In the main school (Years 7-11), students are taught 25 periods a week. In the Sixth Form, some of those 25 periods are supervised self-study lessons. In addition, some Sixth Form lessons may be delivered after school as twilight sessions. Lessons throughout the school day are an hour long. All students also attend a tutor period with their form tutor every morning, one of which will also include an assembly with the rest of their year group.
The school’s ethos of ‘To learn and to care’ has been at the core of our curriculum review for September 2019 and, in particular the offer for students currently in Year 8 who are making their initial curriculum choices. This offer is based around three key principles:
Students are given an appropriate pathway that allows them to learn, be challenged and supported and enables them to progress to the next appropriate pathway.
Students maintain a breadth of subjects that they can personalise for their own enjoyment.
Students are prepared for the wider world and life beyond school with key values, life skills and learning relevant to their life, both in the present and in the future.
The adaptation of our current curriculum offer to students currently in Year 8 includes the creation of three learning pathways which are designed to allow our students to play to their strengths whilst maintaining a broad and balanced curriculum. Within their subject choices, all students will have to select one academic eBacc subject with students selected for Triple Science being required to select two academic eBacc subjects; in order to maximise their progression options we will recommend that one of these two subjects should be a Language option. For a small number of students an alternative curriculum featuring fewer courses has been retained.
In addition, our retention of a three year Key Stage 4 maintains our commitment to support our learners to achieve the best outcomes they can as evidenced by the progress of our current Year 10 cohort who are the first year group to benefit from our curriculum changes in 2017.
Having put this curriculum offer in place, subject leaders will be reviewing the implementation of current schemes of work to ensure an integrated, appropriate and rigorous curriculum is in place for all year groups.
The Curriculum for Years 7 & 8
In Years 7 and 8, the intent of the curriculum is to develop the skills and interests in subjects that will be required for success at GCSE whilst providing a balance of subjects that enrich the students’ learning. Students are placed in sets for English, Maths and Science by the October half-term of Year 7 and are taught in mixed ability classes for their other lessons. Student progress in these sets is reviewed termly. In Year 8, additional setting may occur in Humanities and in French. Throughout Years 7 and 8, students also attend Citizenship lessons which include the delivery of PIXL Edge in Year 8. Through these two subjects, students are prepared for the wider world and life beyond school with key values, life skills and learning relevant to their life, both in the present and in the future.
The Curriculum for Year 9
In Year 9, students currently begin their GCSE courses having made their options choices in the Spring term of Year 8. The intention of a three year Key Stage 4 has been to ensure that our students have the best opportunity to reach the age of 16 with the best outcomes possible. Schools across the country have had to respond to the policy initiatives of the previous coalition government and present Conservative government and Bromfords is no exception. Our view has been that the increased content and difficulty of the new GCSE specifications disadvantaged our learners and therefore they would benefit from the increased time studying for their GCSEs.
For the same reason, we currently do not insist on students following the eBacc route given existing external constraints that require the majority of our students to narrow their curriculum and take either a Modern Foreign Language or Humanity. This has been reviewed for September 2019.
Students remain in sets for the core curriculum of English, Maths and Science with other subjects taught in mixed ability classes. Citizenship is delivered through drop down days/sessions.
The Core Curriculum (all students)
English Language – GCSE
English Literature – GCSE
Mathematics – GCSE
Science – GCSE
PE – Non-Exam
Citizenship is delivered through drop down days/sessions.
Additional subjects available to choose currently include History, Geography, Religious Studies, French, Computer Science, GCSE ICT (CiDA), GCSE PE, Dance, Drama, Art, Music, Photography, BTEC or GCSE Business Studies, Technology (Design & Technology or Food Technology), BTEC Health & Social Care and Film Studies. Some personalisation is possible for those students who have special circumstances (see next page).
The Curriculum for Years 10 & 11
Students continue to study our core curriculum (see previous page) alongside their options choices. At the start of Year 10, students are placed on either the Trilogy Science (two GCSEs) or the separate Sciences pathway (three GCSEs).
Personalisation at KS4
In KS4 a small number students follow a “flexible learning path”. They take a reduced number of GCSE courses and follow personalised programmes that might include study support, extended work experience and a small number of vocational courses. This is arranged on an individual basis in consultation with the students’ parents/carers and the SENCO.
The Curriculum at Key Stage 5
In the Sixth Form we continue to follow the key principles of Achieve, Enrich and Prepare. We are a fully comprehensive sixth form, that allows students from a wide range of starting points to make rapid progress and move onto their next destinations with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. Our Sixth Form center ensures that students are supervised whilst studying, and we have very high expectations of students during their non-contact study time.
In Year 12, the majority of students currently choose 3 subjects from a range of both academic and vocational options. All of these subjects are now linear courses with assessment/examination at the end of Year 13. Some students will still chose to study 4 subjects in Year 12 to keep their offer broad, although most will narrow their focus to 3 qualifications in Year 13. Where appropriate, some students will complete a double award vocational qualification, whilst also taking part in school enrichment opportunities to increase their skills and employability.
We also offer a one year ‘Bridging’ pathway for students as a stepping stone to Sixth Form or further training/employment elsewhere. Students on this pathway will re-sit their mathematics and English GCSEs, whilst completing a level 2 qualification that prepares them for further education or employment Full details of the Sixth Form courses are in the Sixth Form prospectus on the school website.
As well as their formal academic curriculum, students in the Sixth Form have access to a range of
opportunities that enhance their personal development. COPE lessons in Year 12 help students to reflect on their successes and areas for development from GCSE. Study skills are taught to ensure that students are supported in the transition into the Sixth Form. Later, students start to develop skills they need for applications and interviews. The Extended Project is offered to students in Year 12. This qualification, worth half of one A-level, allows students to explore an area of their own choosing, and can be an excellent addition to applications for higher education.
Assemblies and drop-down days throughout the year explore elements of SMSC, wellbeing and mindfulness. External visitors support through delivery of road-safety, mental health workshops and information on careers and next steps.
A major part of our provision in the Sixth Form is to ensure that students are supported with preparation for moving onto their ‘Next steps’, whether this be University, an apprenticeship or employment. We have a dedicated member of staff as part of our Sixth Form team who provides support with UCAS and apprenticeships. On the first two days of Year 12, we visit two Universities to allow students to set their expectations high from the very first day. We work in partnership with Pathways, a company that provides support with sourcing apprenticeships and the subsequent application process.
Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural Development
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) learning (including British values) cuts across the whole school through every lesson. It helps us to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the wider world by learning about the beliefs, cultures, difficulties and needs of other people. This in turn helps everyone to develop greater consideration, care and empathy for the world around them.
Examples of some of the many opportunities available to students to explore these issues can be found in a separate document in the curriculum section of our website.