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Charles Darwin School
Jail Lane, Biggin Hill, TN16 3AU, UK Westerham
+44 (0)1959 574043


“Charles Darwin School is a very good school with some outstanding aspects” 

                                                                             Ofsted 2004


Charles Darwin School is a forward-thinking school, which values its staff and students.  As a result we have a low turnover of staff and our recent OfSTED (March 2004) was a resounding success.

The school is highly successful and has shown a rate of improvement at GCSE (% 5A*-C) at a much faster rate than nationally.  We provide a high quality education evident in the range of awards we have received.  We have used our status at a Specialist School in the Performing Arts, not only to improve achievement across the board but also to gain recognition both locally and nationally as a centre of excellence.


Charles Darwin is a very inclusive school and one where the personal and academic development of all students is at the forefront of thinking.  We provide a caring, disciplined environment, which prepares every student confidently for a fast changing world.  Our commitment is to improve every student’s performance and to develop in each person habits of self-discipline, responsibility and respect for others.

We demand high standards from our students and expect maximum effort in our shared determination for success.  Although we place a high priority on good examination results, we are proud of all the achievements of our young people - academic, social, sporting and cultural, and are committed to developing the whole person. 

The atmosphere of the school is pleasant but purposeful and is reflected in our impressive examination results.  Our students have an enviable record of success in going on to Higher Education and gaining entry into employment.

At Charles Darwin we believe that a school uniform fosters a sense of belonging, pride and identity with the school.  It helps set high standards for students and makes an important contribution to a positive and purposeful working environment.  Students are expected to be clean, neat and tidy and to take a pride in their appearance.  The Sixth Form operates a “business” style dress code.

We demand high standards of discipline.  We require students to be hard-working, self-disciplined and well mannered at all times.  Our approach to discipline is based upon encouragement of good behaviour through praise and reward but is backed up by clear and firm sanctions for those whose behaviour fails to meet our standards.

Charles Darwin is a school where lessons are orderly and students are well behaved around school.  We consider the disruption of lessons and poor behaviour to be serious offences, to be dealt with quickly and firmly.  We shall not hesitate to exclude students from school where this action is appropriate.


The school has 1300 students on roll and is now significantly oversubscribed.  There is a waiting list for all year groups.  Each student belongs to a tutor group.  The Form Tutor provides students with advice, support and guidance.  Every student in the form is interviewed regularly on an individual basis by the Form Tutor to monitor academic progress, personal and social development.  Together the Tutor and student set targets for future action.

The school has a House system and the four Heads of Houses have oversight of both the academic and pastoral education of the youngsters.  The Sixth Form is managed by an Assistant Headteacher, who is also Head of Sixth Form, and a Deputy.

A significant number of students at Charles Darwin show a high level of ability across a wide range of subjects and activities.  Departments identify and monitor these students so that their needs are met throughout the key stages.  Through our extra curricular/enrichment programme identified students are provided with opportunities to ensure they are challenged and motivated.

Students with learning difficulties have access to a broad and balanced curriculum and this is made possible by intensive help either by additional support in lessons, small group withdrawal or being part of a class with reduced numbers.

There is a clear emphasis on developing leadership qualities in students:

  • School Council
  • House Council
  • Peer mentoring group
  • Year 8 Duty student scheme
  • Head Boy and Head Girl (including hustings and elections)
  • House Captains, Form Captains and Sports Captains
  • Prefect system
  • Sports Leadership Award


The Sixth Form at Charles Darwin offers a first class learning environment in which students can continue their secondary education.  It has excellent purpose built accommodation, extensive resources and above all experienced and committed teachers.   The atmosphere is stimulating and challenging, but also relaxed and enjoyable.

The Sixth Form promotes excellence rather than elitism.  It caters at one level for the needs of students seeking to gain places at universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, and at another for those needing to improve basic qualifications.  Students may stay one, two or three years. Above all it strives to ensure that all students maximise their potential in everything they do, and offers the support, encouragement and guidance necessary to make this a reality.

We offer a range of courses.  Intermediate GNVQs, GCE Advanced Level and GNVQ Advanced Level.


All students sit formal examinations every year.  Our policy is to enter all students for external examinations e.g. GCSE/GVNQ.  In Year 9 all students take Key Stage 3 tests in the National Curriculum subjects of English, Mathematics and Science.  In addition NFER CAT tests are taken by all students in Year 7.  Our GCSE results show considerable contextual value added and our A Level results are improving vis-à-vis GCSE points scores.


We believe in a broad balanced curriculum, appropriate to the needs of individual students and designed to ensure maximum development of the intellectual, physical and practical potential of all students.

Students are taught in mixed ability groups in some subjects whilst in others they are placed in groups (or 'sets') according to their ability.  Setting occurs in an increasing number of subjects as the student progresses through the school.  Each grouping is regularly reviewed and students may move up or down 'sets'.

Extra Curricular

The commitment of staff and students to the ethos of the school is illustrated by the wide range of activities, which we undertake.

  • Sport (representative teams in all major sports, new purpose built facilities include gymnasium, sports hall, fitness room and all weather pitch).

  •  Music (over 250 students receive instrumental tuition; music recitals: jazz, percussion, brass and flute groups: orchestra and choir).

  • Drama (productions every year, new purpose built drama room).

  • School clubs - Art, Chess, Computers, Christian Union, Choir, Drama, Sport, Library activities and many more.

  • Visits and exchanges to France, Germany and a variety of destinations both in this country and abroad.

  • Residential field study visits.

  • Curriculum Enrichment Days when students can pursue a variety of curriculum-linked activities.

  • Charity events.

  • Business and community links.


Years 7 to 9
Art Design Drama English Food Tech French German Geography
History ICT Mathematics PE RE Science

GCSE Subjects
Art Design Drama Business Studies English Food Tech French German Geography  
Graphic Products History Mathematics Media Studies PE RE  
Resistant Materials Science Sports Studies

GNVQ Subjects
Health & Social Care (GNVQ) Information Technology Leisure & Tourism (GNVQ)

AS/A Level Subjects
Art Information Technology Graphics Media Studies Photography Mathematics


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