GSO Test

Curriculum Policy

Sacred Heart Catholic School Curriculum Policy 2020

Curriculum intent

The overriding ambition of our curriculum is to cater for the needs of all our pupils and enhance social mobility.

This ambition links to our core vision of enabling every child to achieve more than they think they are capable of achieving – a vision which is at the heart of everything we do as a school.

Our vision is a reflection of the fact that at the heart of our school is our belief in Jesus’ call to fullness of life. Therefore, the overriding ambition of our curriculum is to give our pupils every opportunity to flourish, to develop their talents to the full and enhance social mobility.

Our belief that humans are created in the image and likeness of God means that all people have an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity.  This gives us a radical equality before God which is the basis of our commitment to the principle that every member of the school community is entitled to equal opportunities and treatment irrespective of ethnic or national origin, race, gender, physical disability, sexual orientation, marital status, social background or religion.

Everything we do is underpinned by our Christian faith and our belief in equality of opportunity for all and our conviction that pupils’ starting points in life and their social and economic status should not define their end-points.

By the end of each student’s time at Sacred Heart school we aim to have transformed their lives and educational prospects through a wide-ranging and ambitious curriculum that does not cease at the boundaries of the classroom or the school. We teach knowledge rigorously but also place an emphasis on skills and preparing pupils for the world of higher education and work.

As such:

  • Our curriculum aims to meet the needs of all pupils, providing each individual pupil with a range of opportunities to learn and achieve. Pupils should build on their strengths and develop their enjoyment of and commitment to learning. In doing so, pupils develop their knowledge, skills and abilities to the full and are able to maximise their true potential.
  • The Catholic ethos of our school forms the basis of the curriculum as a whole. The curriculum promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. In particular, the curriculum enables pupils to grow in their Christian Catholic faith and to function as active, responsible Christians in an ever-changing world. 

At Sacred Heart Catholic school our curriculum seeks …

  • To ensure that all pupils receive a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum
  • To ensure that all pupils build their character and develop socially, morally and mentally as Catholics while also understanding fundamental British values and appreciating the breadth of cultural diversity and values within Britain
  • To ensure that all pupils are prepared for higher education and the world of work, so that every pupil leaves Sacred Heart school with a clear plan and strategy for their progression
  • To ensure that all pupils have high expectations for their own behaviour and achievement
  • To ensure that all pupils are literate and numerate
  • To ensure that all pupils experience a wide variety of learning opportunities outside of the classroom through an extensive programme of curriculum enhancement

All pupils receive a broad, deep and knowledge-rich curriculum

We offer a wide range of subjects at Key Stage 3 and 4 to all pupils, including Music, Drama, Art and Modern Foreign Languages, as we do not wish to restrict our pupils in any way or inhibit their creativity. Furthermore, to ensure they are not disadvantaged we offer as many pupils as possible the opportunity to qualify for the English Baccalaureate. The number of pupils at Sacred Heart who study the Ebacc is well in excess of the national average, as is the percentage of our students who study a Modern Foreign Language at GCSE level.

Our 6th form offers a wide range of academic A Level qualifications, as well as BTECs in popular disciplines such as Health and Social care and Medical Science for those students seeking alternative pathways to A levels.

We develop our teaching practice through collaborative work and value whole school staff training and INSET highly. For example, all departments have redesigned their curricula in the last two years to place a greater emphasis on consolidation of key skills and knowledge through quizzing, online learning and other appropriate pedagogical innovations rooted in educational theory.

All pupils build their character and develop socially, morally and mentally while also understanding fundamental British values and appreciating the breadth of cultural diversity and values within Britain

Our Catholic ethos and focus on Gospel values underlines everything that we do in and out of school. Our pupils attend Mass at least once per month, and regularly pray and reflect during morning and afternoon registration. Our assembly and citizenship / PSHE programmes help our students to navigate the challenges of the modern world such as materialism, consumerism and radical individualism and serves to deepen their faith. We aim to nurture pupils spiritually as well as academically, with their journey towards the world of higher education and work moving hand in hand with their development as positive role models and good Christians.  We take seriously the teaching of other faiths to prepare the pupils in our school for life in modern Britain. This in turn will improve social cohesion and contribute to the common good by increasing mutual respect between those of different religions and those of no faith.

The local community is important to us and our connections within the local area – including with our local church and Priest - further demonstrate the extent to which Sacred Heart is a Christian community. We annually deliver in excess of 100 hampers prepared by our pupils to the elderly as well as giving a tea dance for local residents and visiting a veteran’s home. Further from home the school raises money to support a Thai orphanage which it visits as part of a mission every two years.Our community work is testament to the fact that we not only want to prepare our students for the highest standards of further education they can possibly access, but that our students also leave Sacred Heart school as responsible and caring citizens who embody both British values and the Gospel values.

All pupils are prepared for higher education and the world of work, so that every pupil leaves Sacred Heart school with a clear plan and strategy for their progression

Our aim is for all our students to move on to work, higher-level apprenticeships or university. Many of our students access Russell Group universities.

We have developed partnerships with organisations to raise pupils’ aspirations and develop social skills. These include events in school, as well as work experience, mentoring and Internships that not only give our pupils an insight into the professional work place but also provide them with the skills required to thrive in the future.

Our curriculum ensures we are able to consider every child’s needs and give an insight in to most industries, ranging from medicine to stage management. All of our Year 12 pupils attend either Summer schools or Internships and all of our Year 10s undergo a week of work experience.

The fact that 97% of our pupils go on to higher education or higher apprenticeships is testament to the success of our curriculum.

To ensure that all pupils have high expectations for their own behaviour and achievement

Our robust pastoral system is simultaneously a reflection of our Catholic ethos and also a structure that supports our pupils to achieve and progress through the curriculum. We focus on our pupils as individuals as well as whole year group cohorts. Strategically planned assemblies, registration periods and workshops ensure that we teach pupils how to keep themselves safe in an ever changing digital world, as well as the challenging urban environment in which our students live and our school is situated. We teach pupils the Gospel values of compassion, justice and mercy. We are inclusive and ambitious for all. We have high expectations of all pupils and provide opportunity for pupils to learn what is expected of them morally. Our rigorous and systematic behaviour policy ensures that pupils learn that actions have consequences and they can accept and appreciate differences between people. We have a focus on good manners at all times and encourage pupils to act as ambassadors for the school.

All pupils are literate and numerate

The development of literacy and oracy is at the forefront of our curriculum as we understand how vital it is for our pupils to build confidence in communication skills not only for their time in school but also to prepare them for working life. We ensure pupils have opportunities in all subjects to discuss, challenge and build on other points of view and to develop their formality of language to ensure they can have the confidence to speak to different audiences. Extended writing is considered a crucial skill within all subject areas and has a key role within our subject curricula. Pupils who arrive from primary school with below expected literacy and numeracy skills are quickly caught up through expert teaching and incisive intervention. Whole school reading and use of our extensive library is encouraged as much as possible.

All pupils experience a wide variety of learning opportunities outside of the classroom through an extensive programme of curriculum enhancement

Our curriculum also ensures that our students are able to experience environments they have never experienced before, either in the UK or abroad, where we offer opportunities to visit France, Belgium, Spain, the United States, Jerusalem and Thailand. Furthermore, our curriculum ensures that pupils have the opportunity to visit many of the sites of great cultural and historical significance across London, as well as further afield.

Our curriculum ensures that pupils participate in debating and learn to speak confidently in formal, public situations, as well as participate in the democratic process through our burgeoning school council.

Our wide range of clubs and societies enhances our curriculum, allowing our pupils to flourish. We have the highest attended Debate Mate club in the country. We employ professional sports coaches in a range of sports and our pupils often compete at a London-wide or national level. For the past 12 years we have offered pupils from Year 9 upwards the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme – by the time pupils reach the 6th form they are able to complete the award to Gold standard.

Curriculum implementation

Sacred Heart believes that a meticulously planned and structured curriculum is the solid foundation required for effective learning. Our curriculum is designed and implemented in such a way that it ensures pupils are able to build on their prior knowledge and are always prepared for the next stage in their education. This approach is complemented by the school’s rigorous and developmental teaching and learning programme and our commitment to meaningful whole school training and INSET.

As far as possible pupils are taught in ability groups in order to aid teachers with differentiation. We seek to ensure that lessons are engaging and suitably differentiated so that pupils spend the majority of time in lessons working independently at their level of ability.

Subject Leaders, who are experts in their respective fields, are given the confidence and tools required to carefully construct a curriculum that promotes a deep understanding of a wide range of topics. Teachers plan learning that allows pupils to embed and recall knowledge through techniques such as quizzing, flipped learning and frequent assessment. This builds firm foundations for progression to the next level and exam success.

Curriculum impact

At Sacred Heart our curriculum:

  • ensures that sequences of learning build on previous knowledge whilst supporting future progression.
  • leads to qualifications that are of worth for employers and for entry to further and higher education.
  • enables all pupils to fulfil their potential.
  • meets the needs of pupils of all abilities
  • allows pupils to acquire an appreciation and respect for their own and other cultures
  • prepares pupils to make informed choices at the end of KS3, KS4 and beyond.

Current curriculum structure and hours:

Year 7:

Pupils are placed in form groups by ability from arrival after being tested prior to entry to the school. These classes are known as M, P, T, B and C and ensure that teachers are able to teach groups of broadly similar ability.

English, Maths and Science are taught, where possible, in sets rather than form groups. Twice a year pupils have formal assessments in all subjects, the results of which are combined into a whole year group rank order which determines new form classes and sets for core subjects.

Timetabled lessons break down as follows (50 minutes per lesson):

  • English 4 lessons
  • Maths 5 lessons
  • Science 4 lessons
  • Languages 3 lessons
  • PE 3 lessons
  • Geography 2 lessons
  • History 3 lessons
  • RE 2 lessons
  • Fine Art, Drama, Music 1 lesson each
  • Construction, Applied Art and Sculpture 2 lessons each (on rotation, in seven-week blocks)

Year 8:

Pupils continue to be taught in their form classes of M, P, T, B and C as well as in separate English, Maths and Science sets. Twice a year pupils have formal assessments in all subjects, the results of which are combined into a whole year group rank order which determines new form classes and sets for core subjects.

Timetabled lessons break down as follows (50 minutes per lesson):

  • English 5 lessons
  • Maths 5 lessons
  • Science 4 lessons
  • Languages 3 lessons
  • PE 2 lessons
  • Geography 2 lessons
  • History 2 lessons
  • RE 2 lessons
  • Fine Art, Drama, Music 1 lesson each
  • Construction, Art and Government and Politics 2 lessons each (on rotation, in seven week blocks)

Year 9:

Pupils continue to be taught in their form classes of M, P, T, B and C as well as in separate English, Maths and Science sets. Twice a year pupils have formal assessments in all subjects, the results of which are combined into a whole year group rank order which determines new form classes and sets for core subjects. A meticulously planned options process provides pupils with information and guidance as they prepare to choose their GCSEs.

Timetabled lessons break down as follows (50 minutes per lesson):

  • English 4 lessons
  • Maths 4 lessons
  • Science 4 lessons
  • Languages 4 lessons
  • PE 2 lessons
  • Geography 2 lessons
  • History 3 lessons
  • RE 3 lessons
  • Music, Drama 1 lesson each
  • Construction, Art and Graphics 2 lessons each (on rotation, in seven week blocks)

Year 10:

Pupils are now taught in sets for English, Maths, Science, RE and Languages and their dedicated option groups for subjects they have chosen for GCSE. Some, but not many, pupils no longer study Languages and instead study for a qualification in Financial Education. All pupils sit RE GCSE in Year 10 as a way of enabling them to build confidence and resilience when sitting pubic exams.

Timetabled lessons break down as follows (50 minutes per lesson):

  • English 5 lessons
  • Maths 4 lessons
  • Science 6 lessons
  • Languages 4 lessons
  • RE 4 lessons
  • PE 1 lesson

Option A (pupils choose one) 3 lessons

  • Drama
  • Geography
  • Graphics
  • History
  • PE
  • Computing

Option B (pupils choose one) 3 lessons

  • Construction
  • Geography
  • History
  • Health and Social Care
  • Music
  • PE

Year 11:

Pupils are now taught in sets for English, Maths, Science, RE and Languages and their dedicated option groups for subjects they have chosen for GCSE. Some, but not many, pupils no longer study Languages and instead study for a qualification in Financial Education.

Timetabled lessons break down as follows (50 minutes per lesson):

  • English 5 lessons
  • Maths 6 lessons
  • Science 6 lessons
  • Languages 4 lessons
  • PE 1 lesson

Option A (pupils choose one) 4 lessons

  • Art
  • Construction
  • Computing
  • Drama
  • Geography
  • Graphics
  • History
  • PE

Option B (pupils choose one) 4 lessons

  • Computing
  • Geography
  • History
  • Health and Social Care
  • Music

Year 12 / 13:

Pupils study two, three or four options for a minimum of seven lessons per week, and have supervised study when they are ‘free’. Pupils are offered a wide range of academic and more vocational courses. Many of our students stay on at Sacred Heart school for 6th form, while external students also arrive. Pupils are given the chance to widen their experiences and life skills through our enrichment programme and further develop their independence through supervised library studies lessons. We begin the UCAS process as early as possible in Year 12, with pupils receiving support from their form tutor as well as the pastoral team and a designated member of SLT.

Pupils study three or four options for seven lessons per week, and have supervised study when they are ‘free’.

Option A

Biology
Business Studies
Medical Science
Economics
Further Maths
French
Spanish
History

Option B:

Chemistry
Government and Politics
Graphics
Maths
Psychology
Sociology
Health and Social Care

Option C:

Business Studies
English Literature
Maths
Physics
Psychology
RE
Health and Social Care

Option D:

Economics
Geography
History
Maths
Sociology
Computing

Enrichment (all pupils one lesson a week)

General RE (all pupils one lesson a week)

Year 13:

Pupils study three or four options for seven lessons per week, and have supervised study when they are ‘free’.

Option A

Art
Economics
Graphics
Maths
Physics
Psychology
Sociology

Option B:

Biology
Chemistry
English
Geography
Graphics
Health and Social Care
Psychology

Option C:

Business Studies
Chemistry
Further Maths
French
Government and Politics
Health and Social Care
Maths
Psychology
Sociology

Option D:

Biology
Computing
Economics
History
Maths
RE
Spain

Enrichment (all pupils one lesson a week)

General RE (all pupils one lesson a week)

Assessment

  • All pupils are assessed in all subjects via GCSE style grades in a full set of formal examinations which take place twice a year from year 7. Targets are set for minimum progress based on KS2 SATs.
  • Departments formally review assessment data and pupil progress after each set of exams and departments in conjunction with the pastoral team intervene to challenge any under-achievement.
  • Parents receive reports twice a year. The reports will indicate the progress that pupils have made towards their target grade and an indication of their behaviour and attitude to learning.

Curriculum Review

  • Curriculum implementation and impact is reviewed and quality assured through line management, light touch learning walks and formal lesson observation programmes.
  • The curriculum delivered in each subject is reviewed annually by subject leaders to ensure the sequence of delivery allows pupils to build on their knowledge and that pupils are sufficiently stretched and challenged.
  • The curriculum hours and subjects offered are analysed by the senior leadership team on an annual basis.
  • From this year the Student Leadership Team, parents and pupils will have the opportunity to review the curriculum content and delivery through parent and pupil surveys.

Last edited 30 Jan 2020

Mr L. Williams