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Curriculum

The Purbrook Park Curriculum 2020/21

The Purbrook Park School curriculum is based upon the fundamental principles of equality, inclusivity, diversity, democracy and mutual support. Within and across subjects and Personal Development time, our ambitious curriculum provides pupils with powerful knowledge, deep understanding and effective skills to keep them safe and healthy, as well as engender a lifelong love of learning.

Our rich and relevant curriculum develops pupils as critical thinkers, powerful communicators, and confident, caring and active citizens.

It explores cultures and perspectives, within and outside the classroom, on a personal, local, national and global level. It challenges and inspires pupils, igniting their imagination, prompting awe and wonder, and catalysing critical thinking, creativity and innovation, through collaborative dialogue, experimentation, problem-solving and discovery.

At the end of the Purbrook Park experience, our pupils can compete with anyone, anywhere, professionally and personally, in the world that is their future.

Purbrook Park School operates a two-week timetable with 50 hours of taught lessons throughout week A and week B.  The school closes to pupils at 2:40pm everyday except Friday, this allows for an hour of dedicated extra-curricular time for each member of staff each week.

Pupils benefit from Personal Development Learning time throughout their time at Purbrook Park School.  From 10:30-10:50am, pupils in all year groups complete carefully planned activities across a term, including: ethos activities, study skills, discussion skills and assemblies.

Our five-year curriculum is designed to be ambitious and give all learners the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. At Purbrook Park School we believe that a carefully planned and structured curriculum is the foundation upon which excellent learning and development is built. The curriculum is designed and implemented in such a way that it builds on prior knowledge and prepares pupils for the next stage in their education.  Our teachers are experts, and we value each subject and its set of essential ideas, facts, stories and concepts which comprise the knowledge we deliver to pupils.  Our curriculum planning interweaves subject specific skills and ensures that pupils build on what they have previously learned.  We have ensured that our Key Stage 3 curriculum is of similar ambition and breadth to the national curriculum.

Pupils receive excellent information and guidance when selecting their options. Most pupils choose to study 4 option subjects. Disadvantaged and SEND pupils are encouraged to opt for challenging pathways.

Lead Teachers 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 careful sequencing, modelling, and retrieval practice. This builds firm foundations for progression to the next level and exam success.

Support for learning

Disadvantaged pupils, and those with SEND, are at the centre of our curriculum thinking and planning. In particular, we ensure that our curriculum meets the needs of vulnerable learners (includes disadvantaged, SEND or Young Carer pupils) by: 

  • prioritising the knowledge and skills that will enhance the cultural capital of these pupils 
  • deliberately teaching tier 3 (subject specific) vocabulary in each subject area 
  • emphasising the outward-facing and global dimension to our curriculum 
  • designing our curriculum in such a way that it benefits all pupils and disproportionately benefits vulnerable learners. Elements of this curriculum design include: careful sequencing of knowledge and skills; quizzing and other methods to ensure the retention of knowledge over time; deliberate practice of key skills. 
  • deliberately tilting systems and structures in their favour e.g. hands-down questioning, marking books and intervention

Subject allocation for each year group is as follows (numbers given are hours per fortnight):

Key Stage 3 - Years 7 & 8 in 2020/21

All pupils in Years 7 & 8 follow a broad and balanced curriculum, studying:

Subject

Hours per Fortnight

Comments

English

8

 

Mathematics

7

 

Science

7

 

History

3

 

Geography

3

 

Religious Studies

2

 

Computing

1

 

Art

2

 

Design Technology

3

Includes, Textiles, 3D Design & Food Technology.

Pupils rotate through a carousel structure

Dance

2

 

Drama

2

 

Music

2

 

Physical Education

4

 

PSE

1

 

Modern Foreign Language

3

Pupils choose either French or Spanish on entry to the school.  Some pupils in year 8 follow a dual language curriculum.

Personal Development Learning is delivered for 20mins a day for 4 days a week by tutors.

Setting in Years 7 & 8

In Year 7 & 8, pupils are taught in set classes in Mathematics. These sets are determined by KS2 data, internal assessment and class work. Regular assessments inform changes of class according to individual pupil educational need.

In all other subjects, pupils are taught in mixed attainment groups.

Key stage 4 - Year 9 in 2020/21

At Purbrook Park School we believe in pupils pursuing their interests and gaining success in the context of a broad and balanced education. The rationale behind our three year Key Stage 4 is to create a less stressful and more personalised route of study for pupils ensuring a broad offer of four subjects can be followed.

Pupils complete their full national curriculum entitlement at KS3 in all subjects taught discretely. Pupils are challenged and engaged from day 1. There is no behaviour dip or drop of standards.

Maintaining pathways to KS5 is a priority which would be seriously compromised by three options over two years, rather than four options over three years. Equally, the profile of our pupils and rigorous careers guidance embedded within the options process mean that pupils are stretched and challenged to select subjects that will benefit them as they move on.

By structuring KS4 over three years, pupils stay calm, healthy and balanced whilst maintaining greater options for KS5. Pupil and parental feedback repeatedly tells us that studying GCSEs over three years reduces workload, anxiety and stress.

The core curricula of English, Maths and Science have different routes available through them, suited to the ability of the pupil. The Key Stage 4 Curriculum is designed to include Core Subjects studied by everyone and Option Choices made by individual pupils. The Core Curriculum includes the following subjects: English and English Literature, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Personal Development, including Careers, Sex & Relationship Education.

All pupils study:

Subject

Hours per Fortnight

Comments

English

9

Both Language and Literature are followed

Mathematics

8

 

Science

10

Combined and Separate Sciences followed – this is determined at the end of year 9

Religious Studies

4

All pupils will follow the GCSE in Religious Studies

Option Subjects

4 per subject (16)

Each option subject receives 4 hours per fortnight. Pupils 'opt' for four subjects with bespoke guidance to ensure that a balanced curriculum maintained.

Physical Education

3

 

Personal Development Learning is delivered for 20mins a day for 4 days a week by tutors.

Religious Studies in Year 9

All pupils in Year 9 follow the GCSE in Religious Studies.  Religious Studies is a compulsory subject at KS4 on the National Curriculum.  We believe that by studying GCSE Religious Studies it develops pupils’ all-round character and promotes a mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, and for those without faith.  It encourages pupils to form opinions around many ethical issues in the world around them and promotes healthy opinions and how to share these in a mature and sensitive way.  Pupils are taught how to listen to and respond to other pupils viewpoints in a respectful and non-judgmental way.

Key stage 4 - Year 10 in 2020/21

All pupils study:

Subject

Hours per Fortnight

Comments

English

9

Both Language and Literature are followed

Mathematics

8

 

Science

9

Combined and Separate Sciences followed

(Separate Science use one option block)

PSE

2

 

Option Subjects

4 per subject (17)

Each option subject receives 4 hours per fortnight. Pupils 'opt' for four subjects with bespoke guidance to ensure that a balanced curriculum maintained. (Option A has 5 Hours)

Physical Education

5

 

Personal Development Learning is delivered for 20mins a day for 4 days a week by tutors.

Key stage 4 - Year 11 in 2020/21

All pupils study:

Subject

Hours per Fortnight

Comments

English

9

Both Language and Literature are followed

Mathematics

8

 

Science

9

Combined and Separate Sciences followed

(Separate Science use one option block)

Option Subjects

5 per subject (20)

Each option subject receives 5 hours per fortnight. Pupils 'opt' for four subjects with bespoke guidance to ensure that a balanced curriculum maintained.  (Increased due to COVID-19)

Physical Education

4

 

Personal Development Learning is delivered for 20mins a day for 4 days a week by tutors.

GCSE Option Subjects 2020/21

The wide range of option choices encompasses both academic and vocational qualifications and allows for learning pathways both within and beyond Key Stage 4.  Pupils must select one subject from History, Geography, French or Spanish, they can then select 3 others.

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

History

Geography

History

Geography

History

Geography

French

Spanish

French

Spanish

French

Spanish

BTEC Sport

BTEC Dance

BTEC Sport

BTEC Dance

BTEC Sport

BTEC Dance

Drama

Photography

Drama

Photography

Drama

Photography

Cam Nat Enterprise & Marketing

Art

Art

Cam Nat IT

Art

Cam Nat IT

3D Design

Music

3D Design

Music

3D Design

Music

NCFE Music Technology

Food Preparation & Nutrition

NCFE Music Technology

Food Preparation & Nutrition

NCFE Music Technology

Sociology

Textiles

Sociology

Textiles

Sociology

Textiles

 

Cam Nat IT

 

Psychology

 

 

 

All subjects are GCSEs unless stated otherwise.

Vocational Subjects

Pupils are permitted to choose a maximum of 2 Vocational Subjects.  The subjects that we offer are:

BTEC Performing Arts (Dance)

These qualifications allow our pupils the greatest chance of achieving their full potential. Pupils engage well with the course and often surpass their target grades. They develop important skills that GCSE PE cannot with the varied presentation of coursework as well as the non-negotiable deadlines leading to improved time management and ability to work under pressure. Through the course we also teach the pupils leadership skills which develops many of the social and employability skills that tie in so closely with our core curriculum.

BTEC Performing Arts (Dance)

The BTEC is more reflective of the performing arts industry. The GCSE really only allows you to study Contemporary dance whereas the BTEC allows the flexibility to study many different styles and is more useful for those wishing to enter the industry as a performer.

NCFE – Music Technology

This course enables pupils to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of the music technology industry. It is suitable for pupils who are motivated and challenged by learning through hands-on experiences. The qualification will allow pupils to gain practical skills in creating music using technology.Pupils that select this course will not be able to select GCSE Music.

Cambridge National Enterprise & Marketing & Cambridge National IT

Enterprise & Marketing and IT are both subjects in which pupils need practical as well as theoretical skills.   The Cambridge Nationals qualification as opposed to a GCSE allows pupils to produce practical work (using Awarding Body set assignments) to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the skills they have gained.By giving pupils the opportunity to demonstrate practical skills (producing and delivering a pitch, for example, in Enterprise & Marketing, or producing a database/spreadsheet under a client’s requirements in IT) they are able to show an understanding, practically, as well as in theory.The Cambridge Nationals are designed to allow transferable skills, whereas the GCSEs in these subjects, tend to be based more on the theory rather than the practical application.