Theme of the week is: Standards and expectations
Curriculum Intention Statement 2020-21
Faringdon Community College – Curriculum
Our vision at FCC is to provide a curriculum and an environment that enables all pupils to be engaged, to make progress and to succeed. Academic rigour is of real importance and ensuring learners are challenged is one of our priorities. The challenge provided has to be suitable for all learners, however, and a broad curriculum that develops a whole range of skills in our learners is of significant importance. For this reason, pupils at FCC study the full curriculum until the end of Year 9 and do not narrow the breadth of their study until Year 10. This allows two years to study subjects at the depth that is required for GCSE and other equivalent qualifications.
Our curriculum is underpinned by a commitment to high quality teaching and assessment in all subjects which enables all pupils to make good or better rates of progress. Our programmes of study in the earlier year groups are informed by GCSE and preparing pupils for GCSE is, of course, important but this is far from the sole purpose of KS3. At KS3, our desire is to instil a passion for lifelong learning through an enriching and engaging curriculum. Decisions are made, mainly at department level, on what should be taught and when, to prepare pupils for their future studies and to equip all pupils with the range of skills, knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We have a school assessment policy in place, but departments are free to implement this in an appropriate way to suit their subjects.
Whilst the bulk of our curriculum design is focused on ensuring our pupils make genuine academic progress, many of our subjects develop pupils’ practical skills and the importance of pupils’ personal development is a recurring theme across all curriculum areas. We aim to enable pupils to develop personal resilience and an ability to effectively self-evaluate. We have a carefully planned Citizenship programme across the key stages, to help equip our leaners to be responsible, respectful and active citizens. We offer a number of services to help those pupils who need extra support to develop their resilience, confidence and independence.
More detailed information regarding the intent in different subject areas is given within the subject pages.
Our curriculum approach is found through our curriculum intent, equalities objectives, SEND policy and accessibility plan.
At KS3, we aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the requirements of the National Curriculum programme of study and that places real value on the importance of all subject areas. Of course, the core subjects of English, Maths and Science are given significant curriculum time, as are the key Ebacc subjects; Geography, History and MFL, as well as Design & Technology, which we judge to be very important for the practical skills it develops. All subjects are taught for at least one hour per week. In addition, in Year 7, to help all pupils improve their reading fluency, they have an “Accelerated Reader” session once per fortnight, to further support the reading they do within other lessons. The full range of subjects taught throughout KS3 is:
Art, Design & Technology, Drama, English, Geography, History, ICT, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages (French, German & Spanish), Music, Physical Education, Religious Education, Science
It is our belief that pupils should be mainly taught in “mixed-ability” groups for the maximum benefit of all learners. At KS3, the only exceptions to this are in Maths (pupils are grouped by ability from Year 7) and in Science and MFL (pupils are grouped by ability from Year 8). In these subjects, it is felt that all learners benefit from being in groups more closely matched to their ability.
In each subject, Key Performance Indicators are used and are linked to different Target Pathways to help ensure pupils’ learning is sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge for their future study at KS4 and study and employment beyond this.
At KS4, our ethos is to offer each pupil a curriculum package that we believe to be in their best interests. This means we offer a wide range of subjects and qualifications, covering 14 of the DFE’s 17 Key Stage 4 subject clusters. As an example, pupils in the current Year 10 study 32 different courses, which are mainly GCSEs but include 4 BTECs, 3 Cambridge Nationals and an Eduqas Level 1/2 Vocational Award. Each year, a number of students with SEND study fewer options than their peers and have additional support with their study from the SEND department.
We do not believe that “early entry” is in pupils’ best interests and so all GCSE courses are examined at the end of Year 11, with just the one exception of RE. The structure of our curriculum allows this subject to be taken at the end of Year 10, to slightly lessen the burden of exams for pupils at the end of Year 11 and to give additional curriculum time for option subjects during Year 11.
When option choices are made in Year 9, we offer a great deal of guidance and support, but we make no attempt to force students to choose a subject they don’t want to study. Success comes from students studying subjects that they are interested and engaged in. We highlight to students the academic importance of studying the full range of Ebacc subjects and all students, with very few exceptions, have to study the core of English Language and Literature, Maths, Science and RE. For the reasons already given, we do not require any individual students to study Geography, History or a Language, meaning that sometimes our entry rate for Ebacc is below the level of future national government targets.
Throughout KS4, significant emphasis is also placed in providing pupils with excellent careers education, advice and guidance, including a two week work experience placement at the end of Year 10.
The ethos and values of key stages 3 and 4 are continued into 6th form, though the curriculum offer is narrowed slightly to focus mainly on A levels and, on the whole, more traditional “academic” subjects. This means, typically, a little under half of our Year 11 pupils continue into the school 6th form, with many pupils instead attending nearby colleges, which are better equipped to deliver a wider range of more vocational options.