We allow our students to choose their options from a wide range of creative, vocational and academic subjects in Year 9 allowing them to personalise their learning and choose subjects which engage and enthuse them. There is comprehensive guidance during the process where students and parents meet with curriculum leaders to discuss their choices. Students gather information before meeting with the Principal, head of Deep Experience and learning manager. Students are guided into choosing the right options for them but our principles around students making their own choices are respected. There are also opportunities for students to follow an alternative pathway, supporting them to achieve throughout KS4.
All students follow a programme of either Sport Studies, Health and Social care, iMedia, Photography or Performing Arts in Years 10 and 11. This is crucial in our community as the programmes of study address a range of PSHE strands pertinent to local need including health and wellbeing, relationships and careers and the world of work, as well as the role of the media in influencing belief. A focus on leadership also encourages our young people to seek out positive role models in their lives, opposed to some of the negative ones found in the community.
For many students, studying humanities plus a language is suitable for their academic ability and aspirations, whilst others require additional support with core subjects in Year 11. The benefit of this curriculum model is that it enables pupils to focus on fewer subjects at a time, developing resilience, ambition and supporting mental well-being.
Depending on need, we also offer a number of alternative support packages. For example, we have the ‘Diamond’ cohort where some students have time from French or Spanish to allow for Literacy and/or Numeracy support or are identified as needing extra support in transition as well as curriculum intervention. These programs include: Accelerated Reading, Reading Recovery and Reciprocal Reading as well as vocabulary building and cursive hand writing. Within Numeracy Hegarty Maths and xtramath.org are being used.
Students can access additional support where needed which is not available at home, and over the five years they can study a wide range of subjects, keeping their future career options open and supporting them into further employment, education or training. The impact of this on the most disadvantaged has been overwhelmingly positive, with disadvantaged students progressing at a significantly higher rate from 2018 to 2019.