The curriculum is much more than just lessons. It includes the ethos, attitudes and relationships which create the high quality life in our College. Our aim is to provide a broad balanced and extensive curriculum that meets the needs and aspirations of every young person and leaves them well prepared for their future.
We organise the curriculum by teaching our students in six week modules of work with each module being assessed at the end of the 6 week cycle. This information is used to inform the teachers planning and subsequent teaching. Marking is an active part of lessons, however typically in the middle of a module teachers will evaluate each student’s progress and provide guidance for the remainder of the module. At the end of the module, each student will be assessed on the learning that has taken place in previous weeks. We will communicate this information to you in the form of a simple Academic Tracker. This will be repeated in all subjects throughout the year. At the end of each year most students will complete standardised tests which will be reported in a similar way.
The curriculum in Key Stage 3 is organised in ability bands. Students are placed in sets in the majority of their subjects. This enables us to focus our teaching and support every child as a learner, challenging them to achieve at the highest level. Students are observed and assessed regularly to ensure the accuracy of their banding and progression through the bands is common. Year 7 and Year 8 focuses on giving every child the widest experience possible across the arts, languages, humanities and technical subjects whilst maintaining a strong focus on the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Preparation for Life (incl. Religious Education) and PE. This enables students to make an informed choice at the end of Year 8, when they narrow their curriculum in preparation for their external exams at the end of Key Stage 4.
(N.B. The options process and transition between KS3 and KS4 is currently under review and is likely to be amended for the 2020-21 curriculum offer.)
In Key Stage 4 the curriculum for students is a mixture of both core and optional subjects and is structured to allow for maximum flexibility of choice. Most students will follow courses leading to 10 GCSEs although alternative vocational courses are available in College. A booklet giving details of all courses is produced and an options evening is held in Year 8 to explain the guided choice process.
Throughout their time with us our young people study a dynamic Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education and Citizenship programme – under the name ‘Preparation for Life (P4L) The course is targeted to the age and stage of the young people and supplemented by focused days across the College year. The programme includes a breadth of areas of study from Sex and Relationships Education to Politics and includes preparation for examinations and quality careers information for each young person.
Our Post 16 curriculum is extremely varied and provides an extensive range of Level 1, 2 and 3 courses from academic A’ Levels through to a wide range of ‘off-site’ vocational programmes in partnerships with external partners. We are also part of a consortium of Plymouth schools so that our offer may be as broad as possible. A wider ‘pastoral’ curriculum also takes a high priority at Post 16 so that all young people continue to flourish.
All elements combine to help students grow and become confident adults and future global citizens.
The ‘Big Picture’
It is our intention the College curriculum meets students’ needs in three key areas:
Personal and cultural empowerment
Students are able to take control of their lives and rather than merely follow a course of study, are equipped to participate fully in the world around them and have an impact upon it. They are also aware of their place in the world and take the best from previous generations.
Preparation for Citizenship
Students are active citizens that are able to understand the choices that they are given, thus ensuring the future of the democracy in which we live.
Preparation for Work
Students are prepared for the world of work in a broad range of ways including, academic success, technical and skilled expertise and interpersonal and relationship competency.
Our curriculum is designed around the following core principles:
Students are taught a wide ranging curriculum that allows them to explore many aspects of life. We want them to be in their ‘element’.
Students are taught to be rigorous and determined to gain real meaning from the disciplines that they are engaged in.
Students are taught ‘across’ subjects, not just within. Staff strive to create coherent, cross-curricular experiences wherever possible.
Students are taught a curriculum where there is a logical connection in order to enable knowledge to be embedded in their long term memory.
Students are taught at a level that is appropriate to their need and this is adapted accordingly.
Focussed – Key Knowledge and skills
Students are taught to focus on the things that really matter – the big ideas. Reading to facilitate this is a key feature of every student’s day.
Students are taught in the context of their wider world. The knowledge and skills that they really need. Careers education forms a significant part of the curriculum.