Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Intent  

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.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.

Disadvantaged students and those with SEND are at the centre of our curriculum thinking and planning. In particularwe 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. 

In addition, whole school initiatives such as reading in tutor time, an outstanding careers provision and the explicit teaching of revision skills, particularly benefit vulnerable learners.

Systems and structures are tilted in favour of disadvantaged students: teachers carefully consider their seating in the room, mark their books first and direct questions at them in class regularly. Disadvantaged students are particularly targeted for our wide and rich range of extra-curricular trips and activities, our advanced learner programme and our student leadership programme.

Communication with families helps to identify and remove any barriers to school attendance and engagement. Disadvantaged students, SEND and other vulnerable learners at risk of not fulfilling their potential are prioritised first for intervention which takes a range of forms including additional tuition and support from key workers and mentors.

Curriculum implementation 

Our curriculum is implemented through high quality teaching and learning built on the structures of ‘the SBS way’, ‘The Principles of instruction’ and the ‘SBS Half Dozen’, which provide a clear and consistent framework for teachers and are visible in all classrooms.   

(see teaching and learning handbook)  


five-year learning journey 

Key stage 3  

In all subject areas we view the curriculum as a five-year learning journey with Key stage 3 providing a firm foundation for future study.  Our Key stage three courses provide rich background knowledge and key subject specific skills which build on what students have learned at Key stage 2 and look forward to GCSE.  For students not taking a subject forward in Key stage 4 we ensure that our curriculum is as ambitious as the National Curriculum by carefully mapping the requirements to individual subject plans.   

Key stage 4  

In Year 8, pupils choose 4 subjects to study in depth in Year 9. This is a deliberate action to engage pupils and enable pupils to learn the depth of their subject over a three-year course.This is particularly important for those students studying in the Arts and Technology subjects which have more limited curriculum time in Key stage 3.  Our curriculum model allows students to choose 4 subjects in addition to the core of Maths, English Language and Literature, Science (combined or triple), PE, and Personal development.   

Options are structured in such a way to allow pupils a free choice though all students are guided towards opting for Ebacc subjects. This ensures equity of delivery, with all pupils having equal access to subjects. The options are designed to stretch and challenge pupils.  Pupils are offered a mixture of practical and academic subjects from all areas of the curriculum. This gives every pupil a broad and balanced curriculum and maintains the widest possible choice for progression routes Post 16 to ensure that every pupil has the maximum future opportunities for education and training.

The year 9 curriculum is planned to ensure that firm foundations are laid for success at GCSECourses are carefully planned to ensure that content is thoroughly revisited and this undoubtedly prepares pupils for external examinations at the end of the course and for future success.   

Key stage 5

Information about the Key stage 5 curriculum can be found on our Didcot Sixth Form website:



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