All students follow a broad and balanced curriculum at Key Stage 3, which provides a firm foundation for success at Key Stage 4 as well as a valuable understanding of subjects that are studied only at Key Stage 3. This includes the National Curriculum core and foundation subjects and a Personal Development lesson each week.
In Year 7 and 8, students are taught in ability groups in Mathematics and are taught in mixed ability groups in all other subjects, mainly tutor groups in Year 7. Some students have lessons to develop their learning and literacy skills in the Foundation Learning Base where they study English and Humanities subjects. Other students may be extracted from some lessons for short-term literacy intervention.
Students are taught a term each of French, German and Spanish in Modern Foreign Languages in Year 7 and choose which of these they wish to take as their language from Year 8 onwards. Humanities and Expressive Arts are taught in discrete lessons (Geography, History, Religious Education, Art, Drama, Music) each week. Design Technology is taught in block rotations of Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials, Textiles and Computing. At the end of year 8 students choose two Design Technology subjects, which they then focus on in Year 9. Physical Education lessons provide a programme that develops students’ practical abilities in individual and team sports, dance and outdoor activities.
In Year 9 classes are taught in sets in a wider range of subjects and elements of the GCSE courses are introduced. Mathematics, English and English Literature GCSEs begin from the beginning of Year 9. In Science GCSE is begun at the start of the spring term. Other subjects put greater emphasis on GCSE knowledge, understanding and skills in Year 9 in preparation for courses at Key Stage 4.
In December of Year 9 the Options process begins. Students are given the opportunity to choose their courses, which start at the beginning of Year 10. We talk carefully with students and parents to help them choose courses on which they will achieve success and which open gateways to higher education and employment. Further details can be found in the Options booklet which is on the school website.
In Years 7-9 we will continue to teach the National Curriculum Programmes of Study, adapting these where necessary to provide a foundation for the new GCSE courses. We report progress and Application to Learning for each subject for Years 7 to 9. In Year 9 English and Mathematics are reported as GCSE professional predictions in addition to Application to Learning.
Breadth and balance in the curriculum continues in Years 10 and 11. Students are able to keep open a broad range of options for further study and work with training.
All students follow a core curriculum from Years 10 to 11. This includes English, Mathematics, two or three Sciences, Core PE, RE, and a Personal Development lesson each week. In addition all students choose either History or Geography as their Humanities option. Students choose three additional subjects from a wide range of optional courses, which includes GCSE, BTEC and other vocational courses. We encourage students who are planning to go to university to seriously consider taking a Modern Foreign Language and we encourage all students to consider taking an arts or technology option. In light of the increased level of challenge in the reformed GCSEs, which are introduced for most subjects in September 2016, we have increased the amount of hours available to study each option. Some students may substitute an option for support to strengthen their learning overall. Religious Education in Year 10 delivered in Tutor group and PDP time.
Students develop their learning and experience further through involvement in a wide range of co-curricular activities which deepen learning in a subject taken or complement their choices elsewhere.
In Years 10 and 11 we report professional predictions using the relevant GCSE, BTEC or OCR National grades, mostly 9-1 for GCSE starting in September 2016, we use fine grades e.g. 7+, 7, 7- to indicate how secure achievement at that grade is. Application to Learning is also reported.
Queen Elizabeth’s Sixth Form offers a broad range of academic and vocational courses for sixth form study. Year 11 students are guided through their post-16 choices with a thorough course selection process, which incorporates assemblies, careers advice, a Parents’ Information Evening and individual progression meetings, to ensure that all students make the right choices.
Most students study 3 A level or Level 3 BTEC subjects over the course of two years, alongside an Extended Project Qualification in Year 13, which demonstrates independent study skills and breadth of educational experience. Retake classes allow students to improve on low grades in English and maths GCSEs, which are so vital for future progression. Furthermore, our Study Plus room is staffed full time to provide targeted learning support for all subjects.
All students are expected to work towards our in-house Diploma Award, which rewards activity in the areas of independent study, careers development and enrichment activities (creativity, action and service in the community). The Aspire Scholars programme provides a wealth of opportunities to extend the most able, with visiting speakers, debating competitions and fortnightly workshops on university statements, interview techniques and presentation skills. We also have a broad network of alumni who offer guidance and support to sixth form students.
We are proud of our inclusive Sixth Form and students are encouraged to progress to a wide range of destinations post-Sixth Form, with a high percentage moving onto study at Russell Group universities and Higher Education Institutions. We also offer support and guidance for making successful applications for apprenticeships and employment. Follow the links below to find more details in our Sixth Form course guide.
A core part of the curriculum throughout all key stages is the Personal Development Programme, which is delivered in one lesson each week on Monday lesson 1.
This is a key part of our commitment to students’ holistic educational experience and encompasses the four key elements:
All students are offered and encouraged to take up a wide range of cocurricular activities. These greatly add to the diversity and depth of learning at Queen Elizabeth’s.