WHOLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Smithills School is a community of high aspirations and expectations where all members excel to achieve their full potential and make positive contributions to school and society.
At Smithills School our vision of ‘Success for All’ underpins all that we do. We set high expectations to ensure that every child excels across all aspects of school life.
Our curriculum consists of more than the statutory range of subjects. It encompasses all the learning experiences within the school and includes not only knowledge and skills, but the beliefs and values which underpin the relationships within the school community. As a nurturing and ambitious community, we seek to promote the academic, personal, physical, social and moral development of each child.
Our curriculum is pupil-centred; we strive for academic excellence within a balanced and diverse programme, while at the same time recognising and rewarding non-academic achievement. The curriculum removes any potential barriers to learning, allowing pupils to achieve their full potential. We offer a wide range of opportunities to develop the breadth of knowledge and skills which enables pupils to become responsible, educated citizens; creating excellent life opportunities and equipping them for life in modern day society.
At Smithills School pupils will:
experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum
be literate and numerate
have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement
enhance their cultural, moral, social, mental and physical development
be prepared for life beyond the school
Pupils experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum
Pupils have a broad, balanced and stimulating curriculum at Key stage 3 and are exposed to a wide range of subjects and opportunities. The curriculum builds on KS2 learning and develops cultural capital through all subjects; cultivating inquisitive, enthusiastic and independent learners. The curriculum also lays the foundation for pupils to excel at KS4.
In year 8 pupils have a clear idea of subjects they like the most and offering a choice at this stage engages them as partners in their learning and leads to improved outcomes and life chances.
We ask pupils to spend time on four chosen areas of interest in Year 9. These courses are not externally examined, but aim to develop the knowledge and skills pupils require to complete and ultimately be successful in their educational journey. At KS4, the courses are carefully planned to ensure depth of learning and allow content to be thoroughly revisited; preparing pupils for external examinations at the end of the course.
Pupils will be literate and numerate
To successfully access all elements of the curriculum we recognise that developing pupils’ confidence in communication through language and oracy is essential not just in school, but also to prepare them for life beyond school. Pupils have opportunities to discuss, challenge and build on other points of view, enhancing their vocabulary and language use. Numeracy skills are threaded through a range of subjects via clear curriculum links. Pupils who arrive with below expected maths and reading skills receive timely and incisive intervention. We ensure pupils are literate and numerate empowering them to thrive and access the next stage of their education, employment or training.
Pupils will have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement
Smithills School has an inclusive ethos centred on developing a culture of high aspirations and ambition for all pupils. Throughout our curriculum we embed our Smithills Standards and values, nurturing respect for others, integrity and a strong sense of moral purpose. Pupils have high expectations of themselves and understand how their positive choices and engagement within their curriculum impact on their learning.
Pupils will enhance their cultural, moral, social, mental and physical development
At Smithills School we place great importance on preparing pupils for life in modern day Britain. This is achieved through a rich, broad and balanced academic curriculum which runs alongside an innovative, pupil led SMSC curriculum.
Our SMSC curriculum was awarded the SMSC Gold Award in 2018 for its pioneering project based approach which engages pupils in an extensive range of issues that are present in our modern world; allowing pupils to develop a deep understanding of issues by debating, researching and evaluating others’ views and opinions. Pupils are encouraged to formalise their own personal views on these issues and present their learning in creative and individualised ways.
The curriculum at Smithills School is designed to encourage pupils to develop healthy life style choices and be aware of emotional wellbeing and mental health issues.
Be prepared for life beyond school
Pupils are fully aware of the importance of using their time to prepare for life beyond school. Through our Careers, Information, Advice and Guidance curriculum we encourage pupils to explore all the possible options open to them at the completion of their studies; allowing pupils to make informed choices about the pathways they may follow post 16.
We develop the best practices in careers guidance by closely aligning our curriculum to the Gatsby Benchmarks and by facilitating encounters with local employees, visits to post 16 providers and universities from Year 7. It is our intention that all pupils will complete a work experience programme in year 10, allowing them to contextualise their learning and understand how it prepares them for life beyond school.
We encourage pupils to take part in a range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities. Pupils are also made aware of the competitive nature of applying for colleges, universities and employment and how developing a range of experiences and expertise at school can support them in the application process.
At Smithills School we passionately believe in the importance of an exciting, broad and balanced curriculum, underpinned by quality first teaching. Our teachers are experts in their subject areas and a number of our teaching staff are SLEs and/or examiners for the qualifications we offer. This ensures that our pupils receive the very best quality of education.
Our clearly sequenced year 7 to 11 curriculum is dynamic and meets the needs of our pupils. The curriculum is carefully planned and structured and is designed and implemented in such a way that it builds on prior knowledge and prepares pupils for the next stage in their education. This is complimented by the school’s four part lesson structure which ensures that lessons are engaging, promote deep thinking and discussion, and are suitably differentiated. Pupils have opportunities to embed and recall knowledge through techniques such as interleaving of topics and retrieval practice; allowing pupils to retain and build upon key concepts which ultimately maximises their progress.
Key Stage 3
The curriculum at Key Stage 3 allows pupils to experience a range of subjects that are beyond those required by the national curriculum.
Each scheme of learning has a planned learning journey with clear statements establishing what pupils need to know, understand and do, to achieve their aspirational route; these learning journeys in core subjects, humanities, oracy, PE, the arts and technology develop pupils’ critical and analytical thinking, confidence, language development and problem solving. Reading, writing and speaking and listening are taught as both specific curricula and integrated into each subject area, and where appropriate tailored interventions address gaps in knowledge and support pupil progress.
Further to the timetabled programmes of study pupils are encouraged to participate in a carefully designed enrichment curriculum which provides cultural experiences, promotes wellbeing and helps pupils to develop an awareness of their place in local and international communities.
At the end of Key Stage 3 pupils will have increased their cultural capital, have an awareness of a range of strategies to promote positive wellbeing, and have received personal advice and guidance to allow them to make informed decisions for the next stage of their educational journey.
The national curriculum content is carefully tracked to ensure that pupils have covered all areas of non-statutory KS4 subjects by the end of Year 8.
In Year 8 pupils choose 4 subjects in addition to the core of English, maths, science, PE, SMSC lessons, to study in depth in year 9. This is a deliberate action to engage pupils and enable them to select subjects they want to develop further, along with providing depth and breadth over a three year course. These gateway courses are not externally examined but lay the foundations for KS4. At the beginning of year 9 pupils are able to move between subjects within option blocks thereby ensuring that they are satisfied with their option choices at the start of KS4. If a pupil decides to change their option this will be done with support and guidance from their Director of Learning.
Key Stage 4
Options are structured in such a way to allow pupils a free choice, which permits equal access to all subjects. The options are designed to stretch and challenge pupils and to meet the demands of the local, national and international labour market. Pupils are offered a mixture of practical and academic subjects from all areas of the curriculum. Within the option subjects, the school offers different accreditation routes including academic and vocational options. This provides pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum, but still affords flexibility to maximise the outcomes achieved by each individual. This model also preserves the widest possible choice for progression routes post 16 as every pupil will have a greater range of subjects on which to choose future opportunities for education and training.
Smithills serves a diverse, multicultural community which welcomes and celebrates over seventeen ethnicities and forty different languages. As such, a high quality citizenship and religious education provides pupils with a clear understanding , appreciation and respect of the values, faiths and cultures of others. It also develops the knowledge and skills pupils need to become responsible citizens and play a full and active part in society. Therefore, in addition to pupils following the statutory RE and SMSC curriculum, they will study either RE or Citizenship.
At Smithills School our curriculum will:
ensure that sequences of learning build on previous knowledge and skills along with laying the foundation for subsequent progression.
meet the needs of all pupils; enabling them to develop the knowledge, skills and fundamental British Values that will allow them to be active citizens in modern day Britain.
allow pupils to fulfil their potential; academically, personally, physically, socially and morally, and be successful.
prepare pupils to make informed choices at the end of each key stage and beyond.
prepare pupils for the next stage of their education, employment or training.
We will promote the EBAC subjects to ensure that pupils are able to access the widest possible post 16 education.
ensure pupils are literate and numerate to allow them to be successful in their work.
Assessment and use of Data
All pupils are given an aspirational target based upon their Key Stage 2 data. Pupils’ progress is tracked across the curriculum against a flight path to ensure they are making progress. This target is referred to as a Route.
Each subject has a set of Step Descriptors which identifies key knowledge and skills pupils need to master for each grade.
Data and information on how pupils are progressing against their route is shared with pupils and parents. As a result, pupils are engaged in their learning, knowing which grade they are working at and what to do to improve.
Teachers use assessment data to inform their planning, to implement any necessary interventions and revisit any gaps in knowledge or misunderstandings, allowing pupils to make rapid progress.
Regular low stakes quizzes/tests ensure pupils embed knowledge into their long term memory. They are then assessed by a combination of self and teacher assessments. Summative assessments take place regularly throughout the year.
Parents receive between 2-3 interim reports per year. The reports indicate the progress that pupils have made towards their route, along with an attitude to learning grade.
Curriculum Review and Evaluation
We ensure that our curriculum is regularly evaluated to meet the needs of our pupils:
Curriculum implementation is reviewed through the whole school quality assurance procedure: learning walks, learning conversations and work scrutiny.
The senior leadership team and subject leaders regularly review curricula; ensuring that sequences of learning build on prior knowledge and that pupils are sufficiently stretched and challenged.
Termly Principal’s Data and Curriculum meetings ensure that the implementation of the curriculum is having a positive impact on pupils’ progress and outcomes.
The curriculum hours and subjects offered are analysed by the Senior Leadership Team and trustees on an annual basis.