This content is constantly under review following Government changes and educational thinking. The new statutory National Curriculum came into operation in September 2014.
Maintained schools in England, are legally required to follow the statutory National Curriculum, which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all students.
The National Curriculum states that:
Our school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:
– promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students at the school and of society, and
– prepares students at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its students. The National Curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.
All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage, and sex and relationship education to students in Key Stage 3 and 4.
All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.
The curriculum at DHFS is delivered through the following curriculum area structure: These are our faculty areas: English, maths, science, technology, humanities, PE, computing and business, modern foreign languages, creative and expressive arts, and PSHE and IAG careers education.
There are also a number of cross-curriculum dimensions within our curriculum. Students should be able to learn about the following: identity and cultural diversity, healthy lifestyles, community participation, enterprise, global dimension and sustainable development, technology and media, creativity and critical thinking.
These dimensions are delivered not only in the classroom but also through our assembly and mentoring programme as well as drop down days for personal and social development. This programme will help to develop the students’ moral, social and cultural development. We also seek to promote numeracy and literacy in all lessons.
Our overall curriculum (Year 7-13) is viewed as one entity and students develop knowledge and skills throughout this period which will allow them to make progression into the next stages of their lives.
Our curriculum is divided into Key Stage 3 – Years 7, 8 and 9, Key Stage 4 – Years 10 and 11, and Key Stage 5, known as Sixth Form – Years 12 and 13. However, Year 9 as the transition point for our GCSE and many subject areas have already started to develop the skills necessary for later study from this key year onwards.
Years 7-9 (Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum)
During Key Stage 3, we believe that our students should be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and move towards future economic well-being.
All students in Key Stage 3 will study a broad and balanced curriculum and timetable each week including the following subjects:
English, Maths, Science, Technology, History, Geography, RE, PE, Computing, Art, Music, Drama, a Modern Foreign Language – currently French or Spanish (with a second language, German, for selected students in Year 8).
Our enrichment curriculum is further supported via the House mentoring system and our SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural development) and assembly programme during the three year period.
We believe that this curriculum not only covers the statutory requirements but is broad and balanced and prepares our students for Key Stage 4.
Years 10-11 (Key Stage 4 of the National Curriculum)
As stated earlier, the school moved to a new Key Stage 4 curriculum in September 2014 and this not only meets new government legislation but provides a broad and balanced curriculum which will provide future progression opportunities.
Our curriculum in Key Stage 4 involves two main aspects:
- Core curriculum – all students in school follow this curriculum (unless disapplied or for specific learning reasons)
- Optional Curriculum – student’s choice of subjects towards an interest, specialism or chosen career pathway
Core Curriculum (Year 10)
Most students follow a core curriculum which accounts for 21 periods out of the 25 periods available in the week.
This compromises the following (lessons per week are shown in brackets): Maths (4), English (including English literature) (4), Science (4), RE, Citizenship, PSHE, Computing (1), PE (2), History or Geography (3) one Modern Foreign Language (2).
Students will choose at the end of Year 9 which humanities and languages they will follow in Key Stage 4.
Students have further optional choices at the start of Year 10. They are allowed to choose either two or three more options (each having two periods a week) from a wide choice that is available from each of the faculty areas. Each student’s options will be carefully considered and personalised wherever possible.
Some students will take fewer than the normal two options; this will be recommended by staff on the basis of a student’s particular needs. A small number of selected students may follow alternative curriculum programmes which may be available.
All option choices are subject to Head of Faculty approval, timetable and staffing, and financial constraints and we will inform parents and students if there are problems with any options choices.
Sixth Form Education
We offer a wide range of A level courses in one of the largest Sixth Form establishments in the county. Approximately 300 students are enrolled at present on Sixth Form courses. Students should be mindful of their aspirations in terms of Sixth Form when making option choices.
A levels are available in over 25 subjects in the various faculty areas. In addition, a number of complimentary courses are also offered, as well as comprehensive careers, apprenticeships and university advice.