At Calderstones, we believe in offering 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 key skills and knowledge as well as the language and thought processes required in an ever-changing and increasingly demanding world. This includes not only the 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.
In 2018-19 we will begin moving away from the notion of thinking about the curriculum as being split into Key Stages, as has so often been the case in the past. 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 qualifications, mainly GCSEs. Students choose their options in the Spring of Year 9 following the guidance and advice provided. The ‘Pathways’ system at Key Stage 4 is well matched to students’ needs and interests and provide a good range of options. We believe that for many students, studying a language and a humanities subject and therefore enabling them to achieve the English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications is important.
However, we also believe that for other students, who have talents in other subjects which they may be passionate about, those qualifications are just as valid. We do not believe in entering students for qualifications that may ensure that the school performs well in national Performance Tables but which have no real value to the individual student, nor do we encourage students to enter for too many qualifications, again just to ensure that the school’s relative performance improves. We believe in creating curriculum opportunities for and making decisions based on the individual student as far as we possibly can.
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.