The mission statement of our school states that;
‘With Christ at the heart of our community, we believe in the worth and dignity of each individual. Our aim is to nurture pupils’ gifts and talents by providing a caring, challenging and stimulating environment in which effective teaching and learning takes place’.
With this as our core principle we give all of our pupils every opportunity to achieve the highest possible standards in all that they do and, as such, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum which aims to promote the school’s Christian values through the word of God and develop the whole child, both academically and to provide them with the skills that prepare them for the next stage in their education. The school, both through its taught curriculum and extra-curricular provision, aims to develop pupils’ key attributes such as self-belief, ambition, persistence, resilience and a can-do attitude towards the challenges that pupils experience at school. British and moral values, rooted in the Catholic faith, are equally promoted and encourage a sense of empathy, acceptance and tolerance of others. Such principles aim to serve pupils in a way that will give them the best chances for success in the next stage of their education and then beyond, promoting their development as a whole-person ready and able to make a positive contribution to society.
The curriculum offer to our pupils provides a range of courses appropriate to individual needs of learners, supported by an extensive extra-curricular provision. It ensures that pupils acquire knowledge, understanding and skills in all aspects of their education including linguistic, mathematical, technical, human and social, physical and artistic learning. The curriculum aims to bring about an enjoyment of learning and promote a sense of achievement. It also contributes to pupils’ behaviour and welfare; including their physical, mental and personal wellbeing, safety, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
The nature, purpose and scope of Religious Education reflects the Religious Education Curriculum Directory for all Catholic Schools. The intent is to increase the knowledge and understanding of the Christian message for all pupils in Catholic schools. Religious Education at Mount Carmel is very much the “core of the core curriculum.” Religious Education is taught in Years 7 – 11 and lesson time makes up 10% of the overall curriculum in all year groups. There is also an extensive Chaplaincy Programme in place that celebrates the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church and other world religions, in particular, Islam, due to the high percentage of Muslim pupils on the school roll. Sex relationships education is also delivered in RE, PSHCE, science and drama lessons at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and is in line with the Catholic Schools Directory of England and Wales. We are proud that we have had no parental requests for the removal of their children from the whole or part of sex and relationship lessons. We are in the process of reviewing our Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) curriculum in light of the statutory requirements that come into effect in September 2020 regarding Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). As a result of a recent curriculum audit, we are planning to improve our PSHCE curriculum provision for September 2020.
KS3 Curriculum 2019-20
In Years 7, 8 and 9, all pupils follow the full national curriculum, which is delivered through thoughtful and coherent selection and sequencing, building over a 3-year Key Stage 3 curriculum. The design and delivery of the national curriculum encourages pupils to develop independence both in and out of school and enables pupils to develop their learning from Key Stage 2, adding to their cultural capital and building a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare them for Key Stage 4. The delivery of the national curriculum across all 3 years is deliberate to ensure that we keep the curriculum as wide as possible, for as long as possible, ensuring that pupils have an opportunity to know more and remember more. In order to best meet the needs of our pupils and to ensure they have a full 2-year Key Stage 4 curriculum, in core subjects, Year 9 pupils follow some GCSE transition units in English, maths, science and RE. Pupils with SEND are taught the full curriculum and receive additional support as is appropriate for their needs. (See SEND section of the school website).
As part of fulfilling the national curriculum, pupils are encouraged to read. Reading time is built into the English curriculum at Key Stage 3, with 1 hour designated to the ‘Accelerated Reader Programme’ for all pupils in English. All pupils and staff are also encouraged to read age-appropriate material for pleasure as part of our weekly DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) school schedule.
Pupils are placed in sets in Year 7 based on Key Stage 2 scale scores in English and maths. Pupils are taught in sets according to their ability in each subject and the school setting and banding policy ensures that there are opportunities for pupils to be moved between sets and bands, depending on their progress, twice a year in Key Stage 3 (Please see school ‘Setting and Banding Policy’). Year groups 7, 8 and 9 are split into M band (4 sets) and C band (2 or 3 sets) depending on the subject. We aim that the curriculum is taught as much as possible by specialist staff. Non-specialists are well supported by Curriculum Leaders.
Setting arrangements at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (core subjects only at Key Stage 4)
The following tables illustrate the number of lessons available for each subject at Key Stage 3. The school timetable is organised over a two week cycle with 50 x 1 hour lessons.
In addition to the curriculum allocations above, PSHCE and CEIAG is currently delivered through a series of drop-down days and workshops. We are planning to introduce a discrete PSHCE lesson in Key Stage 3 in September 2020. Coverage of CEIAG is strong and tracked through the Gatsby Benchmarks.
There are cumulative, formative assessments in each subject to measure pupils’ knowledge and skills over time, and regularly inform teaching. Throughout Key Stage 3, the full national curriculum is also assessed at various end points, that are bespoke to individual subjects, and planning is adjusted to ensure that pupils are fully prepared and ready for transition to Key Stage 4. (Please see the ‘School Assessment, Recording and Reporting Policy’)
KS4 Curriculum 2019-20
We remain ambitious for all our pupils at Key Stage 4, ensuring that pupils follow a broad and balanced curriculum while making appropriate adjustments that are in the best interests of pupils if necessary. During Key Stage 4, pupils work towards national qualifications – in the main these are GCSE qualifications, however greater breadth to the curriculum has been provided with a small number of Technical Awards / Cambridge Nationals and BTECs, which are all equivalent to GCSEs. The curriculum is carefully designed to ensure that all pupils have the knowledge, skills, cultural capital and qualifications to ensure a smooth transition to Key Stage 5.
All pupils follow a core curriculum of maths, English language, English literature, science, RE and PE. In addition, pupils select three option subjects from a wide range of GCSE subjects. All pupils are required to choose at least one subject from history, geography, French or computer science and then two others from the list below. All pupils have the option to study Spanish or French. Although we do target our more able pupils to take up a modern foreign language, we organise the options process so that it doesn’t narrow the curriculum offer for others. We plan to offer separate science subjects to all pupils in September 2020.
The subjects that are currently offered to pupils in Key Stage 4 include art, computer science, design technology (resistant materials, textiles, food and nutrition), health and social care, iMedia, French, Spanish, geography, history, performing arts and PE. Option subjects are allocated 6 lessons out of a 50 period, two-week cycle. The Key Stage 4 curriculum is taught in full by specialist staff.
We have recently recruited strongly in Modern Foreign Languages and consequently we have also put firm plans in place to increase the cohort percentage of pupils entered for the EBacc qualification to 30% in 2022 and 45% examined in 2023. We will continue to ensure that all pupils have a broad and balanced curriculum with a focus on EBacc subjects and build our option blocks around the choices that pupils make, although this is reviewed annually along with the subjects on offer.
Pupils are taught in M and C band sets in maths, English, science and RE. Movement is determined by progress (see ‘Setting and Banding Policy’). In option subjects pupils are predominantly taught in mixed ability groups, but are set where possible. In exceptional circumstances, a very small number of SEND pupils follow an alternative bespoke Key Stage 4 curriculum that is designed to meet their individual needs and is clearly in the best interest of the pupils.
In addition to the curriculum allocations shown below, PSHCE, computing and CEIAG is delivered through a series of drop-down days and workshops. Coverage of CEIAG at Key Stage 4 is also strong and tracked through the Gatsby Benchmarks.
The following table shows the curriculum time allocated at Key Stage 4
Year 10 option subjects 2019-2020
Year 11 option subjects 2019-2020
Extra Curricular / enhancements
In addition to the academic curriculum there are several enhancements that enrich the curriculum to develop pupils’ skills and interests in a vast array of areas. For example, after school and lunchtime sporting activities include football, netball and badminton teams, handball, athletics, cricket club, gymnastics, archery, dance club, fitness clubs, and sports leadership, to mention a few. In addition, there are chess, science, music clubs, GIFT team, school productions and Duke of Edinburgh (for Year 9 and Year 10 pupils), this is not a definitive list. We have an excellent performing arts department that regularly prepares a range of performances at partnership, whole school and community events.