Our curriculum is guided by the principle of providing an outstanding academic education for boys. We know that whatever their ability boys need to achieve GCSEs in high value subjects, in order to progress successfully onto the next phase of their education and/or training. Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all boys have the qualifications necessary for progression into Bullers Wood Sixth Form and other 16-19 providers. Therefore, our proposed curriculum is designed to support this.
- We always design our curriculum around the strengths and needs of each cohort and will be flexible in our approach to grouping boys by aptitude.
- In Year 7 Boys are placed in sets for English and Maths to ensure individual progress is maximised and that individual needs are met for literacy and numeracy. There are 7 sets operating across 6 forms of entry. Mixed – ability classes operate for most subjects in Year 7 with boys being placed in sets for the Sciences and Humanities from Year 8 upwards.
- A boy’s group is never static and individual progress is reviewed half termly and if necessary, movement to a more appropriate group takes place.
- We recognise that one size does not fit all. Therefore, intervention strategies will be implemented to provide stretch, challenge or support for any boy falling behind or who requires more specialist provision.
We offer a broad and balanced curriculum, as well as a programme of after school extra – curricular and enrichment activities where boys can develop their moral, physical, creative and aesthetic sides. This provides them with opportunities to find their niche.
Our ultimate aim is to produce well rounded, confident and successful individuals who enjoy learning, make ambitious progress and achieve high quality and meaningful qualifications. We want them to become emotionally resilient and responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society, including both their local community and the wider world in which they live.
Our curriculum provides an excellent grounding in the core subjects (English, Maths, Science, Computing, Religious Education, Personal Development and Physical Education), as well as the Humanities, a Modern Foreign Language, the Arts and Design and Technology. Although the curriculum is traditional, the delivery is innovative making use of the latest technology, materials and resources that appeals to the learning styles of boys.
Effective communication and mathematical skills and ultimately good GCSE qualifications in both English and Maths ‘opens doors’, as well as allows young people to access and achieve success across other subject disciplines. Therefore we will place significant emphasis on the teaching of these subjects throughout our 11 – 16 curriculum. As both are high priority subjects, we will allocate a high proportion of curriculum time to them.
In order to ensure that our boys have a firm grasp of Reading, Writing, Communication and Mathematical skills (Literacy and Numeracy), these skills will be reinforced in every single subject with a sharp focus on Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar and Maths.
Although we are committed to offering an academically based curriculum, we want our boys to develop their practical and aesthetic talents. Therefore we include Art, Music, Drama and Technology including Catering in our curriculum offer. As less curriculum time is devoted to these subject areas, our extra-curricular and enrichment offer will allow boys to develop their skills further in these areas.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development including British Values will be promoted across and embedded within and across the curriculum, as well as in all aspects of school life. Our vision and our practice is to ensure that all boys have the opportunities to develop an understanding of right and wrong and practise the skills and attitudes required for them to participate fully in a democratic society. SMSC will be promoted through activities such as tutor time, year and school assemblies, the academic curriculum, as well as through our Personal Development and Religious Education programmes.
We operate a house system to engender a sense of identity, pride and ownership in boys. Tutor groups will belong to one of four Houses. Each day, during tutor time boys will consider a daily thought with a spiritual, moral, social or cultural theme followed by a minute’s silence to reflect or pray.
We recognise the powerful impact Personal Development has in developing the knowledge, skills and attributes young people need in order to manage their lives now and in the future. Therefore, a discrete lesson adjacent to a morning tutor period will provide boys with 70 minutes of high quality provision where boys can explore issues in greater depth.
Subject Descriptions for Year 7 & 8
Our Year 7 & 8 English curriculum will be rich, varied and challenging. Boys will read texts from a range of historical periods and cultural contexts across the genres of drama, poetry and prose. These will include Dickens, Conan Doyle, Shakespeare, Tennyson and Browning. Boys will learn to deconstruct texts gaining an understanding of style, setting, and characterisation. They will also learn about the writer’s use of language and punctuation and how these can manipulated for effect. Boys will learn to extend their writing skills to inform, explain, describe, argue and persuade in lively, critical, and imaginative contexts which inspire as well as equip them for life beyond the classroom. Boys will also explore and enhance their oracy skills through role-play, discussion and presentation.
Boys will study a variety of topics which include the strands of number, algebra, graphs, geometry and statistics. Particular emphasis will be placed on algebra, developing problem solving skills, arithmetic techniques and accurate use of correct mathematical language and notation. Through the maths curriculum, boys will learn to think logically, to reason, identify patterns and connections, evaluate and present information clearly.
A high proportion of curriculum time will also be allocated to the study of Science. This is so that our boys will have the curriculum time to develop scientific concepts and skills in depth and have the opportunities to problem solve through experimentation. Our aim is to ensure that boys enjoy and attain successful outcomes in two or more Sciences at GCSE. This will also equip them with the grades to go on to successful study at A Level and beyond.
Science will comprise of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Boys will be motivated to enjoy science through the use of practical work and an approach that will demonstrate both the excitement and relevance of scientific discovery. They will develop the skills of experimentation and evaluation being able to select appropriate methods, test theories and present conclusions.
The Year 7 programme of study will include Cells and Microscopes, the Skeleton, the Particle Model, Light, Space, Waves, Reproduction, Acids and Alkalis, Atoms, Elements and Compounds Forces, Pure and Impure Substances, and Nutrition and Digestion.
Year 8 will study Current Electricity, Health, Pure and Impure Substances, the Periodic Table,
Pressure in fluids, Materials, Static Electricity, Photosynthesis, Forces and Motion, Relationships in an Ecosystem, Gas Exchange Systems, Cellular Respiration, Earth and Atmosphere, Energy Transfers and Changes, Inheritance, Chromosomes, DNA and Genes.
In Years 7 & 8, our History curriculum will develop the basic skills of historical enquiry, analysis and evaluation, whilst also equipping boys with an overview of British History from 1066 to the 20th Century. Through the exploration of historical events, boys will gain an understanding of connections, causes and their consequences. They will also develop the skills of questioning and critical analysis through the examination of sources.
In Years 7 & 8 boys will study the Earth’s landscapes, people, places and environments, as well as develop their skills of investigation, through the following topics: What is Geography? Weather and Climate, Sustainability, India, Paradise Lost – Thailand, Rivers and Flooding, China, Coasts, Antarctica and Africa. Boys will also develop their map skills. . Fieldwork will be a key part of the Year 7 & 8 curriculum with a field trip taking place at least once per academic year.
Modern Foreign Languages
All boys will have the opportunity to study a Modern Foreign Language. Boys arriving at secondary school will now have had some experience of learning a language at primary school. Additionally, Bullers Wood School for Girls, a former Specialist Language College, is committed to the notion that far from interfering with language development, learning a modern foreign language stimulates it. It also gives boys the opportunity to revisit concepts and linguistic skills that might have been poorly understood in their English speaking and writing.
Although we eventually intend to offer a range of modern foreign languages including French, German and Spanish with the possibility of Mandarin and a classical language such as Latin, it is likely that in the first year of opening, boys will take either Spanish or German. They will be taught in the target language, learning to speak, read and write in it. A topic based approach is used to deliver both the vocabulary and grammatical elements of the language to be studied.
Our Computing curriculum will teach programming. This is important for two reasons: firstly, it is a form of digital literacy that is of growing importance within society; and secondly, it promotes intellectual development as well as the development of problem-solving skills in a way that is applicable to many other subjects and in many other areas of life.
We aspire to deliver GCSE Computer Science from Year 9 onwards and therefore our curriculum for years 7 and 8 provide a foundation for this. Boys will develop both their ICT and computing skills. The Year 7 curriculum will include an introduction to software and hardware components, spreadsheet modelling; simple databases simple programming skills using at least two different programming environments; as well as animation, graphics and design work. Boys will also complete an e-safety project and explore some of the History of computer systems and their development over time.
In Year 8 boys will be introduced to more advanced programming features, mainly using the Python programming language. They will explore Computer Fundamentals and gain a better understanding of computers and associated Internet technologies. They will also learn about computer crime and cyber security. The schemes of work are also designed to develop boys’ problem solving techniques as well as enabling them to deal with different scenarios.
Religious Studies and Philosophy
The curriculum aims to develop an understanding of religion, to foster respect for difference and promote the powers of independent thought. Boys will engage with religious concepts, the philosophy and ethics of religion alongside the more traditional study of major world religions. Boys will develop the skills of enquiry and critical thinking as well as the social skills of empathy, tolerance and collaboration.
The PE curriculum is broad and balanced: focusing on healthy active lifestyles, the development of individual physical qualities, confidence, communication, teamwork, resilience, leadership, self-discipline, problem solving and decision-making. Students will study one sport per half-term and participate in varied sports throughout their school career. Current sports include: Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Cricket, Cross Country, Fitness, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Hockey, Rugby, Softball, Squash, Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball
Establishing and achieving regular success in team and individual sports is key, however, our main goal will be to maximise the involvement of all boys in curricular and extra-curricular activities. Using the power of PE and Sport, we will enhance their academic, personal and social development regardless of ability. The delivery of extra-curricular sports fixtures and activities is a priority where we will offer a varied programme. Sport is celebrated through inter house competitions, an annual Sports Day and a PE Awards Evening. Students will also have the opportunity to study GCSE PE at Key Stage 4
Boys will develop their creative and artistic talents through the acquisition of key skills in drawing, painting, sculpture and critical evaluation. They will have the opportunity to experiment with a range of media including 2D, 3D and new technologies; as well as to develop an understanding and appreciation of Art from different cultures and historical perspectives. Art will be delivered through a topic based approach for example Natural Forms in Year 7 and Surrealism in Year 8.
Design and Technology
Our Design and Technology curriculum will develop boys’ abilities to work independently and creatively in a variety of materials. The subject will be taught through a series of projects alongside a core of theoretical knowledge and understanding to support the designing and making process. Boys will design considering the needs of a target market and consider social and ethical values. Areas to be covered include Graphic Products, Textiles Technology and Product Design.
In years 7 & 8, boys will also gain experience working with a wide range of ingredients as well as developing their practical cookery skills. They will learn how to work safely and hygienically in a commercial-style kitchen. Theory work will be based around ethical and moral issues such as food miles and food waste, as well as focusing on the role nutrition has to play in our health and well – being.
Team work, collaboration and empathy are essential life skills and are an essential element of effective learning in Drama. Therefore, the Year 7 and 8 curriculum will develop these as boys tackle complicated real life issues such as bullying and mental health awareness. All boys will develop the ability to share ideas, listen to others and perform their work to an audience. Year 7 & 8 boys will be introduced to a wide variety of theatre styles, techniques and live performances developing their creative and evaluative skills in response.
Music will develop the key skills of listening, performing, reviewing and evaluating. Boys will learn musical notation and about a range of past and present musical traditions. They will have the opportunity to collaborate on composing and recording music as well as using music technology.
Personal Development – Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Well-Being including Sex & Relationships, Enterprise, British Values, Economic Education, Work Related Learning and Careers.
Our Personal Development programme will encourage boys to learn about themselves as growing and changing individuals, as well as develop the attributes required to contribute effectively to society. For all key stages, Personal Development will be delivered in discrete lessons each covering particular strands and aspects of the topics listed above. In the first half term of Year 7, boys will focus on the skills needed to be a successful learner.
As part of the Personal Development programme, all Year 7 boys will be enrolled on to the Apprentice Level, PiXL Edge Programme – a framework to develop and accredit boys with the personal attributes for employability and life. The scheme focuses on five key attributes: leadership, organisation, resilience, independence and communication. To obtain the accreditation through the NCFE examination board, boys must complete two activities in each of the five attributes. Supported by their tutors, boys will build up their individual online portfolios with evidence of achieving these skills. By the end of Year 8, we will expect all boys to have achieved this and be moving on to the Graduate level award.