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Curriculum Intent

The fundamental aim of Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School is to transform the life-chances of our young people by focussing on removing barriers to learning and raising standards, particularly the basic life skills of literacy and numeracy, as well as employability skills so that all of our students have the best possible start in life. We do this in an environment where students know they are loved and cared for. Our students are developed both academically and spiritually as we adopt a nurturing, supportive and bespoke approach to each individual child. Our school mission statement of “Through God, We Care” underpins every aspect of school life alongside our mantra of “High Expectations, High Aspirations and High Standards, You Will Succeed”

Our curriculum model is the ‘heart’ of our school and it enables each student to receive an integrated, coherent learning experience that contributes towards their personal, academic and professional development. We have an unrelenting desire to ensure our students achieve the results they need to succeed, instilling ambition to see students realise their potential and progress into their chosen career or next stage of education. It is also important that our students are well rounded individuals and sensitive to the needs of others, responding positively in any way they can as good citizens. Our Christian values of ‘Hope, Compassion and Endurance’ are fundamental to everything we do and we firmly believe that if these are applied to all aspects of learning our young people will have a strong moral compass which will serve them well in the future.

At KS3 our curriculum intent is to ensure that our students have the opportunity to develop a rich and full knowledge base which will act as a stepping stone, benefitting them in later years. They will be exposed to the events, practices, research and characters that have shaped both their subjects studied and our society and beyond. This foundation of knowledge is the platform for gaining deeper, more fluent knowledge and application of skills in preparation for the challenge of KS4. We want our students to be lifelong learners and we will continually explore how our students learn best, to ensure they retain knowledge through the most effective teaching strategies.

In our curriculum we believe we are able to foster the talents and ambitions of all our young people through a knowledge based curriculum.  We have faith in our actions and trust our judgement as we are safe in the knowledge our curriculum is broad, challenging and will holistically develop our students.  Our curriculum is always rooted in Christian teachings: Psalm 119:66 “teach me knowledge and good judgement for I trust your commands.”

Curriculum Implementation

The focus for curriculum design at Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School is based on developing a love for learning and an awareness of the key areas of both subject knowledge and key concepts that our students need to know and understand. Preparation to enter the world of work and further/higher education via a comprehensive CEIAG programme is also a key component of wider curriculum provision.

Inspiring our students to develop a love of the diversity of our KS3 curriculum offer is a key aim of all of our staff. This is achieved through the engaging teaching of cumulative knowledge rich topics chosen to inspire. We believe we cannot afford short cuts in knowledge acquisition as the latter forms the bedrock of skill development. We are working towards achieving this objective through daily exposure to knowledge via recall and retrieval activities and the explicit use of knowledge organisers as a key learning resource.  Moving on along the learning journey is only done once the key knowledge is embedded and consolidated.

With the flexibility afforded to us in terms of Key Stage three design, our focus is to capture the inquisitive nature of young learners’ minds and retain this via the delivery of subjects, and the topics within them, to lock in and exploit a learner’s potential. We believe it is important for our students to understand what they are learning and why they are learning it. Context is important. Developing ‘cultural capital,’ especially for our disadvantaged pupils, is also crucial. This is shaped at the start of each and every lesson by the ‘learning question’.

Teaching our students to adopt successful learning habits, modelled by the daily practice of our staff, will equip them in developing a progressive and widening knowledge base to meet the increased demands at Key Stage 4. Key to the provision of this successful learning journey is sequential planning to ensure a grapple and grasp of knowledge components, key subject themes and skill application. Each curriculum year building on the knowledge and skills mastered in the previous year. An acute awareness of the void in the knowledge capital of disadvantaged learners is a high priority. A narrowing of these knowledge gaps via personalised knowledge organisers and personal learning checklist response is a key intervention.

In terms of assessment, our focus is simple. Identifying gaps in knowledge and skills and adopting strategies to close the gap. More time is to be spent on the response to knowledge and skill ‘gaps’. Student’s grappling with misconceptions supported by a reshaping of learning by teachers will lead to improved ‘grasp’ for students.  Feedback, as is widely proven, is the most effective way to improve the learning progress of all pupils; effective, proven methods of feedback that are informed by precise planning are a key strategy used by staff to enhance the learning of our pupils.  This, coupled with frequent retrieval activities, will support learning over time and bring about changes in long term memory. More formal testing of acquired knowledge will consider current and previous topics learnt, adopting a more holistic approach to testing as opposed to only testing recently acquired topic knowledge.

At Key Stage 4, the approach to pedagogy remains a constant. We believe that through our curriculum offer students should be able to, where appropriate, combine a range of GCSE subjects with vocational/technical qualifications. Whilst ensuring academic rigor, supported by a belief in enabling increasing student numbers to access the EBacc, we are also passionate about our support of those students who choose a vocational pathway leading to apprenticeships, ‘T’ levels, BTEC L3 etc. Through regular CEIAG sessions the curriculum will ensure multiple pathways for students linked to their future.

Being highly numerate and literate ready to access post-16 education and the world of work is a high priority. Removing barriers in these areas is a key driver to improving outcomes for young people.

Impact of our Curriculum

Our curriculum model has resulted in our students achieving significantly improved GCSE outcomes. It has also played a significant role in improving attendance to meet national levels, lowering persistent absence, lowering fixed term exclusions and reported instances of poor behavior. 

We spend a significant amount of time talking with students, their parents/carers as well as any relevant external support to ensure that the curriculum meets their individual needs.  Regular Careers Education, Information and Guidance (CEIAG) meetings take place to aid this process. Students are better informed than they ever have been and so make more thoughtful choices about their future, resulting in fewer students deemed not in education employment or training (NEET).

The impact of our approach is the increase in progress made by all our learners.  Our school has now become a popular school in the local area with numbers on roll increasing rapidly and our Year 7 is the largest year group in the school.  Parents and carers, and the community at large have clearly bought in to the school’s Church school ethos, including the curriculum across all key stages.

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Year 9 Pre-Options Information

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB