Curriculum Structure and Organisation

The structure of our curriculum and timetable is reviewed annually and agreed by our Governing Body.

We operate a 2 week timetable with 6, 50-minute lessons per day (30 per week and 60 per fortnight).

Most subjects are delivered in double periods of 1 hour and 40 minutes.  This enables teachers to develop the depth of learning and understanding, and also allows practical activities to take place. At Key Stage 3, Languages are taught in single periods to allow language learning to be spread across the fortnight, which allows students to experience up to 3 languages. Humanities and Science also have some single periods. Year 7 and 8 have their break and lunch time in the middle of a double period.

1.1 Key Stage 3 Curriculum Structure 2021-22

Number of 50-minute periods per subject each fortnight:

 

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

English

10

10

10

Maths

10

10

10

Science

8

8

8

MFL (Languages)

5

5

5

Geography

3

3

3

History

3

3

3

RE

3

3

3

Computer Science

2

2

2

Technology

4

4

4

Art

2

2

2

Music

2

2

2

Drama

2

2

2

PE

4

4

4

Citizenship (including PSHE and Careers)

2

2

2

In Technology, students study Product Design, Food, Textiles and, in Year 7-8, Graphics, on a  rotation basis. All students experience each subject every year.

In MFL, all students study French and Mandarin. Most students also study German.

1.2 Key Stage 4 Curriculum Structure 2021-22

Number of 50-minute periods per subject each fortnight:

 

Year 10

Year 11

English

10

10

Maths

8

8

Science

12

12

Specialism A

6

6

Specialism B

6

6

Specialism C

6

6

Specialism D

6

6

Core PE

4

4

Citizenship (including PSHE, Careers and core RS)

2

2

This curriculum model enables most students to achieve 9 qualifications. We encourage all students to follow a broad and balanced curriculum with a strong academic core.

Core Subjects:

Almost all students are entered for the following GCSEs: English Language and English Literature, Maths and either Combined Science (worth 2 GCSEs) or Triple Science (worth 3 GCSEs). Students who take Triple Science need to opt for this as a Specialism subject and meet the suitability criteria. Students who are working at a Grade 9 in Maths in the Spring term of Year 11 are encouraged to also take Further Maths GCSE which is taught as an additional course.

Both English and Science start to teach parts of the GCSE curriculum during Year 9, having covered the content of the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum.

Ebacc Subjects:

We encourage the majority of students to take a Humanities (History, Geography or RE) GCSE and a Languages GCSE, as this provides a broad academic education in subjects which are highly regarded by employers and higher education institutes. Students can take more than one Language or Humanities subject, and can also combine a Language and Humanities GCSE with Triple Science and a further specialism of their choice. Almost all students are required to take at least one of the “Ebacc” GCSE subjects – French, Mandarin , German, History, Geography, Triple Science or Computer Science. Both Triple Science and Computer Science have suitability criteria.                                                                  

Other specialism subjects:

We offer a total of 21 specialism subjects including the subjects listed above.

In addition to the subjects above, we offer: Art GCSE, Food and Nutrition GCSE, Textiles GCSE, Music GCSE or RSA,  Drama GCSE or Performing Arts RSA, PE GCSE or Sport BTEC, Business Studies GCSE, Psychology GCSE, Photography GCSE, Media GCSE, We offer vocational OCR Cambridge National courses which are the equivalent of a GCSE in iMedia, Health and Social Care, and Engineering. For PE, Performing Arts and Music we choose a vocational or GCSE course dependent on the suitability of the course for the cohort who opt for the subject.

During the Spring term of Year 9 we run our Specialisms process to guide students and parents in ensuring that they select a suitable combination of subjects. The subjects offered in each specialism block are determined by practical constraints and student specialism choices, and in order to maximise the number of students who can follow their preferred specialisms.

1.3 Student Groupings

We are pragmatic in our approach to student grouping – we want to use the grouping arrangements that will maximise student progress. We also recognise that there are some logistical considerations in relation to student groups.

Key Stage 3 (Year 7-9)

In most subjects, students are taught in mixed attainment tutor groups. This is an approach that has evolved over a number of years. The EEF evidence indicates that setting or streaming does not have an impact on raising attainment and has a negative impact on low attaining students, although the evidence base is limited. Our Maths department have been involved in a local project examining mixed attainment Maths teaching.

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/teaching-learning-toolkit/setting-and-streaming

Students are taught in broad ability groups in Languages from Year 7, with students following either a French and Mandarin, or French, German and Mandarin pathway.

Students are not taught in tutor groups for Technology (to enable smaller groups in practical rooms) and PE (to enable flexible grouping dependent on the cohort). While some PE groups are taught in single gender groups, others are not – this is dependent on practical constraints and timetabling, and where possible what will best meet the needs of the cohort.

In Year 9, students are taught English in broad attainment groups. These are established in Year 9 as this is when the GCSE curriculum starts to be delivered to maintain consistency of teaching groups from Year 9-11.

Year 10-11

In English, Maths and Science, students are taught in attainment groups to support a targeted approach in the delivery of GCSE specifications and preparation for exams. Most specialism subjects are delivered in mixed attainment groups.