Curriculum Overview

Tregear Zoe

Mrs Zoe Tregear
Assistant Principal (Student Experience)

1. Curriculum intent

Our curriculum is designed to give all students the opportunity to be investigate, discover and experience a broad range of subjects in years 7 and 8. Subject content is planned to encourage a clear understanding of content and the development of skills unique to that subject area whist at the same identify and signpost cross curricular links and similarities. There is also a gradual implementation of some of the specific skills and concepts that students will be utilising in GCSE or equivalent courses.

2. Curriculum implementation

The curriculum is planned on a two week, 50 period timetable. In years 7 and 8 students have the opportunity to study 16 different subjects, all of which are available to be continued into GCSE or equivalent courses during years 9 to 11. Most subjects are taught as standalone subjects. The exceptions to this are Performance which although taught as clearly defined Dance, Drama and Music lessons, follow a thematic based plan. The only other exception is Design Technology of which three subjects are taught; each on a 13 week rotation. The subjects are Food and nutrition, Computer Aided Design, and Resistant Materials.

The curriculum hours are broken down as follows:

 Year7 8

New curriculum models have been introduced this year for all subjects in years 7 and 8. Subject leaders and their teams were given the opportunity to plan their curriculum based on three tenets:

a)    To encourage and install a love in learning about their subject through discovery and experience

b)    To begin to introduce the skills and concepts they would be using if they decide to continue the course into KS4 and beyond

c)    To provide a secure understanding of content and concepts by providing challenge, support and progression promoting depth of learning

In years 9, 10 and 11, previous historical curriculum and timetable decisions, together with a lack of oversight has meant that the curriculum plan is still in transition. Hours allocated between certain options blocks, for example, differ in order to address, in the short term, weaknesses in certain subject areas. Year 9 has been planned from scratch with consultation, and is likely to be the preferred model in years to come.

Subjects on offer to students are reviewed every year taking into account changes in what teachers are able to offer; changes in local/national requirements and cohort makeup with specific reference to student needs. However all students are expected to take either history or geography.

For the rest of their subject choices, students are given one of three ‘Guided Pathways’, where they are recommended to pursue certain course combinations based on previous subject performance/potential. Students with more specific/specialist needs may be offered a reduction in subjects they are expected to take, with alternative courses/ support being suggested instead.

Students in years 9-11 follow exam board specifications chosen by subject leads. The advantage of operating a three year key stage four allows for more time to be taken on to master subject knowledge, concepts, and skills, whilst also allowing staff to pursue lines of discussion or interest which may not be strictly speaking be in specifications, but encourages and builds wider knowledge and awareness of other areas of interest, knowledge and learning.

The curriculum hours are broken down as follows:

 Year9 10 11

The Social Studies element of the curriculum follows a PHSE content. It is also designed to be flexible when certain relevant issues come up on a local or national basis, for example a general election. Key themes such as personal well-being and mental health are covered, reinforced up by year group or whole school specific theme days spread throughout the year covering topics that may require more time or focus, for example careers education.

3. Curriculum impact

The curriculum is designed to provide students with a balance between the need to experience and learn from as broad a range of subjects as possible, while at the same time allow for enough time for students have the appropriate depth and exposure of key knowledge, concepts and skills to allow them to succeed and progress.

Through the work done in years 7 and 8, students are prepared and therefore encouraged to follow the guidance from the college about subject combinations that we believe they should be pursuing to allow them to finish their education with subjects and outcomes that are relevant for whatever option they wish to follow after year 11. The subjects on offer and the time allocated to them, also removes the concept of a poorly designed curriculum as an excuse to not achieving good progress and results in all years.