Departments & Subjects


Subjects available: GCSE Art & A Level Art
The architect designed Glover Art School is based in a modern, light and very well equipped open plan building. The large scale picture windows and glazed walled gallery entrance create strong connections with the surrounding Yorkshire Dales landscape. There are three painting studios, a printmaking area with a large scale etching press, a ceramics studio and a library/computer room.
Fine Art underpins the whole department. Areas covered within the realms of Fine Art include drawing, painting, printmaking (collagraph, etching, screenprinting, lino), ceramics, textiles and photography. This gives all students tremendous freedom of thought and a solid creative foundation. It will also prepare students for any art based degree course. There are probably more job opportunities available after an art based degree compared to any other subject  – Textiles, Film, Computer Animation, Visual Communications (Graphics), Furniture, Interior Design, Photography, Architecture, Fine Art, Illustration, Fashion, Costume, Ceramics, to name just a few.
Fine Art encompasses all the cognitive thought processes, particularly critical analysis, informed decision making and the development of ideas. It will enable students to discover and work with their own strengths and will engage students in contemporary ideas/issues alongside the rich depth of Art History. The course will give students the confidence to develop self-directed learning skills and the unusual opportunity to produce examination and coursework totally unique to themselves.     
At least two or three students apply for Art College courses each year. We have 100% success rate for students gaining places.      

Business & Economics

Subjects available: A Level Business Studies & A Level Economics
In Economics, pupils will learn basic micro and macro theory, and will then apply it to real world situations. Why are interest rates so low, are there any dangers to our economy if they stay low for another 12 months? What will be the impact of rising oil prices? Is a weak pound bad for the UK economy?
These and many other issues will be discussed, and students will soon realise that practically all issues and questions in life have a link to Economics.
In Business, students will look at four main areas of Business; Finance, Operations, Marketing and Human Resource Management. All of these aspects have to be considered in any strategic decisions taken by a business, and pupils will learn the crucial importance of change management, there is nothing permanent except change.
BTEC was introduced into the Department in September 2015. This offers pupils another way of working, with greater emphasis on course work and continual assessment. It is by no means an easy option as pupils have assignment deadlines to meet in the first two weeks of the course and thereafter.
Many of our students go on to study Management and Economics at University, and we are always pleased when they report that there is much in their University study that they actually first encountered at Giggleswick.


Subjects available: GCSE Chemistry & A Level Chemistry
In 1860 a purpose built science block was launched at the school. It was one of the first of its kind and prompted professors from Oxford and Cambridge to visit. Today, the three sciences at Giggleswick remain very popular and many go on to study their specialised science subject at university, or use this knowledge to study medicine.
Chemistry is central to everyday living and has a relevance to all we observe about us. In essence, a sound chemical comprehension underpins a deeper understanding of what occurs in the world around us. In the Giggleswick Chemistry department we aim to deliver our subject through firstly engaging the pupils interest, be it in a simple observation of an everyday reaction (for example the 'leaping flame' when relighting a candle) or a more spectacular demonstration (the thermite reaction to produce iron), and then challenging pupils to explain their observations, for example, in terms of the particles that react and through chemical principles. This then encourages an enquiring approach and a desire to understand more about the world around them at the atomic or molecular level. The enthusiasm for the subject created in Years 7-11 means that Chemistry is a very popular choice to A-level.
The department has a track record of pupils going on to continue their study of Chemistry beyond A-level. Several pupils are now studying for a degree in Chemistry or a chemistry-related degree.


Subjects available: GCSE Drama & A Level Theatre Studies
Drama is a fun, fast paced practical subject designed to develop confidence, inter personal and essential life skills necessary for survival in the real world. The impact of social media and screen based learning is eroding young people’s ability to interface socially and present themselves publicly with confidence. We aim to redress that balance through drama.
Pupils engage in a range of practical activities including improvisation, exploring the historical development of theatrical conventions & moving a play text from Page to Stage. The focus is practical exploration through group based and individual tasks. Although performance is part of the assessment, exploration & development is just as important.
Students who take GCSE and A level drama explore how to develop & perform improvisations and move a play text from page to stage. We explore the abstract theories of key practitioners bringing their ideas to life by applying them to performance texts.
We have a proven track record of examination success which has ranked us as the best achieving school in the independent sector according to the Good Schools’ Guide. We have sustained a 100% A* – B pass rate at A level, AS level and GCSE for 14 years.
The work of pupils is treated with the same reverence as professionals. We are very lucky to have a professional working Theatre in which to teach; the Richard Whiteley Theatre.


Subjects available: GCSE English, GCSE English Literature & A Level English Literature
The English department at Giggleswick promotes independence, creativity and the ability to think critically. We offer students the opportunity to read widely and express their opinions.
The department develops pupils skills to become critical readers and communicators. We aim to foster intellectual curiosity, independent thinking, lively debate and a love of words while also preparing them for exams.
In Years 7 and 8, English study allows pupils to develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students are given the opportunity to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to become enthusiastic and critical readers. The focus of Year 9 teaching is preparation for IGCSE English Language and Literature. Students extend their reading skills and explore a more complex range of texts.
At KS4 students study the IGCSE English Language and English Literature. Students develop the skills to allow them to become assured, analytical and accurate writers. Students are encouraged to read, understand and respond to a range of literary texts and to develop an appreciation of the ways in which writers achieve effects and construct stories.
At A Level we follow the OCR English Literature course which offers the opportunity to study a wide range of texts from Shakespeare to contemporary writers. Lessons are discussion based and students are encouraged to develop independent thinking.
We hold regular Poetry By Heart sessions which give students the chance to listen to and present poems of their choice. A weekly All Talk session is designed to encourage debate and give students the verbal skills that are so important in the world of work. 


Subjects available: GCSE Geography & A Level Geography
The world is an interconnected place – social media, business, pollution, climate change and conflicts all have knock on effects to our daily lives. Living in Giggleswick is no exception to this and Geography gives pupils the opportunity to learn about cycles where global warming causes cooling, or where your purchase of a new phone threatens gorillas in the Congo. Studying past events allows us to make better management decisions for the future and personal investigations let pupils explore their own influence on people and landscape. Giggleswick has a fantastic location for any Geography student. A National Park boundary, Neolithic evidence, unique limestone and glacial landscapes in addition to an active fault line all lie within a few minutes’ walk of the classroom. Daily active and passive participation in a landscape that provides the resource for so many field study centres around Giggleswick allows students to believe that their surroundings are normal yet they are in a special place that attracts university departments from as far afield as the USA.

Government & Politics

Subjects available: A Level Government & Politics 
Politics is a subject offered to pupils in the sixth form. The course examines the theory of government and politics and the day to day impact of politics and politicians on our lives. It tends to be chosen by pupils who enjoy debating current affairs and by those who recognise that it provides an excellent grounding for a host of different careers. Active citizenship is promoted by the department’s enthusiastic and dedicated teaching staff, and those pupils who choose Government and Politics will have the opportunity to visit Westminster and tour the Houses of Parliament in order to see the House of Commons and House of Lords in action. The reading of daily newspapers and contact with elected public representatives at local, national, and European levels is also encouraged. Students will monitor elections, opinion polls and major events as they occur. In recent years, as well as arranging visits to nearby cities to participate in the BBC’s Question Time programme, the school has hosted BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions.


Subjects available: GCSE History & A Level History
The History department at Giggleswick is lively and vibrant. We aim to fill our pupils with enthusiasm and believe in encouraging a love of the subject through inspirational teaching. We also strive to create a relaxed learning environment where pupils are happy to question, debate, exercise judgement and become independent thinkers. The History department at Giggleswick promotes active History. Our Cavendish Society meets regularly for lectures which are provided by examiners or other specialists who visit the school. We also visit universities who offer History Days or specialist enrichment days which allow students to develop their academic skills. Our annual battlefield trip to the Somme and Ypres regions seeks to enrich Year Nine’s summer term topic of the Great War. This is always a successful and incredibly moving trip that never fails to fill our pupils with a sense of awe. A sixth form visit to Rome allows students who study inter-war Italy to get a sense of how Mussolini aimed to make Fascism appear modern and powerful whilst also linking his regime to the glories of the Roman Empire. Finally, it is the team of dedicated, caring and professional teachers who make the department what it is. We seek to provide help, support and encouragement, in and outside of the classroom, to all our pupils.

Home Economics

Subjects available: GCSE Home Economics
Food and Nutrition should be a fundamental aspect of everyone’s lives. Health has never been so important, with increase rates of Obesity and CHD, it is vital that we all have knowledge and information about the food we eat, so that we can make informed choices. Pupils learn what a balanced diet involves, and the foods that should make up their daily diet. Basic cooking skills are also a vital aspect of this subject, allowing pupils to develop and understand the importance of the ability to prepare food for themselves. Our Home Economics Department gives pupils the opportunity to learn and understand the purpose of eating a balanced, healthy diet. To encourage a genuine interest in what they eat, and the nutrients that are important to sustain good health.
We allow pupils to develop skills to shop, prepare and cook food successfully in a well-equipped, dedicated Home Economics Department with seven fully equipped cooking stations.


Subjects available: GCSE French, Germany and Spanish & A Level French, German and Spanish
Languages can open the door to an amazing new world and help people learn about the culture, business and geography of a country and much more. With eleven hours (two weeks’ timetable) normally taught by two teachers plus an extra one-to-one with the Language Assistant our pupils have gone on to study other subjects in different top universities in the UK and abroad that require a foreign Language. They are able to call upon their language skills and gain places on challenging projects in Latin America and Europe. They have gained valuable work experience and have had the opportunity whilst still a student to travel quite extensively. Not only has this experience helped them to grow personally, it has also helped to ensure that upon completion of their degrees their CV will stand out from that of their peers.
We have a team of experts in French, German and Spanish, with two Examiners for a main Examination Board. Their passion for languages and travelling has made them outstanding practitioners. We also have seven different linguistic exchanges and trips each year for all year groups. The immersion into the culture is normally made during these trips and exchange visits. These include eating “Tapas” and “Jamon Serrano” in front of the Sagrada Familia or Parc Guel in Barcelona; being mesmerized by the Branderburg Gate or the Reichstag in Berlin; succumbing to the temptation of a “crêpe à la Nuttela” or visiting the United Nation Headquarters in Geneva or the amazing Lake Lemans in Switzerland along with the medieval Yvoire, in France.

Maths & Further Maths

Subjects available: GCSE Maths, A Level Maths & A Level Further Maths 
In the Mathematics department our curriculum contains a rich mix of pure and applied Mathematics preparing pupils for a range of degree and vocational course once they have left Giggleswick. Our curriculum is more than just content. Pupils learn to be independent and collaborative learners.
We are a forward thinking department and are always looking for ways to enrich teaching and learning. If you were to walk into one of our lessons you would probably find the pupils standing together at one of the whiteboards that adorn the classroom walls, working on a problem. We facilitate clubs and enrichment programmes across all age groups. Our top pupils in each year enter the UK Maths Challenge, our sixth form pupils enter teams into the National Cipher Challenge while our younger pupils are involved in long term projects designing bridges or building rockets.
We have eminent mathematicians visiting the school giving seminars, such as Dr Peter Neumann from the University of Oxford. Pupils are taken to watch public lectures hosted by renowned mathematicians.

Music & Music Technology

Subjects available: GCSE Music, A Level Music & A Level Music Technology
The music department is one of the most active in the school featuring some form of performance opportunity for ensembles or soloists every week and a number of key larger concerts every year. This is only possible as a result of a busy and varied weekly co-curricular rehearsal diary and the valued support of a team of experienced peripatetic staff who provide expertise and private instrumental tuition to around a quarter of the school’s students. Those at higher levels of academic study will often take additional classes in keyboard skills and study theory beyond grade 5. There is even the chance for all years to experience the excitement of professional music through regular concert trips to the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Bradford and Leeds to watch the orchestras such as the Halle.
We have recently become a partner school with the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester which will allow us to put on a termly programme of masterclasses with some of their instrumental students and tutors. We also collaborate with a number of local and national music ensembles, particularly in our choral music programme. A large proportion of those who study music to A-level will continue the subject at university with 100% doing so in 2015-16.
Music is taught to all students in years 7-8 and is available as an option at year 9, GCSE and A-Level. At all levels there is a chance to explore and experiment with various approaches to music’s three key strands – composition, performance and analysis. Whilst Music Technology is also available as a separate A-level, it remains an integral component part of music study at all years.

Physical Education

Subjects available: GCSE Physical Education & BTEC Level 3 Sport
There is never a dull moment in the sporting world. Physical Education is ever evolving. We believe there are no boundaries in Physical Education and sport and is a universal language.
Pupils study psychology and physiology. We provide an energising and stimulating environment in which to maximise pupil’s knowledge of the subject. PE at Giggleswick engages both the body and mind in lessons, with staff who are experienced not just in teaching but with experience playing professional sport, currently in Cricket, Rugby and Hockey. Pupils receive Strength and Conditioning Training from Leeds Beckett University coaches and pupils then get to pass on these skills coaching Junior School pupils. All of this takes place in state of the art, modern facilities including the sports hall which underwent a £1.3 million refurbishment in 2007.


Subjects available: GCSE Physics & A Level Physics
The department aims to develop curiosity for the modern world in pupils as well as a scientific approach to investigating and skills to understand the modern world. Staff stimulate and excite an interest in phenomena and events in the world around us using current developments and providing opportunities for demonstration and practical work. Through experiment and observation we try to develop and evaluate models and theories to help satisfy curiosity with knowledge. We evaluate major scientific ideas, and recognise the impact that they have on industry, business and the environment; issues that will affect all of our lives. Physics at Giggleswick combines practical skills and theory so that pupils leave with not just a good understanding of the principals of physics but also confident in the laboratory. Lessons take place in a well-equipped, dedicated science block and our new observatory will add to these impressive and ambitious facilities when it opens later this year. The department's 10" Schmidt-Cassegrian telescope is regularly used to observe both our solar system and deep space. The facilities enable several extra-curricular activities, open to all ages, to provide aspirational activities that further inform teaching and deal with the ever-evolving world of Physics.

Product Design

Subjects available: GCSE Product Design & A Level Product Design
The Design department is a substantial, well equipped, purpose built facility which enables pupils to explore an exceptionally broad range of adventurous and exciting avenues. We promote innovation and creativity, through from engineering to aesthetic and artistic forms. We pride ourselves in our ability to enable pupils to explore, nurture and develop their own avenues of interest, which can then often lead on to pupils pursuing a wide variety of prestigious University Courses. Numerous OG’s pursue design related degrees and careers from engineering, to architecture through to fashion and jewellery design. We have regular visits from designers and OG’s to enthuse, engage and advise pupils. We work closely with local design and engineering businesses, including industrial visits. We take the Sixth Form to the Royal College of Art degree show, the Design Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum annually to further fuel their aspirations.