at the warmth of response you receive. In addition to excellent teaching, we shall use brand new interactive resources and opportunities to visit Spain to help you develop your confidence using the language on a practical level:  to solve problems locally, place orders in a restaurant, check-in to hotel rooms and find your way around a Hispanic town. 

    However, knowing a language also inspires passion, enthusiasm, and offers you a different, wider, perspective of life. Learning Spanish will open up a whole new world to you: chivalrous knights charging windmills, the intense and emotive art form of flamenco, award-winning films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Spanish-speaking musical artists such as Gloria Estefan and Jennifer Lopez, and unique towns and villages with their own foods, festivals, history and monuments. You will learn much about your own language, and possibly about yourself too. ¡Abre la mente, inspira la pasión!