You can find more detailed information and what to expect from each subject below.

  • Science

    The natural world is laid bare for Biologists to investigate and understand. Through fun and discovery, we strive for the students to have a greater awareness of how this natural world works and we aim to make this insight stick by using practical techniques such as plasticine to model the stages of mitosis or cuddly cell toys to teach specialised cells.

    Understanding how their bodies work through investigating animals and looking at the genetics of why they have blue eyes are just some of those ‘wow’ moments that students never forget. Beyond the classroom, our pupils can take their understanding further in the very popular dissection club or by acting as a Duckling Rep for the annual project observing hatching duck eggs. Students can also test their skills nationally by taking part in essay competitions and participating in the CREST award, aimed at budding scientists and engineers.


    Students investigate the ever changing natural and manmade world around them, looking at their material properties and using scientific principles to explain phenomena. Through practical experiments, from preparing hydrogen and testing this using the ‘squeaky pop test’ to rates of reaction experiments, including the sodium thiosulfate cross experiment, we encourage all students to work out for themselves answers to the wonders of the material world.

    Beyond the curriculum, there are trips to the Science and Natural History museums as well as competitions such as Top of the Bench, the Chemistry Olympiad and C3L6 where students are able to put their Chemistry skills against other schools. Older students interested in a career in Medicine are also invited to engage with the highly – developed MedSoc, where speakers regularly come to speak to the students.


    Students appreciate the relevance of physics everywhere, from their shoes to their mobile phones and their glasses. This contextual relevance means they can take a physical law and see how it is relevant to their lives. Learning through investigation allows students to relate what they have learnt to the real world of civil engineering, astrophysics, environmental energy and electrical engineering.

    The magic of physics is also brought alive through the study of magnets, rainbows and dancing jelly. The particle nature of matter is discovered through the application of mathematical calculations. Outside of the classroom, students can try their hands at glider club and astro club and they can also take part in the Engineering Education Scheme where they plan solutions for a real life project such as the Hammersmith Flyover alternative. The school is proud to have won many trophies in this competition. Further afield, students can visit CERN to see experimental physics in action.

  • Modern Foreign Languages

    Using the tools of language we can access the culture of a country and thereby inspire inquisitive linguists; global citizens capable of recognising and appreciating the differences and similarities between nations. All students begin their first year on a carousel of French, German and Spanish. Alongside this, they all study Mandarin Chinese. During the course of the year they choose two languages to continue studying. This gives all students a chance to experience the different cultures and decide which ones they wish to delve into further. The Stephen Spender prize and Anthea Bell prize for poetry translations both offer students the opportunity to compete nationally and hone their linguistic talents.

    Bilingual students

    We offer provision for students who are already bilingual in one of the languages that are studied. Both inside the classroom with stretch and challenge activities and outside with the many clubs on offer, bilingual students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their second language with the potential that they can become triple linguists at GCSE and beyond.


    Independent thinkers and logical minds are drawn to the challenge and reason of the German language. Often a new language to students in Year 7, they soon recognise similarities to English and the straightforward phonetics, which both mean they are able to quickly produce sentences. Students can venture further into German culture through the very popular German Society, the school’s German ambassadors have been researching and holding presentations on the plays of Bertolt Brecht, German history since 1871, German politics looking at the political landscape in Germany and election fever and political art by Kaethe Kollwitz as well as hearing from Alumnae studying German at university. Trips to Berlin for the Christmas markets and Vienna, in addition to the online exchange with a partner school in Karlsruhe, give students a chance to explore real life in Germany. Many students have already been successful in the National German Olympiad competition. Students enjoy the challenge of a new language and relish the opportunity to discover the fascinating culture and history behind it.


    A language spoken by approximately 15% of the world’s population, Mandarin Chinese opens up the world to students. Studying pictographic evolution enables students to spot patterns and make real life connections in the characters which are idiophonetic; giving both meaning and sound. Students begin learning Chinese at 5 years old at NHEHS through stories and engaging online activities which progress in challenge throughout their course of study and all levels of knowledge are catered for. All aspects of Chinese culture are embraced inside the classroom and out through calligraphy, fan dancing, Tang poetry, visiting artists and drama. An exchange programme, both online and in person with a school in Guangzhou enables students to further discover the real China. Students can also compete nationally in the Mandarin Bridge.


    A love of Francophonie is cultivated through the exploration of the cultural, historical and global diversity of the French language. With this in mind, students are exposed early on to poetry through Apolinaire’s Caligrammes, which they are encouraged to imitate and adapt, as well as the tales of La Fontaine to Rabelais’ Gargantua.

    Older students can explore existentialism through Camus’ L’Etranger and the diversity of French society through the films Intouchables and Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis. Trips to Normandy, Lille and Montpellier give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in French history and family life. The exchange programmes with a school in Paris, both online and in person, allow students to delve even further into the French ‘joie de vivre’ and use their language skills. A language rich in historical links with the UK, students enjoy the way they can quickly understand a wealth of authentic resources.


    A global language, learning Spanish opens up the world to students. Lessons are an immersive linguistic experience with a strong emphasis on understanding the culture behind the language. From Gabriel García Márquez to Lorca to Pablo Neruda, students can explore Hispanic literary culture. Festivals such as Carnaval and the Tomatina also intrigue and inspire students to explore further. Outside of lessons, students like to take this further through the Cafe con Leche club, with a strong focus on trying Spanish and South American foods. They are also involved in the online exchange programme Spellian and try their hand at Escape Rooms in Spanish.

    They can indulge in real life in Spain through trips to Cantabria and Salamanca. Students like that they are able to pick up the language quite quickly, progress rapidly and feel confident in communicating in the target language at an early stage.

  • Mathematics

    Fluency with Mathematics and the ability to make reasoned arguments based on evidence enables students to confidently identify patterns and analyse possible causes. Through the discovery of concepts and proving the origins of formulae, students can also model situations to solve problems and understand the models’ limitations.

    Students are encouraged to act as mentors for those in younger years, facilitating an exchange of passion and understanding. Beyond the classroom there are a plethora of opportunities to stimulate students such as the Maths Feast and UKMT where students compete against other local schools, lectures in central London and masterclasses at the Royal Institution which open their eyes to the real world application of maths. At school, Pi Club, the Breakfast Club, Enigma Clubs, House Maths and Pi Day all allow students to embrace different mathematical challenges. Being exposed to Maths in so many different ways during their time at our school, every student is bound to find something that inspires them.

  • English

    With a focus on discussion and debate, English students learn to be unafraid of sharing their views and respect those of others. Through the literary canon from Chaucer to Shakespeare via Wide Sargasso Sea and To Kill a Mocking Bird, students are exposed to a wide range of narrative voices. They also hone their own writing style through creative writing and can be published in the Doodles journal and can take part in the Timelapse Project in partnership with Harrow School.

    In an era of fake news, English students learn the invaluable skill of deciphering and decoding the news and social media. Independence and a love of reading independently is promoted with the Reading Passport, the Breakfast Book Club and the Ealing Teen Read. Students are encouraged to speak out in conferences on poetry and language. Through visiting authors, theatre trips and theatre companies coming into school, texts are brought to life. Studying English is a journey of discovery and finding one’s own voice.

  • Design Technology

    Gaining an insight into the workings of professional Product Designers and having the opportunity to create marketable and impactful products to benefit users and their environment make Design Technology a subject which prepares students to consider the needs of a changing world. Students have creative freedom to express their individuality through their ideas, designs and models.

    Every student will take ownership of their own project ideas which heightens interest and challenges and makes the final product far more rewarding. Students can pit their skills nationally through entering the Arkwright Scholarship, the Royal Society for Arts Pupil Design Awards and the Triumph Design Awards. Practical learning is key and students gain a whole host of new skills and processes that they will then be able to apply to their own marketable products, simulating the workings of professional product designers.

  • Art

    Exploring materials and making creative decisions enables students to become reflective artists who think critically with the ability to interpret the world around us. A range of material is experimented with including painting, printmaking, digital manipulation and 3D construction in order to develop their visual literacy.

    We keep up with the art zeitgeist through visits to high profile exhibitions. Sketching on location at Kew Gardens and the Cass Sculpture foundation, and etching at a workshop at the London Print Studio takes students out of their comfort zone. Students’ artwork is entered into the Royal Academy Young Artist Summer Exhibition and we have a partnership sketchbook exchange project with our sister school in Philadelphia. Art permeates all of school life through the Sixth Form Art Reps’ Annual Charity Fashion Show and whole school participation in The Big Draw. As artists, students take ownership of their work and are given an outlet to express themselves and create work that is personal and valued.

  • Music

    Confident, articulate and independent musicians are developed through listening, appraising, performing and composing music in a wide range of musical styles and incorporating elements of music technology.

    Performance is strongly encouraged, with a clear focus on ensemble music making within the class, to hone existing instrumental skills and also develop potential in new ones. Thinking critically, students delve into historical context, with comparisons between set works and wider listening. Students are given opportunities to develop creatively through a film competition with an original score and student led lessons. We have a wide-ranging concert series from tea time concerts to termly large scale concerts, music and dance events, atrium concerts, school productions collaborating with drama and choral evensong sung at St Martin-in-the-Fields. We also enter chamber music competitions and there is a School Musician of the Year competition. Our choir goes on a bi-annual international tour. As musicians, students hone their creativity through diverse opportunities which promote excellence and leadership.

  • Computing

    Inquisitive and tenacious, coders and cryptographers of the future love working on a problem and finding solutions through focus and determination. Students not only discover coding, different number systems such as binary and hexadecimal but they also look at how the internal components of a computer work and understand the process on a microscopic level.

    In the current climate, it is also important to look at the ethical, legal and environmental impact of computing on society such as its effect on communities and the environmental cost of Bitcoin. Given the right tools, students are able to break down algorithmic techniques and build them up to apply them to a huge array of different problems. Outside of the classroom, trips to places like Bletchley Park allow students to see the origins of modern coding. They are inspired to take part in the British Informatics Olympiad, the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize and Coding Club. Computing presents a true intellectual challenge which students at NHEHS thrive on.

  • Drama

    Through the study of Drama students develop empathy and understanding of what it is to be human and our commonality rather than our differences.

    We inspire the theatre makers of the future by developing understanding of theatre practitioners and playwrights. Students can train in Theatre Arts using the state of the art drama studio covering sound, lighting, stage management, set design, costume, hair and makeup with the Backstage Pass. Large scale productions in school allow everyone to be involved as well as entering the Edinburgh Fringe for those who are keen to perform to a wider audience. Visiting theatre practitioners such as esteemed designer Lizzie Clachan and theatre director Ben Harrison, inspire and deepen understanding of subject and industry beyond education. Students also participate in workshops run by theatre companies such as Splendid, Paper Birds, Luke Brown and The Stanislavski Experience. Drama is a shared safe, powerful and exciting space for articulating how we feel about the world and difference as well as our common ground.

  • Classics

    The study of Classics is the study of everything – art, history, literature, languages, religion, philosophy, ancient science… the list goes on. That’s why our students love it – they get to open a window into two of the greatest cultures that have ever lived and learn about them in the round. They get to read some of the foundational texts, from Homer’s Iliad to Caesar’s account of the Gallic Wars. They get to investigate the roots of words in other languages and see how they have come from Latin or Greek (improving their literacy along the way). And they get to engage with stories of cruel gods and mighty heroes. At NHEHS, we offer both Latin and Classical Greek, giving students plenty of opportunity to get their teeth stuck into the ancient world. Students get to experience the most inspiring trips, from wandering around Roman London and Bath to visits to Greece and Italy.

  • History

    Driven by a spirit of enquiry, students identify and analyse historical crises and key debates. They learn to build and defend an argument; listening and acknowledging the different arguments and then using these to strengthen their own points. In-depth familiarisation with primary source material means students can analyse events in the context of the time. In tandem with this, reading logs ensure students read extensively around the subject.

    Horrible Histories Club brings the past to life through WWII style ration baking, making Viking longships and Aztec art. During the school’s History Week visiting speakers come to discuss global history, topics such as Southern American Warfare, and students have organised an American history scavenger hunt highlighting the vanishing Native Americans. As well as a virtual tour of Auschwitz and Berlin, students have the opportunity to go on a trip to the battlefields of Ypres and find themselves immersed in key moments in history.

  • Geography

    Developing student curiosity about the world means students are outward looking and critically engaged in the most pressing local and global issues of our time. Being located in the capital city enables us to explore and often see first-hand a diverse range of geographical issues from local Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to impacts from globalisation.

    We also aim to invite speakers into school to discuss pertinent issues we are studying e.g. How are local councils and business leaders balancing the need for economic growth alongside living harmoniously with the environment?

    Trips from Iceland to Switzerland and Wales give students the chance to explore a diversity of landscapes and approaches to energy and the impacts of tourism. Students are encouraged to critically engage with some of the most pressing challenges of today including polarising geopolitical views, pandemics and rapid climate change.

    Environmentalism and sustainability are strong values held by students and they are engaged in looking after the local school environment and surrounding areas through environmental activism initiatives such as our anti-idling campaign. Through Geography, students make connections and are challenged to look at the world in a different way.

  • Philosophy, Religion and Ethics – PRE

    Through studying Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) students discover a love and passion for inquiry. They consider issues ethically and philosophically to uncover why people are religious and what significance this has to both groups and individuals. Together, we conduct philosophical and ethical investigations, such as the Milgram experiment, where we consider why people behave in a certain way. Outside of the classroom we visit places of worship such as Gurdwara and a synagogue as well as venturing to Israel and Rome to broaden horizons.

    PRE gives students a chance to debate and look at the strengths and weaknesses of arguments and they can enter the Philosothon competition to test their skills on a national level.

  • Psychology

    Studying psychology helps students to better understand themselves and the world around them. Students become confident in applying psychological principles and theories to the real world and have a sound understanding of how research is designed and conducted.

    Through the exploration of the diverse topics in the field, they gain a greater empathy for others as they learn to understand the reasons why people are the way they are. Pursuing individual interests is a focus of the course and students take part in an investigative research project. Discussion and debate are key to the scrutiny of such topics as the origin of intelligence and why people obey unethical orders. A Phobias workshop at London Zoo and a visit to the Bethlem Museum of the Mind allow students to see how psychology works in practise in the real world. Psychology film nights allow students to explore the way that mental health is portrayed in this form of media and students are fascinated by the impact that such environmental factors have on every facet of human development.

  • Economics

    Economics is all around us in our everyday world and few decisions are taken that are not influenced to some degree by economics. Economists learn to apply models and theories to explain developments and decisions related to consumers, businesses, and the government.

    Understanding these will help students make the best choices for themselves and enable them to contribute to the great debates currently taking place in society. Student conferences give insights into economic policy making and visits to the Jaguar Land Rover factory, the Bank of England and the New York Stock Exchange give students a chance to see economics in action. Economics determines our pay, the jobs we do, the industries we work in, how we travel, where we live, the goods we buy, where we buy them and the prices we pay. Without a doubt, students realise that an understanding of Economics is an essential life skill that will equip them for further education and the world of work. Economics is more than just a subject – it’s a way of interpreting the world.

  • History of Art

    Through their discovery of artworks and architecture of the last 2,500 years from across the globe, students are equipped to analyse, understand and appreciate artworks along with gaining a whole new language of terms with which to describe techniques, effects, and the motivations of iconic works. Our teaching of History of Art goes beyond the restraints of an A Level curriculum. Students’ academic understanding of the discipline is stretched whilst also allowing them to experience a wide range of media, periods and concepts. Wherever possible, we take our students out of the classroom and lead our teaching in galleries, museums, and on location in cultural sites. We are lucky to be closely connected to the architecture, sculpture, and paintings that we teach and we make the most of this privilege. Students love the opportunity to finely tune the way that they observe the world around them.

  • Politics

    Politics students are active political observers and relish rigorous discussion of current affairs, particularly at our weekly Politics Breakfast Club. We study UK and USA government systems and political affairs, covering everything from pressure groups to electoral systems, from comparative legislatures to in-depth political philosophy in our study of four key ideologies.

    This course sees students thrive in the intellectual challenges it offers alongside the thrill of engagement with a political scene that changes every day.
    Using their knowledge of political systems, students analyse current events with a critical eye and respectfully challenge each other’s varying political views. Many of our students go onto further study in Politics and Social Sciences, and are eager to be part of the political system and be the force of change.

    Our links with Notre Dame de Namur School in Pennsylvania give students a chance to discuss differing views of politics from both sides of the pond, enriching our comparative studies of USA and UK Government and Politics. Inspired to delve deeper into American politics, students eagerly attend the trip to Washington.

  • PE


    Students are certain to find a sport or activity they enjoy, are passionate about and feel competent to participate in, competitively or recreationally, through a wide breadth of teams in many sports.

    No student is turned away from a sport they would like to take part in. High quality coaching allows students to enter national competitions for our key sports such as netball, hockey, water polo, dance and athletics. Having our own swimming pool means students can enjoy practising water polo and swimming in their lunch hour.

    The Sports Tour to Barbados is an incredible opportunity for senior players to compete internationally and younger students can go on the annual Netball residential trip to Condover Hall. There is a huge range of extra-curricular clubs and fixtures each week ensuring all students can find their niche. The Sports Scholars benefit from a programme of sport including talks in specialist areas such as nutrition and psychology. We are honoured to host elite players who come into school to talk to the students about their experience and run training sessions. PE at Notting Hill is fun, challenging and a great way to make friends for life in school.