Every individual has the ability to learn, so the curriculum aims not only to maximise, but also increase this ability and meet the needs of all pupils regardless of where they currently are. It is designed to provide opportunity for unrestricted progress in all subject areas at all levels. Our aim is all students are enabled to become ‘self-directed learners’ through our curriculum and effective delivery. As an independent school we ensure that our curriculum conforms to UK Independent Schools Standards Regulations 2012 requirements in the context of the aims of the schools.
Using the National Curriculum as a framework, we focus on a core range of subjects and ensure pupils experience linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human, social, physical, aesthetic and creative education. Within this, the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of every child is fostered and the mediums of delivering the curriculum facilitate the establishment of skills required to learn, as well as specific knowledge and understanding.
Academic achievement is important, and we want every student to really do their best. It is important that they leave school with grades that will reflect their true ability and open doors in and for the future. We provide a curriculum that is broad, balanced and rigorous; one that offers students the opportunity to understand a subject beyond what is required to merely pass an exam.
To achieve this, we encourage a creative, innovative approach that develops a lively and interesting learning environment that in turn inspires students to engage with and enjoy the subjects being taught. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning through self-directed principals, supported by sound teaching and an inclusive approach which ensures good progress for all.
The Primary Phase of the Focus School network begins in Year 3 and ends at Year 6, at which point the pupils transfer to our Secondary Campuses. In the Primary Phase, students make significant progress across a broad and balanced curriculum including the core subjects of Maths, English and Science, as well as a wide range of foundation subjects. This is supported by quality first teaching and rigorous, formative assessment. There is a focus on using assessment data to establish what level of work students are able to produce, and this information is used effectively to plan for and deliver the next teaching and learning steps.
The National Curriculum provides a benchmark for the minimum that pupils should attain to, but a high percentage of students exceed these levels. This is achieved through a supportive and encouraging environment and a belief that all pupils can and should reach their full potential in everything they do. There is a positive culture of collaboration and team working evident amongst staff and a professional attitude to school improvement.
Our initial intake is from Year 3, where students are expected to make good progress over their Key Stage 2 years in Maths, English, Science and Foundation Subjects. These formative years are regarded as critical in the establishment of the foundational learning skills and understanding in core subjects. There is a focus on using assessment data to establish what level of work students are able to produce, and this information is used to plan the next teaching and learning steps.
The new National Curriculum provides a benchmark for the minimum attainment level, but with an emphasis on quality first teaching, where the needs of the individual are provided for within the classroom and every pupil can make good or excellent progress.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 there remains a focus on core subjects with provision for the students to learn and express themselves in Art, DT, Food, Textiles, Public Speaking, and Physical Education and other active subjects. An emphasis on cross curricular activities, projects, team work, peer assessment and self-directed learning is strongly encouraged and is intended to make these years a varied and inspiring key stage for the developing learner.
Key Stage 4 & 5
At Key Stage 4 students study for IGCSE, GCSE, City and Guilds and other examinations with most students taking 8-10 exams in Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, Citizenship, MFL, Food, Art, DT and other subjects. At this stage, the skills developed in earlier years should ensure that teachers are not just teaching to the exam, but that a deeper understanding of the subjects can be explored, and our goal of each student reaching or exceeding their exam grade targets can still be achieved.
Almost all students stay on to complete Years 12 and 13, with most studying 4 or 5 AS subjects in Year 12 and taking 3 or 4 of these through to A2 in Year 13. Maths and English are offered to all levels, along with Economics, Accounts, Business Studies, Humanities, MFL and a range of vocational subjects.
The FLN Programme Post 16
The Trust has organised a range of courses that are taught through VC. These courses differ greatly from previous VC lessons. Students have a dedicated teacher, pre-recorded lessons and assignments to access via Moodle to support their learning. The teaching model used to enable students to learn is called a ‘Flipped’ and ‘Blended’ model. It works very similarly to distance learning for adults and many university courses.
Students are asked to research, read and explore a range of resources prior to the lesson, so they are prepared to learn and engage with their teacher on VC. The term ‘Blended’ is used to describe the wide range of resources they can use to support their understanding. This is a move away from the traditional classroom where teachers deliver the content, to students discovering the content for themselves with guided resources, hence the term ‘Flip’.
Tracking the progress of individual students over time is a critical factor in our management of teaching and learning, so the recording, analysis and use of accurate and reliable data is absolutely essential.
Our school uses a triangular approach to confirm the data, including teacher assessment, work evidence and formally assessed and moderated attainment. This occurs throughout the key stages, providing a picture of progress over time that can be compared with both other schools in the Focus group and national statistics. This enables intervention to be provided at an early stage and helps to ensure that each and every student stays on track with their true learning potential.