Upper School Curriculum


Horris Hill aims to deliver a curriculum that is as broad as possible, without sacrificing high standards of achievement. The average class size is 10–12 pupils, with a maximum of 16. 

There is a traditional academic rigour, for example through Classics, Advanced Maths and separate Sciences taught in an enthusiastic and inspiring way.  

All boys in the Upper School (Years 4-8) study English, Maths, Science, French, Latin, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Music, Art, Drama, Design and Technology, PSHE, Information Technology and Physical Education.  

Our boarding framework allows us more class time, starting at 8.30am and going on until 6.30pm five days a week for those in the final years, within which time we include prep, activities, music practice, tutor sessions,on top of a full timetable of 15 different subjects. The children work at school but not at home.  There is no homework at Horris Hill!

Pupils are prepared for Common Entrance or Academic Scholarship exams in Year 8, with an outstanding track record on both fronts and boys gain entry to some of the most selective schools in the country.

We also offer additional clubs and activities such as coding, debating, drama and chess.  Your son's imagination and potential will be stretched!  For further information please see School Life


Our over-riding philosophy is that children learn mathematics by doing mathematics. This can take the form of written exercises, mental exercises, work in the ICT room or practical work. However the emphasis is always on the boys doing maths. Most children love the feeling of achievement when they do well and they love learning new skills. Repetition is not something to be afraid of, and key skills are taught, retaught and practised until they are mastered. In the senior years the emphasis shifts to mastering basic algebra and geometry as well as developing number skills further. We use practical and investigative work whenever appropriate to enhance the mathematical learning experience.

Schemes of work

From Year 3 boys follow our Horris Hill junior mathematics course, which ambitiously pushes boys to high levels of achievement whilst providing a thorough grounding for those who find maths a bit more difficult. Our aim is to build confidence through success and to achieve as soon as possible mastery of the Four Rules of Number as the foundation for later progress. By the end of Year 5 most boys are able to perform well beyond the usual expectations for the end of Year 6.

During Year 6 boys embark on their Common Entrance mathematics course, initially covering all the arithmetic, algebra, geometry and statistics needed to take the Level 2 Common Entrance papers. Most boys then cover additional units of work teaching the additional material required for Level 3 CE papers, and the ablest boys go on still further to study for academic scholarship examinations to leading senior independent schools.


We do not believe in endless testing, but use our own tests judiciously to let us, boys and parents know how well the boys are doing. Each year’s work in the Horris Hill junior maths scheme of work is divided into 5 units, for each of which there is a unit test. These allow us to reward high-flyers, but also to help those finding things more challenging, especially useful for boys joining the school so that we can identify any areas of weakness or gaps in knowledge. They also allow us to accelerate learning when we feel that a group is ready.

We use the same style of short term testing when boys embark on the Common Entrance schemes of work, and they take 8 progressively challenging tests with 2 additional tests covering the extension Level 3 material.

Our internal testing allows us to push the boys to impressive levels, but we also use end of year national tests as a quality control, assessing progress year-on year and to ensure that, wherever possible, our boys are reaching the highest possible levels for children of their age.


We take part in local, national and international maths competitions which are designed to stretch the boys’ mathematical thinking and develop advanced problem solving skills. All Year 5 and 6 boys take part in the Primary Maths Challenge. Further details on the Primary Maths Challenge may be found here.

In Years 7 and 8 we have an outstanding record of success in all of the UKMT mathematical challenges:

the Junior Mathematical Challenge and follow-on rounds, for pupils up to 13 years old;

the Intermediate Mathematical Challenge and follow-on rounds, for pupils up to 16 years old;

very unusually, we also enter our ablest boys for the Senior Mathematical Challenge and follow-on rounds, for pupils up to 18 years old.

A measure of our standard is that in 2019, Horris Hill boys earned 3 of the 30 gold medals and book prizes awarded nationally by UKMT for the Junior Mathematical Olympiad.

In addition we enter teams into the UKMT Team Maths Challenge, qualifying and performing to a high standard at the National Final in London in 2019, one of only two prep schools to reach this level.


Upper School Routine

  (Years 4 - 8)
07:35 Full cooked Breakfast for Boarders and Day boys in Breakfast club.
08:05 Breakfast ends. Day boy Drop off.
08:25 All in / Bell for Chapel
08:30 HM’s Assembly on Monday. Chapel: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
08:45 Form Time / Registration
09:00 1st Lesson
09:40 2nd Lesson
10:20 3rd Lesson
11:00 Break
11:40 4th Lesson
12:20 5th Lesson
13:00 Home-cooked Lunch followed by announcements
13:35 Registration
13:40 6th lesson
14:15 7th Lesson
14:50 Change for Games 
15:00 Games
16:10 Games ends
16:20 Showers and Cocoa
16:30 8th Lesson for Yrs 4-8 
17:00 First Supper for Yrs 4-5; Prep for Yrs 6-8
17:30 Day boys in Yrs 4-5 Home time (1). Break / Rest/ Choir / Catch-up / Tutorials
17:55 Outside Bell for second Supper
18:00 Second Supper / Music Practice 
18:30 Day boys go home