“You can perform miracles by touching the hearts of those entrusted to your care.”
Our mission statement is very clear that our school should “provide a holistic education that challenges each of us to achieve our potential and become the person God intended us to be: spiritually, morally, academically, physically and socially.”
The curriculum is pivotal in enabling this to happen. We view the curriculum as an ambitious journey from primary school through to college and beyond:
Year 5 and 6: Growing
Year 7: Building
Year 8: Exploring
Year 9: Discovering
Year 10: Consolidating
Year 11: Mastering
Post 16: Thriving
Each of these stages provides a focus and purpose to the curriculum that are inter-connected, coherently planned and sequenced to ensure students develop and progress securely throughout their time at De La Salle.
In planning the curriculum, our staff have considered the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are required to achieve academic excellence in each subject at GCSE and beyond. Subject leaders and teachers then plan backwards from this point. This ensures that pupils receive a rigorous, coherent and intelligently sequenced curriculum, which builds on what has come before. The curriculum at De La Salle is grounded in the strongest available evidence about how pupils learn and retain knowledge in the long term – focusing in particular on research from cognitive science.
The academic curriculum is further enhanced through high quality personal, social, careers, citizenship and economic education and by our focus upon developing the resilience, confidence and self-esteem of each individual through outstanding opportunities within the main curriculum and our wider extra-curricular offer.
Each subject is unique, and includes its own substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge. Substantive knowledge relates to the core facts, ideas and concepts which are central to a subject (for example how nations make treaties, such as the Treaty of Versailles). Disciplinary knowledge, on the other hand, relates to how scholars and academics within each subject (or discipline) arrive at this knowledge – for example, how physicists use the scientific method to arrive at general principles through observation and systematic experimentation. Our curriculum ensures that all pupils carefully build a comprehensive understanding of both.
At De La Salle, all staff think about curriculum at three levels. The first is the intended curriculum – what we intend pupils to learn. Subject specialists at De La Salle set out this detail meticulously, drawing on their academic knowledge, the national curriculum and experience of what is necessary to flourish in their discipline. The second level is the implemented curriculum; the resources teachers use to deliver the curriculum. An example of these are the knowledge organisers that teachers write for each subject and year group. Alongside the way they are delivered, where our skilled teachers bring all of this knowledge to life in a way that will be meaningful and exciting for the pupils that they know so well. Finally we consider the impact of the curriculum, through well designed and meaningful formative and summative assessments, that inform us of student progress and inform our planning.
Our mission statement is clear that we strive to: provide a holistic education that challenges each of us to achieve our potential and become the person God intended us to be: spiritually, morally, academically, physically and socially.
3 years ago, whilst in Special Measures, the school adopted a 2 year Key Stage 3 model to allow for greater depth in teaching the new, more challenging GCSEs. Students following this model completed their GCSEs in the summer of 2019 and it is clear this was very beneficial in helping students to acquire detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve much more across all subjects. The improvements were particularly noticeable for disadvantaged and low ability students. At the same time the school is also aware of the importance and requirement to allow students to study a broad and balanced curriculum between years 7 and 9. Though our departments ensured all areas of the national curriculum were being covered, it is clear that a 2 year Key Stage 3 might limit the rich, broad and ambitious curriculum we would like our students to follow. To begin to address this issue, we are piloting the re-introduction of a 3 year Key Stage 3 through the Year 9 Enrichment Curriculum.
Year 9 Enrichment Curriculum Pilot
For the academic year 2019/20, we have introduced a pilot 3 year Key Stage 3 curriculum, but with students still choosing their options at the end of Year 8. This means students will still study all of the subjects of the national curriculum into Year 9. The pilot will be reviewed to inform how best to increase the amount of time given over to non-core subjects in Year 9, comply with our obligations under the National Curriculum and provide a broad and ambitious curriculum that serves the needs of our students.
How is our curriculum implemented?
The Academic Curriculum is delivered through a broad and balanced Key Stage 3, covering all aspects of the national curriculum, and a more specialised Key Stage 4. Students make their option choices at the end of Year 8 to allow time to avoid teaching to the test and allow teachers and students time to explore the subjects more fully. We know from student and parental feedback, improved student outcomes and increased levels of attendance that, for our students, this is a more effective, successful and engaging approach, especially for the most disadvantaged.
Students in Year 9 continue to study non-core subjects (computing, design technology, art, performing arts, languages and the humanities) through the LORIC based enrichment curriculum. Through the Year 9 curriculum theme of ‘Discovery’ this allows students to enjoy the discrete specialist teaching of these subjects but with the enhanced development of their Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication (LORIC). This is beneficial to all students, but particularly to the most disadvantaged.
We believe in the importance of equality of opportunity and ambition for all students and therefore all of our students have access to the Ebacc should they choose it. Likewise, we are ambitious to support our students to follow meaningful qualifications that will support them to be successful now and in their future learning and careers. To achieve this, we have expanded the range and variety of subjects on offer to students when they complete their options, this has been driven by student demand and interest, appropriate progression and local labour market information.
Further information about the curriculum is available via the learning area links below, or by contacting Mrs C Mulhall via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01744 20511.
The following courses are currently available at Key Stage 4:
English Language (AQA)
English Literature (AQA)
Science (Combined and separate sciences) (OCR)
Religious Education (Edexcel)
Computer Science (OCR)
Health and Social Care (BTEC)
ICT (Cambridge National)
Travel and Tourism (BTEC)
Catering (Vocational Award)