The curriculum at Christ’s is designed to fulfil our mission statement which aims to ensure that “our students become confident, responsible and successful young people, who love learning, have a desire to lead and to serve, and are ambitious for their own futures”.
Our student profile is typically mixed ability but with generally higher prior attainment on entry when compared to the national average; our curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all our students with an emphasis on providing the breadth and balance of subjects across all key stages to enable every student to develop their strengths and personal talents.
The foundations of our curriculum are based around our core Christian values of Love, Justice and Peace and translated through the compulsory subjects of the National Curriculum. Distinctive elements of our curriculum include the study of Religious Education from Year 7 through to Year 11; another is study of Citizenship, compulsory for all students at Key Stage 3 and an option subject at Key Stage 4. Both subjects work alongside the other elements of the curriculum with the aim of developing spiritual individuals who are sensitive to the needs of others, embrace diversity and have a commitment to equality and inclusivity.
Our focus across our 7 year curriculum is to provide all students with the opportunity to develop the skills and acquire the knowledge needed across a broad range of subjects to achieve their potential. Our Key Stage 3 curriculum runs over three years and has been designed, across all subjects, with this end in mind; in some subjects (including: Maths; Science; English and RE) students will start the GCSE course towards the end of Year 9. Careful planning and consideration has been given to the skills and knowledge expected at every grade-path from Year 7, through to Year 13; with the focus on repeating and practising these skills so they are embedded, forming firm foundations for study through the GCSE years and on to Key Stage 5.
Reading is an important element of the curriculum; we recognise the importance that vocabulary acquisition and comprehension plays in improving the chances of academic success. All students in Key Stage 3 have one hour per fortnight which is spent reading in the library as part of their English curriculum. One PD time (personal development time) per week is dedicated to reading through our school wide DEAR time (drop everything and read).
In addition, students who arrive at Christ’s in Year 7 with low reading scores are supported during one PD time to improve their reading through an online programme which is delivered by our literacy coordinator and our Year 12 students; this is supplemented at home with additional reading time. In addition, the school invests an additional 10 hours of specialist English intervention lessons per fortnight to support targeted Key Stage 3 students; the same provision is also made for Maths intervention.
Ensuring that number skills are integrated across the curriculum is a key focus of the school during 2018/19. All students in Key Stage 3 spend one personal development time each week working on key numeracy skills. This constant repetition is invaluable to all students but is especially beneficial to those students whose core number skills are lower than the expected standard. In Key Stage 4 students spend one personal development lesson working on real life number problems taken from newspaper articles. The combination of applying of Maths skills while processing and decoding written information is excellent preparation for the new GCSE in Maths but also for the increasing group of subjects that have a significant mathematical component at GCSE and A Level.
At Key Stage 3 we run an early intervention program focusing on small group intervention with students who are identified as making less than expected progress. We concentrate on identifying and tackling the particular misconceptions that each student has and also on rebuilding their confidence and motivation for the subject. The intervention program has been universally approved of by the participants. At the end of each term they all wish to carry on as they feel it has been beneficial to them.
The Learning Support Department at Christ's School comprises: an SEN Lead; Behaviour; Maths and Literacy specialists; Dyslexia specialist and Learning Support Assistants. This team supports with a wide range of Learning, Behavioural, Social and Physical needs. The department also houses an enhanced provision for students with Dyslexia. There are six places spread throughout Key Stage 3 and 4 for students who have an Education and Health Care Plan or specific learning difficulties.
An Educational Psychologist is employed to work with students when required. In addition, we have Speech and Language therapy intervention, targeted mentoring, and involvement from other specialists as and when needed.
Our Able and Ambitious programme seeks to provide students nominated by each subject in each year group with the opportunities for high level performance through a variety of extension and enrichment activities, which challenge and stretch them to achieve their potential. These occur within the curriculum as well as through extra-curricular and additionally scheduled activities. The Able and Ambitious Co-ordinator leads staff in ensuring the identification and appropriate support for individual students, with a whole-school focus on providing experiences that enhance and extend learning for all students. Our whole school Enrichment Days provide the opportunity for cross curricular work as well as focus on specific themes.
We believe it is as important to give the time and opportunity for students to experience PE, the arts, music and technology subjects as it is to study the traditional academic disciplines. At Key Stage 4 we encourage as many of our students as possible to study the full suite of EBaac subjects at GCSE. We provide a bespoke curriculum offer where the curriculum is designed around the preferences and abilities of each cohort. Through our individual student (and parent) meetings we make sure that every student follows a curriculum pathway that suits their needs and aspirations.
We have bespoke support in place for our disadvantaged students with PPG Champions employed to give individual students advice and guidance in all year groups with a particular focus in Year 9 on making aspirational GCSE choices, especially for the high prior attaining students. Our curriculum is designed throughout Key Stage 3 and 4 to ensure that our high prior attaining disadvantaged students are taught in the top sets in core subjects.
Alongside the academic curriculum we provide a daily, tutor led programme of personal development which focuses on developing a number of areas including: numeracy; “character and culture”; personal, social, health and sex education as well as careers advice and guidance across all key stages.
In Key Stage 5 a wide range of subjects are offered to study at A level and a small range of BTEC subjects. Each year the curriculum is designed around student needs identified from Year 11 interviews. The curriculum is supplemented by an extensive pastoral support programme; mentoring from Key Stage 5 tutors, master-classes to stretch and challenge across subject areas and a rich and varied super-curricular programme. All students participate in an enrichment programme on Wednesday afternoons.
We are proud that the overwhelming majority of our students go on to further study at post 16 with approximately 50% of our students returning to Christ’s. Of that cohort, over 20% traditionally go onto Russell group Universities with over 90% continuing to study at University.
Our extra-curricular programme offers a variety of opportunities for students in all year groups to supplement and fulfil their academic, sporting, musical and artistic potential.
The school has a tradition of supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) links with outside agencies and there are many opportunities for students to visit institutions, as well as participating in school based events where experts from this field run workshops with students from different year groups. Many departments run extra-curricular clubs; the intent is to offer a mixture of academic, musical, creative and sporting opportunities for as many students as possible.
Examples of embedded and long-standing enrichment activities provided at Christ’s include:
- A range of sporting opportunities and activities for students of all abilities. Christ’s regularly enters a number of local, regional and national competitions and has built a reputation for success in a number of sports, including Basketball, Cricket and Rowing. (Christ’s is recognised in the top 100 state schools (52nd in 2018) for sporting provision)
- Duke of Edinburgh Award in Years 10&11(Bronze, Silver and Gold)
- Oxbridge Conferences for Able and Ambitious students
- Regular author visits to the school
- Musical opportunities including: choir; jazz band; orchestra as well as regular in-house and public performances
- Annual Art Exhibition
- Annual School Drama Production
- History and Geography field trips
- Foreign exchange visits
- World Challenge Expeditions