Curriculum Rationale

The curriculum is much more than just lessons.  It includes the ethos, attitudes and relationships which create the high quality of life in our school.

Our aim is to provide a broad, balanced and extensive curriculum that meets the needs and aspirations of every young person and leaves them well prepared for their future.
We organise the curriculum by teaching our pupils in nine week cycles of work. Each cycle starts with an assessment of prior knowledge so teachers know what each pupil already knows and where there are misconceptions.  

This information is used to inform the teachers planning and subsequent teaching.  Marking is an active part of lessons, however, in the middle of a cycle teachers will evaluate each pupil’s progress and provide guidance for the remainder of the module.  At the end of the cycle, each pupil will be assessed on the learning that has taken place in previous weeks.  We will communicate this information to you in the form of a simple Progress Report.  This will be repeated in all subjects and for all cycles throughout the year.  
We believe in supporting students to develop independence. We put a lot of emphasis on to recall of knowledge and then once the knowledge is embedded we develop students ability to think more deeply and apply this knowledge to different scenarios. This is seen clearly in our assessment and homework model.

In Year 7-10, cycles 1 and 3 the students assessment is short knowledge based questions to ensure they have the tools at their disposal to answer more complex in depth questions. In cycles 2 and 4 the assessment is in two parts. One part knowledge recall and one part more complex questions which require the application of knowledge. Some subjects may choose to allow students to have knowledge organisers for part 2. Year 11-13 is a mixture of the two and also includes exam style questions and past papers.

Homework for each year group is self quizzing, using our homemade knowledge organiser. The quantity is dependent on the year group and KS4 (year 10 and 11) also have application of knowledge questions to complete. Mathematics use Hegarty Maths as opposed to self quizzing.
The curriculum in Key Stage 3 is organised in ability bands.  In core subjects students are set and in practical subjects students normally work in mixed ability groups.

This enables us to focus our teaching and support every child as a learner, challenging them to achieve at the highest level.  Students are observed and assessed regularly to ensure the accuracy of their banding and progression through the bands is common.  

Year 7 and Year 8 focuses on giving every child the widest experience possible across the arts, languages, humanities and technical subjects whilst maintaining a strong focus on the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Britain and PE. This enables students to make an informed choice at the end of Year 8, when they narrow their curriculum  slightly in preparation for their external exams at the end of Key Stage 4. 
In Key Stage 4 the curriculum for students in Year 10 and Year 11 is a mixture of both core and optional subjects and is structured to allow for maximum flexibility of choice.  Most students will follow courses leading to 10 GCSEs although alternative vocational courses are available in school.  A booklet giving details of all courses is produced and an options evening is held in Year 8 to explain the guided choice process.
Throughout their time with us our young people study a dynamic Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education and Citizenship programme.  The course is targeted to the age and stage of the young people and supplemented by focused collapsed days across the school year.  The programme includes a breadth of areas of study from Relationships and Sex Education to Politics and includes preparation for examinations and quality careers information for each young person.  All elements combine to help students grow and become confident adults and future global citizens. Modern Britain is fundamental in developing tolerance to our young people, ensuring they can see two sides to an argument and developing their cultural awareness. We believe that these skills are crucial in their character development. Whilst we ensure all students complete Geography or History, our numbers completing the full EBACC are slightly lower due to the importance we place on Modern Britain.
Stoke Damerel Community College strives to ensure that the design of the curriculum is responsive to the needs of its learners. We believe a curriculum should be broad and balanced, but also provide our young people with exciting and varied educational experiences. Whilst it builds their character, it should also equip each student for progression and success and give them the “currency” of qualifications so that all possible future pathways are open to them. 

Our curriculum is based on our guiding principles:  No barriers to success.  No ceiling to achievement.  No excuses for underperformance. Our curriculum offers a broad range of opportunities matched to individual needs, interests and aspirations with progression pathways that will lead to further education and employment. There will be support and challenge for all students, giving them the skills and qualifications that will prepare them for life in the 21st Century. Through our PSE programme and our Stoke Damerel Six our curriculum builds character through an understanding and knowledge of the social, moral, spiritual and cultural context of our times. 

We believe that our curriculum planning starts before our students have joined Stoke Damerel Community College through our extensive transition programme. Our feeder Primary Schools are visited by a member of our Leadership Team and our Learning Manager for Year 7, and a bespoke package around transition has been carefully planned and implemented to ensure that all students needs are met and they are challenged from the outset. This starts their journey with us, providing us with information on prospective students in order to make sure that they have a well-supported and positive start. The SENCO will visit SEND and vulnerable students to make their transition more personalised and bespoke. Students with low KS2 SATs scores and a low reading age who would struggle to adapt immediately to the demands of secondary education, embark on our foundation curriculum. These students are taught in smaller groups, receive additional literacy and numeracy lessons as well as regular one to one support with our interventions team. They are given extra English and literacy input instead of French with a view to these students being able to access more of a mainstream curriculum later when their comprehension, reading age, writing skills and technical accuracy have improved. The year group is split into two populations x and y, this enables 60 students in set one to support the notion of a self fulfilling prophecy. This is the case in English, Maths, and Science although beyond this students are generally in slightly mixed ability groups.

As our ‘nurture’ students develop the skills we begin to work with them and support them into a more mainstream setting. Alternatively, some students move out of the class for specific subjects. This gives all children the best possible chance of success.

We have sent every single Maths and English teacher into one of our feeder primary schools to spend at least one day looking at the depth of detail and challenge our future students are exposed to whilst in years 5 and 6.

Students choose their options in Year 8 and we aim to offer a wide range of subjects and ensure a balanced and broad curriculum. We encourage the more able to meet the EBACC criteria and ensure all students do Geography or History. We also offer a nurture pathway for approximately 10 students who need a slightly alternative curriculum to not only meet their needs but to also give them the best chance of success. With option subjects starting in Year 9 we build the facility for a limited number of students to change course if required.

All students read a classic novel everyday in tutor time. We know through research the impact that raising reading ages has on a child's educational performance. We are mindful that on average our students have had less words spoken/read to them than the average student and this supports in rectifying this. Through the choice of the novels it also enables students to discuss a wide range of cultural issues within their tutor group. Finally, and perhaps more importantly it helps them develop a love of reading and encourages them to get lost in books in their own time! In years 7 and 8 we have a daily ‘Drop Everything and Read’ programme. The students bring their own books and the teacher also models reading to the class.

Why Modern Britain?
All students study Modern Britain  a course based around fundamental British Values. We believe this teaches our young people to be accepting  of others, respectful, understand how to have different opinions and share them appropriately, consider other views on issues and raise awareness of a range of religions and lifestyles.

The PSHE curriculum  develops students understanding of themselves and others, allowing them to communicate and understand their emotions.  In Year 7 the focus is on friendships and positive relationships. In Year 8 we discuss consent and the implications on young people. 

Collapsed Days
Collapse Curriculum events allow students to spend extended time dealing with specific topics related to health, SMSC, relationships, diversity and careers.

Curriculum Provision
There is a planned programme of learning experiences as part of students’ entitlement to CEIAG, which is mapped against the framework for careers, employability and enterprise (Career Development Institute) for Year 7 to Year 13. 
This enables young people to:
Develop themselves through career and work-related education – Self Development 
Learn about careers and the world of work – Career Exploration
Develop career management and employability skills – Career Management

The impact of this is demonstrated through our below national NEET figures at the end of both year 11 and year 13.

Subject Specific
For information around how the curriculum is built within subject specific areas please refer to the subject Intent, Implementation and Impact documents.

The Wider Curriculum at Stoke Damerel Sixth Form

To improve students understanding and life chances through focussing on:
Leadership and Service

Rationale: an attempt to close the gaps in student’s skills and make them more appealing to employers and universities. 

The Wednesday 5 Programme 
(6 strands delivered on a needs basis with some aspects needing more time depending on delivery and assessment.) Some of the sessions will be stand alone and reacting to student needs. Tutors will keep a record sheet of what sessions the students have attended.

Accreditation  - EPQ / Prince’s Trust / D of E / The Edge / Sports Leaders / Young Enterprise.
Extras - First Aid / Cookery / Finance
Well-Being - Arts / Exercise / Clubs / Drama
Futures - Careers / University / WEX
Community - Mentoring / Volunteering
Stretch - Debating Society / Reading Scholars / Exeter / Inspire2Involve

The Role of the Tutor and the Tutor Programme 
Focus on the students performance in school and have an overview of each tutee’s attendance,  academic achievement, emotional health and learning behaviours. The tutor is the first point of call for both parents and staff with concerns or information.
The day to day rationale will be:
Cultural awareness - debate and research news stories.
Revise, Revisit, Review - checking students are revisiting recent work.
Wider reading - encourage and facilitate reading around the subject.
Study skills - educate students on how they can improve their learning.
Daily checks - monitor that each student is ready for the day.
Future - gain knowledge of what each students aspirations are.
Tutors will work with individuals to produce a Personal Development Plan.