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Academic Life

We are very proud of the consistently strong public examination results achieved by our pupils, demonstrating clearly that a key priority at Mount Kelly is the fulfilment of academic potential. We combine high expectations with accurate monitoring of progress, carefully considered enrichment activities and individually tailored support to ensure that every child, across the ability range, meets and often exceeds those expectations.

In Years 7 and 8 our pupils study at the Prep and build upon the Common Entrance curriculum which is enriched and extended to encourage debate, critical thinking and the exploration of new ideas. A key focus in Year 9 is to instil good work habits that will provide a strong foundation from which to progress to GCSE.

We believe that A Levels provide the most effective route for our pupils to study at the top universities in the country. Expert support from a dedicated team of staff eases the application process to university and the majority of our pupils are accepted by their first choice institution.

The academic curriculum is strengthened and broadened by a programme of lectures, off site excursions, links with Plymouth and Exeter Universities and the opportunity to study the Extended Project Qualification. The importance of independent learning is fundamental to teaching styles throughout the School. However, in the Sixth Form, increasing independence is encouraged and the pupils learn to work autonomously whilst enjoying the safety net provided by dedicated academic staff and unrivalled pastoral care.

Academic success is central to, but only a part of, the whole picture. The stretch and challenge within the class room is augmented by our extensive co-curricular provision. Within the Sixth Form our pupils continually astound us with their capacity to achieve academically while also demonstrating the commitment to excel in such a challenging schedule of events that includes the Ten Tors Challenge, the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Marathon, the Combined Cadet Force and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

At Mount Kelly we have dedicated Sixth Form Boarding Houses and a Sixth Form Centre where pupils can study, relax or socialise. Our Head of Sixth Form, Miss Callard, is always available to advise and assist with career choices and university applications and she is well supported by a team of dedicated Sixth Form Tutors.

The Plum Society

The Plum Society is named after the head master here in the early twentieth century - Mr. HV Plum (1911 to 1926). It is the umbrella term to cover all the activities aimed at the more academically-minded pupils in Years 9 and 10. Membership is open to pupils who express an interest in taking on unusual tasks, engaging in activities and competitions, or joining in discussions and debates that are not linked to the formal curriculum but which broadly stretch and challenge the pupils.

Pupils have addressed the school in assembly, created a film for the Bank of England’s competition (see below), and read Machiavelli’s 'The Prince'. Amongst the events planned for this term is a trip to Oxford and participation in the Schools Challenge inter-school quiz.

Independence - Plum Society Film

The Plum Society accepted a challenge from the Bank of England to produce a short film on the theme of ‘Independence’. This nationwide initiative marked the 20th anniversary of the Bank’s independence from direct government control.  In just ten days, four Year 9 pupils – Joe, George G, Jamie and George C– produced an excellent video reflecting on the nature of independence. 

Information for Universities

Mount Kelly is a relatively small, independent, co-educational day and boarding school in the heart of Devon. This means that the variety of social backgrounds and the academic ability range in the Year 13 cohort are both very broad. Each year we have several pupils who are academically very able and aim high in their university applications. A significant minority of pupils have special educational needs, typically requiring extra time in examinations, and there is also a section of the year group which are from overseas.

The Mount Kelly Sixth Form curriculum anticipates pupils taking three A Levels over two years. Following the reforms initiated by Mr Gove, it was decided that each of the new A Levels would require increased study and, therefore, it was appropriate for all but the brightest to study just three full A Levels. Similarly, in the spirit of the linearity underpinning the new A Levels, pupils in Year 12 do not sit any public exams and the AS qualification is not generally available. An exception to this is the Extended Project Qualification, for which many Year 12 pupils study. A small number of pupils may take an AS in Mathematics over two years.

A Levels offered at Mount Kelly: Art & Design; Biology; Chemistry; Design Technology; Economics; English Language; English Literature; French; Geography; Government and Politics; History; Mathematics; Further Mathematics; Music; Photography; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Religious Studies and Spanish.

Forecast grades for pupils applying to university are reached on the basis of their performance in the Year 12 summer exams, and the results from formal assessments undertaken as part of our routine tracking process through the year. The predictions are reviewed early in Year 13 on the basis of current performance.

In addition to A Levels, the school offers a BTEC Extended Diploma qualification in Sports Performance and Excellence.