Our Curriculum Intent
The curriculum at Prince Henry’s is designed to enable the achievement of our vision to become a highly successful learning community, which provides sustainable outstanding education for young people of all abilities. We want students to leave Prince Henry’s with the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to succeed as responsible global citizens in the 21st Century. This vision, and consequently our curriculum, is underpinned by the following values:
- Education for the common good of the whole community
- Education for dignity and respect
- Education for wisdom, knowledge and skills
- Education for hope and aspiration
In order to achieve this vision our curriculum has been planned to closely match the needs of our mixed ability students, who are mainly drawn from the market town of Otley and surrounding areas of north west Leeds. This is why our curriculum:
- Has a focus on equality and diversity as part of our global citizenship education. This encourages students to understand the world beyond their experience of a small market town or urban fringe so that they appreciate the richness and diversity of the global community of which they are part.
- Maintains breadth in every Key Stage. This ensures that every student, regardless of prior attainment, has access to a core academic curriculum. The breadth gives students flexible but coherent progression through their learning journey, in order to support their future ambitions.
- Includes a range of opportunities beyond the classroom, which support every student, regardless of background, to have high aspirations, to gain a broader cultural awareness beyond their own ‘echo chamber’ of experience and to make a positive contribution to society.
- Has a focus on the development of digital literacy. Our 1:1 IPad scheme aims to give all students the skills and confidence to use technology as a productive tool for learning - enabling them to locate, evaluate, combine, create and fully engage and interact with digital information to develop their own knowledge and understanding throughout all stages of their schooling whilst developing skills to support lifelong learning.
- Includes cross-curricular strategies to develop literacy and numeracy – reading, vocabulary, oracy so that students will become expert readers and highly competent mathematicians.
- Integrates high quality CIEAG alongside opportunities to develop employability and leadership skills. This is so that students consider their career aspirations at all stages of their school life, have opportunity to take on challenges and responsibility, be leaders and to work as a team.
- Has a strong emphasis on life skills and personal development – for example through PSHE, RSE, assemblies etc. Thus providing students with the knowledge and understanding they need to stay safe, understand British Values, develop healthy relationships, as well as support students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development and their physical and mental well-being.
The Implementation of our Curriculum
Faculties have developed appropriate, logically sequenced learning programmes that support the curriculum intent outlined above. This is delivered by classroom teachers who explain clearly to students:
- What they are learning
- Why they are learning it
- The key vocabulary needed for success
Teachers use ‘little and often’ assessment to check learners’ understanding frequently, they interweave content to ensure that knowledge is retained and that it builds on that previously gained. Wherever possible, opportunity is also taken to develop reading skills. In this way teachers engage students and take them on a learning journey that develops their broader understanding of the world, equips them with the knowledge to succeed and ensures they are able to get the best possible outcomes.
At each Key Stage the school offers a multitude of opportunities for all students to develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding both through the formal curriculum and through enrichment programmes that include travel, sport, performing arts, community service and charity work. These are delivered through extra-curricular activities, educational visits and regular PSHE/ Citizenship activities.
The curriculum takes the following format throughout the key stages:
The three-year KS3 curriculum is deliberately broad and balanced to allow students time to develop their understanding and enjoyment of a range of subjects while at the same time gradually building up the knowledge and skills students need to succeed at GCSE. All KS3 year groups study the following subjects weekly:
English, Maths, Science, MFL (French or Spanish AND German from year 8), PE, EPR, Geography, History, IT, Music, Technology, Art, Drama
A structured programme of PSHE, citizenship and careers is taught through a combination of PSHE Days and lessons. A blend of teacher-led lessons and workshops from external providers allow students to develop the positive attributes, social awareness and ethical grounding to make a positive contribution to their society. In addition, each year group has access to at least one MFL visit abroad, a range of other educational visits and a number of clubs and activities tailored for their age range.
The KS4 curriculum keeps a core of subjects at its heart to ensure academic breadth, but allows the personalisation of the curriculum to enable students to gain deeper knowledge and understanding of their chosen options. There is an expectation that almost all students will study at least one MFL because we understand that this helps develop valuable skills for the future, and many students opt for the Ebacc combination of subjects which correlates with good progression rates to HE.
The core curriculum includes: English, maths, science, a modern foreign language, PREP (Philsophy, Religion, Ethics and Public citizenship) and PE lessons. To complement this core, students can select three optional subjects from the wide variety of academic and vocational subjects that are offered each year. Computing skills are developed across the curriculum in a range of subjects and activities. To support our commitment to ensure every student has the best chance of success, the core curriculum can be further personalised to support individual needs. For example, some students may have additional English and maths tuition where required.
PSHE/ Citizenship sessions in KS4 continue to focus on the core strands of PSHE, citizenship and careers, with an increased focus on personal responsibility and practical action. Careers sessions taught through PSHE are augmented by further work in tutor time, the annual Careers Fair and access to web-based careers tools. Educational visits are still an important feature, with many becoming more curriculum focused while still allowing for cultural and social experience.
The KS5 curriculum allows students to focus on subjects they enjoy and wish to study to a higher level. There is a focus on facilitating subjects where appropriate, so that students study qualifications which keep a wide range of future options open. Students also take part in an extensive enrichment programme including qualification and non-qualification subjects (such as the successful Excellence in Sport and Education Programme) that supports the wider skills and objectives outlined above.
A range of over 30 qualifications are offered encompassing academic A-levels and Applied subjects such as BTECs and Cambridge Technicals. Provision is also made for students who need to re-sit GCSE English and maths. All students also have private study lessons on their timetable in order to encourage good, independent study habits and time management.
PSHE/ Citizenship sessions focus on progression into apprenticeships, degree courses or employment and offer students the knowledge and support to make appropriate choices for their next steps. There is a strong focus on developing the life skills needed for independent living, and on continuing the SMSC development mapped throughout the curriculum.
Alongside the work completed on the curriculum in subjects the wider curriculum is considered through a wide range of activities completed each year around the themes of Wisdom, knowledge and skills, Common good of the community, Hope and aspiration, Dignity and respect, Leadership and Culture and diversity. Students and parents have access to this information which is summarised at the foot of the curriculum area of the website.
Evaluation of Impact
Teachers and leaders want to be sure that our curriculum is achieving what is intended. Therefore, the impact of our curriculum is judged by monitoring and evaluating the following:
- The progress in students’ acquisition of knowledge (against expectations) throughout each lesson, each topic, each year and each Key Stage and ultimately student attainment in external examinations (all faculties have devised clear statements around assessment requirements in their subject areas).
- Progression and retention rates and information about student destinations
- Behaviour for learning – the attitude of students within lessons and their readiness and resilience in the face of challenge; their behaviour both in lessons and in extra-curricular activities
- Behaviour around school – the conduct of students during unstructured and social time in order to assess their personal development and understanding of respect and tolerance
- Attendance data – to identify the value students place on their learning and their enjoyment of the curriculum offer
- Participation rates – the number of students who participate in extra-curricular activities, educational visits, volunteering opportunities and fund-raising projects
- Community impact – the value our community places on the school and the number of students who choose to be educated at Prince Henry’s both in Y7 and Y12.
- Student and parent voice.
We remain committed to the curriculum vision outlined above but understand the impacts that the COVID pandemic has had on young people. We therefore also have the temporary additional intent of narrowing the gaps created by the pandemic through adaptations to subject curriculums as appropriate. With the ultimate impact that no student should lose out educationally because of the pandemic.
The above statement should be considered alongside the Quality of Education (formerly Teaching, Learning and Assessment) Handbook.