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 passionate about preparing Sexey’s students for a life in the ever-changing world of work: ensuring that they leave us with the qualifications, skills and experiences to make certain that they are ready for the next stage in their journey of lifelong learning.
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.
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.
Based on our 2019 GCSE examination results, Sexey’s ranked as the top performing state school in Somerset, based on its English Baccalaureate (EBacc) average point score (5.01), and in the top three schools in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire by that measure. We were also the top school in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire for percentage of students entering the EBacc, at 83%. For the significance of the EBacc, please see the full release here.
We were also in the top six state schools in Somerset and Dorset for Progress 8 (fourth in Somerset). We were third in Somerset for Attainment 8, and fifth for Maths and English Grade 5 and above. Full information on our results for 2019, including details of pupil destinations at KS4, can be found here.
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.