Our ethos is Every Child Achieves, Belongs, and Participates in learning, enrichment and the community. We feel education should empower our students, giving them the knowledge to make sense of the world and grow into citizens who make a difference. We deliver this by having high expectations and standards, giving exceptional pastoral care and support and with an ambitious academic curriculum, which is rich and has breadth. This gives our students powerful knowledge enabling them to think for themselves and show strength of character, shaped by what they need to know, understand and fulfil, to have happy, successful and prosperous lives.
Purpose of the curriculum
Our knowledge rich curriculum is designed to be well-balanced and giving varied 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 but also ensures 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 Castle School very well equipped for the next stage of their education, training or employment, and educated so that they enjoy life and live well.
The curriculum will:
We help ensure knowledge ‘sticks’. With careful design, sequencing, delivery and assessment students learn the curriculum not just encounter it.
Encourage independent learning and positive thinking amongst all students. Prepare them for life-long learning.
Be personalised to meet the needs of individual students.
Build on the primary phase.
Ensure students are literate and numerate.
Will ensure equity of access for all
Reinforce kindness, empathy and celebrate equality and diversity.
We recognise that “the curriculum” is not just the timetabled lessons and that engagement in universal and choice enrichment opportunities is integral to our Personal Development Programme and school ethos. You can view all of the Personal Development documents below.
The school leadership constantly review and refine the curricular choices by engaging in regular discussion on ‘what’ to teach before considering ‘how’ to teach it. Leaders set an ambitious intent for their curriculum as we know that powerful knowledge is essential in realising the school’s ethos and vision. We acknowledge that the curriculum needs constant attention and refinement (ensuring it does not become a list of content). As a result it is always at the forefront of our thinking and must be considered and amended constantly, to ensure we teach the best that has been thought, said or written.
In English, we want students to experience the wonder of Shakespeare, and to create deep, cognitive connections in their knowledge by exploring his stories, and the characters in those stories.
In Geography, students understand why the world is the way it is, so they can interpret earth’s human and physical landscapes students will develop an appreciation of the need to be empathetic global citizens who understand their responsibility toward the rest of humanity and the planet.
In music, students’ experiment, rehearse and develop performance skills across a wide range of instruments including piano, keyboard, guitar and vocals, alongside a broad repertoire of music from Western Classical Tradition and the best popular music and music from around the world, developing an understanding of musical traditions in a variety of cultures, genres and historical periods. This musical journey allows students to understand and explore how music is created and communicated, including through the musical elements/inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture and musical notations.
“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to imagination, and life to everything.” Plato
At The Castle School reading is integral to our student’s education. We ensure students have opportunities to read regularly in all lessons but also during tutor time. Strategies for reading are used across the taught curriculum as well as the personal development programme, in tutor time and PSHE.
The curriculum – organisation
We do not believe in the pre-determined pathways that can limit student’s choice based on their ability, characteristics, or background. The universal curriculum gives students knowledge and information to make informed decisions about their curriculum, supported through thorough careers guidance at key times in a student’s five years at The Castle School.
High quality teaching is how knowledge can be assimilated through our well-sequenced curriculum model. Faculties work together to ensure that curriculum subject knowledge and the subject specific pedagogy is central to the personalised and continued professional development that all our staff receive to ensure it has impact in the classroom, for every child, every day.
Throughout the five years, all students are taught core subjects: English, mathematics, science, religious education, PSHE, careers and PE.
Key Stage 3 offer
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 breadth 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.
In Years 7 and 8, the students are divided into two equal ability populations for timetabling. These populations are mixed as students’ progress through the years so they can get to know a wider range of their peers. Setting is only in Maths 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.
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, art, , which allows every child to develop his or her creativity. This richness and breadth is a key feature of our curriculum through the five years.
Subjects Year 7, 8 and 9
In addition to the core subjects, all students will also be taught all of the following to the end of year 9:
Humanities subjects: history and geography.
Modern Foreign Languages: After a period of learning all four languages, students will choose one language from French, German, Mandarin and Spanish. Students in Year 9 have the opportunity of picking up a second language.
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 throughout the year.
Students will also start their Short Course GCSE RE qualification in Year 9. This gives them an invaluable experience of what GCSE subjects and exams are like. They sit this in the summer of Year 10.
In January of Year 9, students will start the options process.
Key Stage 4 Offer
Students go on to study a rich and varied Key Stage 4 curriculum. The curriculum is filled with ambitious qualifications that match the drive to ensure that all our students achieve outstanding results to enable them to access their chosen pathway at Post 16.
The option process involves an Options Evening, GCSE taster lessons, explanatory videos and careers programme which support students with their choices.
Within the options, students will all continue to study at least one of either: history, geography, computing or a Modern Foreign Language. The options will vary from year to year, linked to the requests made by the cohort. All students complete short course RE in years 9 and 10.
Food and Nutrition
Child Development (Cambridge Nationals)
Performing Arts (Dance) (BTEC)
Engineering (Cambridge Nationals)
IT (Cambridge Nationals)
As well as their GCSE and vocational qualifications all students will have lessons, extended tutor times, assemblies, Curriculum Enrichment Days and PSHE lessons, delivered by our specialist team, in the following areas to fulfil our curriculum vision to further enrich their education at The Castle School:Depending on the context of the cohort, we may put on an early entry English language GCSE. This enables students to achieve a GCSE early, boosting confidence going into Year 11).
Relationships Sex Education
Socially and culturally significant events, (for example, Black History Months, LGBTQ+ months)
Choice and targeted Enrichment
The Castle Challenge (Year 9)
Students are set in English, maths and science. The two top sets in science have the opportunity to study triple science. Part of this course includes a commitment to attending a lesson after school once a week. All other subjects have mixed ability classes. `
Design Principles of The Castle School curriculum and sequencing
To ensure that our curriculum empowers our students, giving them the knowledge to make sense of the world and grow into citizens who make a difference, our curriculum has been carefully thought through and designed.
Our Heads of Faculty have designed and planned their curriculum according to the following principles:
Our curriculum is ambitious for all students, offering an exposure to the most powerful knowledge in each subject.
Our curriculum is sequenced so that new knowledge, builds upon prior learning and students become increasingly fluent over time.
Our curriculum is detailed so that teachers are clear on what needs to be taught and when.
Our curriculum is taught to be remembered not for coverage.
Our curriculum is supported with a literacy strategy reinforced increased vocabulary acquisition and reading fluency.
Would you like more information on the curriculum? If so, please contact Mr Jamie Wordsworth 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. All homework is set through Class Charts. Students can also access lesson resources and task via Microsoft Teams.