Curriculum Aims/Intent: Climbing Higher
- Is appropriate and relevant to all our students
- Is progressive and flexible, interleaved and sequenced to develop knowledge, skills and understanding which lead to valuable, sustainable learning for all students
- Provides opportunities to develop literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills across curriculum areas
- Recognises the increasing pressures of the digital age on students, and supports their understanding of how to stay safe
- Promotes opportunities across the curriculum for the development of positive health and wellbeing
- Provides a broad range of subjects/courses that engage, challenge and raise student aspirations
- Promotes learning and an enjoyment of learning through a wide range of contexts and experiences
- Promotes reading
Through our curriculum offer we intend to develop our students so that:
- They have the confidence, resilience and knowledge to support their own mental and physical wellbeing and make healthy lifestyle choices
- They have high aspirations, an ambitious vision for their future, and recognise education as central to this
- They have a positive work ethic and thus achieve their academic potential
- They are happy and enjoy school
- They are respectful, tolerant and empathetic towards others and uphold British values
- They know their own strengths and areas for development
- They can make informed decisions and understand their rights and responsibilities
Our curriculum is underpinned by these principles and priorities:
- Aspiration: keeping ‘Climbing Higher’ as a driving force
- Evolution: monitor and review to reflect the national and local agenda and the differences between cohorts
- The basics: English and Maths as central to success and enhancing life chances
- EBacc: a strong academic core - students of all abilities have access to the full suite of subjects
- Flexible, challenging and supportive: balancing breadth and depth with choice and guidance
- Effective, enjoyable and collaborative learning: through strong curriculum implementation, routines, planning and preparation and professional relationships
- Personalised support: intervention, revision
- Celebration of success: building a culture of praise and pride
- Student voice:
- British values: ensuring students have the skills and knowledge to be successful, responsible citizens
- Careers Education: through our commitment to meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks, students are supported to make well-informed, ambitious decisions about their futures
- Cultural capital: through a focus on human achievements and creativity, through educational experiences and visits, through reading, to ensure students are not disadvantaged by the social context in which they live
- Opportunities for leadership and personal development: building resilience, confidence, motivation, self-management
- Co-curricular and enrichment opportunities: ensuring students have opportunity to learn beyond the classroom
At WCHS, the senior and operational leadership teams regularly review the curriculum offer to ensure that it achieves the aims set out above and meets the requirements set out in the national curriculum in both key stages 3 and 4.
The School operates a three year Key Stage 3 and two year Key Stage 4. In both Key Stages students follow a weekly timetable of 25 lessons. Each lesson is 60 minutes long.
At the end of Year 9 students will select 3 options from a range of subjects. The additional concentrated time in these lessons enables students to ‘master’ the subject, fostering deeper knowledge and understanding. All students, regardless of prior attainment, are entitled to choose the subjects that are most appropriate to their needs, interests or future career path, including a language and separate sciences if they choose to do so. The majority of option choices are GCSE qualifications but some alternatives are available to students across Key Stage 4, including Physical Education, Health and Social and Business. Our high-quality vocational offer is clearly attached to the local workplace, where there is a lot of self-employment, sport provision and care based professions.
Some of the options available to students are not included as part of our National Curriculum offer at KS3. Therefore, students get the opportunity to take a taster option for one lesson per week in year 9. This is helpful for students when they are making their options at the end of year 9. It is also a valuable way of enriching and personalising the curriculum for our students.
Our transition team has built very strong links with our feeder primary schools to build a programme of events to help students moving up from year 6 to settle into a high school environment. This transition work includes academic as well as pastoral support.
Students receive regular support and guidance from our highly skilled careers officer regarding post-16 study and/or careers. Various external speakers present to students in all year groups so that they can begin considering their post-16 options from a young age. Additionally, all students in year 10 complete a work experience week as part of our commitment to the Gatsby careers benchmarks.
In addition to providing a broad and balanced academic curriculum, we see it as vitally important to prepare students so that they have the confidence, resilience and knowledge to support their own mental and physical wellbeing and make healthy lifestyle choices. Further to this, it is vital that they learn to be respectful, tolerant and empathetic towards others and uphold British values. It is also important that they can make informed decisions and understand their rights and responsibilities. Therefore, sufficient time is allocated in all year groups so that citizenship, religious education and sex and relationships education is included throughout covered. In addition, we see computing as an essential employment skill and as such, is given appropriate curriculum coverage in both key stages.
Enrichment and cultural capital
At Whitworth Community High School, all students in Years 7-11 strongly encouraged to take part in our extensive extra curricular programme of activities. Our aim is to nurture and develop each student, therefore, we offer a wide variety of activities that allow our students to develop into capable and responsible citizens with a wide variety of skills and experiences. Examples of activities include:
- Timetabled music lessons: Instruments are provided to all students involved in the programme.
- Various musical ensembles including wind band, choir, ukulele club and various other ensembles depending on the interests of current students.
- Various sports activities including netball, climbing, football, badminton, general fitness and cricket, to name but a few.
- Debate club
- STEM club
- Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme (currently offering Silver and Bronze)
- Theatre trips
- Drama club
- Annual school production
In addition, we also work to identify individual student needs and provide specialised and targeted support to ensure all students reach their full potential. This support can take many forms including literacy or numeracy tuition with our KS2 teacher, EAL support with a dedicated member of staff or access to pastoral programmes including work with one of our Teaching Assistants.
Cultural capital is addressed through all areas of the school. We recognise that for students to aspire and be successful academically and in the wider areas of their lives, they need to be given rich and sustained opportunities to develop their cultural capital. This is addressed through each subject area, as we build in an entitlement to cultural capital that will:
- Be formally taught as part of the curriculum.
- Be delivered through our enrichment offer; activities which may unlock or extend understanding
- Be targeted; where students may be invited to a specific intervention to ensure they are not disadvantaged educationally or experientially.
Assessment and Reporting
We have always placed a very strong emphasis on the quality of our assessment and reporting at WCHS. Subject teachers will assess and monitor students both formally and during the natural course of lessons, with the overall aim of improving progress and attainment of students.
Each year group has a set of formal exams at the end of the academic year. Additionally, our Year 11 students will sit 2 sets of mock exams; the first being in November and the second in February.
There are three reporting points, one at the end of each term. Therefore, parents receive 3 academic reports per year. Each report is uploaded to Edulinkone, where it can be viewed and printed as many times as parents require. Students in Year 11 will therefore be able to see all their reports back to their time when they started at Whitworth Community High School in Year 7. The first progress report is released in December, with subsequent reports at the end of the spring and summer terms. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s progress, please contact their class teacher, form tutor, progress leader or Mr Bland (Assistant Headteacher).
Hall Fold, Whitworth, Rossendale,
Lancashire, OL12 8TS