At The North School we are ‘Putting Achievement First’ and the curriculum is designed so that students can enjoy their learning and thrive during their time at school in order for them to reach their full potential.
Each lesson is 55 minutes and there are six lessons each day in the structure of 2 lessons before break time, 2 lessons before lunch and two lessons in the afternoon. There are 30 lessons in the week and the students are at school for 32.5 hours per week.
The curriculum at The North School is split into three key stages:
Key Stage 3
There is a three-year KS3 which covers years 7, 8 and 9 and includes all Foundation subjects, where the National Curriculum content is covered and students experience a breadth of knowledge and skills in a wide range of subjects. The aim of the curriculum in these three-year groups is to develop students’ literacy and numeracy skills, enhance key learning skills in a range of subjects and ensure all students have the necessary understanding to make progress in their learning.
Our students follow a rigorous academic and creative curriculum, featuring English, mathematics, science, history, geography, MFL - French and Spanish; creative arts; performing arts – dance, music and drama; technology – food, design technology and computing, PE and sport and religious education. The students also study personal development which encompasses a wide range of PSHE topics and includes Citizenship, British values and Careers. This is supplemented by some drop-down days which have a particular focus or theme.
All students in KS3 have two hours of PE/Dance per week. There is a strong emphasis placed on exercise for good physical health, mental health and well-being. There is an extensive extra-curricular programme in sport, animal care, creative arts, dance, drama and music and we have specific sporting academies for basketball and tennis.
The students are organised into three bands, each with 3/4 sets and they are set by ability based on the prior attainment data from the KS2 test results. All subjects have courses which are available for study at GCSE examination level. We then offer a continuous pathway onto a wide choice of courses at KS4 and KS5, at level 2 and 3 to ensure that all abilities, interests, talents and aspirations are catered for.
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 covers years 10 and 11.
In KS4, all students study subjects over a two-year course which leads towards national qualifications, including GCSEs and vocational qualifications such as BTECs. The curriculum includes the national curriculum subjects of the ‘core’ and ‘foundation’ subjects. The core subjects are English, maths and science and the students have x5/6 lessons in these subjects per week. In English, they study GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature following the AQA syllabus. They study GCSE maths following the OCR syllabus and at the end of year 10 they are also entered for the Edexcel GCSE Statistics exam. In science, the students study the AQA Double Award Science leading to the equivalent of x2 GCSE qualifications in science.
In addition, the students study another three subjects for their 'Options' which includes at least one EBACC subject. These subjects are taken from modern foreign languages - French or Spanish, humanities - geography or history, the arts, technology and a number of vocational subjects also. Higher ability students are guided towards following the EBACC pathway and so they study the core subjects, an MFL and a humanities subject.
Additionally, we also offer Functional skills in English and maths and Entry Level science to support students with additional educational needs and build their confidence towards the GCSE exams.
All students have 2 lessons or more of or more of PE /Sport in KS4 and they also have a lesson in personal development which is supplemented by drop-down days to cover other required curriculum content.
Key Stage 5
Key Stage 5 covers years 12 to 14 and is sometimes referred to as The Sixth Form.
In these years students can opt to study a range of AS/A2 or BTEC L2/ L3 courses which can be continued into Y14 if desired. The school places a high priority on continuing to build students’ literacy, numeracy and personal development in these years.
Students who have not yet achieved a grade C in English or Maths are able to follow a Level 2 pathway including GCSE English & Maths, with the aim of achieving these key benchmarks. All students in years 12 and 13 follow a personal, social and health programme which aims to ensure they are fully ready for the next stage in their life.
Teaching takes place in designated and well-equipped classrooms; specialist science laboratories; Art and Technology workshops; the sports hall and gymnasium, the drama studio and music rooms. In addition to our ICT suites, teachers and students make frequent use of our bookable laptop banks to support independent learning. The Library is a modern and flexible space which serves both as a silent study and reading area and as a bookable classroom. Our grounds boast ample playing fields which also serve as recreational outdoor spaces at break and lunch times.
Tracking & Support
Teachers enter assessment data at regular intervals and we track and monitor the students’ progress to their end of year and end of course targets.
The students have aspirational targets set, based on their KS2 or KS4 prior attainment data. Teachers provide regular communication to parents/carers through parents’ evenings and academic progress reports are sent home. These reports contain information on the students’ progress, attitude to learning and homework and in KS4 and 5 on their targets, their current working grades and their predictions. The reports also contain information regarding their attendance and make reference to positive or negative behaviour points. The school works closely with home through the pastoral system and the role of Learning Leaders to ensure that academic issues are identified early and appropriate intervention and support can take place. The pastoral team communicates with parents when required and guides students to demonstrate tolerant and respectful attitudes to peers, staff, the local community and the environment.