Values and purposes underpinning the curriculum
George Green's School is committed to inclusion of all pupils and to promoting the highest possible standards of education through the provision of a well-ordered, secure and stimulating environment. We value the strengths that pupils bring to the school and seek to build upon these in a way that both raises all learners' expectations and encourages diversity and tolerance. Furthermore, we recognize and actively support the notion that all pupils, regardless of gender, race, class or ability/disability have the right of access to all areas of the curriculum. We value and support all our learners - and offer special support for pupil groups including our bilingual learners and those with special needs - and seek to offer them the support they need to achieve their full potential.
Aims of the school curriculum
George Green's School offers a broad-based education, which allows pupils to acquire, develop and apply a range of knowledge, understanding, concepts, and skills that contribute to the development of the whole person. The school has high expectations of its pupils and seeks to set realistic but challenging goals, which will allow them to maximize their potential and develop a sense of self-discipline and self-worth. In particular, the curriculum:
- Emphasises the importance of basic skills of oracy, literacy, numeracy and information technology and communication - in order that our pupils can achieve independence of learning as a preparation for adult life;
- Seeks to develop a balanced approach to curriculum provision - exposing pupils to a variety of educational experiences through the National Curriculum and beyond - which promotes pupils academic achievement, while also valuing more practical vocational and physical skills.
- Recognises the importance of flexibility and differentiation in curriculum provision and goal-setting to meet the needs of all pupils and guide them in terms of their growth and development;
- Encourages pupils to think creatively and reflect critically on local, national and global contexts in which they live and work - in order to prepare them for their future life as workers and citizens, equipped with enquiring minds, problem-solving strategies and the capacity to think rationally;
- Seeks to broaden pupils' awareness of the spiritual, moral social and cultural diversity of the society they live in and to develop in them a sense of right and wrong - while, at the same time, celebrating diversity;
- Develops the personal learning and thinking skills of our pupils.
The curriculum also encourages pupils to be aware of the health and safety issues surrounding both themselves and others.
In implementing the curriculum, the school values the support of parents/carers in the community and seeks to encourage and enable them to become active partners in the education of their children. Equally, the school recognizes the crucial importance of a highly-motivated and knowledgeable staff and actively supports their professional development as a means of extending, improving and refining curriculum provision.
The impact of our Humanities Specialism on our curriculum
All individual subjects have action plans to focus their curriculum developments on our shared goal of developing our shared humanity. Through our Humanities Specialist School status we:
- Use our lead subjects (English, Citizenship and Drama) to help raise attainment across the whole school
- Support Economic Well-Being by :
- Developing literacy, numeracy and oracy skills
- Developing business links in the community
- Support Community Cohesion through working with hard-to-reach groups
- Develop Internationalism through local, national and international school links
Our specialist status also enables us to share outstanding practice with our partner schools which is of reciprocal benefit.
Current curriculum provision (Ofsted 2009)
When Ofsted visited us in 2009 they found that:
"The good curriculum is having a positive impact on students' achievement. The school has thoughtfully revised its provision at both key stages."
"The carefully thought out curriculum at both Key Stage 3 and 4 has made a significant contribution to the improvement in student achievement in the last year. The school has made good provision for less able students and has been successful in providing a curriculum to re-engage disaffected students. There is a broad curriculum at Key Stage 4. The revised Key Stage 4 curriculum includes academic, vocational and work-based learning pathways."
Curriculum provision (Ofsted 2013)
When Ofsted visited us in 2013 they found that:
"The curriculum is highly personalised, regularly evaluated and carefully tailored to the range of needs of students, with extensive provision for a range of enrichment and extra-curricular activities. The sixth-form curriculum benefits from basic courses in English and Mathematics as well as academic courses following the International Baccalaureate. Alternative provision, mainly through courses at local colleges, supports students whose circumstances may make them vulnerable very well."
George Green's School is committed to raising educational standards and curriculum implementation is clearly central to this process. Re-appraisal of what is offered and how it is offered can help ensure that learners are provided with a relevant range of educational experiences for the changing contexts in which they will live and work. While educational experiences may change, however, the values underpinning them remain unchanged. It is by encouraging pupils to explore, question and critically reflect on issues as the basis for generating their own values and judgments that they will be provided with the tools for educational success. There is, in this sense, a direct link between raising educational achievement within the school and viewing the curriculum as a liberating and creative process for teachers and learners alike. To this end, we aim to make our curriculum responsive to the changing needs of our diverse learning community to provide our young people with the skills, guidance and qualifications they will need to meet the challenges of the adult world.
You will have no doubt seen or heard news reports that the current government wants schools to place more emphasis on ensuring that young people get the 'basics' right. They are insisting - rightly - that young people need to achieve good qualifications in English and Maths by the end of Year 11 in order to ensure that they can progress to further studies post-16 or employment.
We have looked at our curriculum (which was judged 'Good' by Ofsted in 2009) to ensure that it enables our pupils to achieve the best possible results in English and Maths. This has led to a thorough curriculum review, which has involved all teachers. We are now involving pupils, parents and carers, and governors, in this process. By Friday 10th February, we want to have reached a final decision, so that after half term we can start counselling pupils on their options.
The following principles have emerged from our curriculum review process:
- The curriculum will continue to meet National Curriculum requirements, and wherever possible is designed to be 'future proof' (based on the following)
-English Bacc subjects will be possible for roughly 2/3 of Key Stage 4, which exceeds Department for Education expectations
- The National Curriculum review will report in 2014 - we already have some strong 'hints' of what they will recommend, and the curriculum anticipates this
- More time for English and Maths
- Depth not breadth - pupils will end up with fewer qualifications but higher quality outcomes
- Key Stage 4 will last for 3 years (year 9, 10 and 11)
- Key Stage 3 will last for 2 years (year 7 and 8)
- Most pupils will take 1 option per year in Key Stage 4 in addition to the following 'core'
- Key Stage 4 will be 'stage not age' - this will allow pupils the possibility to repeat an option if needed.