Curriculum Policy - Senior School

Aims

The curriculum aims to provide opportunities for all pupils to learn and to achieve their potential. We are keen to ensure that girls receive a broad and balanced education, and that they undertake a wide range of educational experiences aimed at enriching and extending their abilities and understanding. There is a strong emphasis on enrichment generally: explicitly and through cross-curricular links, educational visits (both day and residential) and cultural visits and links with industry and the community.

The curriculum has been planned to take into account the ages, aptitudes and needs of all pupils (including those with an EHCP plan). It also ensures that we do not undermine the fundamental values of democracy and the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. The curriculum has also been planned to ensure that it is:

Broad - so that it provides each girl with a wide range of experiences, knowledge and skills, fostering educational development and encouraging independent learning

Balanced - so that each area of the curriculum is allowed sufficient time for its contribution to be effective

Flexible and differentiated - so that what is taught and how it is taught is matched to the learning needs of individual girls and fully develops their abilities and aptitudes

The curriculum aims to foster the development of the qualities and skills which will enable all pupils to achieve success and fulfilment, particularly:

  • to give pupils experience in linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human and social, physical and aesthetic and creative education;
  • to encourage and stimulate the best possible progress and highest attainment for all pupils;
  • to develop pupils' enjoyment of, appetite for and commitment to learning and achieving;
  • to equip pupils with the essential learning skills of speaking, listening, literacy, numeracy and information technology and the skills to enquire and make connections across areas of learning;
  • to build on pupils' strengths and interests and develop their confidence in their capacity to learn and work independently and collaboratively;
  • to enable pupils to think creatively and critically and to solve problems;
  • to promote pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
  • to develop pupils' physical skills and encourage them to recognise the importance of pursuing a healthy lifestyle and keeping themselves and others safe;
  • to access accurate and up-to-date careers guidance that is presented in an impartial manner and enables them to make informed choices about a broad range of career options, whilst helping them to fulfil their potential;
  • to encourage respect for other people - paying particular regard to: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation;
  • to prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life in British society.

Issues of learning and teaching are high on the professional agenda of the school and staff are regularly involved in discussions about such issues - on curriculum development, assessment, homework and the provision for individual needs - through whole school, academic board and departmental meetings and through working parties. We aim to use a wide range of teaching styles and methods. Heads of Department take responsibility for the management and monitoring of learning and teaching in their areas and members of the SMT take responsibility for monitoring and evaluating learning and teaching overall and the curriculum through the line management system.

Learning and teaching is supported by a well resourced Library in the Main School and Independent Learning Centre in the Sixth Form Centre and a well qualified Librarian.

The development of spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness is included within the curriculum at all key stages. All staff are asked to consider how pupils’ learning in their subject area builds confidence and increases self-esteem. The SMSC dimension is particularly extended in PSHEE, and RS and multicultural themes are explored in many subject areas. A mapping exercise is carried out at intervals across the curriculum.

Fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and beliefs are developed across the curriculum. A mapping exercise is carried out at intervals across the curriculum.

Assemblies are held on three days each week and these provide further opportunities to explore spiritual and moral issues. In the extra-curricular programme the Christian youth groups and debating clubs are well attended. Charitable work features highly in the work of the school; pupils are encouraged to support local and national charities through voluntary work and fund-raising. Pupils are also aware of the global dimension, visiting school in various parts of the world and supporting pupils in India. The school has links with schools in Spain, France, Germany, India and China.

The school is committed to providing a planned programme of careers education, advice and guidance for all girls in years 9-13 in addition to the PSHEE learning provision which is given across all years. The programme helps pupils become more self aware and enables them to leave school with personal skills and academic achievements to help them achieve their aspirations and make a successful transition into higher education and/or career. The national framework for careers guidance is followed as far as possible and there is input from the Morrisby Organisation and Sheffield Futures (see also Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance Policy CEIAG which can be found on our school website).

We achieved the Career Mark due to the high quality of our Careers provision which included a thorough examination of our curriculum and how it prepares our students for education, employment and training. The Career Mark award gave us the Quality in Careers Standard as recommended in ‘Careers Guidance and Inspiration and Schools’, the Head of Careers has the Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and the Morrisby Organisation, who provide our students with on-line and face-to-face impartial advice, are Matrix accredited.

By the end of the following key stages all pupils will:

KS3

Have a greater awareness of themselves

Know where the careers information is to be found

Be aware of its implications towards GCSE options

KS4

Choose and have chosen an appropriate route and acted to secure this option by researching the necessary information, advice and guidance.

Be aware of their post-16 options and which might be best for them.

Have participated in work experience or some work related learning.

Know where the careers information centres are and how to use them.

Know who the Head of Careers is and how to contact her.

Complete Morrisby tests and receive individual reports and interviews.

KS5

Know who the Careers staff are, where to find the Careers reference library and how to use it.

Have gained increased awareness of their options post18 and matched these to their personal ambitions and achievements

Have realistic expectations of post-18 options

Have an increased awareness of their personal attributes and skills and have developed a CV and action plan.

Know how to use their future wise membership.

Be aware of the Minerva network

Know who to ask for help regarding careers advice and higher education.

Continue with work experience where appropriate.

Pupils of all ages who have limited English are supported by specialist staff at all stages of their education. Pupils of all ages who have special educational needs are supported by specialist staff at all stages of their education.

Key Stage 3

The curriculum in Years 7 - 9 takes account of the National Curriculum and extends beyond it.

Various strands of Technology (textiles, printing and ceramics) are taught in a course as part of a carousel with emphasis on designing and making a product, using new technologies, and evaluating the process and finished article. Cookery was successfully introduced in 2015 as part of a carousel with emphasis on designing and making products, with a particular focus on healthy eating.

In Year 7 pupils choose to study two languages from French, German and Spanish. They then study these languages until the end of Year 9. In Year 8 all pupils start a 2 year Latin course. Pupils joining us at the beginning of Y8 have lessons in 2 languages from French, German and Spanish with in class or lunchtime support from a specialist teacher if necessary. They also attend Latin lessons with their form. If a pupil joins the school from January of Y8 or at the beginning of Y9 she will study one or two languages, depending on previous experience, and Latin with support if necessary.

Pupils who have English as a second language are given specialist support if parental approval is received. Specialist teaching is also available for dyslexic pupils.

The majority of lessons are taught in mixed ability form groups. The timetable follows a 5 x 1 hour period day, 25 periods per week, and the curriculum structure at Key Stage 3 is as follows:

SUBJECT

NUMBER OF 1 HOUR LESSONS PER WEEK

Y7

Y8

Y9

Art

1

1

1

Biology

1.5

1

1.5

Chemistry

1.5

1

1.5

Drama

0.5

-

-

English

2.5

3

3

2 of French, German, Spanish

2 x 2

2 x 1.5

2 x 2

Geography

1.5

1.5

1

History

1.5

1.5

1

Computing

0.5

0.5

0.5

Learning to Learn

0.5

-

-

Mathematics

3

3

3

Music/Cookery

1

-

1

Drama/Cookery

-

1

-

Fitness/Music

-

1

-

Drama/Learning to Learn

-

-

1

PSHE

0.5

0.5

0.5

Physical Education

2

2

2

Physics

1.5

1

1.5

Religious Studies

1

1.5

1

Technology

1

1

-

Latin

-

1.5

1.5

A two week timetable cycle operates so there are no ½ hour lessons.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 all pupils follow a core curriculum of English (Language and Literature), Mathematics, Science and a Foreign Language. All girls are encouraged to study at least one Humanity (History, Geography and Religious Studies). Nine subjects are normally taken at GCSE level at the end of Y11.

The following subjects are usually available as options at GCSE:

Art and Design, Business Studies, Computer Science, Drama, Economics, Food Preparation and Nutrition, French, Geography, German, History, Latin, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies, Spanish.

Student choice is a priority and the timetable is drawn up to try and accommodate as many of the girls' first choices of subjects as possible.

In addition to GCSE subjects a carousel in Careers and General Studies is also followed, alongside a PSHE lesson. This covers study skills, health education, social and moral issues, economic understanding, politics, public institutions and local and world affairs.

Physical Education remains an important part of the curriculum (two hours per week in Y10 and Y11) and is offered as an additional GCSE subject as well as in the Options system.

Full course GCSE subjects at Key Stage 4 have a timetable allocation of 2.5 x 1 hour lessons per subject with the exception of Mathematics (3 hours in Y10 and Y11) and English (4 hours in Y10 and Y11). The average GCSE teaching group size is 18.

Recommendations for entry to a lower tier at Mathematics GCSE may be made on the basis of a pupil's mock examination results. The student will be advised of these recommendations and parental agreement sought. If it is felt appropriate a pupil may study a reduced number of GCSE subjects and attend additional lessons in subject areas such as Science, English, Mathematics and/or have supported study time in the Library.

A range of Twilight GCSEs are on offer to pupils. The subjects currently on offer are Dance, French, Geology, Greek and Music.

Sixth Form

Most of our Y11 students continue into the Sixth Form at Sheffield Girls’ and we are pleased to welcome a number of new students into our Sixth Form from other schools. The majority of students take 3 A Level subjects although some take 4 subjects. They may also choose to study an AS Level in Maths in Y12. In Y12 all students take part in an enrichment programme covering personal development, work in the community, work experience, work shadowing and subject or employment conferences. Enrichment cookery sessions in our newly opened cookery room are also available for Year 12 and 13 students. These provide instruction in creating easy, cheap and nutritious meals in readiness for life at University. The tutorial programme throughout the Sixth Form is comprehensive, comprising lectures, study skills programmes and preparation for University life.

There are currently 26 subjects offered at A level:

Art & Design, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Computer Science, Drama & Theatre, Economics, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Geology, History, Latin, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Modern Languages: French, German, Spanish, Music, Philosophy of Religion with Ethics, Physical Education, Physics, Politics, Psychology and Sociology.

A BTEC Level 3 in IT is also available.

All students study for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) A qualification which promotes intellectual curiosity and allows student to undertake an independent piece of research in a topic of their own choice. The AQA Baccalaureate is also available for those students wishing to extend their learning.

As at KS5, student choice is a priority and the timetable is drawn up to try and accommodate as many of the students' first choices of subjects as possible. The average size of teaching groups is 9 at A level.

A level subjects have 5 x 1 hour lessons in Y12 and Y13.

There are entry requirements for the Sixth Form: a basic requirement of seven A* to C (or equivalent) GCSE passes, including English and Mathematics, but also normally grade B (or 6) or ideally higher in the subjects to be studied at A Level.

Options Advice

Students are asked to make choices about their GCSE and A Level subjects. Guidance is provided as outlined below:

CHOICE

GUIDANCE

TIMING

GCSE options

Discussion in PSHE lessons, options booklet and information evening. Form groups meet with Head of Careers.

Spring Term of Y9

A Level options

Y10 employability conference, Futurescape programme, Morrisby assessments

Individual careers interview, sixth form options booklet, information morning and interviews with SMT, Head of Y11 or Head of Sixth, transition mentoring scheme.

A level taster lessons

Post GCSE results interviews

Summer Term of Y10

Autumn Term of Y11

Spring Term of Y11

August

A Level options

Tutorial sessions

Optional post AS results/mocks interview

Spring Term of Y12

August

Subject staff offer advice about how well a student is likely to cope with their subject and advice about combinations of subjects is available from members of the careers department. The school will counsel a pupil if, for example, her preferred combination seems too restrictive.

The school may need to remove a subject from the list of option choices if the numbers opting for the subject are considered not viable or not sufficient to provide a suitable educational experience. The school is committed to making every effort to accommodate each pupil's preferred combination of subjects but should this not be possible advice on alternatives will be offered.

Changes to Options

If students wish to change their options they need to discuss the matter with the Senior Assistant Head Academic or Deputy Head. It is not always possible to transfer a student to another group and the student must continue to attend all lessons in the originally agreed courses until such a time as the Assistant Head Academic or Deputy Head has ascertained that a move is desirable and possible and parents have been consulted.

Likewise if students wish to drop a subject they need to discuss the matter with the Head of Year and either the Senior Assistant Head Academic (for Key Stages 3 and 4) or the Director of Sixth Form (for A Level subjects). Sixth Form students will also be referred to the Head of Careers as career and higher education opportunities could be severely reduced. Parents/Carers will be consulted and their agreement sought before any final decision is reached.

Responsibility:Updated:Review:
SW8/188/19