“The quality of curriculum that a school has shapes the quality of thinking that goes on in the school and therefore shapes the quality of the minds engaged in the common, curriculum pursuit.” Martin Robinson

Delivering a responsive and outward-thinking knowledge rich Curriculum is something we are very passionate about at Brine Leas School. Our curriculum is designed to represent modern Britain, stimulate interest, debate and discussion to ensure our pupils become lifelong learners as well as responsible members of society. We have devised the curriculum carefully to provide appropriate challenge to every pupil enable them to develop into well-rounded young adults who can then achieve a successful and appropriate future pathway.

Curriculum Rationale

Through our curriculum, we aim to:

  • Provide a broad and balanced education for all our pupils;
  • Enable pupils to develop knowledge, understand concepts and acquire skills as this epitomises an admirable education, and be able to choose and apply these in relevant situations;
  • Develop pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
  • Support pupils’ physical development and responsibility for their own health, and enable them to be active;
  • Promote love of learning and enquiring minds
  • Ensuring equal access to our curriculum for all,
  • Provide subject choices and opportunities and experiences to enable them to develop independent learning skills and resilience that equips them for the further/higher education and employment.

Curriculum Intent

We believe that curricular depth is equally important to enable the level of knowledge and understanding that epitomises an admirable education. It is our long held view that education must challenge young people to think critically, learn independently, analyse, evaluate, reflect and create; in addition, it must develop responsibility and resilience along its journey to academic excellence. Through an emphasis on knowledge acquisition, our curriculum is designed to lead to admirable results and enable young people to flourish in the future and not be left behind.

Brine Leas School students typically, join the school at the end of KS2 with average point scores higher than those nationally. With this context in mind, our curriculum has the following characteristics:

  • The curriculum is delivered within a 50 period timetable over two weeks – time is limited, therefore, the proportion of the curriculum time in KS3, KS4 and KS5 allocated to each of the curriculum areas has been carefully considered. Each period is one hour.
  • Three-year key stage 3 – we are committed to a three-year key stage 3 to ensure students experiences of the arts, design and technology, and humanities are not curtailed prematurely.
  • Two-year key stage 4 to reflect and design of GCSE and Tech Award qualifications – 3 option choices from 24 qualifications, including 5 Technical Awards, to retain breadth but enable depth of study without excessive time being devoted to testing. Curriculum design enables students to complete up to 9 qualifications at key stage 4 and promotes an academic curriculum – we aim to maximise take-up at key stage 4 with the overwhelming majority of students studying the full suite of EBACC subjects, this includes a Modern Foreign Language and a humanity.
  • Two-year key stage 5 curriculum model adopts a flexible approach, with all students choosing to study and sit exams in at least 3 A level or BTECH subjects, from an offer of 39 qualifications, including 4 BTEC qualifications. Students complete their study programmes by selecting from a wide range of additional qualification and non-qualification enrichment activities, including the possibility to study additional courses such as Level 3 Core Maths, the Extended Project Qualification and more.

Upon entry to Brine Leas in year 7, pupils are grouped (broadly in ability order) within the majority of their subjects.

Where pupils join the school below the expected standard and are not making sufficient progress towards the expected standard, we may alter their curriculum provision to support them to make expected standard.

Key Stage 3: Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9

We believe thaRepresentation of the curriculum hours for each subject at Key Stage 3

All pupils receive a broad and balanced curriculum at key stage 3 by ensuring full coverage of National Curriculum subjects and entitlement areas:

English, Mathematics, Science, French or Spanish, Geography, History, Computing/Computer Science, Food & Nutrition, Art, Design & Technology, Drama, Music, Physical Education, Religious Education, and Relationships & Sex Education.

In addition to the above, pupils follow a course in PSHE, including Citizenship, and Work-Related Learning during tutor time.

Pupils are given the opportunity to select the language to study prior to joining the school. Pupils who do not select a language are allocated a language upon entry. This is the language pathway followed throughout key stage 3 and key stage 4.

Key Stage 4: Year 10 and Year 11

Representation of a Keystage 4 curriculum at Brine Leas School

The Key Stage 4 Curriculum is designed to adapt to the latest national educational developments and to ensure that pupils have a wide choice of pathways at 16. All pupils will receive a broad and balanced curriculum at Key Stage 4 through our offer of a wide range of GCSE and vocational equivalent qualifications and entitlement areas. GCSE subjects and non-GCSE equivalents at Key Stage 4 will be recognised in the performance tables in the year of examination.

Key stage 4 pupils study the following compulsory subjects along with one or two optional subjects from a choice of GCSE and Tech Award qualifications, dependent upon their chosen Science pathway:

  • Compulsory core examined subjects – English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Triple Science or Science Trilogy, a Modern Foreign Language (French, German or Spanish as studied at key stage 3)
  • Compulsory core non-examined subjects – Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) and Citizenship, Relationships and Sex education (RSE), Religious Education, and Physical Education

Details of courses are published each year, and parents are involved closely in the choice of subjects. Pupils are supported with their subject choices through guidance available from their form tutor and Head of Year, the careers staff and members of the leadership team.

All pupils at key stage 4 are given work-related learning opportunities (which may include experience of the workplace).

Key Stage 5: Year 12 and Year 13

The Key Stage 5 Curriculum is designed to allow individual flexibility and to adapt to the latest national educational developments – ensuring that students have a wide choice of possible pathways at the end of Sixth Form. The curriculum consists of a core study programme comprising of Level 3 qualifications – mainly A level subjects with a small selection of vocational qualifications. In addition, students can complete their individual study programmes by selecting appropriate enrichment courses (either qualification or non-qualification activities).

  • Additional optional enrichment qualifications: L3 Extended Project Qualification, L3 Core Mathematics, STEP/AEA Mathematics and more.
  • Additional optional enrichment non-qualification activities: For example: Additional work experience, online courses / ‘MOOCS’, Peer Assisted Study, Duke of Edinburgh, iDEA Award, Student Leadership, Post-sixth form preparation and application support etc.
  • Non-examination core courses: PSHCE – Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship Education, and RSE (Relationships and Sex Education). Details of courses are published each year. Key stage 4 pupils are prepared for their key stage 5 choices through assemblies, guidance session, taster days in June/July, and induction evening.

Preparation for higher education, apprenticeships or employment is developed through enrichment activities, including work experience, assemblies and PSHE sessions. Careers Advisers attached to the school are also available to offer guidance to individual students.

Curriculum Implementation

We have been evolving the implementation of our curriculum based on evidence from cognitive science. There are three main principles that underpin cognitive science: 1) Learning is most effective when spaced rather than blocked; 2) Interleaving helps long-term retention; and 3) Frequent and regular retrieval of previously learned content increases storage capacity and retrieval strength. In addition, to the three principles we also understand that learning is invisible in the short-term and that sustained mastery takes time.

With the above in mind, teachers set high expectations for all students. They will use assessment information to set ambitious targets and plan challenging work for all groups, including: more able students, students with low prior attainment, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, students with SEN, students with English as an additional language (EAL).

Teachers will plan lessons so that students with SEN and/or disabilities can study every subject, wherever possible, and ensure that there are no barriers to every student achieving.

Teachers will also take account of the needs of students whose first language is not English. Lessons will be planned so that teaching opportunities help students to develop their English, and to support students to take part in all subjects.

Curriculum Impact

The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each Milestone the vast majority of young people have made progress through sustained mastery of content, through the process of acquiring greater knowledge, and are able to apply this knowledge to show a depth of understanding. In addition, the overwhelming majority of young people achieve a secure and sustained destination within further education, employment and/or training.