An Outline of the Kingsmead Curriculum
All students receive a high-quality, broad and balanced education through a rigorous, relevant, inclusive and coherent curriculum with qualifications that meet government criteria and the type and range of courses appropriate to the individual student.
Historically, Kingsmead students followed a 2-year Key Stage 3 (KS3) curriculum, followed by a 3-year broad and balanced Key Stage 4 (KS4) curriculum.
September 2021 to July 2022, Year 9 students studies their GCSE options for 4 hours per fortnight plus 2 additional national curriculum subjects for 1 hour per fortnight.
From September 2022 onwards, Year 9 students will follow a hybrid curriculum. They will study their GCSE options for 2 hours per fortnight plus the full Key Stage 3 national curriculum in Year 9.
Curriculum delivery is through a two-week timetable designed to meet the diverse needs of learners. In line with the National Curriculum, we have numbered our Years 7 – 11. KS3 being Years 7 and 8 and KS4 Years 9, 10 and 11. In Year 7 the following subjects are studied:
- French, German & Spanish
- Religious Education
- Physical Education
- Information Communication Technology / Computer Science
- Computer Science
- Resistant Materials
All subjects are taught in mixed ability groups with the exception of KS3-4 Mathematics & KS4 Science.
In Year 8 the same subjects are taught as in Year 7. In Year 8 students study one language from the three studied in Year 7 and can opt for a second language in Year 9. Mathematics is taught in sets. From Year 8 Science is taught in Modules, covering Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. During the Spring Term Year 8 consultations take place between parents, students and staff about Key Stage 4 option choices to arrive at a curriculum for the final three years. This takes into account careers interests and the need to follow a broad and balanced range of courses.
The courses studied by all students in Years 9, 10 and 11 are English, Mathematics, Science (Combined, Trilogy and Entry Level), Religious Education and the majority study one Foreign Language. Physical Education and Games are also compulsory at Key Stage 4 but are not examined. Within the options structure students elect to study either History or Geography to complete their core curriculum.
In addition, students may choose from the following option subjects:
- Art (GCSE)
- Agriculture (BTEC)
- Construction (WJEC)
- Computer Science (GCSE)
- Catering (WJEC)
- Creative iMedia (OCR Cambridge)
- Child Development (OCR Cambridge)
- Drama (GCSE)
- Engineering (WJEC)
- Geography (GCSE)
- History (GCSE)
- Motor Vehicle (ABC)
- Music (GCSE)
- Physical Education (GCSE & OCR Cambridge)
- Religious Studies (GCSE)
- Second Language (GCSE)
- Triple Science (additional time – GCSE)
PSHCE (Personal Relationships, Social Pressures, Healthy Choices, Citizenship, Education for Economic Wellbeing) takes place on a rolling programme of five one-hour lessons each term for each year group. See the PSHCE policy for more details.
- Personal Relationships will cover topics including puberty, sexual relationships, contraception, parenting and bringing up children, bereavement and loss.
- Social Pressures will cover topics including peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and tobacco use and misuse and lifestyle choices.
- Healthy Choices will cover topics including healthy body image, emotional and mental health issues, emergency first aid, minimising risk to health (including road safety) and personal identity.
- Citizenship considers how an individual fits into society on a local, national and international level. Topics covered include Democracy and Justice, Rights and Responsibilities (especially of children) and also British Values.
- Education for Economic Wellbeing helps students to manage their future finances and careers effectively. Students are supported in making effective transitions to college and positive career choices. They are encouraged to be enterprising, to gain an understanding of the commercial environment and its contribution to national prosperity.
Understanding Relationships, Sex and Health Education at your child’s secondary school: a guide for parents
All students follow a comprehensive and sequential Careers Programme, fully supported by local colleges, businesses and employers. Also included are collapsed timetable days for careers education in Years 9 to 11. See the Careers Policy for more detail.
Religious Education (Beliefs, Philosophy and Ethics) is compulsory for all students in Years 9 to 11. It is taught in discrete lessons throughout Years 9 and 10, and then through off timetable days (via RE specialists) within Year 11.
The RE short course GCSE taught through Years 9 and 10 aims to:
- develop students’ knowledge and understanding of religions, comparing Christianity and Islam. We will also study secular and non-religious ideas.
- facilitate students’ ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments, demonstrating their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject.
- provide opportunities for students to engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth, and their impact on human life.
- challenge students to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt and contribute to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society with British values and the wider global community.
Collective Worship is a theme of whole school and year group assemblies. During regular whole school assemblies we attempt to give a broad definition of the meaning of "religious worship" and seek to make a number of these Assemblies "mainly of a Christian nature" as required by the 1988 Act. All parents have the right to withdraw their child from Acts of Worship in accordance with the regulation of the 1988 Education Act. Parents wishing to do so should contact the Headteacher.
Special Education Needs guidelines and provision are outlined in the Kingsmead SEND Policy. Kingsmead School has the autonomy to choose an appropriate extended and enriched school curriculum for our learners. An alternative and experiential school curriculum may be offered to promote inclusion, engagement, independence and esteem building. This offer includes the following:
- Forest School
- Outdoor Education
- Gymnasium and Motor Skills
- Horse riding
- SASP disability sports programme
- Bespoke Work Experience
At Kingsmead School we believe that Higher Prior Attainers (HPA), those with high abilities and notable talents, must be recognised and supported. We aim to achieve a whole school ethos where achieving at a high level is an expectation, by implementing effective identification and monitoring of the High Prior Attaining students on the basis of their academic abilities and potential, and then supporting them in making progress appropriate to or above their high ability. HPA pupils are supported by the Heads of English, Maths and Science at PM registration. In these sessions they are encouraged and motivated to attain the highest possible grades.
Students are set by ability in KS3 Maths, whilst all other KS3 classes are taught in mixed ability groups. In KS4, there is ability setting in Mathematics & Science, whilst all other subjects are in mixed ability groups or dependent on choices made by students within the options structure. The school aims to have teaching groups of 30 students or less with practical subjects limited where possible to 24 students or less.
In KS4, Maths and Science are taught in the same block, meaning they are taught at the same time. In one block students can study either Maths, Core Science or Triple Science. In the other they can study Maths and Core Science. Students can transfer between populations as required and this arrangement does not limit their choice, but does permit ‘fine setting’ i.e. the tailoring of lessons to a class of very similar ability.
Visits and trips to a wide range of countries, educational establishments, businesses and other places of educational interest are supported and promoted across all curriculum areas within budgetary and time limits. Those trips typically occurring across an academic year include:
- Teambuilding exercises i.e. at Hestercombe House
- German/French Study Visit/Exchange
- A musical/theatre production
- A Science activity day i.e. Skirting Science
- A trip to Hinkley Point or to promote STEM careers
- A Geographical trip i.e. Horner Water/Bristol Docks
Each department is required to have schemes of work related, where appropriate, to the national curriculum and or examination board requirements. Schemes of work set out how the content of the course is structured and teaching is organised, so that student’s skills, knowledge and understanding are developed progressively. These schemes of work are supported by assessment strategies and methods for ensuring standardisation of expectation and assessment.
The school promotes a lively, purposeful and structured learning environment ensuring high standards and good working practices. Displays of students’ work, stimulus materials and appropriate resources are very important in setting standards and raising expectations. All departments are expected to provide displays in their areas and contribute to displays in public areas of the school.
An effective work-related programme of learning lies at the centre of the necessary experience for all students. This is outlined in the Kingsmead Career Policy.
Equality in the curriculum is promoted through the following:
- Ensuring all pupils regardless of their profile have access to the same resources and facilities and ensuring students feel safe, giving them an equal chance of success
- Addressing equality as part of the curriculum and part of the options selection process
- Ensuring that resources reflect the needs of our diverse rural student population
- Ensuring the curriculum aims to encourage social inclusion with a specific focus in areas such as PSHCE and Philosophy and Belief.
Curriculum Amendments, ‘Dropping’ of Examined Subjects, Class Sizes
Amendments/reductions to student timetables or their curriculum are only considered for reasons of:
- attendance at Kingsmead significantly below the average for the student’s specific year group
- diagnosed mental/physical health needs and additional education needs requiring a reduction to enable an individual education programme, details of which are found in the relevant student’s EHCP, or provided by doctors note
When a student is already in receipt of a reduced timetable, any shortfall in curriculum hours will wherever possible be met through increasing student time within their existing core curriculum or options time under the direction of a Kingsmead subject specialist teacher.
Please consider both the above criteria and the following considerations before requesting any amendment/reduction to a student’s timetable:
- Who will supervise the student? We cannot permit a student to conduct their own unsupervised independent learning
- What will they be taught? Our English & Maths teachers are all fully timetabled meaning they are not available to support a student’s learning if a subject is dropped
- Government guidance is firmly against the dropping of subjects except in exceptional cases (such as those outlined above).
When a student wishes to change their options (subjects studied):
- Decisions on a new option are made by the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress following discussion with parent, student and relevant teaching staff
- Option changes are on a trial basis for 2 weeks based on engagement and behaviour, at which point they either permanently join the new option or move back to their previous option (if unsuccessful)
- The only exception to this rule is when the student was removed from the previous option for risk related reasons that were agreed with the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress
- Classes are deemed “full” only when they exceed 14 (Agriculture, Engineering and Motor Vehicle in GCSE-KS4), 20 (Catering in GCSE-KS4) and 31 (all other subjects)
Removal of students from subjects
- Decisions on removal of students from options against their wishes are made by the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress following discussion with parent, student and relevant teaching staff
- If removal is requested for risk related reasons, a series of concerns should have been first shared with parent, student and the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress. The only exception to this is if an individual incident is deemed significantly concerning by the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress.
Curriculum Options, when oversubscribed at the point of selection
Where an option is selected by more students than there are spaces, the following criteria are considered:
- Number of first choice options each child secured compared to others being considered for limited spaces in a subject. It would be unfair for child A to get all first-choice options, depriving child B of a place if child B was likely to receive just 1 of their first choices.
- Suitability of child’s academic profile for the subject.
- Prior engagement in the subject where relevant.
- A review of additional information provided when completing the options form. Students are asked if the subject relates to their Post-16 ambitions as a question.