Curriculum at Key Stage 3
The start of key stage 3 marks an exciting phase in the lives of our students. It is the period when they build on their primary education and prepare for their key stage 4 choices, some of which will be made in Year 8. Our curriculum is designed so that students can master the basics as well as offer more flexibility so that teachers can tailor their teaching to students' needs and aspirations.
All students will take their key stage 3 SATs in English, Mathematics and Science at the end of year 9. In 2006 at least 98% of our students achieved level 5 in all 3 tests. We report on progress three times a year and will provide one written report and one opportunity for consultation with subject teachers. Students are set aspirational targets at the end of year 7.
This year we have made a number of changes to our curriculum. Due to our Performing Arts specialism, there are now 3 lessons of Performing Arts (Dance, Music and Drama) in year 7. There is also a greater emphasis on ICT, which will allow students to finish their ICT qualification in year 10, freeing up time in Year 11 to study other qualifications or improve grades. All students will study one modern foreign language - either Spanish or German.
In line with our Vocational specialism we have four Innovation Days per year. These are opportunities for ‘applied learning' where students work together to solve ‘real' problems. These allow students to achieve more transferable personal skills including independent learning, team work and leadership. Students also have one Business lesson a week which allows them to learn about key aspects of Business knowledge and understanding, Enterprise and Citizenship.
We consult widely, with both parents and students, about our curriculum offering, and should you have any further queries please do not hesitate
Curriculum at Key Stage 4
KS4 is the period when students build on their earlier learning and prepare for adult life, higher education and employment.
English, Maths, Science and ICT remain compulsory and all pupils will continue to be taught Design Technology, Religious Education, PSHCE and Physical Education.
This year we are following a new highly personalised approach, where we use available data, and information about student preferences to advise them on the best route that will lead to greatest success.
These qualifications provide a nationally recognised, work-related qualification for the 14-16 age group. BTECs help to develop knowledge, skills and understanding relevant to a broad vocational area and encourage independent and active learning in practical contexts. BTECs are available as Certificates (2 GCSEs) or Diplomas (4 GCSEs). We are offering certificates, so that you can access a broader curriculum. BTEC certificates involve three units of study spread over two years. All three units are internally assessed and externally verified. BTEC firsts are graded Distinction (A*/A), Merit (AB) and Pass (CC).
These qualifications are similar to BTECs and at the moment we are only offering ICT as an OCR national. Depending on the number of units that you take you will obtain the equivalent of 2, 3 or 4 GCSEs. Everyone is required to do at least the minimum of one block of ICT.
GCSE/APPLIED GCSE COURSES
Most core subjects studied at Key Stage 4 are General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) courses. These are nationally approved courses with agreed subject content and assessment methods. Our GCSE courses are provided by the Awarding Bodies known as AQA, Edexcel and OCR. Most GCSEs are assessed by coursework and by final exams. In some subjects the final exams have different papers at different levels of difficulty. Teachers will enter you for the appropriate papers. GCSE courses are graded on an A* - G scale, with A* representing exceptional performance and G representing the minimum pass level. You may study an Applied GCSE in Science or Health and Social Care. These involve 66% coursework and are equivalent to 2 GCSEs