Principles of SHSSFC Curriculum

The breadth of the curriculum is designed to promote students’ academic, creative, expressive, technical, moral and spiritual development. It challenges all students to develop their learning across a broad range of subjects and areas. It 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. The curriculum 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.

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.

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. All students in all years follow a structured PSHCE programme and Careers education is provided by discrete lessons, individual support, work experience placements and links within individual subjects.

 

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.

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 nearly all (97% in 2018) 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 Key stage 4.

In KS3 appropriate emphasis is placed upon creative and expressive subjects with students learning Art, Drama, Music and Dance through specialist teaching. Provision at KS4 is widened through the recent introduction of Photography GCSE and Creative i-Media and all these subjects, including Dance, are studied in KS5. In addition an extensive range of extra-curricular provision flourishes in this area.

STEM subjects play a prominent role in the curriculum. Mathematics, Computing and Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) are taught by specialist teachers. Statistics GCSE is offered in KS4. 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. Provision in Technology is wide at KS4, including Engineering, Food, Hospitality and Catering, and discrete Product Design courses specialising in either Resistant Materials or Textiles. In addition, a wide programme of popular activities and clubs support and enhance these subjects beyond the taught lessons.

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 Governing Body level as an important element bringing depth, breadth and relevance 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. For example, students from all years participate in regular, scheduled Student Voice meetings with the Chair of the Governing Body. 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 Big Sisters programme.

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, aspirations and prior attainment. For instance in the Social Sciences Curriculum Area A level Economics, A level (linear) Business Studies and BTEC Business diploma and certificate are all offered. This pattern is repeated across the curriculum. In addition a Life Choices programme provides supports 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.

 

The nature and structure of the curriculum, both taught and beyond the classroom, is a key element of school development and is integral to discussion at CA, whole school, SLT and Governing Body levels.

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.