The curriculum is every learning experience that our students have during their time at Wilsthorpe, both inside and outside the classroom. An effective curriculum requires careful design and coordination across subjects and key stages. It begins with fundamental questions about what we want our young people to have achieved and experienced by the end of Year 11 or Year 13, to ensure they are well-prepared for their next steps. It then requires us to chart a course from the first day in Year 7, taking into account the variety of different experiences that children have had at primary, so that we can confidently challenge and support every Wilsthorpe student to ‘be the best you can be’.
We are ambitious for all our students. We believe that everyone should have equal access to the knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to make an exceptional contribution to the world we share. We deliver a knowledge-rich curriculum, which is of high-value to the individual and the community we serve.
- The curriculum offered to all students matches and exceeds the expectations laid out in the National Curriculum. Students study a broad and balanced range of subjects during Key Stage 3 and continue to learn in different areas once qualifications choices have been made.
- Our belief in a knowledge-rich curriculum underpins both our long and medium-term planning. The curriculum furnishes students with the specialist knowledge needed to be successful in examinations and the depth of knowledge to allow them to have a full and deep understanding of the subjects studied. The balance of procedural, disciplinary, and substantive knowledge will be subject-specific. The curriculum is sequenced in a way to remember that specialist knowledge and apply skills in context. Metacognition helps our students know and remember more.
- Curriculum planning includes opportunities for low-stakes testing, retrieval practice and revisiting topics and themes through carefully planned interleaving and sequencing of topics.
- As students’ progress through our school, the curriculum will support their wider development and build their cultural capital through extra-curricular opportunities and events which enhance students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development.
- We ensure that all our students are equipped to make informed choices about their future through explicit PHSE provision. Our preventative curriculum is continuously under review, responding to local and national safeguarding trends.
- Literacy is a key part of the curriculum offer. There are set times for reading across the school to ensure our students are exposed to a wide range of texts. All students have access to reading material to instil a love of reading.
- A high-quality careers programme sits at the heart of preparing students for the world of work. We have a specialist Careers Advisor to enhance the careers education they receive to fully prepare them for their next step in education, employment, and training.
- The curriculum ensures that any potential equality issues are mitigated against by:
- Training of staff and sharing information about students who have additional needs so that they benefit from quality-first teaching, tailored interventions when necessary, and use of technology where available.
- Investment in high-quality subject specialists to ensure our students are exposed to the best teachers and support staff. This approach is fundamental to increasing the outcomes for disadvantaged students.
- High-quality professional development ensures staff benefit from subject improvement teams. The curriculum and professional development resource bank crafted by the central team supports all staff in implementing the curriculum in their school.
- We review and evaluate the curriculum annually to ensure it is adjusted and where needed improved, for different cohorts and a changing educational and employment landscape.
Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 are set in most groups. The setting is based on information from KS2. Setting is a starting point though students may change sets throughout the year according to the growth and potential they demonstrate. Students study English, Maths, Science, Music, Art, Drama, Foreign Languages (Spanish or French), Geography, History, Computing, Philosophy and Ethics (including World Religions), Physical Education and Design & Technology. As well as subject specific knowledge, each subject in the national curriculum provides a bespoke set of transferable skills, preparing students not only for KS4 study but for life in our society. For example: Design and Technology develops students’ spiritual awareness of aesthetics and ‘style’ as well as developing a logical, design process approach to problem solving; PE not only supports with physical and mental fitness, it fosters positive personality traits of good sportsmanship and resilience; Drama plays a huge role in terms of developing self-esteem and empathy, as well as unpicking social, moral and cultural misconceptions. Our PSHCE programme develops students in their understanding of and living with fundamental British Values. It is for these reasons, we fundamentally believe in a 3-year KS3, embedding core skills including Numeracy and Literacy and committing foundation knowledge into long term memory.
During Y9, students and parents receive careers advice to support them with choices about some of the subjects they wish to study for GCSE, ensuring pathways are right for each individual.
A small group of students who join our school with specific complex needs experience small timetable changes in Y7, Y8 and Y9 to support with additional literacy and numeracy. They also experience less movement, engaging with fewer but more specialist teachers to support their needs.
Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum is broad so that students can experience a range of opportunities across the curriculum; balanced because it is unwise for students to narrow down their options before the age of 16, relevant to students’ individual needs and to the demands of a rapidly-changing world and personalised so that the level and type of work are suited to the ability and learning style of each individual student. These are longstanding curriculum principles, which we believe will stand our students in good stead during the current period of great educational change.
Our ‘core’ curriculum at KS4 (i.e. what every student studies) is delivered for (32)/50 hours per fortnight. It consists of Maths (10), English (both Language and Literature) (9), Science (either dual award or separate sciences) (10 +6*), PE (3), ensuring all students are able to achieve the essential skills, knowledge and GCSE outcomes to prepare them academically for any future pathway.
A choice of three additional options delivered for 18/50 hours per fortnight (6 each subject) from a wide range of subject choices provides the opportunity for specialism. All students have the opportunity to access the full English Baccalaureate and all are supported by strong and sensitive guidance.
Predominantly, courses are GCSEs. However, we offer some vocational courses for those who find this assessment pathway more accessible.
Courses of study for Y10 students from September 2021 are listed here: Art & Design, Child Development, Drama, French, Geography, Engineering, Spanish, History, Catering, Computer Science,
ICT (Creative iMedia), Health & Social Care, Film Studies, Music, Sports Science, Separate Sciences*, Textile Design and Philosophy & Ethics
A very small number of students may be guided to follow an alternative curriculum which supports study for other subjects.
The Post 16 curriculum is built on the principles of KS3 and KS4, ensuring clear progression routes. Students choose three subjects, sometimes four, depending on ability. Subjects include a wide range of facilitating and specialist subjects.
Courses for study for Y12 students from September 2021 are Maths, Further Maths, Economics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Philosophy & Ethics, English Language, English Literature, Textiles, Sociology, Psychology, Core Maths, Photography, ICT (iMedia), Forensic Science, Applied Human Biology and Music.
A programme of PSHE/RSE has been developed to address the themes ‘Living in the Wider World’, ‘Relationships’ and ‘Mental Wellbeing’. It is through this programme we deliver essential age- relevant advice and guidance about critical thinking, growth mind-set, recognising anxiety and stress and examination preparation as well as guidance on applying to University. Sessions are delivered by qualified staff who collaborate regularly about the shape and content of the programme and how it can best be delivered. We also support students with impartial careers information.
Throughout the year experts deliver seminars that reinforce our teaching of the key themes. This includes sessions by the University of Nottingham and Trent University on career pathways and finance and The National Citizen Service and their various programmes. Other contributors are chosen each year as the need may arise, particularly in response to safeguarding.
Wilsthorpe School is committed to serving its community. It recognises the multi-cultural, multi faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
It follows equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar.
We are dedicated to preparing students for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum and ensuring that it promotes and reinforces British values to all its students.
The Government emphasises that schools are required to ensure that key ‘British Values’ are taught in all UK schools. The government set out its definition of British Values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy.
The five British Values are:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Wilsthorpe School uses strategies within the National Curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for students.