Curriculum Overview
Curriculum Overview

Our curriculum “makes learning challenging and enjoyable for all” enabling our students to “secure the best outcomes and remain lifelong learners who are committed to seeking truth”. As such, we offer a wide range of subjects, enabling students to explore the fundamentals of a broad base of subjects in Key Stage 3 before selecting a balanced diet of Key Stage 4 options.

We recognise the vital importance of knowledge in building a deep understanding of the world; after all, you can’t think about something you don’t know. Furthermore, we recognise that developing a body of powerful knowledge will allow our young people to participate fully in social, political, and moral debates thereby enabling them to make a valuable contribution to our democratic society. To this end, we ensure students are explicitly taught the foundational knowledge that they will need in order to understand the heart of each subject, creating an interconnected web of understanding through which they can interpret, analyse and evaluate the world around them.

The subjects that we teach are intrinsically interesting; we encourage our students to appreciate the authentic core of each subject and to value learning and knowledge for its own sake. Our schemes of learning and lessons are designed to be challenging and require our students to grapple with troublesome concepts, making connections, analysing and evaluating. In this way, our students are learning the value of hard work, persistence and determination.

In Key Stage 3 students study: Religious Education; English; Mathematics; Science; Art; Design & Technology (including Woodwork, Graphics, Food Preparation & Nutrition and Textiles); Drama; Geography; History; Information Technology; Music; Spanish; Physical Education; and PSHCE.

In Key Stage 4 students are guided towards options that will allow them to make the most of their talents and abilities. The majority of our students take subjects that make up the English Baccalaureate. We offer a wide range of KS4 options, and, by following a three year course, our students are able to fully explore the depths of these. Our three year programme also allows us to complement our academic provision with a timetabled programme of wider curricular opportunities that develop the whole student. This includes supporting their mental wellbeing, developing an understanding of how they learn, identifying the contributions they make to our Catholic community and learning how to thrive in the world beyond school.

All students study: Religious Education; English Literature; English Language; Mathematics; and Science. Some students take separate sciences (Physics, Biology and Chemistry) whilst others follow a combined GCSE. Our science curriculum is designed to delay this decision until students have had sufficient opportunity to develop their understanding, skills and knowledge of all three sciences.

Students choose from a range of options including: Art; Business Studies; Child Play Learning & Development; Computing; Construction; Design & Technology; Food Preparation & Nutrition; French; Geography; Health & Social Care; History; I-Media; Life Skills (ASDAN); Music; Spanish; Sports Studies; Personal, Social Development (ASDAN) and Physical Education. We are proud of the diversity of our provision which allows our students to make choices that are both appropriate and ambitious. We recognise that our students are with us for a brief five years of their life-long journey in education and, as such, we have deliberately designed a curriculum that supports them in taking their next steps, most notably at Notre Dame Sixth Form College.

In addition, in KS4 all students continue to study PSHCE and Core PE. From September 2019 we are introducing an exciting new course, Study Skills, the purpose of which is to enable students to understand how they learn, equip them with the skills that they need to be a successful learner and provide a structured way to reflect on and review their own learning skills.

Students are able to complement their timetabled lessons with a varied range of extracurricular opportunities, including sport, art, music, debating and charity work. All Year 10 students undertake a two week work experience placement and there are a variety of enrichment opportunities on offer, including our annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, numerous international trips and visits to universities and businesses.

We are proud of our rich and varied curriculum which has been carefully constructed to meet the needs of our diverse school. We believe that it “inspires excellence by encouraging every individual to be the person that God calls us to be, in preparation for this life and the life to come”.