In developing a curriculum for St Thomas More Catholic School reference has been made to National and local directives and documents issued by the Catholic Education Service, the Bishops’ Conference and the Diocese of Northampton. The curriculum is based on and reaffirms the aims and values expressed in the school Mission Statement.
The curriculum is central to the process of education. It is the process by which the aims of the school are translated into the full network of learning experiences through which pupils are enabled to develop. We believe that the curriculum should be designed to offer high quality learning experiences to enable pupils to access a broad range of intellectual, personal, social, emotional and physical activities, to address the legal requirements of the National Curriculum in our Catholic school. Many of these experiences are structured and planned but some are of a less structured nature. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all our young people, so they are motivated to make the commitment to lifelong learning
The school operates a 50 period fortnightly timetable
Religious Education is implicit in every aspect of our school curriculum to reflect the ethos of the school; all pupils achieve academic qualifications in this area. The pupils in our school study Religious Education from Year 9 to Year 13.
In Year 9 the contact time for Religious Education accounts for 8% of the contact time and the pupils follow the Diocesan approved ICONS course.
In Year 10 and 11 Religious Education accounts for 10% of contact time with the vast majority of pupils achieving GCSE in this subject. A small minority of pupils who do not achieve GCSE are awarded a Christian Theology qualification.
At Sixth Form level all pupils study for the Bishop’s Certificate which accounts for 4% of their contact time
Year 9: Intake year and final year of Key Stage 3
All of the core and foundation subjects which form the National Curriculum are taught in Year 9. The broad balanced curriculum promotes equal opportunities for all students and there is provision for support for those students who have special educational needs. Curriculum continuity is well established with feeder middle schools and transfer of information provides a smooth transition for pupils starting courses in Year 9.
The pupils are grouped into teaching groups based on CATs data together with Key Stage 2 results, QCA Year 8 test results and information received from middle schools. They are taught in sets for RE PE, Maths, Science, ICT, French, Italian, History and Geography and in mixed sets in English, Technology and Music/Drama. A small number of pupils with specific learning needs have additional access to literacy and numeracy classes.
Personal Social Health Education and Citizenship are taught in specific Tutor sessions and as aspects of core subjects.
RE 4hrs Modern Language 4hrs
English 6hrs Art 3hrs
Mathematics 6hrs Music/Expressive Arts 2hrs
Science 6hrs PE/Games 4hrs
Geography 4hrs Design Technology 4hrs
History 4hrs Information Technology 2hrs
Year 10/11: GCSE/VGCSE
A new curriculum structure has been introduced for implementation from September 2004 in line with National Curriculum changes at Key Stage 4 to envelop it into the 14-19 curriculum frame work. This has enabled us to start the process of increased flexibility for our pupils to meet the needs of individuals. The year group is split into three groups M, S and T based on CATs base line data, actual performance at Key stage 3 and guidance from the Year Manager and Key Stage 3 Liaison Manager.
All Year 10 pupils will study the following subjects as their core curriculum to GCSE level:
Religious Education, English, Maths, Science (Single Award) and Information and Communications Technology (half GCSE)
Non examination subjects include Personal Social Health Education and Citizenship, Physical Education, Careers Education and work related learning.
There is considerable flexibility in the remaining 20% of the curriculum where students have the entitlement to choose 4 additional GCSE and VGCSE subjects from:
Science (double award), Technology Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials, Textiles, Italian, French, History, Geography, Music, Drama, Art, PE, Business Economics, Business, Health and Social Care, Leisure and Tourism, Art and Design.
An additional group of pupils are offered the opportunity to study Level 1 Vocational qualification as part of the Increased Flexibility Programme and attend Bedford College for 2 hrs per week. These students are guided in their choice in consultation with pupils, parents and Year Managers and undergo Careers advice, taster sessions and college interviews; this is supported in school by basic skills programmes.
The Sixth Form curriculum is designed to accommodate a wide variety of students’ needs. The aim is that all students should select a course of study that will enable them to progress. Access to the appropriate Sixth From courses is based on points accrued from GCSE grades and on individual departmental entry criteria. The curriculum is designed to develop pupils abilities to the full.
Students may embark on AS courses either in traditional subjects or AVCEs in Vocational subjects, or a combination of both, in up to four subjects for one year. In exceptional circumstances, to facilitate our Gifted and Talented students some students may follow five AS and A2 courses. Students may continue with three or four subjects at A2 level for a second year.
Level 2 courses are also offered to accommodate pupil needs and to facilitate access to level three courses where appropriate.
In the Sixth Form students are encouraged to take greater responsibility for their own work and learning. They are encouraged to organise their own time in order to meet deadlines. An element of independent study time is built into every student’s timetable. During this time students are expected to work in the facilities provided by the school.
At Sixth Form level all pupils study for Bishop’s Certificate which accounts for 4% of their contact time. This course looks at a variety of Moral, Social and Ethical issues facing young adults today, on completion of the course a certificate is awarded for successful students.
Personal Social and Health Education Work from the main school programme is extended developing themes to include Higher Education applications and careers education. In essence, the focus of the programme is about the development of personal and social effectiveness.
Students are encouraged to become involved in a variety of ways in supporting both the school and wider community, undertaking Sports Leader’s qualification, supporting individual pupils or departments or Community Service.