The school ethos is that Every Child Achieves, Belongs, and Participates in learning, enrichment and the community. We deliver this through outstanding pastoral care and support, high expectations and standards, and an excellent curriculum which is a rich offer, has breadth and gives children and their families choice so that each child is able to be successful and lead a prosperous and fulfilled life.
Aim of the curriculum
The curriculum is designed to be well balanced and gives rich opportunities. It promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of our students and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. Our aim is to provide a curriculum that is highly effective in delivering outcomes that provide exceptionally well for all our students’ needs. Our students will be widely educated, with experiences that include consideration of the best that humanity has produced, words, art, ideas, science. We aim to ensure that students leave the schools within The Castle Partnership Trust very well equipped for the next stage of their education, training or employment, and educated so that they enjoy life and live well.
The taught curriculum is just one element in the education of each student and we consciously allow time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the programmes of study for each subject.
The curriculum will:
Develop students’ knowledge of themselves as learners in order to make them more effective learners. Encourage independent learning and positive thinking amongst all students. Prepare them for life-long learning. Be personalised in order to meet the needs of individual students. Build on the primary opportunities. Ensure students are literate and numerate.
The curriculum – organisation
Throughout the five years all students are taught core subjects: English, mathematics, science, religious education, PSHE, careers and PE.
In Year 7, we build on the primary curriculum so that students acquire greater knowledge and language, developing skills and applying these to different situations. The choice and range of subjects, 20 subjects overall, with specialist teachers and facilities so that children can explore practical subjects such as art, science, dance, drama, music, food, design, computing as well as access to a wide range of sports, will ignite a thirst to learn. The opportunity to learn 4 languages, Mandarin, German, French and Spanish is part of the wider education beyond qualifications, as well as the full range of Arts subjects, dance, drama, music, fine art, photography in KS4, which allows every child to develop his or her creativity. This richness and element of choice are key feature of our curriculum through the five years. We are very proud of the Choice Curriculum we offer here at The Castle School.
The curriculum through Year 7 and 8 has been mapped so it is in line with the KS3 national curriculum.
In Years 7 and 8 the students are divided into two equal ability populations for timetabling. Setting is only in Maths and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) in Year 7. In Year 8 English is also set. Setting in each subject is independent of that in other subjects. These sets are constantly reviewed and changes made whenever necessary. All other subjects are taught in mixed ability groups.
Subjects Year 7 and 8: Foundation curriculum
In addition to the core subjects, students will also be taught the following:
Humanities subjects: history and geography.
Modern Foreign Languages: either one or two languages depending on aptitude and choice, from French, Spanish, German and Mandarin.
Arts: art, textiles, dance, drama and music.
Design Technology, computing and food.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), which is taught via timetable enrichment days, tutor time, and across a range of curriculum subjects at various times through the year.
In Year 9, students are mature enough to begin to choose which subjects they wish to study in more depth. In Year 9, students engage with their chosen subjects so that they have time to consider which subjects they might wish to take at GCSE, and to allow them space to explore the subjects in more detail. Feedback has shown that by this stage a real passion is developing in some foundation subjects and students want to spend more time in these.
Students in Year 9 continue to study the core subjects, and in addition, they choose five subjects which they wish to explore at a greater depth. (One of these, they can choose to take as an early GCSE at the end of Year 10 should they wish).
Within the choices they will all continue to study at least one of either: history, geography, computing or a Modern Foreign Language.
Year 9 choices will vary from year to year, linked to the requests made by the cohort.
Typically, it will look something like the table below.
First GCSE to be taken through Year 9 and 10. Choose one subject from the list below.
Choose 4 further subjects from the list below to study in Year 9 (at least one of which must be a subject in bold).
Students are carefully supported, informed and guided through the process of opting for their GCSEs. Through Year 10, we are able to give them four options so that we continue the breadth for as long as possible, and then students choose their final three options for Year 11 GCSEs. This allows students more time to explore a subject and to deepen their knowledge. There is the choice of taking an early GCSE in their fourth subject at the end of Year 10 so that students experience the reality of the GCSE exam. The impact of this is multiple; it reduces pressure in the final year, allows students to experience GCSE with lower stakes than the final year, teaches them resilience, and allows us to identify children who might need extra emotional support through Year 11. The experiences help students in developing resilience and perspective in terms of understanding exactly what is involved in studying and completing a GCSE course. Students will only take this first GCSE exam at the end of Year 10 if they feel ready to do so.
Option Process into Year 10
Students will select four option subjects (one of which is the early GCSE option at the end of Year 10) to study through to GCSE or equivalent in Years 10 and 11. The options include:
Modern Foreign Languages: French, German, Spanish, Mandarin.
Would you like more information on the curriculum? If so, please contact Mrs Fran Gormley on the main telephone number: (01823 274073).
We believe that homework makes an invaluable contribution to students' progress and so we support them to find good independent learning habits either at home or in the school library with its extensive IT facilities. Show My Homework is our online homework provision and can be accessed via this link:
Students have told us that they prefer variety in the tasks set and to have choice. Therefore, tasks and projects range from interviews, experiments, research and essay writing. Every student has a personal homework organiser and guidelines on the length of appropriate study.