Providing an exciting, challenging and engaging education that enables all students to reach their full potential is a core strategic aim of the school and our curriculum offer plays an integral role in helping us to achieve such a goal. We are conscious that our curriculum must provide the platform to develop in students the knowledge, skills and attributes that will enable them to become active and responsible citizens within a rapidly changing global environment by the time they leave us at 16. Our curriculum model provides a framework for setting out the aims of our educational programme, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage.
School leaders are responsible for ensuring each curriculum area is well taught and contains appropriately sequenced content, is underpinned by thoughtfully designed assessment practice and consideration is given to an appropriate model of progression. We adopt a ‘knowledge-engaged’ approach whereby lessons are taught within a framework where knowledge underpins and enables the application of skill. We recognise the importance of each subject as an individual discipline, providing students with subject-specific vocabulary and knowledge that allows them to build links and enhance their learning across other areas. Cross-curricular themes and opportunities are clearly sign-posted within programmes of study.
On entry to the school in Year 7, and through into Year 8, we deliver a broad (covers all the experiences deemed important by society) and balanced (subject areas afforded sufficient time on the timetable) curriculum whereby all students are taught English, Mathematics and Science, Spanish, Design Technology, Food and Nutrition, PE, RE, Computing, Geography, History, Music, Drama, Art and PSHE. Key Stage 3 affords students the opportunity to broaden their experience of these subject areas not only within the classroom but also beyond it, such as visiting museums, art galleries, theatres, and other relevant curriculum enrichment activities. A small proportion of students with identified needs (approximately 10% each year) are provided with additional literacy support instead of learning a modern foreign language. This enables them to make accelerated progress with their literacy skills and improves their access to the mainstream curriculum in Key Stage 4 and beyond.
In September 2017 we moved to a three-year Key Stage 4 whereby students make their option choices at the end of Year 8 rather than Year 9. Their timetable naturally becomes more personalised according to aptitude, preferences and skills but our curriculum offer ensures we maintain the necessary richness, breadth and diversity. All students study the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and RE and sit GCSE examinations in each of these curriculum areas, as well as core PE. In addition, students opt for a further four subject areas from a wide range of available courses in which they will take a GCSE exam or equivalent and the three-year pathway allows them to study each of these in depth. All students have equal access to the whole curriculum.
In terms of diversity, this is promoted specifically through our discrete PSHE programme in Key Stage 3, Citizenship as a popular and successful GCSE subject in Key Stage 4 and compulsory RE lessons throughout Years 7-11, including all students sitting a GCSE in the subject at the end of Year 11.
Careers guidance and support underpins our curriculum offer from the outset in Year 7 and we place a significant emphasis on helping students to explore and learn about their future pathways and options. Opportunities are sign-posted within schemes of work and discrete intervention is provided through small group and one-to-one tutorials with an external provider, annual Careers Fair and well established links with Post-16 providers. We are implementing the Gatsby Benchmarks as a framework for our provision.
Underpinning our curriculum offer is the importance of providing students with the skills, attitudes, beliefs and techniques they need to be able to acquire knowledge most effectively, and continue to learn beyond the time they spend in school. Building a strong character and a sense of moral purpose in our students is a core responsibility so that they have developed the skills necessary to embrace the challenges that lie ahead and participate in society as active citizens.
de Stafford implements a curriculum model based on:
- a broad and balanced curriculum; one which ensures students follow a wide range of subjects – from Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Languages – for as long as possible,
- a curriculum which keeps students’ options open and is led by student choice
- a wider-curriculum which supports students’ personal development.
- a curriculum that incorporates a range of qualification routes and is, where appropriate, supported by technical or vocational courses.
More specific details about the subject content taught in the different key stages can be found in the Implementation Tables below, the attached Curriculum Maps or by contacting relevant class teachers and/or Subject Leaders.
Key Stage 3 Implementation (Years 7 & 8)
Key Stage 3
Years 7 & 8
Hours taught per cycle
|PATHS (People Attitudes, Tolerance, Health, Self Esteem) /Citizenship||2hrs|
Key Stage 4 Implementation (Years 9-11)
Key Stage 4
Years 9 - 11
Hours taught per cycle
|English||Language and Literature||8hrs (Year 11- 9hrs)|
|Maths||8hrs (Year 11 - 9hrs)|
|Science||Double award or triple*||8hrs (Year 9 - 7hrs)|
Year 9 - 5hrs
Year 10 - 3hrs
Year 11 - 1hr
|RE||3hrs (Year 9 - 2hrs)|
Core choice - 1 from
3 choices from:
Key Stage 4 Options Blocks in 2020-21
Key Stage 4 Options Blocks in 2019-20
Blocks are built around student choices.