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Academic Life

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At Shrewsbury, we are passionate about the serious fun of learning. Academic life focuses on developing intellectually curious young adults who are able to think critically and creatively, have the confidence to question and to challenge and are equipped with the skills that they will need to thrive at all stages of life.

We have a wide-ranging and balanced curriculum which combines depth with choice so that every interest is catered for. Pupils arriving in the Third Form, aged 13, undertake a common yet comprehensive curriculum called Origin, gaining formative experiences in 18 subjects, so that as they progress through the school they choose the subjects that ignite the most passion within.  


We want all our pupils to aspire to a love of scholarship and we prepare them thoroughly to achieve success in public examinations. We also understand that academic fulfilment is not confined to examination results, nor should it be exclusive to the brightest pupils. We celebrate involvement in all areas of academic life and academic passions are fostered both inside and outside the classroom via pupil-led academic societies, a comprehensive programme of academic trips and enriching activities in all areas of the School, such as the wide range of visiting lecturers we host or by achieving significant success in national academic competitions.

Our classrooms are warm, welcoming and academically ambitious environments where all ideas and opinions are heard and in which all pupils are pushed to meet their potential.

Dr Richard Kowenicki, Deputy Head Academic

Academic faculties combine a traditional approach to academic rigour with innovative teaching techniques and disciplines. Classrooms are equipped for the 21st Century digital workplace and pupils use their personal devices to enhance their learning, but never at the expense of important skills such as in-depth research, creativity and debate. Faculties are empowered to operate independently, which creates a diversity that is inclusive and motivates pupils and teachers to explore, create and innovate.

We expect our pupils to work hard and to aim high; there should be no ceiling to the academic ambition of a Salopian. Most go on to degree courses at Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, but there is increasing interest in overseas universities, particularly in the United States. Our Futures Department offers expert advice and engages with pupils throughout their school career, to empower them to forge the educational path that most inspires them.

Learning for life is at the heart of a Shrewsbury education and, as well as developing as individuals, we encourage each pupil to share in, and contribute to, the flourishing of the School and the wider world.

Meet the Deputy Head Academic

Dr Kowenicki joined Shrewsbury from Westminster School in 2021 and teaches Chemistry. He has a First Class degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, where he also studied for his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry.   

“It was while completing my PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, combining research with undergraduate teaching, that I discovered my passion for the latter over the former,” says Dr Kowenicki.

Dr Kowenicki is joined at Shrewsbury by his wife Sarah and three young children; Adam, Alistair and Isabelle. 

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