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Curriculum policy

Adopted: March 2015

Curriculum aims

To promote a rich and challenging learning environment, promoting high standards of achievement and above all to inspire students with a desire to continue learning in and beyond the classroom and for the rest of their lives.

  • To enable each student to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant to society and employment in a fast-changing world.
  • To promote an enjoyment of learning as a lifelong process.
  • To encourage a respect for the needs and feelings of others.
  • To ensure the highest-quality learning provision.
  • To create a safe, supportive environment in which all members of the school are encouraged to develop to their maximum potential.
  • To embrace a philosophy at an individual, whole school and community level of continual self-improvement and positive contribution.
  • To ensure students' intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and creative development.
  • To provide coherent progression route from Key Stage 3 through Key Stage 4 and on to post-16 study including sixth form, FE, apprenticeships and subsequently HE and employment.

All learners are entitled to learning of the highest quality which helps them to   fulfill their full potential. They will have access to a curriculum that enables them  to be competent in the key skills of learning, challenges their thinking and opens up their understanding of the world. Their learning should lead them to a greater understanding of themselves, their lives in a complex society and their ability to influence the world in which they live for the mutual benefit of  all.

Curriculum principles

We are committed to the principle that all students, regardless of ability, race, cultural background or gender, have a right to the highest quality of education that we can provide. This means that we seek to ensure that the curriculum:

  • Is planned, broad and balanced;
  • Covers the national curriculum where this is appropriate;
  • Is rich, varied, and appropriately challenging and engaging;
  • Takes account of the different ways in which people learn;
  • Promotes critical thinking;
  • Is relevant to future employment as well as encouraging lifelong personal growth;
  • Is sensitive to individual needs;
  • Provides extended learning opportunities outside the classroom;
  • Is properly resourced;
  • Allows choice and the ability of students to play to their strengths.

Learners should receive high-quality teaching which engages and supports them where necessary. Learning should be active and learners should be encouraged to show independence, this should always encourage success and provide opportunities to celebrate success. Learning will be monitored and evaluated regularly to make sure it is effective, through the departmental review procedures. This will involve acknowledging the views of learners.

Curriculum structure

The timetable

As of September 2014, the school operates a single-week timetable of five periods a day, meaning students access 25 one-hour periods each week. Years 7-9 have three lessons before lunch, and two after lunch. Years 10 and 11 have four before lunch and a single lesson after lunch. There is a 20-minute period of personalised learning time at the start of every day, in tutor groups. Each college has one assembly per week during this period. Friday will be private silent reading for the whole school, apart from those pupils who have been highlighted at AG+T. These  pupils will be given the opportunity to develop creative writing skills based on the books they have read. The higher level teaching assistant for English (HLTA) will deliver these sessions.

At Key Stage 3 in Year 7 and  8

All students follow a core curriculum: English, mathematics, science, art, PE, music, drama, RE, history, geography, French, Spanish, ICT and technology. Extra learning support is made available for those students requiring this input to ensure their progress at the expense of a second modern language.

At Key Stage 4 in Years 9-11

All students will study a core curriculum: English, mathematics, science, PE and RE. They will then study up to four option subjects, from a wide range of  curriculum areas.

Core curriculum

English: The vast majority of students will study English language and literature to GCSE level. For some students, where appropriate, the single English GCSE will be offered.

Maths: All students will study for a GCSE in mathematics. For some more able students, a Level 2 Further Maths qualification will be offered alongside the GCSE.

Science: Students will study either single (triple) GCSE science, Double Award GCSE science, or BTEC First Award science, as appropriate.

RE: All students will study GCSE religious studies.

PE: Students will have two hours per week of non-examined PE.

Options

Blocks A and B: In these blocks, which have three hours per week each of curriculum time, students will be encouraged to select a language, and history or  geography. Students will also be given the opportunity to substitute this time for extra input in English and/or maths. Other Level 2 courses will be offered here for those who do not feel the EBacc is appropriate - currently this is BTEC business studies, OCR National sport science and GCSE child development.

Blocks C and D: In these blocks, which have two hours per week, students will have a free choice from the various subjects offered across the school. Media studies and child development are also offered here despite not being KS3 courses.

Enrichment 

Students also have three hours per week of enrichment time - Tuesday to Thursday from 2.50pm-3.50pm. This includes one hour each of:

  • Private study
  • Sports and hobbies
  • Enrichment

Year 11 students will have an extra lesson of maths and English on two of these three days.