Students are organised into forms of 30 students and taught a broad and balanced curriculum. In the main, students are taught in all ability form groups to allow all to develop and access the highest aspirations. Where setting is apt to improve student outcomes, students are taught in sets by ability. Students can expect to be placed in sets based on attainment and aptitude in Mathematics in Year 7, Modern Languages from Year 8 and in Science from Year 9. This helps to target tuition at need and allows group sizes that allow more one-to-one support for those most likely to benefit.
Our curriculum is broad and balanced and designed to allow opportunity for enrichment through fieldwork and experience. There are special cross-curricular days devoted to Health, Science and Technology, Enterprise, Careers and Study Skills as well as a range of both national and international trips.
Across the curriculum there is a strong focus on Assessment for Learning, with the aim of enabling students to make maximum progress and know exactly what they need to do to improve. In every area of the curriculum students are made familiar with the assessment criteria for their subjects, regularly assessed, and give next step advice to help them focus their efforts.
The curriculum is comprised of 25, sixty minute lessons delivered across five days. In addition, on a Tuesday all students have a Personal Development & Citizenship (PDC) lesson of 50 minutes with their form tutor. The majority of lessons in Lower School are delivered through form based mixed ability teaching apart from Maths (Year 7 onwards) and Science and Languages (Year 9 onwards). A small number of students in Lower School are withdrawn from specified lessons for individualised support. Where this is the case care is taken to consider student and parental preference, consult with subject staff and ensure that no area of the curriculum is used disproportionately and that students are not withdrawn from the same subject in consecutive years. The guiding principle is the maintenance of the broadest curriculum for all students. There are smaller class sizes in Technology to account for the practical nature of the subject.
We use a single assessment system across Years 7 to 11 based on new GCSE 1-9 Grades. In the Key Stage 3 Handbook you will find an explanation of the standards required for grades 1-9 for each subject.
Progress through Grades 1-9 is conveyed using sub-Grades as follows:
||Mastery of Grade 3
||A secure Grade 3
||An emerging grade 3
In terms of demand, grades 7-9 are broadly equivalent to grades A-A*, Grades 4-6 are equivalent to grades C-B and a grade 1-3 is roughly equivalent to the standard required for grades G-D. Each half term, students can expect to receive a major assessed piece of work with a sub-Grade awarded along with advice for improvement from their teachers.
Student end of year targets in each subject are based on prior attainment and the professional judgment of their teachers. Students achieving their Minimum Expected Target (MET) will be making progress that places them in the top 20% of students nationally. Staff use this MET and their assessment of each student’s potential to set a more challenging target where students are found to be making very good progress.
It should be noted that students' starting points vary in different subjects, and that progress routes also vary from subject to subject. Our targets are designed to incorporate these differences and ensure we aim for excellent progress for all of our students.
Proceed to Key Stage 4