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Curriculum

We want to transform the life-chances of our children by focusing on raising standards, particularly the basic life skills of literacy and numeracy as well as employability skills so that our students have the best possible start in life.

Curriculum Ethos

We firmly believe that all children, irrespective of their starting point, are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum. To that end, we are delighted to offer an innovative and knowledge rich curriculum, which enables any student within our school to fulfil their potential and develop the all-important skills and qualities, which will serve them well in later life.
We also believe that the school curriculum is much bigger than just the National Curriculum or exam specifications.

 

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This includes the school developing their own curriculum, which is defined broadly with local, national and international elements. A school should have a strong co-curriculum (see below) and an opportunity to take part in curriculum and co-curriculum related visits and exchanges.

We will be designing a curriculum entitlement for students, which highlights the importance of the arts, which develops skills as well as knowledge and aims for a ‘Whole Education’.

Teaching should encompass a whole range of experiences for the students that combine skills, personal qualities and knowledge as demonstrated below.

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Our Key Stage 4 curriculum is run over Years 10 and 11. To support our subject specialist teachers we have a nationally recognised leader in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We have also given a clear leadership focus to attendance as regular attendance is critical to a child’s success.

We fully support the entitlement that students have to study the group of qualifications, which the government calls the English Baccalaureate (EBacc): a GCSE grade 5 or higher in one English, mathematics, two sciences, one humanities subject (geography or history) and a modern foreign language. Because of this at Key Stage 4 every child (with some minor exceptions) will choose either Spanish or French.

To allow students to achieve a balance in their studies, we are giving students the chance to take additional periods in either PE or RE which will give them an additional option choice.  If they choose PE as an option they will still do RE and PSHE but will have additional time to complete their PE GCSE/BTEC. The same is true if they were to choose RE.

Our new GCSE curriculum is now highly aspirational and challenging whilst retaining some BTEC subjects for those whom that pathway might be more suitable.

There will be the opportunity to have additional time for English or mathematics, for those who need it. We do this in the full knowledge that further and higher education, as well as many employment opportunities, requires students to have attained a good level (GCSE grade 5 or higher) of literacy and numeracy. One clear way that we have achieved this is by adding a Period 6 to the school day for all Year 11s.

British Values

For information about how the school promotes British values, please click here.

Every Student Can Achieve

We have followed the advice given by all the major educational academics and the Education Endowment Foundation and moved to mixed ability setting.  The rationale behind this move is that low prior attaining learners who are set or streamed fall behind by 1 or 2 months per year, on average, when compared with the progress of similar students in classes with mixed ability groups. It appears likely that routine setting or streaming arrangements undermine low attainers’ confidence and discourage the belief that attainment can be improved through effort. Research also suggests that ability grouping can have a longer term negative effect on the attitudes and engagement of low attaining pupils. However, in contrast, studies show that higher attaining learners make between 1 and 2 additional months' progress when set or streamed compared to when taught in mixed ability groups.

As a result, we operate a system at NWHS where our higher prior attaining students are set together whilst all other students are mixed. Our experience is showing this to be a highly successful strategy for all concerned.

The details of this research can be found here.

Key Stage 3

During Years 7, 8 and 9 students will study a broad and balanced curriculum which includes English, Maths and Science. Students will also study a range of expressive arts subjects, geography, history, religious education, computer science, technology subjects, a modern foreign language and physical education.

This year we are introducing a meta-cognition curriculum for Key Stage 3 so that all children learn how to learn as well as learning subject content.

Key Stage 4

Students will start studying GCSE or equivalent courses in Year 10. These will include English (including English Literature), mathematics and science (which includes physics, chemistry and biology). Students will also study physical education and CRE.

The courses currently being delivered at Key Stage 4 are included in the Curriculum Plan attached here. You may also want to look at this year’s Options for the current year 10 for the 2019/20 Academic year. Our Options subjects will change to reflect the interests and aspirations of each year group and therefore they will change and adapt year on year.

We also offer a self-directed study option for those students with the desire and self-discipline to engage in self-directed study under the tutelage of an in-school mentor. These subjects include psychology, sociology, economics and astronomy to name but a few.

Our Options page can be found here.

Enhanced-Curriculum

Students are provided with opportunities to add depth to their learning and develop personal skills through a rich and varied enrichment programme. Students will have the chance to enjoy new experiences and consolidate their timetabled learning through this programme.

It is our plan to ensure that:

  • Every Year 7 has the chance to learn a musical instrument of some sort;
  • Every Year 8 will take part in a drama performance and attend a theatre experience
  • All Year 9’s will undertake the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award
  • From 2019 all Year 10s will take part the World of Work Bronze STEM award.
  • There will be an opportunity for those students who wish to take the Duke of Edinburgh Silver award in Years 10 and 11
  • Throughout the five years students are with us (commencing in Summer 2018) they will undertake the NWHS pledges: 1. To regularly attend an after-school activity 2. To represent the school at a sporting, cultural or academic event. 3. To take part in an outward bound residential programme 4. To attend a national sporting or cultural event, or a performance at a major venue 5. To take part in, or support, a major school production or event. 6. To take part in a formal presentation to an audience using ICT/multimedia 7. To be actively involved in an international experience 8. To be actively involved in a community experience 9. To help plan, organise or take part in a major fund raising event 10. To contribute to the development of the concept of sustainability
  • We run an extensive number of after school clubs from Gardening to Science; Homework to Warhammer. We are always looking to start new clubs and are happy that children are heavily involved not only in taking part but in running them too
  • We have a large number of trips that regularly go out including –the history castles trip, Kip on a Ship on HMS Belfast, The Geography trip to Italy/Iceland to name but a few.
  • We still run Activities Week just before the timetable changes and this week has a whole variety of enhanced curriculum opportunities for every child in school.

Further detailed information on the opportunities available to students can be found in the school’s 2018/19 prospectus.

If you wish to have any further information regarding our Curriculum, please contact the Headteacher, Mr Powell by emailing powelln@nwhs.uk