The aim of the school is to offer each student a broad, general education with an emphasis on technology and to develop individual skills and talents. This is to enable every student to have high aspirations and achieve the best of which he or she is capable. Students are provided with similar opportunities in all subject areas and all areas of experience. The curriculum needs and progress of individual students are reviewed regularly, taking into account examination and career requirements as well as individual differences.
The curriculum aims to equip students to leave school with:
- A clear understanding of the world around them, of themselves and their position in the world
- An awareness through personal experience of the richness of our language, and the intrinsic importance of Science, Technology, the Arts and the Humanities
- A perception of the world from a moral and ethical viewpoint with a knowledge of the world’s major religions
- A maximum development of the abilities and attitudes needed to live effective lives in a technological society
- An improvement in their ability to communicate effectively in a variety of modes recognizing the needs of their audience and including the use of information and communication technology
- An understanding and experience of international links and the building of friendships between people of different cultures.
The Curriculum and Academic Organisation
Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 and 9
The transfer from primary to secondary education is a major step in children's lives. At Secondary school they have a greater range of subjects for regular study and are taught by specialist subject teachers. Project based learning forms part of the Key Stage 3 curriculum. It allows students the opportunity to study topics in cross curricula format and enabling students to study in larger blocks of time.
The national strategy for the Key Stage 3 aims to raise standards by strengthening teaching and learning across the curriculum for all 11-14 year olds. Literacy, numeracy and ICT are regarded as the important 'tools' necessary to access the curriculum.
To ease transition from Key Stage 2, there is a special Induction Programme starting in their last term at Primary School. Links are made as early as possible – staff and students from Pent Valley visit primary schools for a range of purposes and primary school students come to Pent Valley to use our facilities and staff expertise. Pent Valley is the largest secondary school in the area and in recognition of this we will be moving to a system based on mini-schools of approximately 240 students. This will enable us to guarantee that every individual student is known both personally and academically.
Subjects studied include:
- French and Spanish
- Religious Education/citizenship
- Technology (including Design Technology and Information Technology)
- Project Based Learning
Key Stage 4 - Years 10 and 11
In order to provide a broad and balanced education, all students will follow courses in line with the National Curriculum. This means they will all study Mathematics, English, the Sciences, Technology, Religious Education, Physical Education and Citizenship. Students choose other subjects and courses at the end of Key Stage 3, according to their ability and interest. All the courses taken lead to external qualifications which may be GCSE, BTEC, Applied GCSE or other vocational qualifications. A Key Stage 4 Courses Booklet is published during Year 9, outlining the curriculum on offer.
The Sixth Form
Pent Valley Sixth Form provides the opportunity for students to study a range of subjects at GCSE, A/S, A level and BTEC Nationals. Courses lead to Further and Higher Education at 18 or 19 and into the world of work. There are currently over 225 students studying a range of one and two-year courses - including a number who have joined Year 12 from other schools. Our flexible, individualised approach enables students to combine academic, applied and BTEC subjects to focus on areas of strength.
All sixth form students are given a laptop computer for personal use. The sixth form has its own facilities above the Leisure Centre. This provides students with a focal point where they register, have lessons and can access the wireless internet network on their laptop computers. Students have private study periods to facilitate individual research for projects and assignments. They have access to the school IT rooms as well as the school learning resource centre and careers library. All sixth form students are given a careers interview and guidance on higher education.
Key Skills qualifications and short courses such as First Aid and the Community Sports Leadership Award are also offered as part of a wider enrichment programme. All students take part in a community based service. The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Scheme is also in operation.