St Ambrose Barlow RC High School

St Ambrose Barlow RC High School

Curriculum Structure

Curriculum Rationale

Our mission is fundamental to our curriculum, as it is to all aspects of school life. The school’s Mission Statement describes a process, or pilgrimage of learning. The curriculum brings that journey to life as pupils progress through subjects and other learning experiences. The curriculum is inseparable from learning, teaching and assessment, school life and culture; it isn’t a standalone concept.

As a Christ-centred learning community we seek to ensure that all pupils learn and develop becoming the people God has created them to be. All learning integrates a head, heart and hand approach reflecting our mission statement. Successful learning is rich in knowledge and seeks truth, ‘plummeting the depths of the mind of God’; it develops skills and reveals the insights of great human achievements and experiences. It is a source of education and faith formation, designed to develop young people as leaders of tomorrow enabling their unique gifts to flourish and develop so that they are well equipped to enter an adult world that is as yet unknown.

Our curriculum expresses our mission statement:

It enables pupils to explore who they are, what they believe and who they could be (Faith in You).

It fosters a desire for learning and challenge; builds curiosity, confidence and independence, balancing personal development through the Ambrose Way with academic rigor and achievement.

It equips pupils with the skills they need to be women and men for others, realising their aspirations and using their knowledge and skills in the service of others to make a positive difference in the world.

A. Curriculum Elements

Our Curriculum is composed of a number of elements. These show the range of experiences and opportunities through which young people learn in our school. During their studies over five years all of these elements will be experienced in different ways by pupils. The elements include:

  • Prior learning
  • Wellbeing: safeguarding, physical and mental health, diet, RSE, Character & citizenship
  • PSHE & FBV
  • Alternative curricula
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Texts & reading
  • Subject areas: schemes of work and enquiry questions
  • Homework and independent study
  • Vocabulary
  • Outdoor learning
  • Personal Development
  • Projects, curriculum connections & themes
  • Oracy
  • Careers, enterprise, trips, cultural experiences, work experience, wider achievement, teams, performances, extra-curricular
  • Service, leadership, SMSC, Caritas in Action, Catholic Social Teaching

B. Principles

The principles around which our curriculum is designed are:

  • Equity & access: our curriculum must be appropriate for every learner and take account of their needs and aspirations to ensure that by progressing through they are able to secure a suitable positive destination. Where there are barriers to pupils accessing the curriculum they will be supported and the barriers will be removed.
  • Personalisation & choice: pupils can make choices about their learning, the type and nature of tasks they undertake, the subjects they study; and pupils needs are met through carefully targeted and crafted programmes of study that challenge and support regardless of starting points; pupils are able to pursue their interests and passions through the curriculum.
  • Pace & challenge: as appropriate to starting points and needs pupils experience a curriculum that is challenging and that progresses at a pace that is suitable. Through our curriculum pupils will be exposed to and inspired by a wide range of literature, art, music, drama, philosophy and other forms of human endeavour both historical and contemporary.
  • Breadth: pupils experience a wide range of learning opportunities and subjects, pathways are not closed off too early and learning is enriched across the curriculum through carefully planned activities that connect different subjects.
  • Sequencing, revisiting & retrieval: programmes of study are arranged to ensure progression through knowledge, concepts and skills, revisiting and reinforcing learning as it develops. The specific location within programmes of study of concepts and ideas is given close consideration, as is the nature and timing of assessments.
  • Depth: pupils explore subjects in depth, avoiding narrow teaching to the test, developing a love of the subject for its own sake and appreciating ideas, concepts and experiences more widely than an exam specification may dictate.
  • Connectedness: connections, cross-curricular projects, interdisciplinary learning and other approaches bring life to the curriculum and learning from one subject is transferred to and enhances others; pupils can see the connections across the curriculum through common vocabulary and concept webs.
  • Balance: There is no hierarchy of subjects. Regardless of time allocations the curriculum offers a balance of a wide range of disciplines and experiences, including project-based work for example, that fosters a holistic ‘head, hand, heart’ experience.
  • Progression: the curriculum is the progression model and progress through it is carefully planned and monitored so that learning is reinforced and deepened.
  • Application of knowledge & skills: pupils experience a range of creative learning opportunities that allow them to apply their learning in one area to that of another, often in unfamiliar contexts, thereby increasing challenge and reinforcing learning.
  • Relevance: the curriculum is accessible to pupils through references to careers, enterprise and contemporary life.
  • Coherence: pupils can see a strong sense of purpose and a bigger picture in curriculum, beyond that of passing exams. Through exciting, inspiring and effectively planned learning they engage over time in a search for truth, experiencing the awe and power of the thinking, knowledge and creativity to which they are exposed.

St Ambrose Barlow operates a two year KS3 which is currently under review.

We run a two week cycle of 50 x 1 hour periods. There is a variety of set and mixed ability groupings across both Key Stages.

*Allocated hours per fortnight
The full range of GCSEs on offer at Key Stage 4 can be found in our curriculum booklet on our website.

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 4