At the Polesworth School we believe that a well structured and carefully planned, sequenced curriculum alongside high quality teaching is the foundation upon which our student’s achievement is built. Heads of Department and Subject Leaders, who are experts in their subjects, carefully construct a curriculum that promotes a deep understanding of a wide range of topics which are clearly built upon prior learning within our school and the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Teachers plan learning that allows pupils to embed and recall knowledge through techniques such as interleaving of topics and spaced retrieval practice. This builds firm foundations for progression and achievement.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 the curriculum is broad and thoroughly grounded in the National Curriculum with the addition of Dance within the PE curriculum and Drama as a standalone subject. The curriculum at Key Stage 3 is broken down within each subject area into topic areas in which the core knowledge is explicitly identified to ensure that students are developing a deeper understanding. There are many opportunities built into lessons to make explicit links to previous learning through retrieval activities and set current learning into context so that knowledge becomes embedded.
In Year 8, students go through an options process which allows them to choose at least three subjects to study in greater depth as well as continue to study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Science and Religious Studies. As a school we adopt a student led curriculum model with no predetermined option blocks. Instead we allow students a free choice from the list of subjects and build option blocks based upon their choices. This has been a deliberate decision by the school to maintain a high level of engagement from students and allow them to explore the depth of subjects over a three-year period. Students are supported through the options process by their Tutors, assemblies, taster sessions and an open evening for parents/carers. Students in Year 9 are also able to move between subjects within the Autumn term thereby ensuring that they are satisfied with their options choices.
Key Stage 4
Options are structured along pathways (T,P and S). The pathways are tailored to the needs of the students on them including through the curriculum time allocated to core subjects. In addition to this, students are able to personalise their curriculum within the pathway through the choice of subjects; and the balance between academic GCSE courses, GCSE courses with practical elements and a range of vocational courses. Each student is allocated to a recommended pathway which we believe will maximise their achievement and help them to reach their absolute potential. The recommended pathway is reviewed on an individual basis taking into account feedback from each student’s Head of House and our English, Maths, Science and Languages departments, as well as a student’s prior attainment at the End of Key Stage 2 and progress within our school. Students and parents are invited to contribute to the decision of the recommended pathways.
The range of subjects and types of courses on offer is designed to give as wide a range of opportunities as possible and equality of access to each subject area. The pathways are designed so that they will allow a student to maximise their achievement and so give them the opportunity to progress onto any further study from any pathway.
Key Stage 5
Students in The Polesworth School Sixth Form follow a Level 3 programme of study. We offer courses at full A Level and some vocational courses as well as a limited number of Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS) (or equivalents) such as Core Maths. Full A Level and vocational courses involve two years of full-time study while AS courses are usually taken after one year of full-time study. The vast majority of students choose to study three courses from the wide range that we offer however some students are allowed to study four courses after careful consideration and discussions with the Director of Sixth Form. Each Level 3 course is designed to be of maximum benefit to the students and planned in a way that explicitly builds upon prior learning while sympathetically introducing new content.