Curriculum Overview

Curriculum

Introduction

St Birinus School operates a two-week timetable with 48 hours of taught lessons throughout week A and week B. The school closes to students at 2.15 pm every Friday which allows for an hour of dedicated curriculum development time every week.  

Our five-year curriculum is designed to be ambitious and give all learners the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. At St Birinus School we believe that a carefully planned and structured curriculum is the foundation upon which excellent learning and development is built. The curriculum is designed and implemented in such a way that it builds on prior knowledge and prepares pupils for the next stage in their education.  Our teachers are experts, we value each subject and its set of essential ideas, facts, stories and concepts which comprise the knowledge we deliver to students.  Our curriculum planning interweaves subject specific skills ensuring students build on what they have previously learned.  

Subject Leaders carefully construct a curriculum that promotes a deep understanding of a wide range of topics. We have ensured that our Key Stage 3 curriculum is of similar ambition and breadth to the national curriculum. Teachers plan learning that allows pupils to embed and recall knowledge through techniques such as careful sequencing, modelling, and retrieval practice. This builds firm foundations for progression to the next level and exam success.  

Students receive excellent information and guidance when selecting their options. Most students choose to study 4 option subjects. Around 40% of students are entered for the English Baccalaureate* each year. Disadvantaged and SEND students are encouraged to opt for challenging pathways.

Support for learning

Disadvantaged students and those with SEND are at the centre of our curriculum thinking and planning. In particular, we ensure that our curriculum meets the needs of disadvantaged, SEND or other vulnerable learners by: 

  • prioritising the knowledge and skills that will enhance the cultural capital of these students 
  • deliberately teaching tier 3 vocabulary in each subject area 
  • emphasising the outward-facing and global dimension to our curriculum 
  • designing our curriculum in such a way that it benefits all students and disproportionately benefits vulnerable learners. Elements of this curriculum design include: careful sequencing of knowledge and skills; quizzing and other methods to ensure the retention of knowledge over time; deliberate practice of key skills. 

Subject allocation for each year group is as follows (numbers given are hours per fortnight):

Key Stage 3 - Years 7 & 8 in 2019/20

All students in Years 7 & 8 follow a broad and balanced curriculum, studying:

Subject

Hours per fortnight

Comments

English

6

 

Mathematics

6

 

Science

6

 

History

3

 

Geography

4

 

Ethics & Morality

2

 

Technology

2

Includes Food, Graphics and Resistant Materials

Modern Foreign Language (MFL)*

6

Students study one language: French or Spanish with a small cohort opting for the Mandarin excellence programme 8 hours per fortnight.

Computer Science

1

 

Art

2

 

Music

2

 

Physical Education

5

3 hours for students studying the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

Drama

1

 

Setting in Years 7 & 8

In Years 7 students are taught in set classes in Mathematics, these sets are determined by KS2 data, internal assessment and class work. Regular assessments inform change of class according to individual student educational need.  In all other subjects, students are taught in mixed attainment groups.

Key Stage 4 – Year 9 & Year 10 in 2019/20

Students start their GCSE courses in Year 9 and so begin to follow the requirements of the individual subject specifications.

All students study:

Subject

Hours per two weeks

Comments

English and English Literature

8

 

Mathematics

8

 

 

Science

10

 

Combined and Separate Science GCSEs offered.

Option subjects

4 per subject (16)

Each option subject receives 4 hours per fortnight. Students ‘opt’ for four subjects with bespoke guidance to ensure that a balanced curriculum maintained

Personal Development

2

 

Physical Education

4

 

 

Key Stage 4 – Year 11 in 2019/20

Subject

Hours per fortnight

Comments

English and English Literature

8

Core subject

Mathematics

8

Core subject

Science

10

Combined Science GCSEs taught to 4 (of 6) groups with the Single Sciences (Biology, Chemistry & Physics) taught to the top 2 groups.

Option subjects

5 per subject (20)

Each option subject receives 5 hours per fortnight.

Physical Education

2

Core subject

Key aspects of the Personal Development curriculum are delivered through a series of events and collapsed timetable days.

The wide range of option choices encompasses both academic and vocational qualifications and allows for learning pathways both within and beyond Key Stage 4.

Option subjects are taught for 4 hours per fortnight in Years 9 & 10, then 5 hours per fortnight in Year 11.

Key stage 5

Information about the Key stage 5 curriculum can be found on the Didcot Sixth Form website: http://www.didcotsixthform.co.uk/20/curriculum

 

Documents

Curriculum Overview Date  
Curriculum policy SBS Dec 2019 09th Dec 2019 Download
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