We want a curriculum that enables all our students to achieve their potential and we believe that great teaching and a great curriculum can close the gap between the disadvantaged and advantaged. Our curriculum is rich, ambitious, and carefully crafted to lead to high academic performance and provide our students with the currency needed to succeed in later life.
Acknowledging the needs of our students and in order to maximise achievement, our curriculum is underpinned by the principle of ‘depth for breadth’. We give more time to English and maths and a mastery approach to learning is adopted. Through mastering the fundamentals, our students are better able to grasp complex knowledge and understanding, as well as make connections between subjects. Throughout the primary phase the core skills of English and Maths are complemented by a broad and rich curriculum covering a wide range of discrete subjects, developed by subject specialists.
At KS3 students study a wide range of subjects. All students study one language, with the vast majority studying two. In addition to this, all students study a wide range of arts subjects, including Art, Technology, Food Technology, Dance, PE, Drama and Music. The big ideas, invaluable knowledge and skills of each subject are defined by subject specialists taking account of the national curriculum to ensure students have a deep understanding. By Year 9 our students have a clear idea of subjects they like the most and the least. We give students control of what they study at this stage to ensure our students remain engaged in their learning. All students follow a broad and balanced KS4 curriculum, which goes beyond the GCSE exam board specifications. English Language and Literature, Mathematics and the Sciences are core subjects. A Modern Foreign Language, one Humanities subject and Physical Education are also included as core subjects for the vast majority of our students. The ‘non-core’ curriculum is slimmed down in KS4 to allow students to apply greater focus in the subjects studied for GCSE and beyond. New subjects are also introduced as options. We offer choice from 14 non-EBacc GCSEs and 4 vocational courses.
Our curriculum is designed to cater for the wide range of abilities at the school. In the secondary phase the curriculum is differentiated into three ability bands (Fast-Track, Upper and Middle). An assumption underpinning our curriculum is that students can move from one band to another according to progress made.
An important strategy in designing our curriculum is to ensure there is no compromise at the upper and lower end of the spectrum of student needs. The Fast-track curriculum is defined by the requirements of Russell group + university. Students on this pathway might aspire to three A’ levels. The Upper band curriculum has a conventional academic framework and is designed to ensure students gain grade 4 or above in an appropriate range of GCSE subjects and are also likely to move on to Level 3 courses post 16. Our Middle Band curriculum is ambitious, where students take a package of no less than 6 GCSEs in addition to GCSE English and Maths. As part of this, we target the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills to ensure students are supported to achieve passes in GCSE English and Maths to facilitate their post 16 study.
At KS5 we work in Partnership with five other local schools to ensure a broad curriculum offer from level 3 academic programmes to level 1 vocational programmes. At SRS we offer an academic curriculum comprising of three elements which build to make a personalised programme of study for each student:
The Academic Programme: Students study three A Level subjects from a range of 25 different subjects alongside either an additional AS subject, EPQ or core Maths.
The Enrichment Programme: Students choose from programmes that encourage the development of the skills and personal qualities required to succeed in University and beyond. The offer includes DoE, Debating, First-Give, Media and Correspondence and Sports leaders.
The Enhancement and Future Pathways programme: this gives students access to a range of sporting and cultural activities as well a careers guidance and an aspirational programme to support and develop each student’s ambitions.
From KS1 to year 13, at the heart of our curriculum lies a respect for the subjects we teach and for the insight that each provides to our students of the world around them. We aim to engage our students in all aspects of their education, by role modelling learning, challenging expectations and setting high standards within every lesson. Subject leaders who are experts in their subjects carefully construct a curriculum which is sequenced to promote a deep understanding of a wide range of topics. Our programmes of study provide an outline of core knowledge and skills around which teachers seek to implement and ensure lessons are well sequenced and build upon the learning.
To create stimulating lessons which promote the development of students’ subject knowledge, understanding and skills, teachers plan using DR ICE: Deepening Thinking; Role Modelling Learning; Impact on Learning; Challenging Expectations and Engaging in Learning. Through DR ICE we deepen the thinking of each and every child by planning and using higher-order questions and by providing significant challenge. We believe it describes what we think are the essential ingredients in the make-up of an Outstanding Teacher.