The guiding principles shared by all leaders in designing the curriculum:
- It must be guided by the teaching of the Church on Catholic Education
- It must be challenging and ambitious
- All students, of all abilities, must be supported to access the curriculum
- Aims must be understood by all teachers of the subject
- Standards of expected outcomes must be defined and clearly articulated
- The end points for each stage of the curriculum must be clear to teachers and pupils with an explicit statement of what pupils need to know at each ‘end point’
- The curriculum can be implemented in the most efficient and effective manner decided upon by the curriculum leaders e.g. in mixed ability groups or setting by ability
Key Stage 3
At St Thomas More it is our intention to offer a broad and balanced curriculum that builds on the progress achieved at KS2 and prepares students to study a wide range of subjects at GCSE standard in KS4.
St Thomas More School is a Catholic School and therefore the curriculum at its heart houses a reflection of the spiritual and moral dimension to each of our learners. SMSC is integral to all of our subjects and is central to the RE curriculum in particular. The mission of the Catholic School cannot ignore the plea of the disadvantaged. Our curriculum therefore seeks to empower all of our learners with opportunities both within and outside the curriculum to excel and to find their place in their community
The curriculum is built around the question: ‘What do they need to learn?’ This starting point can be applied to the work of a whole department and prompt consideration of units of work in the overall programme of study. It can also be applied to each individual in a class and focus the teacher’s attention on what that child needs to learn in order to progress; ensuring that the next steps are planned to build on accurate assessment of where a student is at any point in the planned curriculum.
The development of reading skills is an important element in the whole curriculum and various strategies to improve reading are deployed within subjects and across the school.
Reading ability is assessed using GL Assessment to ensure a clear benchmarking of progress via baseline assessment in Year 7 and on-going assessment at the end of each year.
The curriculum is inclusive and is supported by the expertise of our innovative SEND Department, this firm background of support for the current curriculum paves the way for the success at KS4 of this cohort. The KS3 curriculum has a focus on challenge in learning as well as building curiosity and thinking skills through the learning questions at the beginning of each lesson. Each subject area enjoys curriculum autonomy. This trust has led to subjects offering bespoke learning strategies which rest on the research of the Learning Scientists. The Curriculum therefore, and Teaching and Learning aspirations, are deeply enmeshed. The curriculum model at STM secures the way for ambition, diversity, challenge and depth.
Key Stage 4
All students will be guided through the options process, as they near the end of Year 9, towards opting for subjects in which they can succeed and will allow them to progress to further study or employment. The core curriculum of maths, English, science, RE, ICT and PE is enhanced by a wide range of subjects. The vast majority of students have the option of following the EBacc route and nearly all of our students choose either History, Geography or MFL.
The programmes of study at KS4 are based upon the examining bodies’ specifications and it is the aim of all subjects to prepare students as well as possible for the assessments required to obtain the highest grade attainable for each student.
St Thomas More School is a Catholic School and therefore the curriculum at its heart houses a reflection of the spiritual and moral dimension to each of our learners. SMSC is integral to all of our subjects and is central to the RE GCSE curriculum in particular. The mission of the Catholic School cannot ignore the plea of the disadvantaged. Our curriculum therefore seeks to empower all of our learners with opportunities both within and outside the curriculum to be able to challenge the status quo and to be able to reflect critically on the values of Catholicism.
Key Stage 5 / Sixth Form
As a Sixth Form in a Catholic School, all subjects support SMSC and are fired towards igniting the commitment of every member of the school community to be a conduit for values within society which recognise the value of every individual. The curriculum is designed to foster critical challenge on the values of the world around us so that our students find the voice for good and for change especially in answer to our global questions which need individuals with purpose intelligence and visible values.
The KS5 expectation of the curriculum is that it is broad enough to ensure a suite of qualifications to ensure choice of University providers (including Oxbridge), routes to employability and apprenticeships. Combination learning to include traditional A’ levels as well as BTECs and resit portfolio are encouraged to meet the needs of the individual learner.
As a Lead School in the Trust, STM has a strong focus on the enrichment curriculum especially Leadership to include Sports Leadership, Subject and Pastoral Leadership, and Community Leadership roles. The offer includes supported study time to ensure that all study and contact time echoes the expectations of the VESPA programme.
Students are given the highest opportunities to excel in their chosen subjects. Routes to acceptance on courses are driven by ambitious entry requirements across a range of subjects at GCSE or equivalent level as well as previous work ethic. The diet of subjects offered at KS5 are driven by student demand and cost effectiveness. The diet of subjects offered at KS5 are driven by student demand and cost effectiveness.