The subjects taught at Key Stage 3 in years 7 and 8 are English language and literature, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Spanish, French, Physical Education, Information and Communications Technology, Music, Art and Technology. In addition Personal, Social and Health Education and Career guidance is delivered discretely. The taught curriculum is enhanced by learning experiences outside the classroom through school trips and visits and extra-curricular clubs and groups.
The core curriculum in Year 9 consists of English language and literature, Mathematics, History, Geography, Religious Education, Music, Art, Physical Education, Information and Communications Technology, Technology, Personal, Social and Health Education and Career guidance. Science is taught as the separate disciplines of Chemistry, Physics and Biology and students continue to study a minimum of one modern foreign language. Curriculum content in this year is focused on consolidating knowledge and understanding from earlier years to ensure that key concepts are embedded in pupils’ long term memory. In addition ideas and concepts beyond the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum are explored to support the smooth transition and curriculum progression to Key Stage 4.
At Key Stage 4, students continue to study the core curriculum but will opt to study either History or Geography. The majority of students continue to study a modern foreign language. Students choose to study an additional two subjects from the wide range available. These are at present; Art and Design (Textiles), Fine Art, Business Studies, Food and Nutrition, Physical Education, Product Design, Creative iMedia, Music and Animal Care. A range of qualifications are achieved by students as a result of their studies including GCSEs, BTEC National Awards and OCR National awards.
Subject leaders and teaching staff across the school are well qualified and have the necessary expertise and skills to carry out their role in the design of our knowledge –rich curriculum. They are responsible for mapping the curriculum in their subject areas to ensure sufficient depth and coverage over both key stages and that it is sequenced to maximise student progress. Subject leaders and staff have ongoing professional development and training, for example focusing on curriculum design and sequencing, retrieval practice and the design of knowledge organisers. These are led by the Deputy Headteacher in charge of Curriculum and the Assistant Headteacher in charge of Teaching and Learning who also regularly contribute to national networks and support other schools in the development of knowledge-rich curricula. In addition, staff have access to a range of professional development opportunities offered by examination boards.
The curriculum is well-resourced. Students have access to textbooks in every subject area as well as a wealth of additional resources, including access to digital and online applications.
Our curriculum is quality assured through the school’s own self-review processes. Subject leaders and senior leaders meet routinely to review the curriculum and to ensure that there is no disparity between the planned and delivered curriculum. This will involve looking at a wide evidence base consisting of schemes of work, knowledge organisers, students’ self-quizzing books, other student work and key assessments and we gather student views regularly. Lesson reviews focus on the taught curriculum as well as the aspects of pedagogy which best implement our knowledge-rich curriculum in the classroom, for example the use of recall and retention strategies and deliberate practice. Each subject area has an attached link governor and they meet with subject leaders on a regular basis to discuss the curriculum and student progress.
A fundamental aim of our curriculum is to ensure entitlement for all. This is implemented through planning which ensures every pupil has access to a curriculum that has depth and breadth across each key stage and which is delivered appropriately to all groups. Interventions are designed to enhance students’ literacy and numeracy skills to enable them to gain concrete understanding of challenging concepts.
Assessments across all subjects are designed to test students’ knowledge, comprehension and skills of application. They are also carefully planned to shape future learning and to identify any gaps in conceptual understanding. Moderation of assessments takes place regularly during designated times in subject areas to ensure consistency and accuracy of judgement. The quality and reliability of assessments are further quality assured by senior leaders as part of the school self-review process which involves the triangulation of curriculum plans, student work and assessment data. There are three assessment points within an academic year.