The curriculum at St Gregory’s has evolved in response to the needs of students, but we are proud that it has never wavered from our ethos and mission. We hold Religious Education at our core and all students are prepared for GCSE examinations in RE. We have always believed in providing a broad and balanced curriculum, with academic rigour at the fore. Consequently, all students study English, mathematics, science, at least one humanities based subject and a language to GCSE. Options subjects offer the students the opportunity to pursue wider curriculum areas, such as the performing arts.
Our specialisms are performing arts and science and this is reflected in our curriculum provision. All students study dance, drama and music at Key Stage 3. This not only enhances the cultural life of the school, but builds the confidence of all students in public speaking and performance. The school productions are stunning and involve large numbers of students throughout the school.
Triple Science – i.e. the study of biology, chemistry and physics to GCSE – began as an option for a small group of keen scientists over ten years ago. It has grown in success and popularity to a huge extent. The number of students studying this option now outnumbers those choosing core and additional science and the results are superb – with 43% of the students achieving A* or A grades in chemistry in 2015, 41% in biology and 41% in physics. The impact of this specialism is also seen at A level with large group numbers and engagement.
At Key Stage 3 we encourage those students who are able to study three languages at first in year 7. Once they have tasted all three, they take Spanish into Y8 and 9, but can opt for French or German as their second language. This degree of choice in unusual in secondary schools and has been very well received by students and parents. Inevitably, the students in slower paced streams would find three languages too challenging, so they study Spanish or French and have a little extra time added to subjects such as English, maths, geography and PE.
Physical education is vital for team building as well as aiding the students’ physical and mental wellbeing. All students follow a core PE curriculum, with good numbers opting to study PE at GCSE and AS level too.
Personal, Social and Health Education is taught in a cross curricular fashion. Not only does this allow it to be delivered by subject specialists, but also means the students see this education in context. All teachers weave the social, moral, spiritual and cultural dimensions of learning into their lessons.
Each year may have slightly different demands in terms of ability and need. For example, the current Y11 has a number of lower ability students for whom another language would have been impossible. A new option was devised for this group where they replaced their humanity subject and language with BTEC Travel and Tourism and their options with a hands on arts based course. A further group of non-linguists study Citizenship. The current Y10 are more able, and a smaller number would not be able access a language. Feedback from Y11 suggested that they’d have liked more options, so this year we included the BTEC travel and tourism, but allowed the usual two options choices.
Parental and student voice is important to us. After a year where food technology was not available, parents and students agreed that it was important to them and it was brought back to the curriculum. Students said they would like a little more technology at GCSE, so this year we have introduced photography in addition to art and catering. It has proved very popular. History also proved a popular option this year, so the number of groups in the option block was doubled to accommodate the extra demand.
We do not alter the curriculum to improve league tables or performance measures, focussing instead on a balanced curriculum, achievement and progress. However, we do respond to new demands. For example, this year the mathematics curriculum at GCSE has increased markedly in terms of both content and challenge. Consequently, we have increased curriculum time in mathematics from 8 to 10 lessons per fortnight so that they may best meet this new challenge.
We constantly strive to provide the best broad and balanced education for our students. We were delighted to open The New Sixth in September 2013 and its impact on the school has been wonderful. We offer a wide range of Level 3 qualifications plus an innovative “Level Up” course. This is designed to allow those students not yet ready for Level 3 courses to undertake BTEC and COPE qualifications as well as re-sitting GCSE maths and English if needed.
We are proud of our curriculum and offer and the excellent results it leads to.
Key Stage 3
All students follow courses in:
• Core subjects: English, Mathematics, Science and Religious Education
• Humanities: History and Geography,
• Performing Arts: Music, dance and drama
• Physical Education
• Food Technology
• Modern Foreign Languages: Spanish, French, German (please contact school for policy and rationale regarding which languages are studied in each year group)
• Personal, Health and Social Education (PHSE) and careers education are covered in tutor time and across the curriculum
Key Stage 4
Students study from a range of curriculum areas. Although the KS4 curriculum is reviewed annually to take into account developments in subject examinations and government guidelines we have developed a well ’tried and tested‘ provision which provides breadth and balance and enables the vast majority to achieve the English Baccalaureate. Parents and students are provided with up to date information and guidance when ready to choose options.
The general pattern of study is as follows:
• English Language
• English Literature
• Science (Core and Additionl)
• Religious Education
• A modern foreign language (French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese)
• History or Geography
• PE (non-exam)
• PSHE (non-exam)
Students are also offered the opportunity to widen their subjects to include two options from:
- Triple Science
Key Stage 5
Students are able to choose from a wide range of level 3 courses at our shared sixth form, The New Sixth. You will find more information on the Key Stage 5 curriculum here
For further information on Curriculum and Assessment at St Gregory’s, click here.