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The North School

 

Our Curriculum

CURRICULUM MODEL 2021-2022

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.  There is a three year KS3 including 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.  In addition to English, mathematics and science, they study humanities – history and geography; MFL – French or Spanish; creative arts; performing arts – dance, music and drama; technology – food, design technology and computing, PE and sport and values.  The values curriculum encompasses a wide range of PSHRE topics and includes Citizenship and British values. 
 
Additionally, all students in KS3 have two hours of PE per week and one hour twenty minutes in KS4 and a strong emphasis is 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.  
 
The core and EBACC subjects are studied for three years and we introduce some additional subjects in year 9 to offer even greater breadth of opportunity.  The students make their GCSE option choices in March of year 9 in preparation for KS4.  The Grammar band students are directed to follow a more academic EBACC pathway suited to their needs and aspirations.  There are twenty five one-hour lessons in the week and in addition to English, maths and science, they will study one MFL, at least one from computer science or humanities and /or one other Option subject.
 
Languages are an important part of EBACC. Studying a foreign language can be extremely rewarding and exciting. They provide an insight into other cultures and can open the door to travel and employment opportunities. They can also broaden students’ horizons, helping them flourish in new environments. All students study a language in KS3 (a small number may do additional literacy depending on their needs.)
 
However, in addition to the traditional EBACC subjects, there is also a diverse spectrum of subjects at GCSE or BTEC Vocational qualifications from which the students can choose including animal care, childcare, psychology, photography and business studies to name a few.
 

Key Stage 3

The curriculum at The North School is split into three key stages.

Key Stage 3 covers years 7, 8 and 9. 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, values, computing, music, performing arts, creative arts, technology and physical education.

The students are organised into three bands, each with 3 sets. We have a Grammar stream which is formed by the prior attainment data from KS2.

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 post-16, 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 lead 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 one hour lessons in these subjects per week.  In English, they study GCSE English Language and GCSE 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, 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.  We also offer Functional skills in English and maths to support students and build their confidence towards the GCSE exams.

The students also have lessons in the foundation subjects and also receive instruction on religious education and sex and relationships education in Values lessons.

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 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 data termly 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 prior attainment data. Teachers provide regular communication to parents and carers through parents evenings and academic monitoring reports sent home. These reports contain information on students’ targets, their current working grades, their progress, attitude to learning and homework. 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. Pastoral Support Managers communicate with parents when required and guide students to demonstrate tolerant and respectful attitudes to peers, staff, the local community and the environment.

Tutor Groups

All students in each Key Stage are members of a tutor group.

The Form Tutor is the first point of contact within the Pastoral system and a source of guidance and support to students. Form tutor time occurs in the middle of the day and each year group has a weekly assembly following a prepared schedule. Assemblies often have an aspirational theme or topical, engage external agencies and visiting speakers especially on future outcomes and careers.