Curriculum Intent

In the Trust’s seven learning domains, in literacy, numeracy and in the development of character, life skills and cultural exposure, the schools’ curriculum is built on the national curriculum and more, enabling our students to acquire powerful knowledge and an appreciation of the ethical dimension to and distinctiveness of each subject, whereby the subject and school curriculum makes an extremely positive and valuable difference to student lives now and as they take their place in society and the work-place.

Our schools’ curriculum is:  ambitious for all our students; as broad and balanced as possible for as long as possible; even deeper and richer than the National Curriculum; coherently planned and carefully sequenced; academically and technically rigorous; and, adapted well for students with special educational needs.

Our curriculum provides our students with a clear, age-specific, educational diet of the essential knowledge they need to become educated citizens and it introduces them to the best that has been thought and said, helping to engender in them an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. It builds on the National Curriculum (which is a major but not complete element in the education of every child).  Our staff provide stimulating lessons (and extended learning beyond the classroom) to teach knowledge, understanding and skills (including Life Skills and to develop character) in the following five areas:

1. Powerful knowledge
In each subject what the schools intend our students to learn (know, understand and be able to do) is laid out clearly by key stage, year and term in an ambitious, coherently planned, carefully sequenced, inclusive and academically rigorous Programme of Study separated into Schemes of Work. At Key Stage 3 this programme will provide for the implementation and teaching of at least the National Curriculum aims and content at Key Stage 3 and prepare our learners for the rigour of Key Stage 4.  At Key Stage 4 the requirements of the syllabus will also be implemented and taught. The Programme of Study will be planned and sequenced such as to allow all students, regardless of socio-economic and educational background or special need, to progress to suitably challenging post-16 study, with the character and personal development to prepare them for rigorous school study and challenging post-16 expectations.

2. Power of Language
The study of English (reading, writing and speaking within and beyond English subject studies) has a pre-eminent place in our curriculum.  In all subjects, students will be taught and will have opportunities to practise reading, writing and speaking to at least an age-appropriate standard as part of our Trust-wide Power of Language Strategy. Significant curriculum time is given to the study and practice of literacy and English and accounts for our two longer school days in Year 7 for those whose literacy needs to ‘catch-up’.  A high level of competence in the use of number has a significant place in our curriculum.  In many subjects, students will be taught and will have opportunities to practise the use of number in specific subject applications and in preparation for later life and the world of work. As above, this accounts for our two longer days in Year 7 for those whose numeracy needs to ‘catch-up’.

3. The Person, the World of Work and Society
In the Programme of Study and associated Schemes of Work in each subject, students will learn not just the content of the subject at each Key Stage but the value of that subject to the person, the world of work and to society.  For example, in Geography there will be a deep conversation, over time, about the earth as home to humankind, the beauty and power of the natural world and a deep understanding of many of our contemporary challenges (such as: climate change; food security; and, energy choices). Allied to this, there is a five-year programme of Life (and Society) Skills where students will learn personal, social and health education, relationships and sex education, financial literacy and careers education, information and guidance.  Taken together, this programme teaches students about the value of each subject and of the essential and many desirable Life (and society) Skills to them as people, to them as employees (and future employers) and to their contribution to our local, regional, national and global society and community.

4. The Ethical and Cultural
In the Programme of Study and associated Schemes of Work in each subject, students will learn not just the content of the subject at each Key Stage but the ethical (social, moral, spiritual) and cultural dimensions of the subject.  For example, in science, the students will be taught a curriculum that provides for them an appreciation of the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity, and an understanding of the need for the highest ethical standards in, and in relation to, scientific work. This learning will be complemented by the teaching of a five-year programme of Life (and Society) Skills where a full range of the most significant contemporary moral issues for them, as people and citizens, will be taught, debated and explored.  The wider co-curriculum (Year 7 electives, enrichment, extra-curricular and planned and sequenced cultural capital opportunities for all) and the hidden curriculum (that is absorbed in a consciously planned school culture (from Character Teaching, to our Student Development System, to Assemblies, Form Time, Life Skills’ Drop-Down days and year-group, house and whole school events) contribute to a broad, deep and rich ethical dimension to our curriculum.

5. Subject Uniqueness
In the Programme of Study and associated Schemes of Work in each subject, students will learn not just the content of the national curriculum for the subject at each Key Stage, but will learn about what makes the subject distinctive from the others and distinctive in our schools.  For example:  in History, our students gain historical perspective by making connections between local, regional, national and international events; in Geography there are significant field-trips looking at urbanization and the physical geography of our British Isles; in Modern Foreign Languages there are foreign language and cultural international educational visits; and, in Life Skills the students learn from visiting theatre companies, local businesses and employers.

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