We are ambitious for our students and are determined that our students are well prepared to succeed and prosper in the next phase of their education and life.
Our curriculum is designed to meet the students’ needs and aspirations regardless of performance table measures. We recognise that it isn’t the length of time spent in Key Stage 3 that is important but the quality, breadth and depth of the curriculum that are important.
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum has been designed to develop student literacy and oracy through discrete literacy lessons in Years 7 and 8, set up in conjunction with the National Literacy Trust. Our Whole School Teaching Plan has the key focus of providing ‘Stretch & Challenge’ and ‘Building Oracy’ in lessons.
Throughout Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 we actively promote Fundamental British Values and Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development through our Assembly and Guidance programmes and also our Bright Days programme where 5 days per academic year are spent with students off-timetable and engaging in a wide variety of learning activities under the following headings:
• Bright Sparks (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths)
• Bright Lives (SMSC)
• Bright Futures (Careers)
• Bright Lights (The Arts)
• Bright Bodies (Health, Mind, SRE)
Subjects studied by students in Key Stage 3 include: English, Maths, Science, IT & Computing, Food Technology, Textiles, Resistant Materials, Spanish (and French as an additional language for some), Humanities, Art, Music, Drama, and P.E. We make provision for all students to study a modern foreign language because research tells us students will develop valuable skills for their future.
We believe mixed ability groupings have a positive impact on overall pupil aspiration, self-esteem and standards and can also contribute to a more ‘open mind-set’. Despite much research and debate there is no clear link between ability grouping and attainment.
This academic year we have introduced mixed ability groupings in some subjects in Years 7 and 8. We believe more pupils will benefit from this change and that both standards and self-esteem will be boosted by this approach. We are committed to every child receiving stretch and challenge in their lessons. In recent years it has been a whole school priority for teachers to plan their lessons ‘from the top down’ and for all pupils to be ‘stretched and challenged’. We have good strategies in place to stretch all pupils and this will remain a priority at Arnold Hill.
In Year 7 and 8 we continue to group pupils by prior attainment in both Maths and Science due to curriculum design and assessment structure. These groupings are reviewed and updated regularly throughout the year to ensure pupils are in the appropriate grouping to meet their needs and promote progress. We recognise pupils will have had a range of different provision in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) whilst at their different primary schools. All pupils in Year 7 study Spanish. Pupils will be set in MFL in the Autumn term using attainment data to aid delivery of the curriculum. Pupils in Sets 1, will be given the opportunity to study French as an additional language in Year 8 to ensure that our talented linguists are stretched and challenged further. Some pupils in Year 7 will be offered ‘Core Skills’, instead of MFL, offering those pupils a chance to embed and enhance their Literacy and Numeracy skills in a small group setting. These pupils are selected using Key Stage 2 prior attainment data, and current in-school assessments.
Starting GCSE option courses in Year 9 provides a bridging or foundation year where students build a secure platform of skills and basic knowledge from which they proceed to develop a deeper and enhanced understanding through Years 10 and 11. We believe the EBacc promotes aspiration therefore all students with a Target Grade of 4 or above in our core subjects, and a 5 in MfL, will be selected to study the EBacc pathway. We have a variety of pathways on offer at Key Stage 4 and invest heavily in preparing students for their option choices. Where a student will be better served by following a non-EBacc pathway we will ensure they have suitable options available to study and prepare them for the next phase in their education and life to ultimately become the most employable young people.
Support for students with Special Educational Needs, and those for whom English is an additional language, is provided in class and through our specialist student support team where needed. Students are provided with opportunities to extend their skills and talents, which includes the provision of additional classes and extension opportunities for more able and talented students, as well as intervention and support provision as required.
Formal assessments of learning are conducted according to our Assessment, Recording and Reporting schedule and targets are shared with students and their parents regularly. Assessments of students’ learning are also made more informally and frequently.
The implementation of this policy is monitored through whole school, departmental and pastoral self review.
New Curriculum Reform at Key Stage 3 and 4
Curriculum Overview 2016-2017 Academic Year
Curriculum topics covered in Key Stage 3
KS4 Courses to be studied by students in Years 9 and 10 from September 2017
KS4 Courses followed by Year 10 Students 2016 - 2018
KS4 Courses followed by Year 11 Students 2016 - 2018
KS5 Courses followed by Year 12 and 13 Students