School Curriculum Overview
Our school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences we provide for our pupils. Although we are a part of a multi-academy trust, we still follow the National Curriculum as prescribed by the Department for Education to ensure pupils have a broad and balanced curriculum.
The Curriculum at Rivington and Blackrod High School is stimulating, exciting, challenging and wholly inclusive, providing pupils with opportunities to ‘discover their dreams, achieve their ambitions and transform their lives’.
Our rigorous curriculum consists of everything that develops pupils’ intellectual, personal, social and physical development. As well as lessons and extra-curricular activities, it includes our approaches to teaching and learning, assessment, the quality of relationships within school and the values we uphold. We want our pupils to develop into resilient, confident, independent young people with high aspirations, who experience the joy of success and are ready to make significant contributions to society.
Our curriculum is broad, balanced, exciting, challenging and relevant, allowing all pupils to acquire the knowledge, skills and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. It is necessarily ambitious, reflecting the interests, aspirations and destination profiles of our pupils.
We have a three-year KS3, delivering the entirety of the National Curriculum, ensuring our curriculum is as broad as possible for as long as possible. This approach leads to a firm grounding in a range of subjects and subsequently, to more informed choices at KS4 and KS5.
At KS4, all our pupils, including disadvantaged and SEND, can pursue qualifications in each of the four National Curriculum entitlement areas. The EBacc plays an important role in our curriculum and is an inclusive pathway, available to all pupils. However, we also recognise the importance of delivering high quality performing arts, technology and vocational subjects, so our curriculum is flexible to respond to the needs, talents and aspirations of our pupils, and can be personalised for the individual.
To support our pupils to progress further into education, training or employment, we also aspire to provide expert, independent, up-to-date careers guidance that gives our pupils the best information about the opportunities available.
Throughout all year groups, the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of our pupils and the promotion of fundamental British values, are at the heart of our learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom. We want our pupils to co-operate, to embrace diversity, and to show tolerance, respect and fairness.
The development of our curriculum is an ongoing process and one that is the responsibility of all staff. Teachers work collaboratively to develop an ambitious curriculum that includes the knowledge to be gained, that empowers pupils to ‘know what’ and ‘know how’ and to remember it in the long term. This ensures our pupils ‘Work Hard’ throughout their time at Rivington and will go onto be successful when they leave us in Year 11, or in Year 13 for those who continue their learning journey with us.
An extensive, ambitious and exciting extra-curricular programme, enhances the taught curriculum, enabling pupils’ growth and development. The mantra of ‘Take Part’ is supported by a vast and varied range of opportunities, allowing pupils to be creative, to participate, to try something new, and to enjoy.
Quality first teaching will always be a top priority. A CPD programme tailored extensively, but not exclusively, to improving teaching and learning has been the key focus for a number of years. It has been a priority to allocate time for departments to work collaboratively on curriculum development and progression, considering both pedagogy and assessment.
Considerable thought, planning and time is devoted to a consideration of the content and sequencing of the curriculum in each subject. Strong leadership from subject leaders ensures that relevant knowledge, skills and concepts are incorporated from Year 7 onwards, and that subsequent years build on prior teaching and learning. Each department has its own vision of the most relevant and appropriate subject content to be delivered. There is a model of curriculum progression in every subject. Curriculum Leaders have autonomy when designing their curriculum. Staff have considerable control in curriculum decision-making through a trusting relationship with senior staff.
Key Stage 3
Pupils receive an engaging and varied curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9 in accordance with the National Curriculum, enriched by a variety of additional opportunities for learning and personal development. We will continue to deliver a three-year Key Stage 3 curriculum to ensure pupils have the opportunity and time to study a wide range of subjects, enabling them to make more informed choices at KS4.
By utilising the best teaching and learning strategies, the aim is for pupils to enjoy learning and develop the attitudes, understanding, skills and confidence to thrive and ‘discover their dreams, achieve their ambitions and transform their lives’.
Key Stage 4
Option choices are made at the end of Year 9. The curriculum is designed to ensure all pupils continue to follow a broad and balanced curriculum that is suited to their individual needs. Pupils study a sensible number of qualifications, thereby allowing appropriate curriculum time to be devoted to all subject areas.
At Key Stage 4, pupils work towards predominantly GCSE qualifications. We offer a traditional curriculum based on the core subjects, which provides every pupil the opportunity to study a Modern Foreign Language plus Geography and/or History as part of our commitment to the EBacc (English Baccalaureate). We also offer a range of other approved high value 14-16 qualifications, both GCSE and Technical Award, that meet the destination profiles of our pupils and broaden the curriculum and pathways available. Details of these can be found in the Year 9 Options section of our school website.
At Key Stage 4, in line with National Curriculum requirements, all pupils have some curriculum time devoted to non-examinable subjects PE and Religious Education (including PSHCE). As regards examination subjects, all pupils study English Language, English Literature, Maths and Science (either Combined Science or Separate Sciences).
Key Stage 5
Throughout their time at Rivington, we support pupils in preparing for their next steps in education, employment and training through our comprehensive careers education programme. We hope that many students will continue their journey with us into the Sixth Form, where we offer students a wide variety of academic A-level and vocational subjects. We are also proud to offer the chance for students to combine academic A-levels with vocational choices, to provide a bespoke curriculum that helps to prepare every student for university, employment or further study.
As well as the academic offer, we continue to attach great importance to the skills and personal qualities students gain through work and other activities in and out of school. There are opportunities to take on leadership roles within the sixth form, engage in extra-curricular activities and benefit from the many trips and guest speakers on offer.
The success of our curriculum is measured primarily but not exclusively by pupils’ performance across a range of measures. These include the headline measures of progress and attainment, progress against pupils nationally from similar starting points and their destinations post-Rivington and Blackrod.
However, we also measure the success of our curriculum throughout Year 7 – 11, not just at the end of KS4. How well our pupils are learning the content outlined in the curriculum is measured using a variety of formative and summative assessment. These assessments are designed thoughtfully to measure progress and shape future learning. Moderation across teachers in a department is a matter of routine.
Results at both KS3 and KS4 are analysed in detail to ensure parity across and within subjects and cohorts. With this high level of scrutiny, areas for development in our curriculum are identified and are included in the school improvement plan.
It is important to acknowledge other ways we measure the impact of our curriculum. We measure pupils’ enjoyment and engagement through attendance, participation and attitude to learning.
Feedback from our stakeholders is also a fundamental way we can measure the impact of our curriculum. Pupil voice, parental feedback, governors’ meetings and daily professional conversations within departments and across the school are all vital in evaluating the impact of our formal and informal curriculum.
By using a variety of sources, we can judge the effectiveness and success of our endeavours and make the necessary adjustments to ensure we ‘discover dreams, achieve ambitions and transform lives’.
For more information about our school curriculum, please see below or contact Mr A. Dalton-Bunker, Deputy Headteacher: Curriculum.