Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 curriculum
In pursuit of excellence the school has established a learning community that prepares students for the 21st Century. The curriculum supports our aim of ‘Achievement for Every Learner’. A team of committed and talented staff work together with parents/carers and students to provide the sort of stimulating environment which benefits and motivates the individual.
Our aim across the age and ability range is to provide a flexible and accessible curriculum which will open up a range of learning pathways for the future - to university, college or the world of work and personal achievement. This aim is delivered by providing the statutory National Curriculum, additional courses and a programme of enrichment and extra-curricular activities. In the Sixth Form a wider choice of subjects is available. Teaching programmes are planned to create variety and interest in order to challenge all students, whatever their talents and abilities. In Key Stage 3, some students are fast-tracked through the programmes of study for English, Mathematics and Science. This frees up time for enrichment activities or additional courses to be followed before the end of Year 11. All of this work is underpinned by effective curriculum planning, supportive management practices and a whole school programme of student mentoring and review.
In the first three years, from the age of 11 to 14, all students follow the same programme of study; Art, Drama, English, Geography, History, Information Technology, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages (all students take French in Year 7, in Year 8 some students will study a second language of Spanish, whilst others will study for the International Communications Award), Music, Physical Education, Religious Education, Science and Technology.
In Year 7 students also complete a course entitled Learning To Learn through which important learning and personal organisational skills are covered so that these can be applied successfully across all other subjects studied. Topics covered include how to develop as an independent learner, problem solving as a member of a team and using and communicating information.
Students at Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11, age 14-16) study subjects leading to GCSE qualifications in English Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science and Religious Education. They choose further options from a wide range of subjects including Art, Business Studies, Computing, Drama, Geography, History, Health and Social Care, Information Technology, Leisure and Tourism, Media Studies, Music, Performing Arts, Physical Education, Sociology, French, Spanish, Product Design and Food Technology. Students also follow a core course in Physical Education. A number of activities and events are provided to develop Personal, Social and Health Education and to help develop Citizenship. Many of our Year 11 students stay on after the age of 16 to take Advanced Level courses in Years 12 and 13.
INCREASED FLEXIBILITY PROGRAMME
For a small number of students the pressure of studying 10 GCSE subjects does not allow them to fully reach their potential in all the areas of study. The Increased Flexibility Programme provides three different ways in which students can receive additional support to prepare them for year 11 exams and the work place beyond. The programme includes Intensive English, Curriculum and Life skills development and College placements. Not all these options are open to every student:
The Intensive English option is suitable for students who statistically will be expected to achieve a grade 5 at GCSE, but who may be finding it difficult to keep up with their current targets. It provides students with an additional five hours of teaching and learning during the two week timetable. Students for whom we think this would be an appropriate pathway, following discussions with their teachers, will be invited onto this flexible programme. Students are selected towards the end of December, following their full reports. Following this, the CTL will meet with those selected to explain the course option and will deliver the invitation by letter.
CURRICULUM AND LIFE SKILLS COURSE
The Curriculum and Life Skills course is suitable for all students who feel that they would benefit from studying one less GCSE , providing five hours of teaching and learning during the two week timetable to focus on promoting independent study skills, good revision habits, supported homework sessions, team building and other relevant employability skills. Students will also receive additional support in English and Mathematics. This is an excellent course to run alongside a varied programme of GCSE subjects, providing students with the best opportunities for success in their chosen options.
For a limited number of students the school offers a College Based Learning Programme for one day a week. This provides students with the opportunity to learn in a more practical work based environment which is different from the conventional GCSE path. Courses which have run in previous years include Construction and the Built Environment, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, Hospitality and Catering, and Public Services. (These are all subject to college availability.)
There is a shared determination amongst staff for all students to attain the highest standards of academic achievement. We expect our students to have similar aspirations and we are proud of our performance in public examinations. However, our teaching goes well beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum in terms of the experience we provide. It is important that students learn to be independent, to think for themselves and have the necessary ambitions and skills to aim high and make the most of their time at the school. We aim to develop qualities of self-reliance and confidence in our students, alongside an understanding, care and tolerance of others.
Religious Education is taught throughout the school and forms part of the common core in all years. A multi-faith, non-denominational approach is taken to the subject which emphasises the acquisition of knowledge and the development of skills such as understanding and evaluation. Parents/carers have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education and should consult the Headteacher if they wish to exercise this right. Students who have been withdrawn for all or part of the programme of Religious Education and Collective Worship may undertake private, supervised study in the school library.
Please contact the school if you require any further information on the curriculum.