The intent of our curriculum is to provide choice, breadth, challenge, success for all and high aspiration. It is intended to enable our pupils to grow as individuals and prepare them for further and higher education as well as employment locally and further afield. Employment opportunities in our locality include: Care, Engineering, Logistics, Health, Information Technology, Creative, Finance and Construction (Source: Essex Employability Board 2014).
Our Key Stage 3 Offer aims to develop learners who are ready and able to access the Key Stage 4 curriculum. Using data from reading tests, it also provides appropriate support for pupils who were not secondary ready on arrival from Key Stage 2, to progress in line with their peers.
Delivered through Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, we aim to equip our students with a solid foundation of core skills and knowledge which will enable them to access the curriculum and succeed at KS4. We aim to embed these core skills to a level of automaticity required to overcome disadvantage and provide every student with the OPPORTUNITY to succeed at KS4 and beyond.
Our Curriculum at KS3 helps us achieve equality, equity and social justice through the explicit teaching of numeracy, literacy, oral fluency, the promotion of reading, an understanding of the world around us, relationships in all contexts and citizenship through the development of cultural capital.
At Key Stage 4, our curriculum offers GCSE subjects which enable all to access the EBACC (English/English Literature, Maths, Science, Geography or History or Spanish) as well as a range of vocational subjects which allow pupils a wide choice of pathways. It is in this way that our Key Stage 4 curriculum caters for key employment needs locally (care, engineering, logistics, health, IT and creative, finance, and construction) and prepares our students for their next steps in Further Education and Apprenticeships.
Our very small staff means we offer a focused curriculum of 23 subjects (KS3 to KS4) and exceed the basic requirements of the National Curriculum. However, we would like to broaden this to a more practical offer which reflects our community employment opportunities as the school grows. The curriculum is taught in 25 lessons a week of 60 minutes. Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups in foundation subjects allowing for equality of opportunity for all pupils and the core subjects are taught in sets. The pupils needing the most support are taught in small groups. These are groups in which a teacher or teaching assistant teaches a small group of 3 or 4. At KS3 identified students are taught for literacy and numeracy withdrawal lessons and at KS4 study support is timetabled instead of an option subject in order to provide study support.
For students who are not yet secondary ready, additional support is provided through withdrawal lessons, to enable them to rapidly catch up. We operate a 3 year KS3. In Year 9 that pupils choose their option subjects for KS4 with support and guidance from their subject teachers and careers staff.
Subjects studied at KS3 include English, Mathematics, Science, Computer Science, Spanish, History, Geography, Drama, Music, Art and Design, Physical Education, RE and Personal, Social, Health, Relationships and Sex Education, and Food Technology.
Throughout KS3 we have interwoven our key educational “Cross Curricular Threads” which we believe all pupils require in order to become able learners and valued members of society. These are the development of literacy skills especially reading, application of numeracy in context, scientific enquiry and creativity, personal development and an understanding of the need for social equity and justice.
Year 10 pupils will study both English Language and Literature, Maths, and combined Science. All pupils will do at 3 lesson3 of recreational PE and a single lesson of Computer Science, RE and PSHE. Current option choices are as follows:
- Art & Design (GCSE)
- Geography (GCSE)
- Health and Social (BTEC)
- History (GCSE)
- Spanish (GCSE)
- Drama (BTEC)
- Music (BTEC)
- Physical Education (Cambridge National)
- Spanish (GCSE)
- Computer Science (GCSE)
- Financial Studies (LiBF)
- Media Studies (GCSE & BTEC)
- Construction (BTEC)
- Hospitality and Catering (BTEC)
- Photography (GCSE)
Year 11 pupils are encouraged to take the EBACC pathway study English Language and Literature, Maths and combined Science. Pupils study either History or Geography and an MFL. Pupils can also chose an Arts option from (Music, Drama, Art, Dance or PE) Pupils also take recreational PE and PSHRE as part of the core offer. Where this is appropriate, we enter students for Functional Skills in English and Maths as this facilitates progression into some vocational courses post 16.
Rosenshine Principles of Instruction
The delivery model we use for teaching our curriculum and subjects is Rosenshine Principles of instruction:
The Wider Curriculum – Our Values and Our Routines
Our Values of Respect, Responsibility and Readiness to learn permeate through the curriculum. We have high expectations of all pupils.
Enrichment activities take place before school, at lunch and after school. These include a range of sporting activities such as football, athletics, fitness, and cricket as well as music including orchestra and choir, Drama which includes the Shakespeare School Festival group, board games, chess and knitting. We have on average 2 Performing shows a year as well as several Exhibitions and Charity Events. There is daily support for homework in the library. Extra Study Support is also in place especially for Year 10 and Year 11 depending on the individuals learning needs. Attendance at these sessions is positive with well over 85% of the Year Group having participated in some kind of extra-curricular activity. This includes a busy calendar of up to 50 trips and visits every year.
In terms of the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural curriculum, we ensure that our pupils gain an appreciation of diversity and gain a respect for the protected characteristics of all within our society. It is important that we celebrate what we have in common as humans. We create a culture in which discrimination and bullying are tackled at every level. We develop these SMSC aspects through our curriculum offer as each subject has identified the aspects of SMSC they are developing in ther Schemes of Learning, with explicit links being made in lessons where relevant. Many of the Assembly and Form Time themes cover aspects of SMSC within them.
British Values are focused on in key subjects such as PSHRE as well as in Assemblies and Form Time Activities and in our every day culture and ethos, with the aim of producing responsible, respectful and active citizens. PSHRE themes are also covered across the curriculum including in assembly and form time activities as well as by using outside agencies to support and provide real life context. Brooke Advisory offer sessions on relationships throughout KS3/4. We follow the SACRE Syllabus for the teaching of RE.
We fulfill our statutory duty to provide careers education, advice and guidance for all years from Year 7-11. For example, Year 8 having an introduction to the world of work day, Year 9 receiving support in choosing their options, Year 10 having a preparation for mock interview day and then in Year 11 mock interviews. Year 10 also take part in Opportunity Thurrock, a borough wide careers fair to support with making choices post 16. All pupils have access to careers advice and guidance and can book a careers interview at any time.
Curriculum Impact and Outcomes
The impact of our curriculum:
- A culture in which the vast majority thrive
- Outcomes which prepare students well for their next steps
- 1 x assessment cycle per term, grade drops for each year group and subject analysed, at least .2 to .4 of a grade progress per term per pupil per subject
- Gaps in achievement between disadvantaged groups and their peers closing
- A school experience which creates accomplished, confident, kind and well qualified young people.
- Parent and student voices heard and acted upon