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.

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB