Principles of SHSSFC Curriculum
The breadth of the curriculum is designed to promote students’ knowledge and skills through academic, creative, expressive, technical, moral and spiritual development. It challenges all students, including those who are disadvantaged and those with SEND, to develop their learning across a broad range of subjects and areas. All students access a broad and ambitious curriculum with a strong academic core in an inclusive environment.
The curriculum seeks to maximise opportunities for choices in study and careers by offering balance and breadth whilst also encouraging students increasingly to pursue areas of interest. It is integral to development planning at both whole school and curriculum area level. It is closely aligned with the school’s evidence-based strategy and practice in developing Teaching and Learning and pedagogy.
The curriculum is designed to enrich students’ character and personal development. Wellbeing is integral. In addition to the taught curriculum, SMSC and British Values are interwoven into learning by both curriculum design in individual subjects and the wide provision of activities beyond the classroom in order to prepare all students for life in Modern Britain. All students in all years follow a structured PSHCE programme including RSE and Careers education is provided by discrete lessons, individual support, work experience placements and links within individual subjects meeting all the standards of the Gatsby benchmark.
We promote the principles underlying the Ebacc through our core which ensures that nearly all students study a modern foreign language in Key Stage 4. Furthermore our curriculum is designed to enhance the opportunity for cultural capital for all our students.
Teachers are subject specialists and demonstrate a passion for their subjects. Ensuring the quality of teaching and learning is placed at the heart of the school’s professional development.
Teachers give careful consideration to planning and sequencing knowledge-rich programmes of study across all key stages. There is a foundation of metacognition and retrieval in its delivery.
The taught curriculum offers a broad range of experiences. This curriculum is offered to all students and all students are encouraged to follow courses which reflect their interests and aptitudes. After common provision at KS3 very nearly all students have three free option choices at KS4 in order to ensure that no student’s pathway is predetermined by expectations based on background. A very small number of students receive extra support for literacy, numeracy and employability skills in KS4.
Our environment is inclusive which ensures equality of opportunity for all.
In KS3 appropriate emphasis is placed upon creative and expressive subjects with students learning Art, Drama, Music and Dance through specialist teaching. We offer a wide range of GCSE and vocational subjects with clear progression routes into KS5. In addition an extensive range of extra-curricular provision flourishes, including events in school, trips and residential visits locally, nationally and abroad.
All STEM subjects play a prominent role in the curriculum. In KS3 students study a wide range of Technology subjects in yrs 7 and 8 and select several specialisms for yr 9. At KS4 all students choose either a Combined Science GCSE or discrete GCSEs in all three of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These subjects all run in KS5.
Students have a diverse provision in Modern Foreign Languages. Nearly all students enter a GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language. Half of the year group study Spanish, half French and German is studied as an option at Key Stage 4 with all these languages studied to A level. This is a unique provision in local schools. Following detailed consideration it is fully supported at Trustee level as an important element bringing depth, breadth and cultural capital to the curriculum. These languages are supported by extra-curricular activities including exchanges with partner schools abroad.
Students have considerable opportunities to enhance further their development in SMSC and British Values. Positive personal traits are supported and developed through a rich provision including weekly PSHCE/Life Choices lessons, tutor time, assemblies and Alternative Curriculum Week with support from specialist agencies. Students from all years participate in regular, scheduled Student Voice meetings giving feedback on the curriculum. Post 16 students play a leadership role within College through their running of the Student Union. Students play a key role in the school’s wellbeing programme through the Student safeguarding team.
In the College, courses are offered to reflect the diverse intentions and requirements of the students. Over forty different courses are studied. Where possible Curriculum Areas offer a choice to suit different learning styles, career aspirations and prior attainment. This pattern is repeated across the curriculum. In addition, a Life Choices programme provides support for students’ learning and progression into Higher Education, apprenticeships and employment.
Both College and Key Stage 4 pupils work with the school’s own Careers Advisor in order to prepare them for the next stage in their learning or career.
As a consequence of their education at Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College students learn achieve high levels of literacy, numeracy and oracy giving them the best possible life chances. Our students leave with the essential knowledge, skills and attributes to be educated citizens and outstanding members of society.
Students at 16 plus and 18 plus progress to a wide variety of destinations. These include academic courses at university, higher level apprenticeships and employment.
Progress across all areas of the curriculum is very positive. It is above average in all three areas at Progress8 and in line with national rates at KS5. Retention rates are above average in KS4 and well above average in KS5.
The way students embody the values at the heart of the curriculum provision is recognised by a number of awards and in the outstanding designation in the Ofsted Section 8 inspection in November 2017.