Curriculum - Secondary Phase
A Curriculum for Learning - Secondary Phase
Upper School - Year 7 and 8 (Key Stage 3)
The curriculum at Westgate’s Upper School is uniquely shaped by the breadth of expertise available in its all-through setting. We believe that the curriculum should enable all pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies needed for a successful future therefore, it is designed to provide learners with a rich experience of different subjects and learning opportunities.
In Years 7 and 8 (Key Stage 3) pupils follow a balanced curriculum including the core subjects of English, Maths and Science alongside a wide range of Foundation subjects. In English and Maths the curriculum builds on the core skills that pupils will have learnt at Primary school, extending their experience and application of these skills to a deeper level in readiness for the challenges of Key Stage 4 (Years 9 to 11). In Science, the focus is on enquiry led learning, linking scientific exploration with real world examples and drawing together a number of strands in scientific thinking from biology, chemistry and physics that enables learners to see the relevance to every day life.
Strong partnerships with our linked primary schools mean that all pupils, regardless of where they attended primary education, will experience a curriculum in these core subjects that build on their prior learning to ensure that rapid and sustained progress is made throughout Key Stage 3. High quality teaching means that at The Westgate, we recognise that young people’s talents and challenges vary across subjects and therefore, whether an individual needs individual support or greater extension, we are able to respond to this through our curriculum design and delivery.
In addition to the core subjects, our curriculum includes discrete teaching in History, Geography and RE. Relationships, Sex and Health Education is taught in discrete lessons in Year 7 and through the Personal Development Curriculum in tutor times, supported by a rich assembly programme and termly small group/1:1 mentoring and discussion sessions.
The Personal Development Curriculum comprises of 4 key areas:
Relationships, Sex and Health Education;
Perspectives - Equalities and Diversity;
Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development:
The Westgate Challenge and, Personal, Social and Health Education - including careers.
Languages, the Arts, Technology, Computing and Physical Education are all part of the weekly timetable and delivered in purposefully designed teaching areas that maximise learning opportunities. We have specialist teachers in all subject areas whose enthusiasm for their subject resonates through the schemes of learning that pupils experience in Key Stage 3.
Upper School – Years 9, 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4)
In recognition of the strong progress made by pupils at The Westgate throughout Key Stage 3, we begin our Key Stage 4 curriculum from Year 9. Careful planning of the timetable and options process allows us to increase the range of subjects from which pupils can choose before making a gradual reduction in the range of subjects taken at the end of Year 9 according to the individual’s strengths, interests, and - in consultation with parents. The Year 9 curriculum is characterised by broader opportunities and greater depth: pupils can experience new subjects such as Photography, Media Studies and Religious Education as discrete option subjects whilst continuing with core national curriculum. Most pupils in Year 9 will also experience an introduction to Latin through the English Curriculum. Meanwhile, it is expected that the great majority of pupils will continue their learning in Humanities, MFL and Arts subjects beyond Year 9 to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum is experienced. The school takes a varied approach to the organisation of teaching groups to ensure that the challenges of learning in different disciplines are effectively met.
Pupils in Year 9 continue to receive a discrete lesson in computing as part of their core provision. More experienced learners in maths who would like to pursue the subject beyond Key Stage 4 also have the opportunity to take a Level 2 qualification in Further Maths (subject to uptake/course availability).
By the end of Year 9, pupils will have a second opportunity to focus their learning as they choose their subjects for examination entry. Again, we strongly encourage all pupils to continue with a second Language and a subject in Humanities because alongside a range of other subject disciplines, qualifications in these disciplines are a sound foundation for post-16 learning. Throughout Years 9 to 11, the core subjects of English, Maths and Science will focus on the GCSE syllabi and a choice of either Double or Triple Sciences. Nearly all pupils will take GCSE English and Literature in our school as part of their core provision. Where pupils have particular interests in music or sport for example, the School provides ample opportunities for them to pursue their interests even if not taken as an examination subject. We actively promote these opportunities in our school and are keen to celebrate the achievements of our pupils in their participation of these additional learning opportunities. As a flagship school for Hampshire Music Service, our thriving extra-curricular music and sports programmes in which a great majority of pupils participate, are a key part of the all-through school provision, facilitating rich learning opportunities where younger and older pupils are working in partnership and learning together.
In addition to the core subjects, our Key Stage 4 curriculum includes discrete teaching in RE (from which parents may withdraw their child). Relationships, Sex and Health Education is taught in discrete lessons in Year 10 and through the Personal Development Curriculum in tutor times, supported by a rich assembly programme and termly small group/1:1 mentoring and discussion sessions.
Deep Learning and Discovery Days
At The Westgate School we believe that deep learning is the key to success: children and young pupils must have opportunities to spend extended amounts of time practising their skills and gaining knowledge on a deep and conceptual level. To that end, our school year is punctuated by days when the timetable will be adjusted to allow pupils to spend a whole day in a specific area of learning that may be linked to their GCSE option choices or indeed, may follow a whole school theme. During Deep Learning Days, it is not unusual to see older pupils working with younger pupils or indeed, learning in different settings and benefiting from the rich learning environment that our setting has to offer. As part of our Perspectives programme, all pupils are involved in learning about different cultures as part of deep learning days.