Our pupils' strong academic performance is built upon:

• intellectually challenging teaching
• a work-centred environment
• high standards consistently applied in the classroom
• clear rules governing behaviour
• homework for all pupils set regularly
• marking of pupils' work promptly and constructively by teachers
• regular formal examination practice
• frequent monitoring of progress
• defined academic goals
• strong partnership with parents
• extra-curricular activities and enrichment

We aim to make learning an exciting and interesting experience for all our pupils. At Cardinal Heenan we offer a stimulating and varied curriculum designed to be broad and balanced and in line with statutory requirements but also providing wide ranging opportunities for personalising individual pupils’ learning programmes.

At the heart of our curriculum in the Catholic Christian school is the promotion of British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Our pupils develop skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.

All pupils have five lessons per day in a cycle of 50 lessons over 10 school days. The cycle is repeated each fortnight. Lessons are of one hour or 58 minutes duration, in line with national recommendations.
Most pupils study a language throughout their time here.  Some study two languages (French and Spanish). There are short taster courses in other languages.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8)

Pupils in Years 7 and 8 engage in an accelerated programme of learning which enables them to complete all subjects of the Key Stage 3 studies by the end of Year 8. Key Stage 4 courses begin in Year 9.
The subjects studied are: Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science, Technology, History, Geography, Spanish, Computing, Art, Music, Physical Education and Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education (PSHCE), including Careers Information, Advice and Guidance.

Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11)

At Key Stage 4 each student's learning programme is tailored to individual needs and aptitudes.  Our pupils choose from alternative combinations of courses which meet individual pupils' needs and provide routes into Post 16 study for all. 

Most Cardinal Heenan pupils follow a pathway that leads to The English Baccalaureate (GCSE awards in English, Mathematics, two or three Science subjects, a language and either Geography or History.

Most pupils take 10 GCSE subjects.  Vocational qualifications include the Cambridge National Certificate in Information Technology.  A small number of pupils whose needs are suited to a work related curriculum take Key Stage 4 vocational courses at local colleges and frequent work experience placements, whilst studying the core curriculum here at Cardinal Heenan.

At Key Stage 4 all pupils study the core subjects of Religious Education, English, English Literature, Mathematics, Science, Languages and Physical Education in addition to a choice of option subjects.

Some 60 pupils (The most able) are encouraged to take Biology, Chemistry and Physics as three separate GCSE's.  A majority of pupils study for two Science subjects: Core Science and Additional Science. 

All Key Stage 4 pupils follow a programme of Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education (PSHCE) including Careers Information, Advice and Guidance.

Public Examination Entries

The school prepares and enters all pupils for public examinations at Key Stage 4 according to their progress and abilities.  Most of the subjects studied lead to the GCSE.  Fees for all approved examination entries are paid by the school.
Examination subjects for which pupils will commonly be entered:

GCSE:  English; Mathematics; Biology; Chemistry; Physics; Combined Science; Art; Business; Computing; Design and Technology; English Literature; French; Food and Nutrition, Geography; History; Music; Physical Education; Religious Studies; Spanish.

Cambridge National Certificate:  ICT.

Academic and Pastoral Organisation

Detailed planning and liaison with our feeder schools ensures that transfer from primary to high school goes smoothly.


Year 7 pupils are taught in groups which contain a spread of abilities for most subjects.  Ability setting is introduced in English, Mathematics and Technology early in Year 7, in Science and Spanish in Year 8 and in the majority of subjects from the start of Year 9.  Teaching focuses on the needs of the individual.  Progress is regularly assessed and monitored; if it is in the pupil’s interests to change teaching groups, pupil and parents will be fully consulted.


Each pupil has a tutor who helps the pupil settle in and plays a vital role in keeping a watchful eye on welfare and progress.  Pupil and tutor meet each day (e.g. for morning prayer, registration, assembly).  The tutor is the first point of contact and the daily link between home and school.  Year Leader and Year Managers co-ordinate the work of tutors.   The school’s Attendance Officer and staff from Catholic Care also work with pupils.


Study and Homework

Homework is essential for all our pupils.  It consolidates work done in class and encourages independent study and learning.  Specialist help is available with research projects on request.


Personal Planners

Every pupil is issued with a Personal Planner to record homework and parents are requested to check and sign it every week.


Examinations and Reports

Pupils' academic progress is measured by formal written examinations, continuous assessment, classroom-based tests and teacher observation.  Summary progress grades for all subjects are sent home each term and school reports, written by teachers, are issued once a year.  These state what has to be done to move up to the next stage of learning in all subjects.  Results of examinations and assessments are included.



Our library is available for research and study, supervised by staff.  Pupils have access to books and The Internet.


Consultation with Parents

Parents' meetings are arranged at least once a year to give parents and teachers an opportunity to discuss the progress of pupils.  Parents may also request personal appointments to discuss specific matters with teachers.  We welcome the concern and support which prompts such requests.

Learning Support

Pupils who have Special Educational Needs receive additional help in a number of ways:  subject teachers use modified teaching materials and methods; the Special Needs Department provides support within normal lessons; individual or small group work is used to concentrate on specific skills; and one-to-one counselling is used when appropriate.  There is also a programme of support for exceptionally able and gifted children to encourage them to reach their potential.


   Learning Support

School Discipline

At Cardinal Heenan good discipline is based on purposeful learning. We expect high standards in academic work, attendance, punctuality, appearance, speech, courtesy and behaviour. The school's policy on behaviour develops self-discipline and self-motivation in pupils. This is encouraged by awards, prizes and certificates. Inevitably, some pupils will fail to achieve the required standards, at least occasionally.  The school's systems of rewards and sanctions are detailed in the Behaviour Policy which may be downloaded here.  Print copies are available in school.  Where necessary, detentions after school are given: parents receive 24 hours’ notice .

Pupils who engage in fighting or violence will be automatically excluded from school.


Bullying is not tolerated under any circumstances.

Posters displayed around school encourage pupils to report any bullying that they have seen or experienced by texting to the school Tell! Tell! Tell! number: 07860 030 489. The text is sent as an email to the school’s Bully Action Team who investigate promptly. The identity of the sender remains confidential.


07860 030 489




Music and Drama

The school choir leads the singing at school liturgies and Masses.  Instrumentalists are encouraged to accompany the choirs.  Instrumental music tuition is available for pupils wishing to learn to play a musical instrument.
Drama is studied in KS3 English lessons.

Education in Personal Relationships

Education in Personal Relationships (including Sex Education) is part of this Catholic school's religious and moral education programme. It supports the responsibilities of parents and follows the recommendations of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. Sex Education is taught by specialist subject teachers who are sensitive to the needs of pupils and concerns of their parents. Copies of the relevant policy are available on request.

Physical Education and Sport

The school has a reputation for sporting excellence.  All pupils are encouraged to participate in physical education and games including: athletics, badminton, basketball, cricket, cross-country, dance, fitness training, football, gymnastics, netball, rounders, rugby, table tennis and volleyball.  Cardinal Heenan has some of the best school sports facilities in Leeds.  We have a large sports hall and extensive playing fields.  There are five specialist PE teachers and other qualified staff who help to run the school teams.


Moving On

Our careers education and guidance develops pupils' awareness of their skills, talents and interests to help them make informed choices about their future.  In Years 9, 10 and 11 pupils work with staff to research careers using the database in our Careers Library.  Talks, seminars, personal counselling and interviews are available for all our pupils.  All Year 10 and 11 parents and pupils can access the Catholic Partnership Careers Fair in November each year.  In the Summer Term of Year 10, all pupils participate in a work experience programme which lasts for two weeks.  The school has strong links with Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College, Leeds, and other local colleges of further education.  The majority of Cardinal Heenan leavers continue their studies to GCE A-Level at Notre Dame, before going on to higher and further education.

Educational Visits


Pupils are offered opportunities to take part in residential religious retreats at venues such as Ampleforth College and Sneaton Castle.

Pilgrimage to Lourdes

A group of Year 10 pupils and staff join the annual Leeds Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, caring for sick and disabled pilgrims.


Educational visits overseas are organised each year.

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