At Calderstones, we believe in offering all students a learning experience and curriculum that is broad, balanced and relevant. We believe that it should engage and challenge students, enable each of them to fulfil their individual potential and equip them with the requisite knowledge, vocabulary, and meta cognitive skills required in an ever-changing and increasingly demanding world. This includes not only the equitable curricular experiences that students are exposed to within their timetabled lessons but also the extra-curricular opportunities that they are afforded and the wider capacity of the school to develop students’ cultural capital.
Developing a first-class curriculum is one of the key features of our whole-school vision.
For a detailed summary our school’s curriculum intent, the way in which we implement this and of how impact is considered at a whole-school level, please see the model below.
Further to this, within each Department / Subject’s page of the website you should be able to find similar details of their respective vision. Heads of Department and subject teachers are happy to discuss this information further should you wish to get in touch or should anything be unclear. Hopefully, as students begin their curriculum journey with us, they along with their parents will become increasingly familiar with some of the details, language and references included here.
What does ‘broad and balanced’ mean at Calderstones?
We believe in offering students the opportunity to study as wide a range of subjects for as long as possible before they begin to narrow their curriculum to just those subjects that they choose to study as qualifications.
We aim to see the journey of the child over a 5 year (and sometimes 7 year) period as being a continuous, planned learning experience and one that is flexible and always evolving in response to individual need and world change.
We believe that in Year 9, students at Calderstones should be ready to begin making independent choices about their study routes. Until these option choices have been made, we do not believe that it is correct for the vast majority of students to narrow their curriculum offer. As such, all students continue until the end of Year 9 studying what might be described as the full complement of national curriculum subjects. Although in some subjects, clearly signposted preparation towards qualifications may begin during the course of Year 9, we value Years 7 to 9 as being an overall preparatory experience for the qualifications that students will study in Years 10 and 11.
The Curriculum Offer
In Years 7 to 9 therefore, students will study up to 13 subjects on their timetables; if we include Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects rather than as ‘Science’ then this number rises to 15! As well as this, there are plenty of opportunities for students to pick up on other subjects and learning outside of their day-to-day timetables.
In Years 10 and 11 we offer a range of traditional courses which lead to GCSE qualifications for the most part. Students choose their options in the Spring of Year 9 following the guidance and advice provided. All students receive a 1:1 guidance interview to discuss their aspirations and to support them to make the best choices for them.
There is total equity in our curriculum offer with all students, irrespective of prior attainment, given the option to select four subjects beyond the statutory requirement of core subjects. We actively encourage students to continue with the Ebacc suite of subjects i.e. a humanities subject and a language, in line with the Department for Education’s ambition to ensure that our students continue with a broad and balanced curriculum, which still affords them suitable choice between History/ Geography, French/ Spanish and two further subjects of their own preference.
In 6th Form, students study 3 to 4 A-levels as part of their overall programme of study. Again, we are proud to offer a traditional A-level curriculum suited to the needs of the students that choose to stay with us post-16 at Calderstones.