Curriculum Aims/Intent: Climbing Higher
Through our curriculum offer we intend to develop our students so that:
Our curriculum is underpinned by these principles and priorities:
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.
Current curriculum offer (expires July 2022)
The current curriculum offered at WCHS is often referred to as a 'half-way-house' model, through which students have some element of choice at the end of year 8 whilst retaining all the core Key Stage 3 National Curriculum subjects, including Geography and History until the end of year 9. After this point, students have a more personalised timetable based on their option choices.
Students in both key stages study a broad and balanced curriculum. All students at WCHS complete qualifications in English, English Literature, Mathematics, Science, and a choice of either Geography or History. Students also study a discrete lesson of PSHE/RSE/RS and PE. Students may then choose two further level 2 options from a wide variety of subjects including; Spanish, Religious Studies, Technology, Art, Computer Science, Sociology, Health & Social Care, Sport & Fitness, Performing Arts, Drama, Business Studies and Music.
Curriculum offer from September 2022
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:
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:
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).