Park View is an international school at the heart of our local community where all are expected to aspire to academic excellence whilst behaving with empathy and respect to others. We firmly believe that it is our duty as educators to educate the whole child and that
“There are two things we should give our children: one is roots, the other is wings.”
To deliver our vision, we have created a curriculum which is intellectual and rigorous, which embodies aspiration, equality, enjoyment and a genuine chance of success, thus challenging students to be the best that they can be, regardless of their starting point: it is our stated belief that no child’s history should be his or her destiny.
Aims of our Curriculum
Education is about preparing young people for the modern world and balancing the scales of social justice, ensuring where a young person starts does not define where they end up. This is especially the case for those who face additional disadvantages or those with special educational needs. Part of being prepared for the modern world is being prepared for the modern workplace. This means every young person should have the opportunity to experience a broad, balanced and rigorous curriculum that equips them with a wealth of knowledge, the ability to apply this knowledge and the chance to develop the character needed to seize the opportunities our society offers.
Achieving this is not something we should expect to do alone, but rather consider it a shared responsibility between school, teachers, parents, employers and of course, our students. Our curriculum begins with a reality check – some young people do not feel prepared for the workplace, some employers do not feel young people are work ready, and, at times, teachers and parents do not know what framework or programme of ‘employability skills’ is best as the world of work is rapidly changing. This means schools, society, and business need to work together to make sure our education system can keep up. Whether it’s rapid globalisation and soaring life expectancy, the huge strides forward we have made in technology or the proven power of diversity that makes our society fairer, education is an essential part of ensuring our future prosperity.
Important contributions to our curriculum are built upon the important work of the Wolf Review, the Sainsbury Review, and the government’s Careers Strategy, each of which we believe have helped shape the educational landscape to support the ever changing needs in society and which will give our students the roots to anchor them and the wings to fly and make the most of the undoubted potential they have.
We believe that a large part of any education curriculum is to help prepare young people for the modern world. The modern world is forever changing. Where work was once tangible and tied to a specific place, it is now increasingly conceptual, mobile, and global. The workplace itself is also beginning to look very different, with automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence set to impact all of us in the years ahead. For example, young people today can expect to be in work over a decade longer than their parents. In the context of these technological advancements, we have an economy which increasingly values qualities such as creativity and resilience like we do as a school. This has profound implications for how we prepare young people for the modern world.
We believe that all students at Park View should receive a rounded education that includes character, skills and knowledge as the three pillars that help prepare our young people for the modern world.
- ‘Knowledge’: a rigorous, rich, and stretching curriculum, with each subject studied given high status and important emphasis. Young people should have the essential knowledge needed to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best and most powerful knowledge within subject disciplines and helping them to have an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.
- ‘Character’: individual traits and strengths that enable someone to flourish at all stages of their lives. Character enables young people to deal with set-backs, reflect on personal strengths and areas for improvement and show an inclusive and compassionate outlook on themselves and others.
- ‘Skills’: the application of knowledge and character in real world scenarios through leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication. Skill can be identified in the curriculum through the application of both character and knowledge, working successfully with peers taking part in important disciplines like public speaking and presenting.
All three pillars are essential and are interconnected. Character helps young people to take responsibility for their own learning and make responsible choices in different situations. Knowledge enables young people to gain mastery and subject-specific awareness in a variety of disciplines to support future career choices and interests. Developing skills like leadership or creativity helps young people nurture their individual character traits, values and principles like empathy and self-awareness.
Each on their own does not prepare a young person for the modern world. Knowledge is not maximised if you cannot apply it in the real world, nor are equipped with the character necessary to use your knowledge. In a similar vein, an over-emphasis on just skills or character is misguided as skills are often knowledge specific, with creativity meaning something very different in mathematics to, for example, modern foreign languages.
We firmly believe that a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum, should therefore, give equal weight to all three pillars above.
Legislation and Guidance
- This policy reflects the requirements for academies to provide a broad and balanced curriculum as per the Academies Act 2010.
- It also reflects requirements for inclusion and equality as set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014 and Equality Act 2010, and refers to curriculum-related expectations of governing boards set out in the Department for Education’s Governance Handbook.
- It complies with our funding agreement and articles of association.
Our curriculum is driven by our vision and values; our underlying motivation has always been linked to breadth , depth and balance, student wellbeing and a championing of both a knowledge and character rich skills-based curriculum to prepare students effectively for the future. We frequently review our provision with curriculum leaders in light of changing cohorts and factors influencing employability. We place great value on our school’s specialist language college and applied learning legacies, alongside a firm commitment to the Performing and Creative Arts as well as Sport. In delivering the curriculum, our lessons will be characterised by:
- A burning desire for all children in our care to succeed and a belief that they can.
- Pride, participation and progress.
- Risk-taking and the acceptance that success may not come at the first attempt
- Teachers who clearly love their subject and create inspiring experiences in order to foster in others their sense of awe and wonder and to create a shared thirst for learning.
- A supportive climate in which everyone’s voice matters and all are challenged to think, reason, debate, discuss and collaborate in order to solve problems which have relevance.
- Opportunities for students to question and challenge, critically and evaluatively, in order to gain deep conceptual understanding of topics.
- Valuing LORIC skills and supporting students to improve in these important areas of life.
- Activities which demand that students formulate their own questions, develop their own solutions and critique their own performance.
Lower School (Years 7-9)
Learning in Key Stage 3 is centred around an innovative curriculum and teaching which is designed to develop in our students the knowledge, character and skills they will need to be successful in the twenty first century. Students at Park View study a wide and varied curriculum at Lower School which is geared to developing their knowledge, character and skill acquisition as learners in preparation for Upper School. As a result, our students study the full range of national curriculum subjects and are engaged and making progress from day one. Our intention is that there is no transition dip or drop in challenge and we carefully map students’ learning within and across subjects. We liaise closely with, and then build upon, the primary experience, ensuring that transition is as smooth and stress-free as possible. We:
- Provide a firm and stable framework, establishing high expectations for all students.
- Set challenging targets for performance and effort against which progress is regularly reviewed and fed back to parents/carers.
- Promote approaches to teaching that engage and motivate students, as well as getting them to reflect upon their own skills and attributes as learners.
- Offer a broad, balanced and coherent programme
In Lower School, English , Maths, Science and Modern Foreign Languages are taught in ability groupings from the end of the first term in year 7. All other subjects are taught in tutor groups. Our curriculum covers Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, RE, Art, Design Technology, Music, Drama, PE, ICT and Personal Development (CIAG, Health, RSE, Citizenship and Character).
Upper School (Year 10 and 11)
Our Upper School curriculum begins in Year 10 and includes all statutory areas, including our broad and inclusive Personal Development Curriculum (Careers/ /Health/RSE/Citizenship/Character). Our students opt for four other subjects to study to GCSE level or equivalent. The offer is broad and, importantly, enables progression through to Sixth Form or College in all areas. In allowing students to choose four subjects we are protecting participation in creative subjects, performing arts, sport and the aforementioned applied learning subjects which may otherwise fall away, given the national emphasis on the EBacc curriculum which we are universally committed to. Our specialist subject leaders and teachers have true passion for their subjects and high aspirations for our students. They have carefully planned enriching learning experiences for students which go beyond the stated requirements of examination specifications (known as our super-curriculum) in order to foster the passion and engagement in the subject curriculum so necessary for success. Curriculum subjects are Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French, German, Spanish, History, Geography, RE, Art, Graphic Products, Product Design, Food and Nutrition, Sports Science, Business, Digital Media, Health and Social Care, Art & Design, Drama, Music, PE, ICT and Personal Development (CIAG, Health, RSE, Citizenship and Character).
The Sixth Form curriculum offers a range of Level 3 qualifications to build on study and success at GCSE as well as introduce some new subjects like Psychology, Criminology and Sociology too. The size of our Sixth Form allows us to provide progression routes for students from a wide range of different backgrounds and interests. We are proud to offer courses in subjects like Drama, Music, French, German and Spanish that have traditionally been subject to a local and national decline in post 16 provision. Students typically study three A levels or equivalents and a small number may study four. Some students access an Extended Project Qualification in Year 13 to support their development and outcomes.
The focus of the pastoral element of the curriculum is on the future, making choices and exploring how to get there as well as developing LORIC skills that are essential to future success in the world of work or higher education. We are proud of being a Gatsby champion school and we value personalised and highly developed CIAG, particularly at this stage of a student’s education. During Sixth Form, students are exposed to opportunities for charity work, work experience, employer engagements as well as apprenticeship and university support through bespoke sessions delivered in school and during registration time. We also put a great deal of emphasis on enrichment and extra-curricular study in the Sixth Form as we prepare students to be competitive at interviews, whether academic or employer baser at 18/19 years old.
Our Academy of Sport offers a 3 x A level equivalent qualification as well as an Active IQ course which supports students in accessing both university routes and also specific sports related pathways like coaching or physiotherapy. Our sports facilities support access to a high quality sporting experience as well as strength and conditioning and enriched experiences in the world of sport. The Academy exposes students to a highly competitive national and international sporting programme and we are proud of the diverse range of young people that are attracted to the school as a result of the Academy of Sport. In the Sixth Form, students have the option to study the following subjects, Maths, Further Maths, English Language, English Literature, History, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Criminology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Science, Sport, Extended Sport, Active IQ, Business, ICT, Health and Social Care, Media, Art, Photography, Product Design, Music, Drama and the Extended Project alongside enrichment.
Further information about our Curriculum can be obtained by emailing Mrs Claire Heslop, Deputy Head (Raising Stadards Leader) on [email protected]