Curriculum Rationale

Our Intent – An aspirational curriculum for all

Our Curriculum is broad so that pupils can experience a range of opportunities across the curriculum; balanced as it prevents pupils from narrowing down their options too early; relevant to the demands of a rapidly-changing world; and personalised to ensure that the level and type of work are suited to the ability and learning style of each individual pupil. 

These curriculum principles, we believe will stand our pupils in good stead, at each transition point, for a bright and aspirant future where their talents and experience can result in excellent outcomes.

We encourage classroom teachers to take risks in their teaching and plan and deliver lessons that account for all pupils’ starting points whilst also meeting the requirements of the national curriculum and developing a joy of learning and passion for individual subjects.

Abbeyfield Learner – Character Education

The Abbeyfield Learner (Character Education) programme ensures students have the relevant life skills and attributes to be effective learners during school, and for their future aspirations. The skills identified are Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Respect, Initiative, and Communication. These are embedded across the school curriculum and ethos.

Key Stage 3

All pupils start by following a common curriculum of English, Maths, Science, Creative Arts (Art, Drama, Music), Design Technology (Food, Resistant Materials, Textiles, Graphics), Modern Foreign Languages (French or Spanish), Humanities (Geography, History, Religious Education), Computing, Physical Education and PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education).

A personalisation of the curriculum is provided on entry for those who require more support with literacy & numeracy – Building English & Maths Skills (BEAMS) programme.

Key Stage 3 is assessed using a Mastery curriculum where students are encouraged to learn the cores skills and knowledge and demonstrate a mastery of them.

Key Stage 4

In Key Stage 4, pupils have enhanced time for the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. The time for PE recognises the importance of health and fitness in our lives. It is a reflection of the global community to which they are heirs, that all pupils have the opportunity to become proficient in a modern foreign language.  Pupils continue to follow a bespoke PSHE program designed to cover key issues and help students develop socially and confidently.  The program includes careers, advice and guidance as well as looking at issues such as mental health.  

Our curriculum offers flexibility and choice within a guided structure. Within this framework, pupils are encouraged where appropriate to fulfil the ‘English Baccalaureate’; pupils will take nine GCSEs or equivalent.  As a school we are overtly aspirational for all our students and we will try and guide them to take pathways that will challenge and inspire them.  We recognise the value of studying humanities subjects and languages into Key Stage Four but we also understand that it is not for everyone and we will not narrow our curriculum to prevent students from following routes they are passionate about and ultimately better suited to.  We recognise also the voice of parents with regard to EBacc subjects and do not wish to impose a restricted offer which is not supported by all or universally accepted. 

In creating our offer, we are careful to listen to pupil demand and where possible we will find creative ways to facilitate courses where pupil numbers are small.

Sixth Form

Our Key Stage 3 and 4 principles continue into the Sixth Form enabling clear lines of progression. The curriculum is built around subjects that go well together (students can study three). This includes a range of facilitating & specialist subjects alongside the Extended Project, Core Maths or Further Maths. We aim to give students a sense of control over their Sixth Form programme enabling a broad education offering wide choice and essential skills for a rapidly-changing world.  We deliver A level and BTEC subjects that we have the ability to teach to a high standard in order to ensure that the pupil experience is full and rewarding.  Where we lack the specialist skills we will not offer courses simply to grow numbers and will concentrate rather on areas where we are able to add value.  Student timetables are supplemented with recognised independent study for which students are guided through and provided work for as well as PSHE sessions during which students are guided and supported in the decision making and preparation for next steps be it university or apprenticeships. 

PSHE

Our programme meets the needs of all students Year 7-11 and the Sixth form, at their various stages of development and education. It follows the 3 main core themes, recommended by the PSHE Association, of Health and wellbeing, Relationships, Living in the wider world: economic wellbeing, careers and the world of work

The subject is both relevant to the management and organisation of the school as well as aspects of the school curriculum. This includes both what is taught in PSHE and in other subjects and what is learnt through other school and community based activities. Links to national events / promotions for example Anti-bullying week, HIV Awareness Day , No Smoking day etc.

Entitlement of Experience

Equally important to our taught curriculum is the assortment of experiences our pupils are entitled to expect whilst with us. These enable personal and social development, develop citizenship and community work and present challenges.

These enrichment experiences include, work experience at Key Stage 4 and 5, trips, a wide range of well attended extra-curricular clubs, including Duke of Edinburgh, fundraising events, supporting others, mentoring and representing the school. All have the aim of helping our young people to develop their own identity so they are ready and equipped to fully engage with life beyond school.  We believe these opportunities are an entitlement and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are supported to ensure they are able to access the same experiences that all pupils are exposed to. 

We recognise that school is far more than working towards achieving excellent outcomes and believe in the importance of teaching students about kindness, respect and other British values.  Whilst many of these aspects are covered in PSHE lessons, they are also themes that are constantly visited in lessons, assemblies and tutor periods.