The Physics enrichment programme takes science beyond the classroom into areas such as robotics, engineering, rocketry and the edges of space.  Build rockets, conduct remote experiments in the upper atmosphere and discuss the nature of the Universe in with engineering challenges to stretch your brain and fire your imagination.

KS3 & KS4

 Robot Revolution

During Extended Curriculum Week, as well as getting hands-on with some impressive robotics kit, Year 7 students learn about robots, their origin, how to build and code them.

University of Oxford: Competition

Year 7-9 students create a scientific poster and experiment in this annual themed competition. Winners are invited to a garden party and a prize giving ceremony at the university. 


Year 7 students explore a planetarium and then engage in problem-solving challenges together. 

Year 8 Science Day

Year 8 students work together in mixed teams to plan a mission to the Red Planet, conducting experiments, designing antennas and learning about science in the depths of space.

Junior STEM clubs

Try your hand at coding with BBC:microbit and Raspberry Pi computers.  Design an interesting experiment and you could have your device included on the payload of the High-Altitude Balloon launched annually by the KS5 STEM club. 

Science Live!

Fast-moving, exciting talks to give Year 10 students the chance to hear five of Britain’s top scientists, working at the cutting edge. 

British Physics Olympiad (BPhO)

The University of Oxford offers a range of competitions designed to stretch and challenge the minds of young physicists and recognise excellence.  The fun begins in Year 10, with an online quiz that trains the mind and helps with revision.  In Year 11 and beyond, students are invited to attend Physics Olympians, our after school problem-solving club.  It provides the perfect training ground to hone your problem-solving skills and help you aim to hit top grades in your exams.  Come and try it, you might enjoy the challenge!

Sixth Form Evening

A talk from a leading Physicist is closely followed by a competitive (usually messy) engineering challenge.  We even throw in dinner (not literally) and refreshments! 

Isaac Physics and I Want To Be An Engineer

Online questions that progress smoothly from GCSE standard to first year undergraduate.  Challenge yourself to get ahead during your A-Level Physics career.  You can also attend an Isaac Physics Masterclass to enjoy collaborating on challenging problems. 

High Altitude Ballooning

Design the remote experiments on the balloon, launch it to the edge of Space and then chase it to its landing point so you can recover both the balloon and your data.  Experience managing an engineering project from design to production, working in a team, showing leadership and liaising with the KS3 science clubs. 

Year 12 – Thorpe Park

Take a trip behind the scenes of a theme park – meet rollercoaster designers and engineers, before being let loose to enjoy the rides.  But what’s more fun is analysing the data to investigate the forces involved while you were in the air!

Year 13 – CERN

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider.  Witness this triumph of Physics and Engineering on the Year 13 Physics trip to Geneva, Switzerland.  While you are there, visit the headquarters of the United Nations and see around this beautiful city.


The study of Government & Politics has never been more relevant; in an era of ‘fake news’ you will be equipped with the skills necessary to determine fact from fiction. Studying Politics will allow you to navigate a world of ceaseless arguments and limitless information with confidence.

Politics is a non-traditional discipline, only available to study formally in the Sixth Form. Studying Politics at A-Level and/or university can lead on to a wide range of future careers. These include consultancy, law, government, politics, charities, military, academia, media, or teaching. The enrichment opportunities at Berkhamsted reflect the fact that many of our students go on to study humanities and arts degrees, before embarking on an exciting variety of vocations.

Politics students are well supported in tackling the academic curriculum, particularly through the online resources we have access to. These include The Financial Times, The Week, and Politics Review. All students also have a subscription to Prechewed Politics, a dedicated online platform that links contemporary case-studies to the A-Level syllabus in an accessible way.

Beyond the classroom, our students have launched Berkhamsted’s own current affairs blog, The Cross Bencher, which brings you a round-up of all things newsworthy. To complement articles published on the site, students involved have gone on to present their ideas on key topics at the school’s Crawford Society, as well as in Senior School assemblies.

The department hosts half-termly film evenings, screening a range of titles that are relevant to the A-Level course. Students are encouraged to read widely beyond contact hours, and we hold frequent debates, both informally in lessons and after-school in a Question Time style format. Those looking to demonstrate their academic potential to universities are well supported in essay writing competitions, such as the Cambridge RA Butler Prize. Furthermore, the department has selected several students to attend the Young Political Leaders Programme hosted by UCL.

In the Sixth Form, the Politics enrichment opportunities are designed to enhance your A-Level studies, prepare you for university, and empower you for your working life beyond education. We look forward to seeing you in Year 12!

‘A fantastic course taught with passion in a dynamic way by the teachers.’

‘The Politics Department has been the best of any of my subjects in their use of OneNote, which I have found extremely helpful for my way of learning.’

‘The course was a perfect balance between the three main topics and lessons are always taught in an engaging way.’

‘I’ve most enjoyed exploring modern examples from the news and applying them to what we are learning about in the classroom.’

‘While it was a little tough at the start, it was easy to take on board feedback and improve.’

‘I was slightly sceptical about taking politics at the beginning of Year 12, but it has completely taken me by surprise, and I have found the course very engaging and interesting. It is nice to learn a new subject that I did not have the opportunity to study at GCSE level. I particularly like how I am able to take part in class discussions and debates and utilise current examples from the news in my work.’

‘The Class OneNote had loads of amazing resources that have really helped me over the course of Year 12, especially with regards to revision and exam technique.’

‘Feedback from exam-style questions I have done has always been in-depth and precise. This has been useful when I come to review my work, as I know what to change to achieve higher marks in both class-based work and tests.’

‘I feel that the online streamed lessons have been working very well, with the screen sharing function making the lesson resources very easy to follow. I have also really enjoyed the smaller group calls where we get to collaborate with peers.’

‘The thing I have enjoyed most about studying A-Level Politics is learning a completely new subject which I now want to study at university.’

Link to our Politics Promotional Video including interviews with students:


What makes you tick?

Many people, when they hear the word Psychology, think of mental disorder and abnormal behaviour, but Psychologists are not only concerned with extremes of behaviour. Many Psychologists investigate very ordinary everyday behaviour such as child rearing, memory, socialisation and relationships. Our enrichment opportunities aim to tap into this fundamental and fascinating question: “what makes us all tick?”

Have you ever wondered how and why the government chose this message to communicate to the public during the Covd-19 health emergency? Simple, if you know about Psychology.

Research in Psychology shows that you have a maximum capacity of about seven things that can be stored in your short-term memory at any one time. So that’s seven numbers, seven faces, seven symbols or seven words! Any more and they’ll be forgotten. Make sense now? So if you want your message to have impact. You know what to do!

Psychology is the scientific study of how the mind works, what the brain’s up to and which behaviours are produced and ultimately what motivates all of us to do the things we do. It allows us to describe, then understand, then Enrichment in Psychology is all around us in the media and in the news. So our enrichment opportunities are not a one-off event but a integral part of our teaching methodology – making links between the abstract and the relatable.

Enrichment Conferences  

In years 12 and 13, students will attend an exciting conference called Psychology in Action: the Power of the Mind. This fantastic enrichment opportunity includes five lectures on a wide range of the very latest psychological theories and ideas. Each one will help students to realise their own potential and also discover the impact that psychology can have on the world.   Psych Day

Social Sciences Film Club 

Throughout the year, a dedicated Social Sciences Film Club is offered as part of the co-curricular programme, primarily aimed at students in years 12-13 who are studying Psychology and/or Sociology. As a budding psychologist you can nurture your love of the subject and dip into the classics like ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ to more contemporary offerings like ‘Inside out’. Class discussions then allow students the time and space to get ‘under the skin’ of complex human behaviours.

“Psychology at A level is a very enjoyable and interesting subject, where you have the opportunity to learn about the differences in people’s behaviour and why these differences exist…… the combination of working independently as well as group experiments …. provided different styles of learning throughout the course”. Sixth form pupil

Psychology Club 

Weekly meetings will offer students the opportunity to enrich their understanding of psychological themes and ideas and stimulate intellectual curiosity in the human condition. Analysing psychology related books, both fiction and non-fiction in Book Group, considering the portrayal of psychology in the media and watching pertinent documentaries on issues such as addiction, are all activities which will be covered in Psychology Club.

Psychology speakers

Every year we aim to invite psychologists, working across a wide variety of fields, to the school to speak to our A level students and conduct workshops, which will give pupils an insight into the way psychologists work.

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

Are you interested in these questions?

Religion and Philosophy at Berkhamsted is a popular GCSE and A Level choice, and study of this subject significantly improves your clarity of thought and argument. Mastery of this subject will make you unbeatable in debate and argument.

Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics students are well supported in their studies by the vast range of resources we have subscriptions for. These include magazines such as RS Review, Dialogue and Philosophy Now to name a few. We also have online subscriptions to learning platforms including Issues online and Massolit. These resources and login details are available to all students through the library firefly pages.

For those students who want more Religion and Philosophy time outside the classroom the department has run a philosophy discussion group in clubs and societies time. The department also runs after school lectures on a variety of topics. Recent topics have included the death penalty in the USA, Christianity and the holocaust and the ethics of fertility treatment. Over the years we have some impressive external speakers including A.C. Grayling, Dr Keith Ward and Dr James Orr.

We run a thought for the day competition in school for year 7, which this year was judged by Chine McDonald.


Anyone afraid of shocking discoveries should stay away from Sociology! If you are keen to delve into a range of controversial social issues or understand how your behaviour has been shaped by the environments you find yourself in, then Sociology, more relevant now than ever before, is a subject worth exploring. In our search to understand all aspects of human behaviour, sociologists aim to understand the fundamental principles of social life and our students at Berkhamsted School are supported as they embark on their sociological journeys!

Are you keen to find answers to any of these issues, posed by the British Sociological Association?

From the start of Year 12, students are challenged to look at society in new and exciting ways. Taking a fresh look at how society operates, and why particular structures are in place, is key to being a competent sociologist. Students are encouraged to immerse themselves in a wide range of topics across the course from Crime and Deviance, Beliefs in Society to Families and Households and Education. Absorbing sociological issues as presented by leading researchers in the field via podcasts, journals, articles and news stories are all essential in gaining insight into how society really works. Lessons challenge students to find answers to a broad range of questions such as ‘why do girls tend to outperform boys at GCSE level?’, ‘are women more deviant than men?’ or ‘are we becoming less religious as a society?’

One particularly memorable experience beyond the classroom that students always find interesting is the year 13 trip to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, North London. The trip teaches students about cultural and religious diversity, directly linking into the study of Beliefs in Society (Paper 2). Witnessing first-hand the religious experiences of differing faiths can really support our sociologists when attempting to answer questions on religious pluralism, diversity and secularisation.

Knowledge and understanding of current affairs are critical to success in A-Level Sociology and staff in the department are passionate about academic enrichment. Students are encouraged to access the most recent developments in the fields of Sociology and Criminology as well as in other social science areas. Contemporary reading lists are shared with students, with the aim of fostering wider reading and enjoyment around a topic of interest to them. Students are strongly encouraged to make use of the digital recommendations provided, such as accessing online courses from the Open University, which fuel interest and enthusiasm for many of our students who go on to study Sociology at University. This year students completed a fascinating digital course entitled ‘Discovering disorder: Young people and delinquency’, which allowed students to consider crucial aspects relevant to today’s modern criminal justice system  Students are often keen to question the effectiveness of the modern prison system and are encouraged to undertake further study to support their own learning into rehabilitation, deterrence and retribution.

Empirical study and enquiry underpin the foundations of Sociology and all students in year 12 complete an independent research project. We are always amazed at the innovative hypotheses that students come up with and this is a wonderful way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the research process, sampling techniques, ethical and safety considerations and data analysis. This year’s topics ranged from reactions and responses to school authority, the impact of parental involvement on student wellbeing, approaches to learning across grammar, private and state secondary schools and the impact of technology on student attainment.

Should students wish, they have the option of selecting the Social Sciences Film Club in their Clubs & Societies slot. This offers a unique opportunity to watch a range of documentaries and films on contemporary topics, followed by an opportunity to discuss and debate relevant issues. There are also opportunities to listen to and question professionals from careers such as the Police and Probation service, with the aim of boosting students’ passion and enthusiasm for Sociology.

Essay Competitions (Sixth Form)

Social sciences: New College of Humanities essay competition:

Medicine essay competition:

Law essay competition:

History competition:

History Essay Competition — Minds Underground

The Minds Underground™ Year 12 History Essay Competition is open for entries. The competition provides students with an opportunity to engage in university-level research, hone their writing & argumentative skills and prepare for university interviews. Entrants must choose 1 question to answer.

Law Essay Competition — Minds Underground

The Minds Underground™ Law Essay Competition is open to students in Year 12. The competition provides students with an opportunity to engage in university-level research, hone their writing & argumentative skills and prepare for university interviews, particularly benefitting Oxbridge applicatio

Newnham essay competition:

(Biological Sciences, Classics, Computer Science, Engineering, History, Mathematics, Modern and Medieval Languages, Music, Philosophy and Psychological and Behavioural Sciences)

Watch this website for the Newnham Essay Competition for Girls – launches towards tail end of this month:

Work Research Experience:

There are also a range of fascinating work experience opportunities on here to work with people in a particular field – do enquire on this website if any catch your eye: