Lower school curriculum

Quantock Education Trust Curriculum Intent

Why is the curriculum important at QET?

The Quantock Trust vision is to enrich life opportunities for all members of our community, working and learning together with aspiration, ambition, and care, in our schools and wider society. Our ethos is as much about ensuring children are prepared for life, as it is about ensuring they are prepared to achieve academic success. Having broad, balanced and ambitious curricula in our schools is one of our cornerstones of excellence.

Fundamental to the delivery of that vision is a well-designed, knowledge rich curriculum that is designed to enable children to develop an intellectual and informed sense of the world and enjoy their learning, as well as a powerful sense of self and a compassionate and empathetic sense of others.

We believe for children to excel in their academic subjects they must also develop character attributes to support that learning such as, ambition, resilience, determination, collaboration, honesty, empathy and many more. We see these attributes being just as important as knowledge and at QET we believe that character education should be ‘taught, sought and caught’.

We see no tension between a rigorous and stretching academic education, and outstanding wider personal development, in fact we see them as unified and reciprocal concepts. Our intention is that children who are educated within our Trust become ethical people who treat others with respect and compassion and stand up for what is right; they have cultural capital so can engage meaningfully in the world and with others, are skilled, knowledgeable, and resilient communicators with strong character and the ability to shape their own future.

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, Religious Studies, Art, Drama, Food Technology, French, Computer Science, Music, Photography, Physical Education and Product Design.

In years 7 and 8 students are placed into two bands and then placed in ability groupings or mixed ability depending on the subjects. In year 9, students are placed in ability groupings or mixed ability depending on the 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, Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). 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, Food Technology, Design Technology, Computer Science, BTEC Sports Studies, 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 also offer Functional Skills in numeracy and literacy to support learners identified by our SENDCo.

All students are required to follow the KS4 Compulsory Curriculum.

Sexey’s Seven Core Values

At the centre of the school’s ethos you will find our Christian values. We have seven core values: these are the building blocks of our individual character and through these we grow and develop as individuals and as a community. As such we take care to link our teaching and curriculum to our core values. This can be seen in our subject curriculum maps, available here for Lower School and here for Sexey’s Sixth.

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

The Covid-19 pandemic caused disruption to exams in Summer 2021, and students were awarded teacher assessed grades.

Sexey’s A Level results in 2021 place us in the top 1% of the country based on our ALPS score. Read more information in our news story here.

Sexey’s GCSE results in 2021 continue a positive trend of outcomes improving over the past three years, building on our position as third best performing school in Somerset for Progress 8 (2018). For more information, please see 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 Deputy Headteacher, via the school. The curriculum policy can be read here.