Curriculum - An Overview
Chenderit School provides a broad and balanced curriculum for all its students through a two year Key Stage 3 and a three year Key Stage 4. 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 line with many schools across the country, as an academy, we do not have to follow the national curriculum; however, in order to build on the work students have done in Key Stage 2 and prepare for GCSE courses we use the national framework as our starting point in planning our programmes of study. We group students in their five of the ‘English Baccalaureate’ or EBacc subjects (English, maths, science, modern foreign languages and humanities) broadly on the basis of information about prior attainment: this ensures that students who need additional support with their learning receive it, whilst those students who are able to go into greater depth 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. As we gather more information about students we may reorganise some groups, for example at the end of year, where we feel this will benefit the students. 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.
In key stage 3 students currently study art, computing, music, personal, social and health education (PSHE), physical education, and technology. All students study a modern foreign language; they take French in year 7, apart from a small number who would benefit from extra literacy and numeracy having small group sessions during this time. In year 8 all students, including those who have not done French, start Spanish.
Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11):
A three year broad, balanced and flexible Key Stage 4 curriculum enables students to spend longer preparing for GCSEs and the rigorous requirements of new linear GCSE courses and terminal examinations. It also enables teachers to deliver broader and more detailed schemes of work in preparation for these exams. Students complete the options process in Year 8 and receive our guidance with parents’ support, to make appropriate decisions. No student is 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 (Combined 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 or children being involved in such discussions should contact the school.
The core curriculum will provide the majority of students with an opportunity to gain at least five GCSEs grades 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 DesignBusiness Studies
- Food Technology
- Graphic Products Technology
- Health & Social Care
- Modern Foreign Languages (French/German/Spanish)
- Physical Education
- Resistant Materials Technology
- Textiles Technology
- 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 A levels, 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 subjects students will not yet have studied, 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. In addition, the Study Centre for sixth form is 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). Students may also choose to study a topic of their own choice in depth and complete an Extended Project, an additional qualification.
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. 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 target grades.
In Key Stage 3 students are assessed against age related expectations: when longer pieces of work are marked, teachers assess against criteria for that activity. These criteria are shared with the students in advance, and the following words allow students and parents to see how their work compares to our expectations of a student at any particular point in their course:
How we report progress
Words we use on students’ work
Significantly above age-related expectations
Above age-related expectations
At age-related expectations
Below age-related expectations
Significantly below age-related expectations
At GCSE and at A Level most courses are assessed by terminal, or end of course exams. Some subjects have a small element of coursework. 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 (during KS4 and Post 16 learning), students will have numerous exam points or "pre-public exams”. 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 or three reports during the school academic year.
In key stage 3 reports show the student’s current level of attainment compared to what might be expected of them – in relation to "age related expectations” – in each academic subejct. In key stage 4 and key stage 5 reports show a students current attainment in terms of an examination grade. The reports include a judgement of the level of progress a student is demonstrating, and their commitment to work in class and at home, and their behaviour. One per year the form tutor writes a summary comment.
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.
Students, and parents, can find and track all homework that has been set on Show My Homework: a link to this is available on the school website.