St Saviour’s and St Olave’s curriculum is designed to encourage and promote enthusiasm for learning, to stretch and challenge every learner, to encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning, and to give every student a rich and varied knowledge and skills base on which they can build and achieve their God given potential.
Aims and Objectives
The curriculum is structured to give every student access to the academic and cultural experiences all young people are entitled to. It will aim to broaden and deepen knowledge for students of all abilities and interests. Provision of a rich curriculum will meet and exceed the requirements of the National Curriculum, and offer routes to a range of valued qualifications at the end of Key Stage Four and Five, allowing students to progress on to Higher Education and Vocational routes such as degree level apprenticeships. Accessing the historical and cultural environment around our school to enrich this provision will enhance students’ appreciation of their own and others cultural context and values.
Key Stage Three
At Key Stage Three all students follow a curriculum that includes English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, Languages, Creative arts, and Technology Subjects. These are studied for three years and fulfil our intention to provide every young person with a breadth of knowledge and skills that enable them to develop and grow in confidence in a broad spectrum of ways. This is a discrete curriculum that prepares students well for further study in all areas, and stands alone as a worthwhile experience for students who choose not to take the subject further. Some subjects use setting for their teaching groups, although the majority of subjects are taught in mixed ability form groups.
Key Stage Four
At Key Stage Four students select from three option blocks subjects which along with a core of English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Studies and Physical Education, they study for two years. This course of study leads to assessment and qualifications by public examinations. Students are guided through a free option choice structure covering a wide range of subjects designed to cater for all the students’ needs, allowing pathways for the most able to least academic. The English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications is available to all students, is clearly explained to all students and their parents, and it is compulsory for none. Excellent guidance ensures students make a well-informed decision about their subject selection for GCSE. Most core subjects teaching groups are set by ability, and most option groups are taught in mixed ability groups.
St Saviour’s & St Olave’s is an 11-19 school and the expectation is that students stay on into our sixth form. A full offer of external guidance ensures that students are well informed and supported with their options post 16. Our sixth form offers an exceptional range of subjects for a small institution, and these include; Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Design Technology, Drama, Economics, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, German, History, Information Technology, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Media Studies, Music, Performing Arts, Physics, Photography, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, Religious Education/Philosophy and Ethics, and Travel and Tourism. Subject study is supported by a comprehensive programme of opportunities for physical activity, wellbeing activity, study support and preparation for life beyond school.
Currently the students are predominantly following a programme of four AS courses in year 12 and continuing with three A levels in year 13. After much discussion and consultation, it has been agreed that this will change to three A level courses each studied for two years from September 2020.
Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic education is primarily (but not exclusively) delivered across four ‘drop down days’ in each academic year. The programme has been carefully planned to be age appropriate and cumulative so that as students move through the school they are challenged and supported to enhance their understanding of how to live fulfilled and happy lives. The topics covered include all physical and mental health, managing personal finance, participating fully in society and British values. The structure of ‘drop down days’ allows for greater opportunities to put this learning in context, to study in depth, and to make use of a wide range of visiting experts to support the delivery of these vital topics.
Aspects of the curriculum or a topical issue is a focus for a week and is addressed directly or indirectly across all curriculum areas in a nominated week. This supports the development of students’ understanding of cross-curricular relevance, can be used to demonstrate the lifelong value of a skill in different contexts, or to support our faith school values that we are all made in the image of God, of equal value and worth, and all accepted for the individual we are. These weeks can vary from year to year according to priorities determined by the school community. They include: Risk week, Numeracy week, Literacy week, Black History Month week, LGBT week, Mental Health Awareness week, Disability Awareness week Activity week, World of Work week, and Science week. The rationale for each of these weeks is given in Appendix 1.
Work related learning
Work related learning takes place throughout years 7-13 in age appropriate ways. Careers and jobs are referenced where appropriate in lessons, business management is explored in year 8 in ‘world of work’ week, software such as Kudos is used for students to explore personal ambitions, and students all have external guidance on career related issues. Using our exceptional range of partners, we offer a range of high-quality visits and experiences in work places. A lead staff member ensures Gatsby criteria are met.
An exceptional range of extra-curricular opportunities supports girls’ development academically, physically and spiritually. They can access additional qualifications in home languages, sign language, Japanese, or astronomy, they can learn a musical instrument and take ABRSM qualifications, and they can pursue creative arts or sports for fun or to a highly competitive level.
Timetable Structure and Homework
There are six teaching periods per day, each fifty minutes in duration, across a one week timetable. A seventh period is available Tuesday to Thursday for KS5. These are sometimes arranged as double periods.
At KS3 a homework timetable is written and recorded in the students’ diaries, to ensure that students are set structured homework tasks to develop independent learning on a regular basis. In KS4 the curriculum is reinforced by structured homework and coursework related tasks set as appropriate. Students are expected and supported to manage the deadlines so a formal homework timetable is not set. A programme of intervention and additional support along with opportunities runs outside of lesson time to further support the development of independent study skills and students taking responsibility for their learning.
Curriculum Policy (Appendix 1)
Each year at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s a number of weeks will be highlighted to have a theme that will emerge in every curriculum and extra-curricular area. It will be the theme of assemblies and worship, and will be set in to the school calendar. The themes will be discussed and agreed by SLT and the school chaplain. Themes arise from national, international and local priorities. Listed below are some of the themed weeks from recent years with a brief outline of the purpose of the week:
Black History week
One week during October is dedicated as part of the national Black History Month. Black history is part of all of our history and all of our learning, so is discussed in all subjects throughout the year whenever appropriate and relevant. This specific week enables us to discuss the discrimination that has happened historically and the ongoing issues of prejudice and discrimination that continue to happen around the world and more locally. Central to this week is the intention to celebrate and educate about groups and individuals in black history, particularly in the UK, whose achievements have not been adequately acknowledged or recorded. During this week every collective act of worship and every subject area uses this context.
Disability awareness week
Our school is a diverse community and we aim to be as inclusive as possible. Some in our school and many in the wider community live with life limiting health conditions, debilitating health conditions and physical limitations. The aim of this week is to raise awareness, especially of disabilities which are not visible, to improve students understanding of and empathy for others. It also aims to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution and achievement of groups of people too often overlooked, and to inspire all in our community to appreciate how barriers can be overcome.
There is emerging research that indicates young people questioning their sexuality or identifying as LGBT+ are likely to find school more challenging than their peers, are more likely to experience mental health issues, and homophobic language is less likely to be challenged than other forms of bullying. During February, national LGBT+ awareness month, a week is focussed on educating about the discrimination faced by the LGBT+ community. The intention is to ensure every student in school feels safe, respected, valued and included. Celebrations of the achievements and contributions of the LGBT+ community are particularly highlighted in this week.
Numeracy is a skill essential for living a secure and fulfilled life. Managing money and debt, having confidence in carrying out calculations, understanding weights and measurements are just a few of the skills that run across many subject areas essential in life. This week aims to challenge the perception that maths is a boys’ subject, to eliminate the phrase ‘I’m not any good at maths’ and to answer the question of ‘when will I ever use maths in real life?’
Research shows that women and girls are much less likely to step outside of their comfort zones in terms of learning and careers, and this can be a factor in their underachievement academically and professionally. Risk week doesn’t set out to analyse why this happens, but encourages all members of our school community to try to something new and/or different. Opportunities will be presented in lessons and in extra-curricular activities try new learning something new, to do something for the first time, or to do something in an unfamiliar way.
This week aims to develop an understanding that science is a way of thinking and questioning rather than a body of facts and knowledge to learn. A scientist looks at the world and asks why, how and what if? Science develops logical thinking and can help us develop skills to investigate and pursue any line of enquiry. The week is also to highlight career opportunities in scientific fields where women are traditionally under-represented, and to promote the achievements of female scientists.
Themes are reviewed regularly for both intention, relevance and impact. Suggestions are welcomed from all stakeholders. If the rationale is in keeping with our vision and values, and there is clear educational merit a new theme will be considered. One recent suggestion currently under consideration is ‘climate change week’.