St George’s is committed to providing a curriculum that is broad, balanced, challenging and fosters a love of learning. We match our curriculum to the abilities, interests and aspirations of our students, to give every child the opportunity to strive for personal excellence. We are an academic school that aims to open doors for every pupil, and we therefore value the contribution that creative, practical and vocational learning brings to a child’s development alongside the traditional subjects. Our aspiration is that every child who leaves St George’s has the qualifications, skills, knowledge and character to access aspirational Post-16 opportunities and to lead a life that includes positive relationships, resilience and financial independence. We are also very aware of the impact of curriculum change and every year it is kept under constant review.
In order to fulfil these ideals, our five-year “through-curriculum” model requires pupils to engage with a wide range of subjects in Year 7 and 8 and then provides a more bespoke approach through our “options routes” in Years 9 to 11.
Years 7 and 8
The Year 7 and 8 curriculum serves a clear purpose in every subject at St George’s. Curriculum teams plan their schemes of work to ensure they deliver the content of the national Programme of Study, and that high challenge, enjoyment and enquiry are at the heart of learning. It is important to us that the Year 7 and 8 curriculum is much more than a means of preparing pupils for Years 9 to 11. Curriculum mapping has taken place in every department to ensure that the skills required for assessment in Year 11 are developed from the start of a pupil’s journey in Year 7 and that learning from primary school is built upon and not repeated.
Alongside Mathematics, English, Sciences, Religious Studies and Physical Educations, Year 7 students study a broad range of non-core subjects from day one. Art, Performing Arts, Computing and Technology ensure their curricula give pupils an experience of both the academic and vocational aspects of their subjects. We give more curriculum time to Humanities and Modern Foreign Languages than many schools as we wish to encourage a high proportion of pupils to pursue the English Baccalaureate pathway beyond Year 8. All pupils study Spanish in Year 7 & 8, a substantial number of pupils also study French through to the end of Year 8 when they are asked to choose which language or both to continue. A small number of pupils who require additional support with English and Maths follow our primary enhancement curriculum. This gives them access to the same range of subjects as their peers but in a nurturing environment whilst provides extra time to focus on Literacy and Numeracy in small focus groups.
Class groups are organised into two ‘bands’ of 4/5 parallel sets, promoting higher expectations for all groups and no sense of ‘bottom sets’. Pupils access the full spectrum of subjects in Year 7 and 8 with mixed-ability groupings in many subjects and sets in Maths, & Science.
Beyond the classroom, we aim to open the door to a wide range of experiences. All subjects provide additional learning contexts including annual school productions and high-performing sports teams in the majority of disciplines.
Years 9 to 11
The options process currently takes place in Year 8 at St George’s allowing pupils nearly three years of study on their chosen examined courses. This decision is in keeping with our principles, as we believe the three-year examination course gives our teachers scope to embed depth and love of learning whilst covering the content required for terminal assessment.
Through the options process, we meet the statutory national requirements and aim to provide a bespoke curriculum. For us, this means giving our pupils as much choice and flexibility as possible, whilst ensuring they follow examination courses that lead to positive outcomes and give them access to Post-16 opportunities at the correct level. Pupils are guided to an options ‘route’ according to their ability and aspirations, and are asked to choose up to four Options subjects available on that route. All pupils are required to follow a Humanities course through to GCSE as we believe this will open the doorway to many opportunities in employment and Higher Education.
A range of Vocational Qualifications are available on every Options route. We allow the same amount of curriculum time to Vocational Qualifications as GCSE courses to allow pupils the experience of exciting and relevant work-based projects alongside the assessed content. Please see the Options page for more information on the qualifications we offer on each route.
In Year 11, pupils benefit from the addition of “Period 6” at the end of each day. This provides a vital opportunity for intervention in the subjects where they require more support.
We are very proud of the outcomes our pupils achieve as the result of our innovative curriculum and outstanding teaching, and particularly of how few pupils go on to be Not in Education, Employment or Training.
In August 2018 our progress 8 score increased by 0.5 and 5+ in English and Mathematics improved to 33%. As of September 2018, through our new options routes we are seeing improved outcomes and an aspirational culture linked to greater breadth and depth impacting on all pupils.