The curriculum is the framework on which sits everything we do in school. It combines everything that is planned and delivered in lessons with other learning opportunities in school. Through the curriculum we develop students’ knowledge, skills and understanding, ensure that we have a coherent structure, and prepare our students for their lives beyond school.
A: Vision and Principles
Our curriculum fosters a love of education, a commitment to lifelong learning and thorough preparation for external exams. We provide a varied and appropriate range of subject options, supported by high quality, inspiring, specialist teachers. The curriculum adapts and responds to the external context of the federation. Students are able to show progression and achieve their potential in external exams. At KS4, students are able to follow pathways tailored to their individual needs.
Our curriculum is:
- Planned – to prepare students for the next stage of their education, training or employment;
- Relevant – to develop ‘capable, resilient learners’ and employability across the key stages
- Developmental – building knowledge and skills incrementally over time
- Coherent – fitting together in a logical and consistent manner
- Ambitious – to secure strong outcomes in all subjects;
- Flexible – to provide equality of access and opportunity for all students to learn and make progress;
B: Curriculum Themes
Although our timetable reflects subject boundaries, there are important themes that cut across the whole curriculum.
SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural)
Students’ moral development is shown by their:
- ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and their readiness to apply this understanding in their own lives
- understanding of the consequences of their actions
- interest in investigating, and offering reasoned views about, moral and ethical issues.
Students’ social development is shown by their:
- use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with students from different religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds
- willingness to participate in a variety of social settings, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
- interest in, and understanding of, the way communities and societies function at a variety of levels.
Students’ cultural development is shown by their:
- understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage
- willingness to participate in, and respond to, for example, artistic, musical, sporting, mathematical, technological, scientific and cultural opportunities
- interest in exploring, understanding of, and respect for cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.
SMSC is taught through Tutor Time, PSHE lessons, assemblies and discreetly through learning across the curriculum as well as a range of enrichment opportunities such as exchanges / opportunities to participate in educational visits both at home and abroad as well as other activities such as performances and sporting fixtures.
Literacy, Numeracy, Speaking and Listening
Students acquire skills in speaking and listening, literacy and numeracy. Attention is paid to these skills across the curriculum and not just in Mathematics, Science, English and MFL. Students are assessed in literacy and numeracy by formal examinations and tests. Student participation in class at every level ensures that high standards of speaking and listening are maintained, the latter also tested by written work and formal examinations. Questioning and collaborative learning are at the heart of our academic aims and methods, as described in the Teaching and Learning policy.
Lessons are conducted in English; where English is not the students' first language, we ensure that we are satisfied at the point of entry that the student is able to cope with the teaching provided. If not, students receive intensive support from the EAL leader.
INSPIRE Values and British Values
Running through our Trust are the INSPIRE values of Integrity, Nurture, Success, Perseverance, Innovation, Resilience and Engagement. These are reflected in points awarded to all students for any demonstration of these values and are a feature of Tutor Time and assemblies. INSPIRE values are displayed throughout school, and are explicitly reinforced in lessons. British Values are described and celebrated through the PSHE programme of study, as well as through assemblies, displays and tutor time.
As a Trust, we are committed to meeting the Gatsby benchmarks of:
1. A stable careers programme
2. Learning from career and labour market information
3. Addressing the needs of each student
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
5. Encounters with employers and employees
6. Experiences of workplaces
7. Encounters with further and higher education
8. Personal guidance
Leadership and Teamwork
Students are encouraged to develop leadership and teamwork skills in a range of contexts:
- Through planned activities in lessons e.g. group work;
- Through planned opportunities outside of lessons e.g. School Council, Student Leader programme
- Through the explicit reinforcement of key values (see above)
We recognise the increasing importance of technology in the modern world and the opportunities it provides to enhance the curriculum. We are committed to increasing the role of technology in teaching and learning. For example, in recent years, we have increased the use of electronic microscopes and visualisers in lessons, and given enrichment opportunities for film making.