Curriculum Design and Implementation
Our curriculum follows national curriculum requirements with the opportunity for students to gain a strong foundation in the arts, technology, languages, sciences, maths, humanities and English at KS3.
Pupils are streamed at KS3 based on Literacy and Numeracy ability. This allows pupils to receive highly focussed support for their studies whilst all covering the core material needed to meet National curriculum requirements. Pupils are also taught in mixed ability sets for Expressive subjects to allow the development of inter-personal and teamworking skills with the whole cohort. A carousel of subjects has been introduced at KS3 with smaller class sizes to ensure that we continue to provide Technology and the Expressive arts to all students. We have decided to teach Year 7 in mixed ability sets for literacy subjects this year to ensure all pupils are secure in core skills taking into account the impact of lost learning time in Year 6 due to Covid. Settings for all year groups are fluid and constantly reviewed.
Pupils follow a 3 year KS3 programme at Barnhill during which time teachers work intensively with students to overcome the obstacles and barriers to success that a large proportion of our students face. For example many pupils in the Arts do not benefit from tuition or experiences outside of school that can inform their classroom study. Similarly students in History benefit from the chance to fill in gaps in cultural and linguistic understanding that comes from being EAL pupils. Our aim is to give all pupils a degree of proficiency and confidence in their subjects by the end of Key stage 3 so that the knowledge and skills learnt will stay with them to enrich their future lives. We allow pupils to explore professional options in Year 9, such as Business or Child development so that the grounding for non-national curriculum subjects is also in place and to facilitate careers focussed thinking.
Every student who is capable will follow the EBacc route at KS4 with two other choices to ensure breadth of learning. Pupils are encouraged to carry on with their specialist subject chosen in Year 9 with strong take up of the arts and social sciences. Our breadth of offer at KS4 caters for the full range of ability with GCSEs, vocational qualifications and the Princes Trust qualification for pupils who need extra support with their personal and social development. Triple science is offered to extend our most enthusiastic Scientists not just our most able ones. Photography GCSE and Child Development BTEC are examples of popular KS4 courses that we offer to meet the skills and interests of our intake.
Core RE, Citizenship, PSHE and IT continue at KS4 to ensure that the Community and Respect parts of our ethos continue to feature strongly.
At Key Stage 5 we continue to offer academic and vocational routes to our learners. Our breadth of offer includes Languages, STEM, the Arts and Humanities. A fourth subject is encouraged for our most able learners to broaden their skill set in Year 12 whist courses such as Financial Studies and Medical Science are popular for those students with less academic profiles who perhaps will go onto apprenticeships or vocational courses at university. Most popular subjects are offered in more that one option block maximising the combinations that pupils can chose from. The decision has been made going forward to offer only the full A-Level qualifications rather than AS levels in year 12. This will maximise learning time for students and teachers and will give pupils the time to thoroughly grasp key transition concepts in the first year of their course, building the foundations for excellence in Year 13. The EPQ is offered to students to allow students to explore their passion for specific subject disciplines with Enrichment in the 6th form comprising of a variety of sporting, artistic, study skills and life skills opportunities.