Northfield 068

Curriculum

Curriculum Intent

At Northfield School our curriculum aim is simple – children leave our care able to fully engage with, and contribute to, our community and society at large. We expect that every pupil excels across all aspects of school life, having mastered both academic and practical skills.

Our intention is to ensure pupils make outstanding progress and that the curriculum removes any potential barriers to learning.

We want our pupils to leave with knowledge and skills which will not only create excellent life opportunities but will also prepare them exceptionally well for life beyond the school.

At Northfield School, pupils will,

  • experience a broad, deep and knowledge-rich curriculum;
  • be literate and numerate;
  • have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement;
  • build their character;
  • develop their cultural, social, moral, mental and physical wellbeing;
  • secure foundations for progression.

Pupils experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum

Our school curriculum helps pupils to achieve high standards and make excellent progress. At Key Stage 3, the curriculum is broad and pupils learn essential knowledge built around three themes: community, exploration and discovery. Our planning is grounded in research into cognitive psychology and as such, there are many opportunities built into lessons ensure recall and retrieve previous learning so that knowledge is fully retained.  Our curriculum aims to ensure that this retention of knowledge does not happen in but goes hand in hand will the development of practical skills such as literacy, numeracy, oracy and ICT as well as becoming reflective and being able to respond positively to feedback.  We believe that in order to be successful, all of our pupils must develop these skills, regardless of what subject they are studying.  It is this belief that ties together individual subject curricula into one, cohesive, curriculum.

At Northfield School effective curriculum design is responsive.  We do not change what we teach and when purely because of external influences, we do so because this is one of the defining principles of what we believe makes a good curriculum.  Northfield School has always responded to the needs of pupils and always will.

 Pupils will be literate and numerate

The development of pupil language and oracy is at the forefront of our curriculum as we understand how vital it is for our pupils to build confidence in communication skills not only for their time in school but also to prepare them for working life. In supporting our core theme of retention, skills and challenge we ensure pupils have opportunities in all subjects to discuss, challenge and build on other points of view and to develop their formality of language to ensure they can have the confidence to speak to different audiences.

Appropriate levels of literacy will ensure that our pupils can access to world around them, be this in the community or in our school.  We know that 90% or more of language is encountered through the written word and as such we have a strong emphasis on reading at Northfield.  Reading can be a source of great pleasure as well as a gateway to lifelong learning therefore we dedicate an hour per week of curriculum time in years 7, 8 and 9 to our reading programme, ‘Renaissance Reading’, and this is supplemented by our use of reciprocal reading techniques in curriculum areas.

Numeracy skills are embedded across the curriculum. Pupils who arrive with below expected maths skills are quickly caught up through expert teaching and incisive intervention. The school ensures that pupils are literate and numerate enabling them to flourish, thrive and access the next stage of their education, employment or training.

We are conscious that, in the twenty-first century, literacy must encompass digital literacy.  To this end we provide curriculum time that specifically focuses on ‘computing’ as a basic skill and as such all pupils will opt for an ICT related subject at Key Stage 4.

English and maths are the bedrock of our curriculum because of the life chances that depend on success in these areas.  To this end, six hours of curriculum time per week are dedicated to these subjects in years 7 and 8 and eight hours in years 9, 10 and 11.

 

Pupils will have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement

Our school is inclusive and ambitious for all. We have high expectations of all pupils and provide opportunity for pupils to make rapid progress through our belief in challenge for all.  Our curriculum ensures that all pupils will have opportunities to success and our behaviour policy makes certain that this is recognised.

 

Pupils will build their character

In our school, we are totally committed to improving the life chances and aspirations of pupils. With a focus on building resilience, one of our core values, we ensure pupils have access to a wider curriculum which provides numerous opportunities in sport, creativity, performing, world of work and volunteering. An extensive extra-curricular programme supports the development of pupils into well rounded citizens.

 

Pupils will develop their cultural, moral, social, mental and physical development

At Northfield School, we pride ourselves on delivering a curriculum which makes explicit reference to Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education. PSME is championed in our school in order to develop pupils as young people, not just academically, to ensure that they are fully prepared for life in modern Britain and hold British values close to their heart.  Our commitment is underlined by dedicating one hour of curriculum time per week to a Lifeskills lesson in Years 7-10

 

Pupils will secure foundations for progression

It is our intention in Northfield School that pupils have secure foundations for progression into further education and apprenticeships. From Year 7, pupils receive careers information with a clear focus on the areas that we are guided towards by the Gatsby benchmarks. Over the course of 5 years, pupils receive a rigorous and bespoke aspirations program that exposes our pupils to a huge range of voices and experiences.

Curriculum Implementation

Our school community believes that a carefully planned and structured curriculum is the foundation upon which excellent learning and development is built. The curriculum is designed and implemented in such a way that it builds on prior knowledge and prepares pupils for the next stage in their education.

Subject Leaders, who are experts in their subjects, carefully construct a curriculum that promotes a deep understanding of a wide range of topics which are appropriate to our local context. Teachers plan learning that allows pupils to embed and recall knowledge through techniques such as interleaving of topics and spaced practice; lessons are engaging and suitably differentiated so that pupil spend the large majority of time in lesson working independently at their level of ability. This builds firm foundations for progression to the next level and exam success.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 the curriculum is designed to ensure that pupils engage with a wide breadth of depth of knowledge thus promoting a love of learning and a desire to acquire further knowledge. This encourages pupils to focus on deeper learning to ensure real understanding of key concepts.

Each subject has a planned learning journey with clear statements setting out what pupils need to know, understand and do to reach their aspirational minimum expected grade. The National Curriculum content is the basis for our coverage at Key Stage 3

Below is a breakdown of how curriculum time is dedicated to each area of study.  To see how each department contributes to our aims, please click on a subject to see their curriculum plans.

 

Subject

Periods per week

English

6

Maths

6

Science

6

History

4

Geography

4

French/German

4

Technology

4

PE

4

Art

2

Drama

2

IT

2

Music

2

RE

2

Lifeskills

2

 

Key Stage 4

At Northfield School, we pride ourselves on a commitment to a broad education.  Our curriculum represents the best possible balance for all our pupils and the fact that almost all of our students last year went on to further education, training or employment reinforces this. 

Options are structured in such a way as to give pupils a number of pathways.  The options are designed to stretch and challenge pupils and to meet the demands of the local labour market. Pupils are offered a mixture of practical and academic skills from a broad range of subjects. Within the option subjects, the school offers a range of different accreditation routes including academic and vocational options. This gives every pupil a broad and balanced curriculum, but still offers a flexibility to maximise the outcomes achieved by each individual. This model also maintains the widest possible choice for progression routes Post 16 as every pupil will have a greater range of subjects from which to choose future opportunities for education and training (97% of our pupils go on to further education, training or employment).  Whilst we recognise the desire of pupils to be given a choice, we must balance this with our knowledge of what we believe to be the most appropriate and ambitious pathway which will always include and IT based subject, a humanity and RE.

A key part of our options guidance programme is providing identifiable pathways for our pupils.  By selecting within the recommended pathways, we feel confident that our pupils will be able to achieve their maximum potential and enable them to access Level 3 courses in further education and training.

 

Pathway 1 The English Baccalaureate

To recognise pupil achievement in a broad range of academic subjects the government has introduced the English Baccalaureate.  The English Baccalaureate includes academic subjects highly valued by leading universities. This is not a separate qualification, but recognises achievement in English, mathematics, science, modern languages and a humanities subject (either history or geography).    Pupils selected for this pathway must choose at least one modern foreign language and at least one humanity subject plus one further choice.

Pathway 2

Pupils following pathway 2 must choose one subject from the core block (French, German, history or geography) plus a further two choices from a range of subjects on offer.  Pupils opt for subjects within curriculum areas, staff then decide whether a BTEC or GCSE route would be the best way forward.   This does not apply to all subject areas are some are GCSE only and some are BTEC only.

Pathway 3

A small number of pupils are selected to follow pathway 3. Pupils on pathway 3 follow a foundation learning pathway.  Foundation Learning is a credit-based programme.  Learners follow a personalised programme tailored to their individual needs and aspirations.  A more personalised approach encourages learners to build confidence and fulfil their own potential.

The personalised programme brings together vocational and subject learning, personal and social development and functional skills with a particular focus upon additional support in literacy and numeracy. 

Below is an outline of the time dedicated to each subject in Key Stage 4.  Please click on a subject for more information.

Subject

Periods per week

English

8

Maths

8

Science

10

PE

3

IT

2

RE

2

Lifeskills

2

 

 

Option 1

5

 

 

Option 2

5

 

Option 3

 

5

Curriculum Impact

At Northfield, our curriculum will:

• ensure that the sequence of learning builds on previous knowledge whilst supporting future progression

• lead to qualifications that are of worth for employers and for entry to further and higher education.

• enable all pupils to fulfil their potential

• meet the needs of pupils of all abilities at the school

• allow pupils to acquire an appreciation and respect for their own and other cultures

• prepare pupils to compete in the global economy

• prepare pupils to make informed choices at the end of Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and beyond

• help pupils develop lively, enquiring minds and the ability to question and argue rationally

  • Ultimately, ensure that pupils know more and remember more about the subjects that they study

 We will know that we have achieved these aims through regular quality assurance, pupil voice and assessment.

Assessment

• All pupils will be set a minimum expected grade that we expect them to achieve based on their Key Stage 2 SATs or CAT4 assessment and what our school believes is a challenging target based nationally collected data.

• Regular testing ensures that pupils embed knowledge into their long-term memory

• Pupils are assessed by a combination of peer, self and teacher assessments. Summative assessment will take place at appropriate points to enable both staff and pupils to understand were strengths and areas for development are

• Following each assessment, incisive intervention to fill gaps in knowledge means that pupils make rapid progress

• Parents will receive reports during the course of the year. The reports will indicate the progress that pupils have made towards their target grade and an indication of their behaviour and attitude to learning

Curriculum Review

• Curriculum implementation will be regularly reviewed and quality assured through line management and lesson observations

• The individual curricula delivered in each subject will formally reviewed annually and informally on an ongoing basic by subject leaders to ensure the sequence of delivery allows pupils to build on their knowledge and that pupils are sufficiently stretched and challenged

  • Sequencing at a granular level is explored by classroom teachers on an ongoing basis to ensure what is being taught and when is always appropriate

• The curriculum hours and subjects offered will be analysed by the senior leadership team on an annual basis