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Lower school curriculum

Content and organisation of the lower school curriculum

At Sexey’s School, our curriculum is designed so that the learning pathway of all students is broad, balanced, and appropriate. The curriculum has been reviewed in the light of the new National Curriculum introduced in 2014, leading to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Although Sexey’s is an academy, the broad outlines of the National Curriculum are followed across the school.

On joining Sexey’s in Year 7 every student experiences a variety of learning styles, techniques and curriculum areas. However, we strongly believe that it is crucial that students develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to allow them to progress in their studies throughout the school and also to prepare them fully for life beyond the school gates. Our mission statement stresses that we are

Teaching boys and girls to think independently, act wisely and be fully engaged in a challenging and changing world.

Key Stage 3 subjects

In Key Stage 3 all students study English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religion & Philosophy, Art, Drama, Food Technology, French, Computing, Music, Photography, Physical Education, Philosophy and Product Design.

In years 7, 8 and 9 students are placed into two bands and then placed in ability groupings for all subjects. Our belief is that all students can make excellent progress regardless of their prior attainment or any additional learning needs. We carefully monitor the composition of our teaching groups and adjust when appropriate.

Key Stage 4 subjects

As students move into Key Stage 4 they are given the opportunity to opt to follow certain subjects while all following a core curriculum. Students follow a range of subjects that will lead to the EBacc. Students all study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Science (at least two GCSEs), French, Physical Education and Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE). Students must choose from Geography or History and can then select additional subjects from three options, which can include Triple Science, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Art, Drama, Food Technology, Design Technology, Computing, Music, Physical Education, Photography and Psychology (the additional Geography and History sets in the Option Blocks exist for those students who would like to take both subjects). We are currently reviewing the curriculum model and looking to hopefully introduce level 2 courses in construction and engineering and level 1 courses in Horticulture and construction.

Some students will be recommended for a programme of Core Support in Year 10 and 11 to support their learning in English and Mathematics. These students will not subsequently take the French GCSE course (please note that this is not a choice for the students, it is determined through discussion between the SENDCo and the Head of French).

Intervention strategies

A range of intervention strategies are deployed in the school which include supporting students with additional needs, to those who are deemed most able. Additional support is provided across subject areas with particular emphasis on English, Mathematics and Emotional and Social Support.

Assessment and feedback

There is a renewed focus on assessment and feedback at Sexey’s and there are protocols for assessment, marking of literacy and extended writing. At all times the focus is on supporting students to make the next steps to improve their learning. Student progress reviews occur four times a year, the data produced being used to identify subsequent intervention and support work. Parents will be informed of these assessments.

Academic results

Based on its 2018 GCSE examination results, Sexey’s students ranked third out of the 78 secondary schools in Somerset for both Attainment 8 and Progress 8, and fourth in the county for percentage of students gaining a Grade 5 or higher in both Mathematics and English. We are awaiting to see our place for 2019.

Full information on our results for 2019, including details of pupil destinations at KS4, can be found here.

School timetable

The school operates Monday to Friday on a 50 period fortnightly timetable, each period being an hour long. The hours spent on teaching during a normal school week, excluding collective worship, registrations and lunch, total 25 hours per week. This compares with the recommended minimum of 24 hours/week, suggested by the Department for Education.

Students with extra educational need

If, at any stage, pupils are identified as having an extra educational need, we endeavour to provide it. This applies as much to extending the Most Able as to providing necessary support for those with specific learning difficulties. More details can be read here.

A policy for those with additional educational needs is available here. As part of the School’s Teaching & Learning Policy teachers are encouraged to use a wide range of teaching strategies to suit the learning styles of individual students.
Parents or other members of the public can find out more about the curriculum Sexey’s is following by application to the Assistant Headteacher, via the school. The curriculum policy can be read here.