Upper School Years 9 - 11
The overarching curriculum aim is to develop young people who are equipped to serve God in the communities where they are placed. The curriculum builds on the foundations of knowledge and understanding gained in Lower School and Middle School, recognising that adolescence is a time to explore ideas, faith and practice, to develop critical thinking skills and gain a clearer sense of identity and purpose in life. Open questions encourage pupils to develop their own aspirations, convictions and values.
The focus of Upper School teaching and learning shifts to exam preparation and academic success whilst maintaining a commitment to the development of Christian faith and practice through faith-integrated components of the curriculum.
- Our pupils study a balanced GCSE programme with most taking a core that comprises seven English Baccalaureate subjects (English Language, English Literature, Maths, Science (Double award), History and French) plus Religious Studies and a half-course in PE. Where a pupil’s individual needs indicate that they would be better served with an adapted core curriculum, we offer pupils the opportunity to substitute British Sign Language or their first language for French.
- Pupils are also offered the chance to undertake additional GCSEs or other courses through our flexi-ed programme which matches pupil needs with specialists within the community who can teach or coach them in their area of interest. Options include a third science GCSE, Art, Performance Arts, Business Studies, Computer Science, Design & Technology and full course PE. We also have links with Myerscough College which a few pupils attend on a one day a week basis to study vocational courses, such as Animal Care, Equine Studies or Motor Vehicle studies.
- A distinctive element of Upper School is worldview studies that equip pupils with the cognitive skills to recognise the worldview behind their own and others’ opinions. This allows them to be able to communicate their viewpoint clearly but respectfully to others.
- Y9 pupils take a special Studio Skills course that focuses on computing and graphic design. All Upper Schools are expected to achieve the bronze level iDEA award in computing before they leave.
- Pupils take increasing responsibility for their own learning and are explicitly taught how to learn more effectively, with lessons drawing on insights from neuroscience about how the brain works and from cognitive psychology about how memory works.
- Independent study skills are nurtured through our timetable structure which provides pupils with the opportunity to manage their own learning in supervised study sessions or undertake additional courses with an element of self-study. Pupils have multiple opportunities to develop their collaborative learning skills, engaging in team projects and supporting each other’s learning through peer tutoring.
- Our innovative vocational programme - Equipped to Serve (ETS) - is an integral part of the Upper School curriculum. This non-examination programme aims to help provide students with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in serving the society in which they choose to live. Lessons aim to equip the young people to work out their faith and demonstrate Christian citizenship in serving their communities at a local, national and international level. This requires them to acquire knowledge of different issues, apply that knowledge to address specific problems and develop practical skills that are transferable to other situations in the future. Pupils also learn basic first aid skills as well as gardening and DIY skills. The ETS curriculum is taught with a Christian worldview in mind whilst encouraging students to employ critical thinking, reflection and research skills in order to explore diverse points of view
- As part of the core curriculum, all Upper School pupils are prepared for two nationally recognised awards: the John Muir award (an environmental award scheme focused on wild places) and the Adventure, Service, Challenge Award which involves opportunities to engage with the outdoors but also focuses on the development of life skills and service to others.
- Pupils also follow a wide-ranging PHSME curriculum that includes RSE, health education, financial education, business awareness, drugs and alcohol awareness as well as the study of worldviews, politics and ethics. includes ICT, Careers Education and Guidance, Political Awareness, Citizenship, Business Awareness and SRE, drugs and alcohol awareness. The PHSME curriculum is taught with a Christian 9 worldview in mind whilst encouraging students to employ critical thinking, reflection and research skills in order to explore diverse points of view.
- Pupils follow a World of Work careers education programme throughout Upper School which gives them knowledge of and personal experience of a diverse range of work roles and sectors. The programme includes online research into the local labour market and also into different training, further education and careers opportunities available to them, as well as visiting speakers and visits to different workplaces. We encourage all pupils to undertake work experience to broaden their understanding of the workplace. We engage with CareerConnect to provide impartial, individualised careers advice to each pupil.
- Every two years, we put on a major dramatic production which is open to all Upper School pupils, who audition for acting roles or volunteer for production roles. On alternate years, pupils take part in the Oxford Schools Debating competition.
- The school worship band provides an opportunity for pupils with musical interests and giftings to develop their skills and contribute to leading weekly worship.
- All pupils in Y11 are appointed as prefects as this gives them all an opportunity to develop leadership skills and to grow in responsibility. The student body elects House and Vice Captains from the Y11 pupils. They form the Student Council senior section, together with a Y10 representative from each house. Pupils gain leadership experience and learn first-hand how to propose, plan and implement a project.
- Throughout the curriculum, we actively promote the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual response and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Teachers play a key role in guiding students to become positive role models, representing the school and contributing to society locally and globally.
When pupils leave Upper School, they are prepared to take their place as positive citizens and to continue their education and training in a wide range of different fields.