Our Curriculum intent
More than just grades: At Wickersley School and Sports College, we want to send all students out into the world able and qualified to play their full part in it, through an ambitious, creative and innovative curriculum which empowers students with the skills, knowledge and attributes to allow them to succeed in the next phase of their education and on into their working life.
We aim to engender a love of learning, self-belief and aspiration by:
- Removing barriers and development of basic skills
- Developing skills for learning
- Developing personal attributes
- Enriching their experiences and broadening their horizons
What barriers do we want to remove?
Literacy, numeracy, oracy, vocabulary, SEMH
Whole school and subject implementation.
What skills for learning do we want to develop?
- Critical thinking
This is reflected in subject curriculum intent and long term plans.
What personal attributes do we want to develop?
Risk, resilience, relationships, responsibility – driven through R2L.
Whole school, year group and subject specific implementation.
How do we enrich their personal experiences and broaden horizons?
A variety of experiences, trips, residentials, extra-curricular activities, D of E, experiential learning in the classroom, opportunities to contribute to the school community (council, leadership team, RP reps (in development) and wider community (charities, litter picks) and careers education, employability skills and WRL activities.
For us, our job as a school is not just to prepare students to pass a bunch of exams at the end of Year 11, and again in Year 13, although let’s face it, that’s as important as it’s ever been. Just as important is enabling our young people to develop the knowledge, skills, attributes and personal qualities they will need to succeed in their working lives well beyond leaving school. Our mission statement is “We want to send every young person out into the world able and qualified to play their full part in it”. These aren’t just words to us – they inform what we do and are sewn into the fabric of our school.
We want our students to go out into the world, and become successful, happy, fulfilled adults who will be good citizens and make a positive contribution to society. To achieve this, we offer a broad, balanced and coherent curriculum which can be adapted to the specific needs of individuals, whilst retaining the principles of a broad curriculum for all:
WSSC Curriculum Model
Year 7 and 8
|Maths||Science||PE||Art||MFL||Computing & ICT||Performing Arts (Drama/Music)||DT
|English||Maths||Science||PE||PSHE/RS||Opt 1||Opt 2||Ebacc Subjects||Opt 4|
Year 10 and 11
|English||Maths||Science||PE||Opt 1||Opt 2||Ebacc Subjects||Opt 4|
* PSHE in KS4 is delivered through rolling programme every 3 weeks from English and Science, plus external speakers and workshops.
GCSE Options Blocks as of 2019-20
|Block A||Block B||Block C||Block D|
|Drama||Business Studies and BTEC Enterprise||French||Astronomy*|
|Economics*||Citizenship Studies||Spanish||Child Development|
|Health & Social Care||Drama||Engineering|
|PE and BTEC Sports Award||Food||ICT|
|Performing Arts||Health & Social Care||PE and BTEC Sports Award|
|Social Ethics and Religion||Photography||Psychology*|
- The English Baccalaureate (Ebacc): the government’s ambition is that the majority of students study the following subjects: History or Geography and a Modern Foreign Language, as well as the core of Science, Maths and English. Ebacc subjects are highlighted in yellow.
- The following subjects are very heavily weighted with coursework and require a lot of time to complete; due to this, students should take a maximum of 2 of these subjects (see also note 4 below):
- The following subjects are now strands of the same reformed GCSE and cannot be taken together:
Art, Graphics and Textiles
GCSE PE and BTEC Sport
Performing Arts and Drama
Our curriculum is not driven by performance tables. It is our belief that we have a strong, broad, balanced curriculum which can be tailored to meet the needs of individuals, so that we can remove barriers to learning and allow all students to access the curriculum appropriate to them. We do not favour any one suite of subjects over another, and the core of our curriculum is, of course, a strong foundation in English, Maths and Science, with the opportunity for additional support to address deficits in literacy and numeracy, as we believe that these essential skills not only enable students to access the rest of the curriculum, but are vital life skills. Read Write Inc and personalised learning intervention are offered to students who need it. PE and the wider promotion of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle is extremely important and students from Years 7-9 do 2.5 hours of curriculum PE each week, as well as the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular clubs and teams. Students in Year 10 and 11 do 1.25 hours of curriculum PE as standard, and PE is a very popular GCSE option. All students also take part in outdoor education/watersports through our Ulley centre. D of E is offered to students Years 9 to 13, and participation is high (250 students across Bronze, Silver, Gold).
Students in Years 7 and 8 study the full range of academic, practical and creative subjects. By Year 9, most pupils have a clear idea of their strengths, ambitions and areas of interest, and offering some choice at this stage engages students as partners in their learning and leads to improved engagement and outcomes. We therefore ask students to spend more time on 4 chosen areas of interest in Year 9. These courses are not externally examined; they aim to develop a mastery of the skills required to complete a subject in Key Stage 4. At KS4, the courses are carefully planned to ensure that content is thoroughly revisited and learning genuinely embedded, whilst preparing students not only for the GCSE exams, but for further study.
In Year 9, 10 and 11, we offer a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum underpinned by the core subjects. All KS4 students also take part in practical PE and PSHE taught by a specialist team in curriculum time. The school offers the Ebacc suite of subjects in a number of combinations in the GCSE options, but does not oblige students to take it, as we have always believed that students will do best when given the power to choose the subjects which interest and motivate them and will lead them onto post 16 and post 18 destinations. We have a broad and balanced curriculum, with 30 different options subjects available, set in balanced options blocks, combining an academic and vocational offer.
The Year 9 curriculum differs from the Year 10 and 11 curriculum, in that students study RS and PSHE plus two lessons of practical PE alongside core subjects and four chosen areas of interest from 30 available subjects. In year 9 and beyond into KS4, pupils are able to immerse themselves in their subjects and develop the skills needed to be a successful linguist, geographer, etc, rather than just focusing on covering and regurgitating the content. This helps engender a love of learning, and supports our mission statement of sending young people into the world able and qualified.
We do not see the end of any key stage as an end point, but as a staging point.
The curriculum can be personalised to meet the needs of individuals and small groups. For example, some students in KS4 will study the ASDAN course to allow for the development of essential life skills, we offer enhanced college transition and entry level courses are available for those working towards accessing the GCSE in core subjects. Some students who struggle to engage in the mainstream curriculum may undertake re-engagement activities where they develop problem solving and team building skills, or express themselves through creative arts. A small number of students undertake work placements and college courses in Years 10 and 11, and this has been a significant success in raising aspirations and re-engaging students with the core curriculum.
Each subject area’s curriculum intent is designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge and attributes necessary for success in future study and work. Our Ready to Learn attributes are widely promoted and study skills are layered and revisited across Years 7-13.
We believe that the extra-curricular offer is just as important as the timetabled curriculum, and students are activity encouraged to take part in extra-curricular activities. Participation is high in both extra-curricular activities and trips, and vulnerable groups are encouraged to participate by their key workers. A Year 7 extra-curricular taster day which took place in July 2019 (during their year 6 “roll-over” induction) saw students offered 30 different clubs to choose from, including sports, performing arts, STEM, computing, textiles among others. Tasters for peripatetic music lessons also take place in September for Years 7-9 to encourage uptake and participation. PSHE is taught to all year groups by a team of specialist teachers during curriculum time, and is highly valued by students. The head of PSHE regularly has input into year group assemblies and advises on the sharing of information with parents and via the website, parents’ meetings and email. Creative and performing arts take centre stage at our school, with countless opportunities for students to study and perform in music, drama and dance, both during curriculum time and as extra-curricular activities. We have had a big push on promoting participation in music this year, both through peripatetic lessons and extra-curricular clubs. A change in leadership in the Creative Arts faculty has helped to revitalise music and involve staff from across the school in after school clubs, to promote a love of music and participation for the joy of it, not just for the elite musicians. The school pantomime is a legend within the community, performing to sell-out audiences over 5 performances, and the Movement Festival sells out four evening performances involving dance, gymnastics and cheerleading, with over 250 students participating in the show. The music department offers an annual Christmas Celebration, and we will offer further opportunities for performance this year through our talent show, choir, cabaret evening and pop-up performances. A variety of day and residential trips and visits, as well as performances, workshops and speakers in school enhance the students’ cultural capital. Last academic year, over 80 trips took place.