Key Stage 3
Students are predominantly taught both in mixed ability groups and set groups throughout Key Stage 3. They are initially set in attainment groups in the core subjects of English, mathematics and Science in Year 7. Assessments take place in the first half term of Year 7 and setting takes place from November onwards.
It should be noted that this grouping structure should not be viewed as strictly hierarchical such that one set would always be ‘better’ or ‘harder’ than another based on a numerical scale. One of the problems with the traditional model is that students with broadly (and in many cases exactly) the same attainment levels would be in different ‘sets’, sometimes even two ‘sets’ apart. This would be a natural consequence of having large numbers of students working at the same attainment level. However, whilst there may be no difference in the attainment level that students are working at, there would be a difference in the sense that a student may have with regard to how well they are doing in a subject, simply based upon the number attributed to the set in which they are taught.
A structure based upon attainment groups where students of commensurate current attainment are grouped together, encourages the students themselves to be focussed on maintaining an appropriate progress in their attainment level and engage in meaningful dialogue with their teachers regarding such progress.
For the duration of the Key Stage, regular assessments inform these groupings and opportunities for students to move into the most appropriate group are available at the end of each term.
We believe that it is vitally important that our students are equipped with the right practical and emotional skills to allow them to make the most of their opportunities and responsibilities and to flourish in the 21st century. To support this aim we have a comprehensive program for the teaching of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, and Careers guidance. This program is delivered through a varied model of form time activities, Year and House assemblies, dedicated days where the normal curriculum is suspended, and within the schemes of work of relevant subjects.
In Year 7 students are taught in House Groups in Geography, History, Modern Foreign Languages (both French and Spanish), Games and Religious Studies. They are taught in smaller groups, again mixed ability, for PE, Art, Drama, Music, Computing and Design & Technology. For the Creative and Technology based lessons, a carousel operates, whereby students have 10 lessons a fortnight in these subjects, and switch at the end of each term to pick up a different Creative subject and Technology subject. It is felt that this carousel provides students with a more immersive experience that supports an enriched experience and greater overall progress.
In Year 8 students are taught in House Groups in Geography, History, Games and Religious Studies. They are taught in smaller groups, again mixed ability, for PE, Art, Drama, Music, Computing and Design & Technology. For the Creative and Technology based lessons, again a carousel operates. For Modern Foreign Languages, students are taught in set groups.
In Year 9 students are taught in ability groups for the core of English, mathematics and Science, and additionally in Modern Foreign Languages, Geography, History, Religious Studies and PE. Students are taught in mixed ability groups for Games and four further optional subjects.
We recognise that a curriculum experience that is increasingly personalised affords students with greater opportunities for enjoyment and engagement. We have sought to provide a breadth of curriculum choice that represents opportunities for both challenge and enrichment, suitable for all our students, whilst ensuring that no door is closed and that future options remain open as they progress into Key Stage 4.
Design and Technology forms a compulsory element for the Year 9 curriculum but students are able to choose an area of specialism from Catering, Graphics, Resistant Materials and Systems and Control. Students’ remaining three optional subjects can be selected from a list of ‘National Curriculum’ subjects (Art, Drama, second language French or Spanish, Computing or Music) and a list of ‘Enrichment’ subjects (currently Astronomy and Cosmology, Environmental Science and Horticulture, Extended Project, Leadership, Philosophy, STEM, Theatre in Education and Written & Digital Media). Nearly one third of a student’s lessons will be shaped by their choices and through careful guidance and support we look to ensure that they each maintain a balanced curriculum – one which we believe is best served by them selecting two subjects from the ‘National Curriculum’ list and one subject from the ‘Enrichment’ list.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, all students are required to study for GCSEs in the core subjects of English Language and English Literature, mathematics (the ‘linked pair’ GCSEs of Methods in Maths and Applications of Maths), a minimum of two science GCSEs and Religious Studies. Some students will also study for the Level 2 Award in Further Mathematics. All students also follow a core Physical Education (Games) programme.
Having first experienced the options process in Year 8, students will again shape their own curriculum during the spring term of Year 9 by choosing up to four optional courses that they wish to follow in Years 10 and 11. Within the option block structure, students are able to choose an additional science GCSE by selecting the Triple Science GCSE or Triple Science iGCSE course, and indeed the vast majority of our students elect to use one of their option choices in this way. Students are free to choose their remaining optional subjects from a wide range of GCSEs, BTECs and other qualifications. Our current GCSE offering includes Art, Business Studies, Computing, Digital Photography, Drama, DT: Catering, DT: Graphics, DT: Resistant Materials, DT Systems and Control, French, Geography, History, Music, PE and Spanish. We additionally offer Level 2 BTEC qualifications in Construction, ICT and Sport, and the Level 2 Certificate in Personal Effectiveness.
As in earlier years, we deliver a structured program of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, as well as Independent Advices and Guidance (careers), through form time activities, Year and House assemblies, dedicated days, and within the schemes of work of relevant subjects.
Key Stage 5
The Year 12 curriculum is structured such that students will study a minimum of 4 optional subjects with the possibility of taking an additional AS Extended Project Qualification. In Year 13 the majority of students will continue to study 3 of their subjects to attain full Level 3 qualifications. Our current AS/A-Level offering includes Applied Business, Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computing, Drama, DT: Catering, DT: Graphics, DT: Resistant Materials, Economics, English Language and Literature, English Literature, Film Studies, French, Further Maths, Geography, Government and Politics, History, Law, Maths with Mechanics, Maths with Statistics, Music, Pure Maths, PE, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology and Spanish. We additionally offer Level 3 BTEC qualifications in ICT, Uniformed Public Services and Sport.
All students who have not yet attained a minimum of a grade C in either GCSE English Language or Maths will additionally be supported in studying for these vital qualifications throughout their time in the Sixth Form.
As in earlier years, we deliver a structured program of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, as well as Independent Advices and Guidance (careers and UCAS), through form time activities, Year and House assemblies, dedicated days, and within the schemes of work of relevant subjects.