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Poynton High School

and Performing Arts College

01625 871811

Curriculum

Curriculum Intent

We are proud of our curriculum which:

  • Enables all students to make progress from their starting point
  • Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of our students
  • Celebrates inclusive academic achievement and promotes a love of scholarship
  • Is underpinned by knowledge whilst enabling students to develop the skills essential in each subject
  • Allows all students to experience a rich and broad range of subjects from Year 7-13
  • Helps to prepare our young people for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of a changing world
  • Supports students in their transition from primary to secondary education and to their future pathways beyond school

 

Key Stage 3 – Years 7-9

Three Year Key Stage 3

The three years of Key Stage 3 provides a broad introduction to the knowledge and skills that students need for success.  All students continue with the key National Curriculum subjects, and non-NC subjects such as drama and dance, for the full three years.  This ensures that our students’ pathways are kept open and students do not narrow their academic choices too early.  Many subjects make use of intelligent planning to ensure that there is a seamless pathway from Year 7 to 13 without the curriculum being narrowed too early. 

A rich range of subjects

The subjects that make up the EBacc account for over 60% of the curriculum time but we continue to recognise the importance of a wider curriculum for students’ development so all will study Music/Drama/Art/Product Design/Food and Nutrition/Textiles/PE/Computing until the end of Year 9.

Subject specialisms to enhance student learning

As a school we choose to teach students in subjects rather than in cross-curricular themes.  This is a deliberate decision as we believe that subject specialists can extend students more effectively than generalists; students will develop better as an historian for example if taught by a specialist historian. 

Students developed as learners from Year 7

All subjects will develop the learning skills crucial to success in their subject.  In addition students in Years 7 and 8 have one period of a Library lesson to develop information literacy skills and a love of reading and a period of Learn to Learn where students learn metacognition skills which will then be applied in their other lessons.

 

Key Stage 4

An academic core

Our curriculum is planned to have a strong academic core.  All students study Mathematics, English Language, English Literature, Science and they must also select either a Humanities or a Modern Foreign language.  At least 28 out of 50 periods will be spent studying these subjects. Most students will choose additional academic subjects as part of their options.

We have made a deliberate choice not to enter students for GCSE qualifications early as we want them to have the time to engage fully in learning.  Taking a subject like English Literature early may have superficial benefits but it denies students the chance to immerse themselves in the subject throughout Key Stage 4.

Opportunities for all students to select from the full range of courses

We believe that all subjects should be open to all students so have not created pathways which can deny opportunities to some students when making their option choices.  Students are supported to make the best choices for them as learners. 

Student choice maintained

We strongly believe that for students to be successful they should have an element of choice when planning their GCSEs.  We remain committed to giving students the chance to study five additional subjects at GCSE on top of the compulsory subjects.  This enables students to specialise and maintain their interest in creative and practical courses.

Students can also select more vocational courses such as Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia and Sport Studies or the BTEC Tech Award in Enterprise.  These are popular alternatives to the GCSEs offered in those departments.

Religious Studies at GCSE for all

All our students will take a GCSE in Religious Studies.  This is so important in developing their social, spiritual and moral education and in preparing them for life in modern Britain.  On a practical basis the fact that Religious Studies is in every option box gives the flexibility to ensure that almost all students can study their first preferences. 

 

Sixth Form

A wide range of courses offered

We have also ensured protection of our sixth form curriculum provision, again believing that a well-developed post 16 pathway locally provided by our own expert staff is the best option for a significant number of our students.    

Students specialise for the full two years in the Sixth Form

Most students will take three A levels for the two years.  We believe that this is the best way for them to achieve their full potential at A level.  A number will combine this with either a fourth A level or with an Extended Project Qualification. 

A broadly academic curriculum

To meet the needs of our learners the curriculum is largely academic but with the option for students of studying for BTEC qualifications in Sport, Health and Social Care, IT or Business.

 

The Extended Curriculum (Years 7-13)

Alongside the academic curriculum there is a rich diet of enrichment in sport, performing arts and other areas.  The House system gives many opportunities for students to be involved in activities ranging from Bake Off and Dance to General Knowledge and Cross Country.  There are many clubs run by members of staff and a wide range of study sessions to support students’ learning.

There are also a wide range of educational visits organised ranging from the RE visits to the churches in Poynton to an expedition in 2019 to Ecuador. 

We are one of the largest centres for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in the North West with students engaged in Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.  Our students are actively involved in the National Citizen Service programme after Years 11 and 12.

 

What has Ofsted said?

Previously, Ofsted has said that “…the curriculum is carefully tailored to meet the needs of pupils and supports their good achievement. Through the wide enrichment activities, pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is effectively fostered, as well as their appreciation and understanding of British values”.  (Dec 2015)

In addition, the key findings from our last inspection in regard to our curriculum stated:

  • The curriculum is well matched to pupils’ abilities and provides a full range of opportunities to learn in a full range of subjects. Most pathways are academic, with a small number of vocational courses. The proportion of pupils eligible for the English Baccalaureate qualification is above average. Numerous clubs provide enrichment opportunities in sports and the creative arts. The school is one of the largest centres in the country for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
  • The curriculum and enrichment opportunities lead to very effective personal, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development for most pupils. Pupils have a good awareness of religious and social diversity through religious studies, history, English and geography in particular. Citizenship lessons ensure that they develop an understanding of the core British values. Student development days provide opportunities for an entire day to be devoted to aspects of personal development and citizenship. The school is working in collaboration with two other local secondary schools on the Gateway Project to become a centre for emotional well-being. The other schools will focus on behaviour management and skills and learning. The aim is to build pupils’ resilience and ability to manage stress. Pupils have regular access to useful information and guidance about future choices and careers.

 


Curriculum Overview

The curriculum of Poynton High School is designed to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and the broader needs of all our students as they prepare for their future lives.

If you wish to find out more about the curriculum we offer there are links to the prospectus detailing the courses offered at Key Stage 4.  Further information about courses in the Sixth Form can be found on the Sixth Form page at https://www.phs.cheshire.sch.uk/apply-to-sixth-form. If you require any further information about any aspects of the curriculum offered from Years 7 - 13 please contact the Director of Learning for that subject ( E-mail links can be found on each of the Team pages.)

The school is structured around a fortnightly teaching timetable of 50 lessons. Students meet with their form tutor for registration each day. The school starts at 8.45am and finishes at 3.00pm. The usual time during which students are taught in a normal school week is 26 hours 15 minutes, including registration time.

At Key Stage 4 each option subject is taught in five periods a fortnight. 

At Key Stage 5 most subjects are taught in nine hours a fortnight.

  Number of Lessons each timetable cycle (2 weeks)
  Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4
  Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11
Maths 8 8 8 7 7
English 8 8 8 7 7
Science* 6 6 6 9 9
History 3 3 3    
Geography 3 3 3    
Technology 5 4 6    
Modern Foreign Languages** 5 5 6    
Computing*** 2 2 2    
PE 4 4 2 2 2
Performing Arts (Music and Drama) 3 4 4    
Religious Studies 2 2 2 5**** 5****
Learning to Learn curriculum 1 1      

Key to Table:

* at GCSE students who opt for Separate Sciences will have an additional 5 hours of Science each fortnight

** Students study one language from Year 7

*** At Key Stage 4 students can opt to study GCSE Computer Science or Creative iMedia. All have the opportunity to develop their skills in this area through their other GCSEs

**** including Student Development Units