Key Stage 3 (Year 7 & 8)
Eltham Hill School Key Stage 3 Curriculum
Vision, values and aims
Our KS3 curriculum supports the school’s vision of excellence, happiness and success by providing students with a broad and rich curriculum that places no limit on what can be achieved, or discovered but provides opportunities for enrichment, progress and success regardless of their starting point.
Students’ curriculum experience in KS3 is of equal priority to that in other key stages. We are determined to create the conditions for our learners to acquire ‘powerful knowledge’ (Young, 2011). Subject leaders think carefully about the sequencing of lessons to ensure students continue to have access to and acquire the knowledge and language to be able to analyse and interpret the world in all its complexities. Subjects use flexibility in KS3 to make content as stimulating and horizon-widening as possible. Students are supported and developed as they master the new concepts and explore the questions introduced to them. Our curriculum is designed to ensure we move the nature of their thinking to a higher order and allow them to develop a deeper level of understanding rather than just acquire new facts and knowledge.
The curriculum is constantly reviewed and developed to not only meet the needs and strengths of our students but to ensure all students can engage in wide variety of challenging and enjoyable experiences and activities completed within lessons, active tutor times, around school, in the local community and beyond. Key Stage 3 is the launch pad for excellence in Key Stage 4 and has a curriculum built on the knowledge and skills needed for success.
The curriculum priorities and emphases
Our KS3 curriculum combines the best of traditional, modern, scientific, creative and practical subjects to provide a diverse and inspiring KS3 educational experience. We want to inject new challenges and deliver a distinctive, high-performing curriculum that has tangible benefits for all groups of pupils.
This is achieved through a focus on the following priorities at Key Stage 3:
a) Enjoyment of and engagement in learning
Our KS3 curriculum is driven by a desire to stimulate a love of learning. We want to nurture critical thinking and reflection and promote the enjoyment of and engagement in learning through new experiences for all students. Across the KS3 curriculum students are encouraged to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of key ideas and concepts, to experience wonder and develop the ability to ask perceptive and thoughtful questions to enhance learning. EHS teachers plan for learning rather than plan activities and refrain from purely teaching to the test.
b) Literacy and numeracy for life
Literacy and numeracy are among the most important life skills that a school can teach. No student should leave school without having mastered these skills to the best of their abilities. Literacy and numeracy skills are crucial to a student’s ability to develop fully as an individual and to support their future career aspirations. Ensuring all our students acquire these skills is one of the greatest contributions we can make to their education and future lives.
The development of Literacy plays a fundamental role in the delivery of and progression through the curriculum. The whole-school drive on raising levels of literacy underpins all curriculum based work through:
- quality first teaching
- regular and effective marking and feedback with a literacy focus
- the use of key words, terms, commands and technical vocabulary.
- weekly library lessons- to encourage a love of reading, improve literacy and target students who need extra support with reading
Numeracy is also embedded throughout the curriculum, supporting the development of essential analytic, problem solving and decision making skills across the curriculum. The numeracy skills and outcomes are a subset of those found in the mathematics ‘Mastery curriculum’ for Key Stage 3
c) Academic excellence, strength and success in traditional subjects
Our curriculum is the foundation for progress, achievement and attainment. There is an emphasis on promoting strength and success in traditional academic subjects, it is vital that all students have access to a rigorous, knowledge-based, academic education. Students study the following discreet subjects at KS3:
- Religious Studies
- MFL (French or Spanish)
- Computer science
d) Creativity at the heart of the curriculum
A fundamental element of our KS3 curriculum is the importance of providing our young women with opportunities to engage in creative expression. To express and understand themselves and others through a range of formats and to tap into their creativity. As part of their timetable at KS3 all students have discreet lessons in:
- Technology (food, textiles, product design)
e) Well-being, happiness, health and balance
The curriculum is designed to help students develop the skills and confidence they need to be achieve the best levels of physical and mental well-being throughout their lives. Students are also provided with ongoing opportunities for spiritual, moral, cultural and social development. This is embedded across the curriculum but is particularly evident during their lessons in the following core subjects at KS3:
- Physical education
- Assembly/Tutor time
Curriculum inclusion and differentiation
The organisation of our KS3 curriculum is designed to ensure all students are challenged and able to make progress. Students who come into Year 7 below the expected standard at KS2 are given a range of support through literacy and numeracy catch up programmes to ensure they make rapid progress. (please click the following link for further information on our KS3 literacy and numeracy programme)
In the majority of subjects students are taught in mixed ability grouping , although every student is set separately in mathematics, science and languages. We operate a flexible system with regards to setting and use the review system to make adjustments throughout the year to ensure that our KS3 curriculum remains personalised and provides access, opportunity and challenge
Continuity and progression
Our KS3 curriculum is designed to help pupils to make a smooth transfer from one key stage to the next and to make progress within Key Stage 3. As soon as students join us in year 7, we support them to adapt to the more challenging and quicker pace of learning at KS3. This is done through embedding the skills of the Eltham Hill Learner profile across the curriculum including through the tutor programme, helping students to become successful independent learners. We aim to stimulate more rapid progress by encouraging students to have ambition and ensuring they are engaged and constantly challenged. From year 7 to year 8 there is a strong focus on developing students’ resilience and retention skills through the rigour of their study. Schemes of Learning are structured to support students to develop the attributes and subject specific skills over time to become better learners. Curriculum challenge increases year on year and the KS3 curriculum is designed to build in many opportunities for repetition and retrieval practice opportunities for essential knowledge, skills and understanding in every subject. The aspiration is that by end of year 8 students have been exposed to a depth of knowledge and experiences to show them wide range of possibilities available for their future which will accurately inform their GCSE options choices and support transition to a more personalised programme of study at Key Stage 4.
The Structure and distribution of the curriculum – Please click on the following link to see how subjects are distributed across the curriculum and the hours allocated to each subject over our two week timetable. KS3 curriculum model.
Students are encouraged to make the most of opportunities available outside of the classroom through engaging in school leadership responsibilities and through a range of trips. We offer a range of extra-curricular activities such as learning to play an instrument, STEM club, the school choir, debate club, and a range of sports, drama, art and music clubs They can also support the school and local community by engaging in charitable work and fundraising activities.