Students are placed in all ability tutor groups on entry to the school and are mainly taught in this group for two years. When they enter Year 9 they are grouped broadly by ability in mathematics, science and languages. Typical class sizes are currently around 27. We have support staff who assist classroom teachers and we have refined our provision for gifted and talented students.
When GCSE Courses start in Year 10 all students continue with the national curriculum subjects studied in the previous three years, studying them in greater depth for their examination courses. They also choose from music, physical education, dance, visual art or drama. One of the two languages followed to Year 9, either French or German, is chosen for an examination course, although arrangements can be made for two languages to be completed in some circumstances, which involves after school learning sessions. Science includes biology, physics and chemistry and is known as ‘double science’ since it leads to two GCSE awards. Humanities at GCSE comprises history, geography and religious studies, building on the work studied in the first three years. The school is keen to develop further vocational courses at Key Stage 4 and has made arrangements to accommodate them in the curriculum. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) GCSE is available and a number of students will be attending vocational courses in engineering, vehicle maintenance, beauty therapy, child care or construction at either Chesterfield College and Alfreton Vocational Academy.
ICT is taught across all subjects in all year groups. Students at Key Stage 3 are also taught ICT in discrete lessons. All students will be following a full GCSE equivalent course in ICT from September 2005. Some students will be given the option of following a four GCSE equivalent course (Diploma in Digital Applications) at Key Stage 4.
All schemes of work and lesson plans are regularly discussed and reviewed by staff to ensure teaching is of top quality and to maximise learning. Copies of subject schemes and examination syllabuses are available on request at the school.
The school’s success obtaining specialist school status in mathematics and ICT will further enhance the curriculum of these two areas and have beneficial effects on the curriculum of the rest of the school.