Curriculum

“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 forward-thinking knowledge rich Curriculum is something we are very passionate about at Brine Leas School. We devise the curriculum carefully to provide challenge to every student and enable them to develop into well-rounded young adults.

Curriculum Rationale

Through our curriculum, we aim to:

  • Provide a broad and balanced education for all our students;
  • Enable students to develop knowledge, understand concepts and acquire skills as this epitomises and admirable education, and be able to choose and apply these in relevant situations;
  • Support students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
  • Support students’ physical development and responsibility for their own health, and enable them to be active;
  • Promote a positive attitude towards learning
  • Ensure equal access to learning, with high expectations for every student and appropriate levels of challenge and support;
  • Provide subject choices that support students’ learning and progression, and enable them to work towards achieving their goals
  • Develop students’ independent learning skills and resilience to equip them for the further/higher education and employment.

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 Modern Foreign Language and a humanity.
  • Two-year key stage 5 pathway model enables 4 routes, retaining the ability to study and sit exams in 4 subjects from an offer of 39 qualifications, including 4 BTEC qualifications, along with Level 3 Core Maths and/or the Extended Project Qualification.
Curriculum Intent

We are committed to providing a curriculum with breadth and depth that enables young people to develop and achieve. We do this through providing opportunities for their personal development and by enabling them to achieve their personal best. We strive to prepare young people for life-long learning through providing challenging learning opportunities that motivates and inspires whilst at the same time preparing them for further education and for the world of work. In addition, we provide a broad range of opportunities to promote active community involvement thus preparing young people for life in modern Britain.

Subject Areas
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.
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 sustained destination within further education, employment and/or training. Further details of the organisation of the curriculum can be found within our Curriculum Policy.

Contingency plans for an outbreak

Online platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Seneca Learning and GCSE PODs, will be used concurrently with classroom teaching to deliver a sequenced curriculum. These platforms enable interaction between students and teachers in order to allow assessment and feedback. In the event of self-isolation of individual students, a group of students, or if there is a local school closure, staff, students and families will be familiar with these platforms to enable learning to transfer smoothly to remote learning. In the absence of suitable online access, printed resources, such as textbooks, will be provided to students.