Curriculum - An Overview
Chenderit School provides a broad and balanced curriculum for all its students. From September 2015, we are offering a 2 year Key Stage 3 and a 3 year Key Stage 4 for students. Our curriculum has a traditional blend of subjects and activities, supplemented by four Extended Project Days during which the timetable is "collapsed” and broad, integrated, often cross-curricular activities are undertaken.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8):
In Key Stage 3, all students complete the requirements of the new National Curriculum in line with all other students in the country who are at this stage of their learning. At Chenderit, students are set according to ability in all 5 of the ‘English Baccalaureate’ or EBacc subjects: English, Maths, Science, Modern Foreign Languages (French in Year 7 and Spanish as a second modern foreign language for the majority in Year 8) and Humanities (Geography and History). This ensures that students who need additional support with their learning receive it, whilst those students who are able to make faster progress are given more challenging work. The groups may be different for all five subjects and initially are based on a combination of data we have about each child. This includes primary school Teacher Assessments, SAT results, CAT results and also the results from initial screening for reading, spelling and basic numeracy. There is continuous monitoring of our students’ progress and there is flexibility and movement between groups during the course of the academic year.
For all other subjects, students are taught in mixed ability groups. Currently, students’ other subjects include: Art, Computing, Music, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), Physical Education, Religious Studies and Technology.
Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11):
From September 2016, a 3 year, broad, balanced and flexible Key Stage 4 curriculum will enable students to spend longer preparing for GCSEs and the rigorous requirements of new linear GCSE courses and terminal examinations. It will also enable teachers to deliver broader and more detailed schemes of work in preparation for these exams. Students will complete the options process in Year 8 and whilst this is a year earlier than traditionally, we have every confidence that we can guide our students, with parents’ support, to make appropriate decisions. No student will be allowed to make narrow decisions which may limit their life chances.
The Core Curriculum
All students will follow the core curriculum, which includes:
- English Language
- English Literature
- Science (Double Science or Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
- RS and PSHE
- The Tutorial Programme
Religious Studies at Chenderit, including at KS3, follows the requirement laid down in the Northamptonshire Agreed Syllabus that Religious Studies examines the beliefs of the major world religions and their views on a variety of issues. We feel it is important that, in a multi-cultural and multi-faith society, our programmes of Religious Education support the notion of tolerance and understanding.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
PSHE lessons in both KS3 and KS4 are led by a team of specialist teachers. Courses cover topics that include Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), Drugs Education, Spiritual, Social and Moral Education, active elements of Citizenship, Life in Modern Britain, Careers Education and related topics. Parents/carers who have any concerns about their child(ren) becoming involved in such discussions should contact the school.
The core curriculum will provide the majority of students with an opportunity to gain at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and Maths which are essential requirements for most post 16 courses and apprenticeships.
Thinking about the range of subjects that students can study at Key Stage 4 is an exciting process. For many students this is the first time that there has been some element of choice. Currently, our optional subjects are:
- Art: Painting and Drawing
- Art: Three Dimensional Design
- Business Studies
- Food Technology
- Graphic Products Technology
- Health & Social Care
- Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
- Modern Foreign Languages (French/German/Spanish)
- Physical Education
- Resistant Materials Technology
- Textiles Technology
All students are now required to study or train at least until the age the age of 18 and so we offer plentiful advice and guidance to students and parents when planning Key Stage 4 choices. This includes:
- A series of options assemblies for students;
- Tutorial sessions;
- Access to and training in web based careers programmes;
- An extensive set of information on the ‘careers course’ on our VLE;
- A ‘Subject Fair’ for students and their parents where our options system is clearly explained and where subject teachers are available for discussion and
- An interview for all students and their parents with a senior colleague to discuss and select subjects
We are confident that curriculum developments at Key Stage 4 will enable our students to grow into rounded young people who will be fulfilled and able to compete in the global job market of the 21st century.
Post 16 (Years 12 and 13):
The majority of Chenderit students continue their Post 16 education at Chenderit School, with other students joining the school to take advantage of our high standard of education and our specialised facilities. Some students study one year courses in Year 12 before moving on to further education or apprenticeships, whilst most follow traditional two year A level courses.
As with KS4 options, students have a chance to tailor their curriculum to suit their interests and ambitions for further study or training. We currently offer 27 different courses at Post 16 including new subjects to the curriculum such as Philosophy, Photography, Psychology and Sociology. In the process of preparing for Post 16 study, all students who apply for a place at Chenderit Sixth Form are offered an interview to discuss options and aspirations.
Throughout the Post 16 tutorial programme students are encouraged to develop skills to support further study (such as preparing UCAS personal statements) and life skills (such as through our ‘Safe Driving’ and finance units). In addition, the Study Centre for sixth form is fully staffed to encourage and support the students when completing independent study for their Post 16 courses. Guest speakers regularly attend assemblies to present a range of options for Post 18 such as gap years, studying abroad and charity work.
Students are supported to make informed choices for their future. The school provides a foundation course for those students who have not met the minimum requirements for A Level study, which includes retakes of GCSE English and Maths. In addition, amongst our broad range of A Level subjects, we offer the facilitating subjects outlined by Russell Group Universities (i.e: English literature, history, Modern foreign languages, maths and further maths, biology, chemistry, physics and geography). In order to make Chenderit students competitive candidates for any university course, further study or employment, we also offer opportunities to gain work experience. For one week at the end of the school year, Year 12 students organise their own work experience with the support of the school, with the aim of supporting applications for either Post 18 study or employment.
Assessment is key to effective approaches in Teaching and Learning; it takes a number of different forms and serves a number of distinct purposes. For example, teachers use assessment to identify how much progress students have made and what further teaching should be planned to improve learning. We find parents are keen to know how their children are performing and whether they are on track in their learning for success in their end of year exams. Many students are also keen to see how they are progressing and to identify what they may need to work harder at, in order to achieve their Expected or Aspirational Target Grades.
At GCSE and at A Level the Government has decided to move from modular exams (ie: where the course is split into different units or modules with an exam at the end of each unit) to linear exams (ie: where exams are taken only at the very end of the course). In order to best prepare our students for this eventuality we have introduced end of year exams for each year group. Students are further supported with formalised holiday homework packs wherever extra support is needed to help them attain their expected grades. In later years (ie: during KS4 and Post 16 learning), students will have numerous exam points or mocks. This preparation will enable our students to understand fully the demands of the new and more challenging exam system.
Reporting to Parents/Carers
Parents of students in all year groups will receive two reports during the school academic year. One of these reports will be an ‘Interim’ report and will provide details of a currently working at (CWA) grade, levels of progress, behaviour in class, work in class and the quality of homework. The second report will be a ‘full’ report and will contain the same 5 assessments along with written comments based on subject assessments, subject achievements and subject targets for improvement. All reports are designed to inform parents and students about student progress and to help every student move forward in his or her learning and achievements.
All year groups have a parents’ evening calendared during the year and parents/carers and students are invited to attend this evening to meet with subject staff in order to discuss individual student progress and target improvements.
In addition, each student completes a comprehensive questionnaire, probing every aspect of school life. Parents/carers are also invited to contribute to this process annually by completing a parent/carer survey based on the Ofsted model. These results directly inform year team and whole school planning.
At Chenderit, we are committed to supporting our students to become increasingly independent learners, ready for the challenges of KS3, KS4 and Post 16 learning and life beyond school. We aim to challenge all our learners intellectually, whatever their level of ability and we want the learning experience to be an enjoyable one. We hope that students will see all work set either at school or at home as integral to their learning. Assimilating, consolidating, preparing and learning material as a course progresses is immensely helpful when it comes to revision for end of year or external exams. Homework also helps young people to develop skills of personal organisation, a sense of responsibility and self-motivation, skills which will underpin students’ successes throughout their lives.
Each student has a personal planner to record all homework set. Parents/carers are asked to check entries and to sign the planner each week. It is also used to communicate with teachers.