Key Stage 3
BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR SUCCESS
On arrival in Year 7, pupils are placed in form groups of approximately 16 students. They are taught in these groups for all of their subjects; small classes allow us to monitor academic progress closely, and so to adapt our teaching to deliver the personalized provision that enables pupils to flourish.
From Year 8 onwards, girls are set for Maths and French; the sciences are also set from Year 9 onwards. To take account of the different skills, experiences and abilities in any given class, teaching is carefully planned to meet the needs of all students. This will involve the adaption of tasks, providing differentiated resources and/or extension work, setting individual goals, providing different levels of support, and offering a variety of activities for pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.
THE KEY STAGE 3 CURRICULUM
The curriculum for pupils in Years 7-9 is academically rigorous and broad. Girls study English, Maths, French, Science, History, Geography, Religious Studies (see below), Art, ICT, Music, Drama, Physical Education and Enrichment (see below).
In Year 7, pupils study English, Maths, Religious Studies, French, History, Geography, PE, Enrichment (see below), Art, Music, Drama, ICT, and Science, which is taught as a combined subject, as opposed to three separate sciences.
In Year 8 the majority of students will begin a second language (each year there is the option to study either German or Spanish) in addition to those listed above. Science continues to be taught as an integrated subject.
Pupils in Year 9 are taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics as three separate sciences. All pupils continue to study French and the majority continue to study German or Spanish. From the summer term onwards, many departments introduce their GCSE courses.
As a Catholic school we believe that religious education is the "core of the core curriculum" (Pope St John Paul II). The place of RS at the heart of the curriculum helps the school to fulfil its mission to foster an ethos of spiritual development, humility and gentleness, educating the whole person in discerning the meaning of their existence.
Information and Communication Technology
We believe that the development of capability to use ICT is an essential requirement of students’ education and that they have an entitlement to ICT resources and teaching of the highest possible quality. All girls in Years 7 and 8 receive ICT lessons (twice and once a week, respectively) and are expected to develop both understanding and practical expertise in this area. ICT is also taught in subject areas, including Maths and English.
The Enrichment course is designed to promote the thirst for knowledge whilst building independence. Girls in Years 7 and 8 receive one lesson of Enrichment each week, studying topics selected to build cultural capital, such as Current Affairs, History of Art, Politics, Business, and Social Studies. They are then taught how to research and deliver a project – something that sparks their imagination and ignites curiosity – and given the opportunity to work collaboratively or individually on this, developing and to skills such as public speaking, independent research, project management and critical thinking.
There will be the option to work towards a Project Level 1 qualification, which can take the form of:
• A written report (e.g. a piece of journalism)
• A production (e.g. a charity event)
• An artefact (e.g. a piece of art)
THE ENHANCED CURRICULUM
Learning to Learn
The ‘Learning to Learn’ course is delivered via weekly form time sessions throughout Key Stage 3. The course is designed to provide initial support for pupils transitioning to secondary school, and thereafter to equip them with study skills and knowledge about learning. All content is evidence-based and references recent research into how we learn. Topics studied include strategies for active revision, time management, and the social and emotional foundations for learning.
Drop Everything and Read
Every Wednesday morning, students in Years 7-9 take part in ‘Drop Everything and Read’ – a national programme which has had widespread success in creating a reading culture in schools and in enabling all pupils to see themselves as readers, that is, as individuals who independently choose to read and feel confident in identifying themselves as someone who reads. In the first half of the year, girls are read to by their form tutors and take part in a short discussion of the book they are reading. From the Spring term onwards, each form votes for their book of preference, which is read each week during the Spring and Summer terms.
We believe that an outstanding careers programme is central to creating motivation and aspiration, through the development of personal and meaningful goals. Careers advice at Key Stage 3 is focused on helping pupils to become aware of the importance of careers and the ways in which they can prepare themselves for the workforce. Careers provisions and activities take place in form groups and are embedded in the PSHE curriculum. Relevant speakers are invited to speak to the girls on a range of careers and the school is a partner of InvestIN, providing access to workshops, lectures and other activities. Pupils are supported through the GCSE Options process though careers clinics, where students can arrange an appointment to discuss their options with the Careers Co-ordinator.
PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education, including RSE – Relationships and Sex Education)
PSHE sessions facilitate opportunities for pupils to learn and discuss age-appropriate content through morning form sessions, themed weeks, the assembly programme and visits from specialist speakers. At the heart of the success of our PSHE programme is the trust that characterizes relationships between girls and their form tutors.
Topics covered at Key Stage 3 are based on three core themes: Health and Wellbeing; Relationships; and Living in the Wider World. PSHE addresses both current experiences and preparation for the future. Pupils learn to manage diverse relationships, their online lives and increasing influence of peers and the media. There is a focus on physical and mental health, including self care techniques, as well as opportunities to discuss economic wellbeing, future plans and career aspirations. The PSHE programme endeavours to build resilience, help pupils assess risk and develop decision making skills.
A full programme of study is available upon request.