CURRICULUM DESIGN

'Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of a true education.'

Martin Luther King Junior

As an education Trust located in a tight geographical area, the vast majority of our students stay in Trust schools for their education up to the age of 16. The advantage of this is that it affords us the opportunity to take a holistic approach to students’ education across both primary and secondary phases, ensuring our 5-16 curriculum builds on previous progress. Our 6 fundamental curriculum strands run through our curriculum at all key stages of education, which ensures we maximise the potential of being a local Trust. Our curriculum offer is broad and balanced, follows the national curriculum and ensures that our students and children achieve strong academic progress and develop as rounded citizens..

HOW OUR CURRICULUM INSPIRES OUR STUDENTS

KEY STAGE 3 (YEARS 7-9)

Our students’ learning and progress are at the heart of everything that we do. All students follow a three year Key Stage 3 which is closely interwoven with our Key Stage 2 Trust curriculum, to ensure transition is seamless and teachers can build on prior learning effortlessly. We recognise the importance of reading; all students in Years 7 and 8 have a reading lesson each week where they read a carefully selected canon of books as a class. These books have been selected with the aim of stretching students' reading skills and developing their cultural awareness. We also run a number of bespoke reading interventions, including Diamond reading lessons, to ensure that we offer support to those students who need it as part of our wider literacy strategy. Our literacy strategy can be found here.

We also run a Key Stage 3 graduation programme which gives students a strong focus and raises their aspirations. At the end of the three-year journey, there is a traditional cap and gown ceremony where parents and carers are invited in to celebrate their child’s graduation. In order to graduate, students must get involved in the full life of the school, have excellent attendance and behaviour records, a good attitude to learning, and regularly demonstrate the King's values of We Count In Ones, We Do Common Things Uncommonly Well; We Act With Compassionate Rigour and We Embrace The Challenge To Improve.

YEAR 7 & 8 - 25 HOURS

YEAR 9 - 25 HOURS

KEY STAGE 4 (YEARS 10-11)

Students study a core programme of English, Maths, double or triple Science, and core PE. Students make their options choices at the end of Year 9. All students choose between History or Geography in the humanities option block, and the majority of students study a Modern Foreign Language, therefore completing the full suite of Ebacc qualifications. Students then choose from a wide range of options subjects. A broad suite of subjects at GCSE and Level 2 Vocational qualifications are offered to make up their full offer. We work closely with Key Stage 5 providers to ensure that our students make appropriate next steps in their educational journey.

Click here to see our GCSE options subjects.

YEAR 10 - 25 HOURS

YEAR 11 - 25 HOURS

HOW WE 'SET' GROUPS

  • We use a hybrid approach of some classes being grouped on ability, and others as mixed ability.
  • In Years 7, 8 and 9 students are placed into parallel bands/sectors (sets).
  • For Ability Groups, we would expect classes X1 and Y1 to be very similar in ability, also for X2 and Y2, and X3 and Y3 respectively.
  • A difference would be seen in X4 and Y4 in Years 7 and 8, as Y4 in both these year groups have extra literacy lessons.
  • This year, Year 9 follows the same pattern as Years 7 and 8 to allow for catch-up to take place.

Year 7 - 11 Academic Ability Group Plan

  • Student groups in Year 7 are based on Key Stage 2 (KS2) outcomes. As students’ progress on their journey through Key Stage 3 (KS3) and Key Stage 4 (KS4), groups are based on our internal assessment data, in class performance and some teacher judgement i.e. knowing your child!
  • The rationale to group classes by ability is based on the following:
    • KS2 outcomes are based on English, Maths and Science.
    • PE groups are based on sporting ability, which is identified early in Year 7. This allows for balanced competition within lessons and helps to build self-esteem.
    • For the remaining subjects, mixed ability groups are created and, due to the nature of those subjects, work effectively to allow students to progress.
  • For Year 7 students, outcomes are broad at primary school and they are therefore grouped into the same class for all their core subjects. This has two benefits:
    • Being similar to a primary environment, it allows students to settle into secondary school more effectively.
    • We are able to monitor the progress of students over a period of time until we feel that we know them well enough to begin to place them into their Year 8 ability groups.

The table below indicates which subjects are grouped by ability or mixed ability in Year 7 and should be considered in conjunction with the narrative above:

  • For Year 8 students, we have gathered more information about the levels students are working at. Also, the skills required to succeed in these subjects can be linked and we therefore group students into classes for Maths and Science together, and English and Languages together. This allows us to be a little more prescribed with the needs of each student.
  • For example, a student may now be in X3 for English and Languages, but could be in X2 for Maths and Science.

The table below indicates which subjects are grouped by ability or mixed ability in Year 8 and should be considered in conjunction with the narrative above:

  • For Year 9 students, our knowledge of their strengths and areas for development enables us to be confident that we can set in 3 core areas. This allows us to be specific about the individual needs of every student in each of the core areas.
  • For example, a student could now be in X1 for Maths, X2 for Science and X3 for English and Languages.

The table below indicates which subjects are grouped by ability or mixed ability in Year 9 and should be considered in conjunction with the narrative above:

  • When students start in Year 10, and begin their GCSE studies, they are placed into linear bands/sectors based on regular assessments results, in class performance and some teacher judgement.
  • Students are placed in ability groups in English, Maths and Science ranging from X1 to Y4, giving a total of 8 linear ability classes.
  • The use of 8 linear groups allows us to be very specific with each group to ensure that the individual needs of each student can be addressed.
  • History and Geography use ability grouping, whilst all other option subjects are taught as mixed ability.

The table below indicates which subjects are grouped by ability or mixed ability in Years 10 and 11, and should be considered in conjunction with the narrative above:

HOW WE TRACK AND MONITOR STUDENT PROGRESS

  • There are four attainment bands at KS3:
  1. Mastery
  2. Secure
  3. Developing
  4. Emerging
  • Students will be assigned a target band for all of KS3 (Years 7-9) which allows us to determine how well they are progressing. The target band is the minimum that we would expect your child to be working at throughout KS3.
  • The target is based on a student’s performance at the end of Key Stage 2, but is by no means a ceiling on how well a child can do; regularly students will be working above their target.
  • In KS3, over the course of a year, students are assessed in each subject, and in conjunction with their in-class performance and some teacher judgement, we assign an attainment band in each subject to indicate their progress.
  • The band allocated indicates how your child is progressing; this is sometimes known as a ‘working at’ band and is different to the target band. For example, a student could have a target of ‘Secure’ but be working above this at ‘Mastery’. Alternatively, a student could have a target of ‘Secure’ but be working at ‘Developing’.
  • A target band may be moved when we are aware of individual personal circumstances which have negatively affected a student’s performance at the end of Key Stage 2 (KS2).
  • We may move a target band up to recognise consistent high achievement. We will not move student target bands down, and we will not continuously amend target grades so they become unachievable. It should be based on prior attainment and is not a carrot or stick to improve progress.
  • Overall the four bands relate to the amount of knowledge a student has, and has retained,based on all of the subject content they have been taught in a particular subject. In simple terms, if you apply the meaning of either Emerging, Developing, Secure & Mastery to the sentence above, the word on its own explains the progress that your child is making.
  • Each year students will be taught more, and will be expected to know more.
  • Target bands will remain the same year on year (see exceptions above).
  • As a minimum, we would expect each student to achieve at least their target each year.
  • In Year 10, how we track progress changes from bands used at KS3, to grades for KS4 (Years 10 and 11).
  • It is inappropriate to use GCSE grades during KS3. KS3 should be about experiencing a broad and balanced curriculum for all, and should not be about exams and results. This is therefore the most appropriate point in the secondary journey to discuss progress against a system of GCSE or Vocational grades.
  • In GCSE subjects, students are graded from 1-9, with 9 being the highest grade.
  • A benchmark to consider in the 1-9 system is that a grade 4 is classed as a standard pass and a grade 5 is classed as a good pass. Explanations are not provided for any other of the grades in the system.
  • In Vocational subjects, students are graded in two levels (1 and 2), with the addition of pass, merit, distinction or distinction* allocated to the level.
  • If your child has chosen a Vocational subject, more information can be provided at parents/carers evenings about the equivalence to a GCSE grade as these vary depending on the exam board and the course, however a broad guide is provided below:

 

  • Students will have been assigned a target grade for all of their KS4 subjects.
  • This target grade indicates the minimum grade that we expect your child to achieve when they leave us in Year 11.
  • This target is based on their performance from the end of Key Stage 2 and is set by the school as they start in Key Stage 3. It is set against a national standard, so all schools can be compared and judged against each other, on the quality of their outcomes.
  • Despite this national baseline, the use of targets and sharing them with students, parents and carers is a vital part in the method of monitoring progress and planning next steps at post-16 level.
  • Target grades are not a ceiling; regularly students will be working above their target grade. In KS4 we do not normally amend target grades.
  • When reporting on the progress of a student at KS4, teachers will produce a Realistic Expected Grade (REG). This is the grade that we realistically expect your child to achieve at the end of Year 11.
  • The REG can be, and is in many cases, different to the target grade; this determines how well they are progressing.
  • This is derived from regular informal assessments, formal assessments such as internal mock exams and external exams (course dependent), in conjunction with their in-class performance and teacher judgement.
  • The REG is not an exact science, however, we are confident that our robust assessment procedures and achievement cycle allows us to be as accurate as we can be at that particular point in a child’s KS4 journey.
  • The REG is dependent on the student continuing their learning in the way that they are when the grade was given; this of course can therefore suggest that the REG can change depending on a student’s attitude to learning.
  • Teachers Assessed Grades (TAGs) and Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) have been used widely in schools across the country as a result of no formal summer exam series for Year 11 students in 2020 and 2021.
  • These were used to indicate how schools’ reported performance at the end of Year 11 due to having no formal, externally set and moderated summer exam series.
  • Although it is hoped by all that we will have relative normality with exams for summer 2022, TAGs are currently being issued in some Vocational subjects for the individual units of work students are completing, although these are not final grades and are subject to change.
  • If required, REGs awarded now or in the future on reports, are not automatically transferred into a TAG.
  • If we need to enter TAGs we will contact you closer to the time and give you full details of the process.
  • An ATL score shows your child’s attitude to learning in each subject area and ranges from 1 meaning exemplary, to 4 meaning that they often fail to meet expectations.
  • The ATL score is important to both you and us, as at indicates how hard your child is working. If they are achieving their target band/grade but the ATL is 3 or 4, clearly, they could do even better!
  • For Years 7-10, the assessments, together with in-class performance and some teacher judgement, will inform us which sets students will be placed into as they transition from one year to the next.
  • You can find out the dates of assessments for all year groups by clicking here.
  • You will receive a report via the My Child At School (MCAS) app with a letter outlining the report’s key features.
  • You can find out the dates of parents/carers evenings by clicking here.

CURRICULUM CONTENT

For further information regarding the content of our school curriculum in each academic year for every subject, please click here.

Exam Board Details

Details for the awarding bodies for each of the KS4 qualifications we offer can be found below.

KS4 COURSES AND QUALIFICATIONS

The curriculum is designed to be accessible for students with Special Educational Needs and disabilities, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014. Our SEND report can be found here.

If you would like to know more about our curriculum, please email Mr A Holland, Assistant Headteacher, at admin@kings.patrust.org.uk