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Curriculum: Design

Our curriculum has been designed to offer breadth, diversity and choice for all our students. It is ambitious for all, with all students able to access all subjects, with adaptations made within subjects to meet and support the needs of individual learners, including those who may need extra support or challenge.  With the provision of a broad and diverse learning experience, we strongly believe that our curriculum promotes high student engagement and enjoyment of learning.

In designing the curriculum as a whole, we have taken into consideration relevant research, such as the ‘DfES: A condensed Key Stage 3: Designing a flexible curriculum 2006 update’, 'The Framework for the National Curriculum: A report by the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum review 2011', the Ofsted report on ‘KS3: The Wasted Years’ in 2015.  We are currently awaiting the publication of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF): ‘What works at KS4, two or three years of study? due to be published in Spring 2023. 

In addition to this, when designing each subject curricular, we have taken into account the current Ofsted Curriculum Research Reviews and relevant subject specific research (which is referenced on each subject's page on our website.) 

We have also established strong links with our primary partners and have taken into consideration both the KS2 National Curriculum and the specific content that students student prior to commencing their KS3 journey at the College in order to eradicate repetition and ensure continuity and progression. 

Based on all of this, our curriculum offers students the opportunity to study a broad range of subjects in Years 7 and 8 (KS3) that deliver the aims of the national curriculum.

From Year 9 onwards (KS4), students then specialise in core subjects and pathways subjects of their choice.  Depth and complexity is added to learning with 'hinterland' learning taking the student experience of studying their preferred subjects beyond the exam syllabus, thus providing a broad, rich and diverse curriculum experience.  We firmly believe this provides a genuinely broad curriculum and leads to high student engagement in and enjoyment of learning.

What our curriculum design also enables us to do is to enrich the experience for all, including our SEND and disadvantaged students.  We do not simply pull GCSE teaching forward, stretching a two-year course over three. KS4 broadens, deepens and extends a student’s understanding of a subject by going beyond the exam board specifications: we are developing historians, artists, performers, not GCSE students studying for an exam!   This then supports their progression to post-16 learning opportunities (KS5) where we offer progression to Level 3 in all of the subjects that students have studied at KS4, with some additional opportunities. 

We have carefully and deliberately designed our curriculum to ensure that it is diverse and broadens the horizons of our students, given that 86% of our student population are White/British and 94% of our student population is Christian or no religion.   We see that adding value to our students' cultural capital as a priority. 

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc), consisting of English language and literature, mathematics, science, a modern foreign language and either history or geography, is actively encouraged and promoted.  We are ambitious for as many students to undertake this pathway as possible as we strongly believe that the EBacc, particularly when combined with creative, practical or vocational subjects, provides students with an excellent knowledge of the modern world and an appreciation and enjoyment of culture that will help students succeed in life and gain all the advantages of a broad and enriching education.

All students study at least one Humanities subject across Years 9 to 11. Whilst we do not insist that students study French at GCSE, based on student and parent and carer voice, we provide every opportunity for students to do so and we actively promote the importance of learning languages at KS3 by allocating significant hours of study in French, equal to those of English, Maths, Science and Humanities.

We value the importance that the Performing Arts can add to a student's personal development and are committed to offering the study of this across all Key Stages.  All students in Years 7 and 8 study Dance, Drama and Music.  All students can study all of these subjects at KS4 should they wish to and each subject is part of our initial offer at KS5 (and is offered subject to suitable uptake.) 

Physical Education also has a prominent role in our curriculum, with two hours of core study a week across Years 7 to 11, with further opportunities for participation in our Sixth Form.

As part of our commitment to personal development, health and wellbeing, our Wider Curriculum is an integral part of our curriculum as a whole and equal importance is placed on this.

Our Curriculum Subject Principles, Aims and Design pages provide relevant information about the curriculum of each subject, along with our Wider Curriculum: Student Personal Development Programme (PDP).