Developing our Curriculum
Our curriculum has evolved as we tailor the needs of our children to what they can achieve; we listened to the pupils when they talked about their aspirations in life. Some of our pupils aren't motivated by academic subjects, and if they aren't motivated, they can be drawn into disruptive behaviour. We have looked at the subjects that reflected their aspirations and ambitions and developed our curriculum accordingly; some want to be chefs, so we have introduced BTEC Home Cooking, some are motivated by playing games so they can now succeed in BTEC Sport and Active Leisure, whereas others want to work in the construction industry; we have now revived Design Technology where pupils are working towards either a GCSE in DT or a BTEC in Construction. As an SEMH school, we have to adapt our teaching, both in terms of style and content, to encourage the children to embrace their learning. Not all children are able to meet the demands of the new GCSE syllabuses. We have introduced BTEC as it provides a better learning platform for our children; 'hands on learning' where they develop portfolios over time to achieve success. Further to this, we also recognise, and promote among the children, that achieving a BTEC Level 1, along with qualifications in English and Maths especially, will enhance their options at college or in employment when they leave school. BTECs in Level 1 provide a clear gateway to courses on offer at colleges; we promote the idea that they will be able to pursue the BTEC pathway into Level 2, 3 and ultimately, a career.
We listen to our pupils. We know our pupils. And we want them to achieve all they can while they're at Hope High School.
To strengthen this approach, we begin our Key Stage 4 teaching in Year 9. This allows our pupils more time to work on their individual projects and portfolios across the BTEC curriculum. It further allows the teachers more time to focus on developing the skills and knowledge required to achieve in the academic subjects we offer; this year, we have added RE GCSE to our curriculum; pupils will become more aware of the world around them and understanding of the many different cultures on our planet, and issues that prevail.
Our curriculum will offer GCSEs, BTEC, Functional Skills Level 1 and 2 certificates, AQA certificates and ASDAN awards. The subjects are being taught from Y7 through to Y11 and include:
- Sport/ PE
- Food Technology
Aside from the academic curriculum, each class will also follow a programme in Forest School and some will be selected for the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award if they show commitment.
We have also introduced SEAL to our daily programme, where pupils have the opportunity to develop their social development; this allows us to focus on the social and emotional aspects of learning, namely self awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills. All pupils regroup at the end of each day to reflect on their days, as individuals and groups as they go through their points, respect points and dispatches. The children work together to work out their percentages of scores, followed by the opportunity to discuss issues that have arisen through the day with staff. Social interaction is a vital skill as our pupils continue their journey of Learning for Life. After this, they can spend the time bonding as a group, or in smaller sub groups, or go to enjoy an activity where they can develop their social skills; sport, lego, craft, art, computing.
We have recently introduced thrive, which aims to address developmental learning gaps; socially, emotionally and behaviourally. Thrive aims to target areas of childhood development where a pupil may have gaps, leading to subsequent problems as they grow from children, to adolescents and ultimately adults. Regular monitoring of each child's development through thrive enables our children and staff to explore strategies that will help them as they grow; maintaining our approach of Learning for Life.
In addition to this, each class has a session on British Values each week where they can explore and discuss issues relevant to them as they develop into citizens of the future. We want our pupils to leave Hope High with an understanding of the society and cultures around them, with high aspirations for the future. We are not just learning academically or socially, our pupils are all Learning for Life.
Our aim is for all our pupils to leave school after Year 11 with a well rounded understanding of the world around them and an array of qualifications that will help them into their next phase of life.