Aims - Our curriculum aims to give:
- Personal Improvement - Young people taking control
- Cultural transmission - Knowing what’s expected
- Preparation for citizenship - Participating in society as British & global citizens
- Preparation for work - Achievement = prosperity
Nature of the Curriculum
Our curriculum is all the learning experiences, planned or guided by the school, whether carried out in groups, or individually, inside or outside the school buildings. It is planned proactively and reactively to ensure students have the knowledge, understanding and skills to succeed.
The curriculum is based on seven principles. The principles provide a set of ideas in which the school and curriculum leaders keep the curriculum under review, ensuring that there is the right balance between them for the students at our school.
Principles of Curriculum Design at Connaught School for Girls
A Balanced Curriculum
Anticipating what is yet to come, we future-proof our students with a broad and balanced curriculum where technology and creative arts subjects are considered as important as the traditional Ebacc disciplines. Students study all subjects in a 3-year Key Stage 3 to encourage them to discover personal fulfilment from finding their personal passions. Students go on to study between 9 – 12 subjects at GCSE level. 85-90% of students study subjects in each Ebacc pillar plus subjects from a range of options including technology & a variety of creative arts.
Approximately 30% of students study three separate science GCSE’s and/or two languages by entering a ‘fast-track’ programme in Year 9, assisting the discovery of passions in these disciplines. Approximately 10% of students are guided to study 9 GCSEs by studying a ‘Supportive Studies’ programme in place of one GCSE Option – usually Geography or History This programme gives 5 hours per fortnight to boost knowledge, understanding and skills in English, Maths and Science.
Each subject develops ‘disciplinary habits of mind’ – powerful thinking skills that are developed through sustained engagement with the subject discipline, e.g. :
- provenance and context in history
- cause and effect in science
- inverse relationships in mathematics.
Important capabilities of problem solving, critical thinking and creativity skills are developed within each subject discipline to broaden and deepen what is taught.
Particular academic rubric is enforced to ensure students know what is expected of them, e.g. structuring scientific investigation reports in science or laying out calculations in maths.
Subject areas recognise the importance of drawing students to explicit connections between the different experiences they encounter e.g. consistency in teaching:
- manipulation of equations or interpreting graphs in maths and science
- using coordinates and bearings in maths and geography
- transferring literacy and communication skills across all subjects
In every subject taught, it is clear that material taught at one point in time builds upon materials taught earlier and feeds into what is to be taught after, regularly ensuring learning is consolidated, revised and tested. There is great care and thought given to the sequence in which things are taught. Bar fast-track science and languages learners, we wait until students are ready to be taught GCSE material, at the start of Year 10, then teach it in a timely and effective way.
Every subject considers how the knowledge, understanding and skill is appropriate for our students’ age and academic / personal development. Mathematics, Science and Languages accelerate learning opportunities and differentiate for some, depending on academic ability and skill acquisition – not age-related. Other subject exposure may be more related to age – Literature content, adolescent appropriateness etc. Appropriateness is carefully considered by all subject areas.
- Focussed - Subjects are clear about the ‘big ideas’ of their subject area that encompass all the material they intend to be taught. Examples include :
- Science - all materials in the universe and made of very small particles
- English - analysis of pre and post 20th literature
- Maths - calculating the surface area and volume of shapes.
Every subject develops a curriculum relevant for the students at our school. Curriculum areas strive to empower their learners, engaging them in learning they may have previously not found relevant or interesting. They teach in ways that are:
- engaging, and
catering for disadvantaged and minority groups, ensuring no-one is ‘shut-out’.
Students engage in a very broad and enriching range of subjects for their first three years at secondary school. The curriculum and options process for study in the two years of studying GCSEs help students make informed decisions in which to study in more depth, e.g.: The KS3 Geography curriculum includes both human and physical geography projects, KS3 Technology projects in KS3 all follow a thorough design process.
The school has an excellent CCPHSE and Careers programme that discredits stereotypical views of occupations in the sciences, arts and other disciplines so that students are not limited whilst they themselves are discovering their social identity. Similarly, students are given accurate and timely advice on essential subjects for particular careers (e.g. compulsory study of chemistry for medicine, not necessarily biology).