Curriculum at Thomas Telford School

Background

Since the reforms that were introduced by Michael Gove we have reviewed our curriculum provision and organisation. Previously, all students followed an entitlement curriculum for five years studying circa 13 subjects ensuring exposure to a wide curriculum provision and opportunity. End loading all examinations in to Year 11 made the continuation of this provision unworkable for students who would have had to take between 35-40 examinations in a four week period. It was therefore decided to reduce the commitments to 10 or 11 subjects and redesign the school day. The formal taught week was therefore reduced and a more flexible provision of study, sporting and recreational activities provided between 3.30pm and 5.10pm Monday to Thursday called Session 3. The intention being that we could continue to provide access to a broad extra curriculum provision to compensate for the changes that were introduced. Participation rates are regularly monitored with almost 100% of students staying for at least one Session 3 per week and a significant majority more than twice per week.

Curriculum Philosophy and Vision

Our vision is to ensure that all students are work ready and well positioned to cope with the demands of modern society when they leave Thomas Telford School. Careers advice and guidance will be an entitlement for all students. Nil NEET’s (Not in Education Employment or Training) is also one of our targets and an area where we have a near 100% record of success.

Society is constantly changing and for modern society to function effectively our focus is to ensure that our students have the resilience to cope with the pressures and challenges that the rapidly changing society brings. Tolerance of others in a world where personal and global conflicts are more visible and publicised through modern day technologies present us with the challenge of preparing young adults to respond to issues and situations in a balanced, tolerant and mutually beneficial way. We want our students to be safe with technology, skilled in its use and able to recognise the tremendous benefits that are accessible when used wisely.

Our school must be a calm working environment for students and staff and at the same time we need to recognise that some individuals will require special support to enable them to function effectively. Outstanding behaviour will be the norm and positive working relationships between students and staff will engender a culture of mutual respect. The Head will be available to meet with any student or employee who makes the request. We expect all our teachers to deliver good and outstanding lessons which are engaging for learners and fulfilling for teachers. We will all work hard to ensure that we are a school where everyone (employees and students) feels valued and supported which in turn will determine a positive working environment. This will be achieved through praiseworthy recognition of the students’ achievements and the part played by teachers to achieve outstanding outcomes. Success and achievement will be celebrated.

It will be the curriculum, including the ‘hidden curriculum’ that will drive our ambitions forward to create the school we describe. The curriculum will be broad, balanced and relevant to the needs of students and employers, but with dutiful regard from teachers to recognise that growing up as a young adult presents challenges. Balancing the aspiration for outstanding standards in examination outcomes with fulfilment, mutual respect, and happiness being experienced by all our young adults must be our overarching goal.

Learning in all subjects areas must be embedded, sequential and contribute to long term memory. To achieve this our teachers will recap and revisit previous work where required. Planning of lessons will build upon previous knowledge and skills gained by students. Learning will become progressively more challenging and lead to student confidence and capability when facing regular checkpoint assessments and examinations to measure progress.

Our teachers will be unified in their approach to learning receiving appropriate professional development to ensure that they understand why they are teaching a topic, where it fits in to the overall programme of study and why it is important that the students’ acquire the knowledge and skills being delivered. This will be evidenced by feedback from lesson observations, learning walks, scrutiny of the students’ books and conversations with students.

All students irrespective of ability have a curriculum provision entitlement which is detailed below

Curriculum Provision - 8.30am until 3.15pm

Year 7 and 8

This phase embodies the National Curriculum Foundation Subjects. To ensure coverage of the Foundation Subjects in a two year phase we have a longer taught week (minimum 27 hours compared to national average of 24 hours). All leaders confirm that they are able to deliver in appropriate depth the Foundation Subjects in 2 years in preparation for the options programme in years 9, 10 and 11. Supplementary support is available for individual and small group support in session 3.

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science including triple award
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religious Studies
  • French or Spanish
  • Technology
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Music
  • ICT
  • Physical Education

Year 9 onwards

This is the options phase where the expectation is that all our students will follow an Ebacc package with the opportunity to develop their interests by choosing from a wide range of options available both academic and vocational. Supplementary support is available for individual and small group support in session 3.

All students study the Ebacc Package

  • English Language and English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science double award or three single sciences
  • History or Geography
  • Spanish or French

Plus

  • Physical Education or Dance
  • Short courses in Religious Studies, Sex and Relationship Education and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
  • Two of the following:
    • Art
    • Technology
    • Drama
    • Music
    • Business
    • Health and Social Care
    • Computer Science

Total GCSEs studied is either 10 or 11 subjects (if single sciences are studied).

Session 3 - 3.30pm to 5.00pm

For all students there is a vast provision of opportunity to participate in further study, sporting, cultural and Performing Arts provision. Examples of participation include:

  • Students can join the Music School, Drama or Dance Clubs, participating in Arts Nights and School Productions, without having to study a GCSE in the subject
  • Opportunity to participate in Public Speaking, Ethical, Medical and Debating Societies
  • Sporting opportunities are vast with extensive use of our state of the art facilities which include a Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre and outdoor floodlight pitches for Football and Hockey
  • Small group and individual extra support in a wide range of subjects being studied at the school

Sixth Form

The Sixth Form provides for 530 students with a wide provision of courses academic and vocational. Students have the choice of studying three or four A levels, BTEC programmes (equivalent up to three A levels) or a combination of A levels with BTEC programmes.

Careers Education and Guidance will provide a road map for every student, preparing them for the next stage of their life whether it be University, employment with training or an apprenticeship.

In pursuit of helping them to achieve their ambitions, all Sixth Form students will be entitled to access additional learning support through Session 3, either individually or in small groups.

Access to University visits and opportunity to complete the Duke of Edinburgh Award up to Gold standard will be made available.

Wednesday afternoon will provide a wide range of sporting and recreational opportunities.

Students will interface with employers and all receive Work Experience.

No student will leave the school without a clear career plan.

  • To admit students of all abilities.
  • To improve attendance to that above local and national average.
  • To develop qualities of enterprise, self reliance and responsibility.
  • To involve, as fully as possible, the wider community, including industry, business, commerce and parents in the education and training of the students.
  • To operate a longer School day.
  • To share research with the neighbouring Schools and the educational community and where possible support collaborative developments locally.
  • To remove the artificial barrier that exists between vocational and academic courses.
  • To improve Post 16 staying on rates to that comparable with France, Germany, USA and Japan.
  • To deliver the National Curriculum with extra Science, Mathematics, Technology and Business Education.
  • To ensure that all students obtain their educational entitlement, irrespective of gender, religion, ethnicity or special need.
  • To provide a safe and secure environment for students, staff and visitors.