Our approach to the curriculum follows a set of core principles:
- Knowledge-rich - Knowledge is at the heart of our curriculum: in particular, knowledge which is relevant to our students' context and helps develop their cultural capital. It is shared with staff through co-planning and detailed schemes of learning, and it is shared with our students and parents in curriculum booklets.
- Vocabulary-rich – Our curriculum is vocabulary-rich: we believe vocabulary is a vital tool to help close the advantage gap between word-poor and word-rich households, and to enable all our students to become eloquent young adults. We have a united whole-school approach, with key vocabulary mapped out by key stage, subject and lesson.
- Mastery – Our curriculum includes well-planned opportunities for students to retrieve, master and apply key knowledge, as well as targeted teaching on how to revise effectively. Students complete fortnightly knowledge and vocabulary quizzes; these help teachers identify any gaps and support students to catch up.
- Progression planning - We have carefully identified and sequenced the knowledge needed for each subject from Years 7 to 11, enabling students to confidently progress to each subsequent stage in their education. Alongside academic progression, our 'character curriculum' supports students to become happy, well-rounded and kind individuals over the course of their 5 years with us.
- Enrichment - We offer a broad and varied enrichment programme, including a timetabled period every Wednesday afternoon, to help students explore and develop their talents and character beyond the classroom. Students also develop passion for their curriculum subjects thanks to an exciting schedule of trips and visits, guest speakers and drop-down days.
Our curriculum design incorporates the following key considerations.
Four Part Lessons
Our lessons centre around a single measurable objective and are organised into four parts:
- Do Now - where students recap prior learning
- Activation – where students learn new knowledge, vocabulary and concepts
- Demonstration - where students demonstrate their understanding and apply it to a challenge activity
- Consolidation - where students and the teacher review their learning together
At Key Stage 3, our class groups are mixed ability across all subjects. However, we do map our Spanish and History classes together so that students who need extra English and Maths support can come out of those sessions. At Key Stage 4, English, Maths and Science are grouped based on achievement, whilst all other subjects are mixed ability.
Careful class groupings can significantly improve student progress and we are committed to taking the time and effort required to get groupings right for our students. Groups are reviewed throughout the year, and changes made where appropriate.
'Options blocks' have been created to maximise the chances of our students getting the combination of subjects they want, whilst making the best use of staff resources. All students receive guidance and advice on their GCSE choices.
Impact & Assessment
The impact of our curriculum is reflected in each year group's assessment outcomes, the presentation and effort shown in student workbooks, how well students complete independent homework and revision, and also in how our students act, perform and are perceived in our local community.
To support this, we carefully analyse attainment data across all subject areas, and are quick to implement strategies and update the curriculum to close any gaps. We also identify students in need of support and invite them to attend additional mastery lessons, again to help them catch up with their peers.
We also monitor attendance and outcomes in enrichment activities, as well as track our student destinations after they leave us in Year 11.