Curriculum

Curriculum Intent

Our aim is to provide an excellent all-round education for our students, delivered through a wealth of opportunities and experiences including a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum that fosters a love of learning, drives an aspiration for achievement and prepares our students for life beyond HGS. Our curriculum is set in our selective context to provide our students with the core knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to give them the best chance of success in education and life, maximising cognitive development and developing their academic ability alongside their wider talents and skills. Through this approach, we aim to support their development as resilient, independent citizens who are able to thrive and contribute from an informed perspective to make a real difference in the 21st Century.

Curriculum Implementation

Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and each subject area has its own clear curriculum intent that come together in synergy to create a holistic, balanced curriculum, designed to ensure our students start from a broad base in Years 7 & 8. The subjects construct their curriculum plans and assessment practices in a way that maximises learning in their individual contexts, such that students gain the insight and experience needed to select their GCSE options from an informed perspective in Year 8. These two years set learning expectations high and ensure that enjoyment, enquiry and challenge across the curriculum prepare our students well for examination courses.

The implementation of a three-year Key Stage 4 has been taken in response to feedback from staff, students and parents: our students are able and have a desire to progress towards the highest outcomes based on appropriate stretch and challenge. Our curriculum is designed to maximise that progress and provides as wide a range of opportunity as possible, by ensuring GCSE courses are delivered in both breadth and depth and schemes are designed to give time for students to grapple with challenging content and revisit it effectively in preparation for final examinations. This is set within a wide choice – students have four ‘true’ options and study a minimum of ten GCSEs, providing a wide portfolio of success for them to take forward into the world beyond HGS.

Our curriculum is designed with the following principles implicit across all subjects:

  • Pupils shall develop qualities of imagination and sensitivity;
  • Pupils should be adaptable in a changing world;
  • Pupils should be able to argue rationally and make reasoned judgements;
  • Pupils should develop enquiring minds, be able to learn for themselves and appreciate the importance of completing tasks;
  • Pupils should be able to develop an intelligent interest in the social, political and natural world;
  • Pupils should appreciate diversity, including religious beliefs and spiritual values;
  • Pupils should appreciate the need for altruism and to care for others;
  • Pupils should learn to become independent and also to possess the capability to work in co-operation with others.

The curriculum shall offer the following areas of experience:  

  • Aesthetic / creative
  • Ethical
  • Linguistic
  • Mathematical
  • Scientific
  • Spiritual
  • Social / political / economic
  • Physical

Within these areas of experience, pupils will be encouraged to adopt the following values and attitudes: 

  • Respect for others
  • Curiosity and enthusiasm;
  • Responsibility and self-discipline;
  • Independence in making moral judgements;
  • Sensitivity to the environment;
  • Sympathy with and an insight in to other cultures;
  • Intolerance of cruelty and prejudice;
  • Perseverance in completing a task;
  • The capacity to come to a reasoned judgement;
  • The capacity to put one’s own interests second to those of others. 

The curriculum shall: 

  • As an academy, take note of and broadly apply the National Curriculum in key stages 3 and 4;
  • In Years 7 to 11, ensure all students follow a program of personal development, including citizenship, religious education (RE) and sex and relationship education. A GCSE Qualification is available in RE, though this is not compulsory.
  • Provide a range of learning, thinking and study skills that support collaborative learning, leadership, independent learning and the development of memory and retrieval/recall that maximise chances in examinations.
  • Provide other cross-curricular aspects such as financial capability, and enterprise education;
  • Offer a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities to enhance and support the curriculum that are provided outside school timetabled hours.
  • Be flexible enough to respond to individual needs and to build on prior learning. Within the realms of the selective system, the Governing Body is committed to ensuring equality of access and that all are included and motivated by their learning experiences.

Structure

The Governing Body is committed to the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum that fosters learning across all areas and which values personal, social, moral, spiritual and cultural development, as well as intellectual and academic development. The coloured chart below shows the curriculum model for each year group taught over a two weekly cycle of five 60-minute lessons each day.

The inclusion of a Personal Development (PD) lesson and supplementary activities, delivered by a combined team of subject teachers, form teachers and guest speakers to all students, covers elements of citizenship, religious education (RE), sex and relationship education and careers.

 

Key Stage 3

The following subjects are studied by all students in years 7 and 8:

Art & Design Biology            (Y8 only) Chemistry        (Y8 only) Computing Drama

 

Design Technology English Language English Literature Geography History
Modern Foreign Languages Music Personal Development Physical Education (Core) Physics (Y8 only)
Religious Education (Core) Science            (Y7 only)

 

Key Stage 4

In the Spring Term of Year 8, students choose their GCSE optional subjects to complement the compulsory subjects of English Language and Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Core RE, Core PE. A list of current option subjects is available in the GCSE Options booklet on the school website.

In addition to the above, as part of the mathematics curriculum, the top set undertake FSMQ Additional Mathematics and middle sets GCSE Further Mathematics.

 

Post 16

We are an academic school and at Post 16, students follow an exclusively A-level program of study, with students opting to take three (or in exceptional cases four) A-level subjects. Students choose from approximately 30 subjects and a current list can be found in the sixth form prospectus on the school website. In addition, students can opt to undertake the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and/or the Core Maths qualification, both of which are completed within one academic year.

An enrichment program includes electives, such as volunteering, community service, debating, Duke of Edinburgh scheme, film club, individual and team sports, MedSoc, mock law trials, music and drama, peer mentoring, work experience, Oxbridge and Russell group programs and a very popular House system with numerous competitions.

Further details of subject course specifications and assessment practices can be found on the website.

Structure of two-week timetable (50 teaching periods):

 

Curriculum Impact

We are very proud of the outcomes our students achieve as a result of our curriculum offer and the outstanding teaching and learning they experience throughout their journey with us. Not only are we proud of our success rates in external examinations for all groups and courses, we are also very proud of our success in retention to our Post-16 provision and our incredibly low NEET (not in education, employment or training) figures (0%) following GCSE. In addition to this, we continue to be proud of the number of students who consistently access their first choice of university or apprenticeship after A-level examinations.

The impact of our curriculum offer is measured through a combination of formative and summative assessments (specific details are outlined in our Assessment, Reporting and Recording policy). Through regular, synoptic assessments, our students can demonstrate their growing depth of understanding and knowledge acquisition as they progress through their courses and reinforce their memory and retention/recall skills through such application. Equally, formative assessments form an established part of our practice, informing teacher planning and supporting students in developing skills and embedding knowledge through receipt of timely feedback and support in how to act on that feedback. Formal exam-style assessments in Years 7 and 8 lead into formal examinations from Year 9 onwards as a means of both measuring impact and allowing students practice at sitting formal examinations in an exam setting, thereby building familiarity and resilience to improve performance and reduce anxiety in end of course examinations.

We will undertake a review of our curriculum and assessment processes on an annual basis to ensure that we take account of the latest educational research, government legislation and the views of students, staff, parents and governors in ensuring our curriculum remains fit for purpose and fit for our context and continues to have the highest possible impact on learning and outcomes.