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Curriculum Policy

The purpose of our curriculum is rooted in our vision and core values. It has been designed to enable every individual to achieve and fulfil their potential and in doing so prepare them to achieve success in the future and in their lives beyond school.

Our approach to achieving this is underpinned by our school vision: Success for All and the promotion of what we judge to be important in life – the values of Independence, Community and Excellence.

Our values of Independence, Community and Excellence have informed the principles we have identified to lie behind our curriculum.

Independence - Confident, Determined and Ambitious

Community – Well Mannered, Respectful and Encouraging

Excellence – Motivated, Dedicated and Enthusiastic


We have and continue to establish a curriculum based on 4 key principles. A curriculum that will ensure that the education we provide is:

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Our strategic intent therefore encapsulates our values:

To offer a progressive curriculum that is balanced and diverse, aiming to deliver a high-quality provision with a range of pathways that provide a stimulating and demanding education for students of all abilities - sparking curiosity and inspiring aspirations.

Curriculum Intent

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. 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 balanced, diverse, 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 balanced, diverse knowledge rich curriculum

Pupils have a balanced, diverse 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 motivated, enthusiastic and dedicated learners. The curriculum also lays the foundation for pupils to excel at KS4. 

In year 9 pupils have a clear idea of subjects they want to study at KS4.  Providing them with informed choices at this stage engages them as partners in their learning and leads to improved outcomes and life chances. 

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 values, nurturing respect for others, integrity and a strong sense of moral purpose.  Pupils are well mannered and have high expectations of themselves, understanding 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 balanced and diverse 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, meaning the school fully complies with the Baker Clause. 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.


Curriculum Implementation

At Smithills School we passionately believe in the importance of an exciting and progressive 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 designed to ‘spark curiosity and inspire aspirations’. The curriculum is carefully planned, structured 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 them to retain and build upon key concepts which ultimately maximises their progress.  


Key Stage 3

Each scheme of learning has a planned learning journey with clear statements establishing what pupils need to know, understand and do to achieve their full potential; these learning journeys develop pupils’ critical and analytical thinking, confidence, language development and problem solving. Reading, writing and speaking and listening are integrated into each subject area, and where appropriate tailored interventions address gaps in knowledge and support pupil progress.

Curriculum Hours

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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 them 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 statutory areas by the end of Year 9.


Key Stage 4


The options process is structured in such a way that pupils are guided to select subjects and qualifications which will allow them to be successful whether that be following the EBAC or a more vocational suite of qualifications. The options are designed to stimulate and challenge pupils and to meet the demands of the local, national and international labour market.  Our model 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, RE and Citizenship will always be part of a planned curriculum.


Curriculum Hours


Curriculum Impact


At Smithills School our curriculum will:


  • ensure that schemes 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.

  • promote the EBAC subjects to ensure that pupils can 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. 

  • Data and information on how pupils are progressing 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 formative and summative 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 their child has made, 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 intent and implementation is reviewed through whole school quality assurance procedure: learning walks, learning conversations and work scrutiny.

  • The senior leadership team, middle leaders and teachers regularly review curricula; ensuring that schemes of learning build on prior knowledge and sufficiently stretch and challenge pupils.

  • Termly Principal’s 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.

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