Key Stage 3 Curriculum Intent
The Key Stage 3 curriculum has three core aims:
(i) to identify and overcome learning deficits on entry, ensuring all students are fully prepared for a successful secondary education in terms of both their knowledge and their skills – they are COMPETENT by the end of Year 7.
(ii) to provide a breadth of educational experience across Years 7 and 8 through students experiencing a broad and balanced curriculum offer - they are CONFIDENT by the end of Year 8.
(iii) to enable students to gain a deeper level of understanding of areas of the curriculum in Year 9, leaving them ready to face the challenge of Key Stage 4 – they are ASSURED by the end of Year 9.
Key Stage 4 builds on these solid foundations providing students with wide curriculum choices, enabling students to excel and engage in their subjects of choice while retaining a strong academic core. Alongside the taught curriculum, students have access to high quality IAG to support transition to destinations post-16.
Key Stage 5 is designed around flexible student-focused pathways, enabling students to follow a bespoke curriculum matched to their academic potential and aspirations. A focus on IAG continues at this Key Stage through the Year Tutors programme, who deliver a curriculum designed to support students to shape and achieve their future aspirations.
Across the Key Stages
- We have a broad, balanced, and rich curriculum which is open and accessible to all students; it gives them the choice to shape their own future.
- All students will learn at least one modern foreign language at Key Stage 3 (some students learn two: French and Spanish). We also make languages very attractive to our students at both Key Stages 4 and 5, and strongly encourage students to choose a language for study via the options process.
- Supported by impartial specialist careers advice, we strive to give all students the chance to have ownership over their futures and to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in moving onto their next phase of education, employment or training.
- Subject content is carefully sequenced, with the big picture regularly communicated. Learning and assessment is cumulative and students can talk about their progress.
- Teachers engage and challenge all students, measuring their progress and intervening appropriately. Teachers know their students and meet their needs; teachers make reasonable adjustments for students who need it. In addition, we have bespoke support for students with additional needs.
- We have high expectations at all times, with a belief that all students can meet those expectations. We aim to catch them being good and reward them regularly.
- We have a strong focus on excellence in both academic and vocational qualifications.
- We have a clear emphasis on the development of literacy across the curriculum, especially reading and vocabulary across the school.
- Our curriculum and our superb extra-curricular offer gives a wide range of opportunities to develop students’ character, confidence and personal well-being.
The Kingdown curriculum offer at Key Stage 3 is broad, balanced and rich. It engages our students in the ‘core’ subjects of English, Maths and Science and in new subjects not studied at Primary school too – led and largely taught by subject specialists.
We challenge all our students appropriately, sharing the big picture of ‘what’ we are learning and ‘why’ we are learning it. It has regular opportunities for progress to be measured effectively. We progressively develop and build their knowledge and skills in all subject areas effectively. We do this so that students overcome any deficits from Key Stage 2 and are prepared well for Key Stage 4.
We want them to feel success in their learning at Key Stage 3 and end it ready to succeed at the next stage of their education.
Through these core aims, the Key Stage 3 curriculum will:
- help to raise students' aspirations;
- develop literacy through a key focus on reading and writing (specifically on vocabulary, spelling and sentence construction);
- develop numeracy skills at all levels.
In Years 7-9, all students study the following subjects:
- Maths, English and Science – the ‘core’ subjects
- Geography, History and Religious Studies – Humanities subjects
- Art, Design and Technology, PE and Drama, Music
- French and/or Spanish
- PHSE – personal and social development
- Learning to Learn – study skills
Our Curriculum Intent and Implementation
Kingdown’s curriculum aims are to develop students skills and knowledge from its starting point on on entry, particularly where they are below age related standards and enable progress and success in every subject.
We assess what students know and can do with their knowledge (their skills and application) when they arrive with us through Term 1, using a variety of assessment methods such as CATs testing and NGRT Reading tests and adapt our Year 7 curriculum to close their evident deficits in order that they are ready for Year 8. Then, in Year 8, the curriculum builds their knowledge and skills with the aim of overcoming any deficits which students may have from Year 7, and which builds on their learning throughout Year 8 in order that they are Year 9 ready. We interleave content to recap and learn the key knowledge for each topic to aid retentions. Literacy and numeracy skills are threads throughout.
Every lesson has learning objectives which relate to key knowledge and skills identified in our curriculum planning for each subject. Our KS3 assessment grids reflect the the key knowledge and skills for each unit, and are the basis on which students are assessed . The level of challenge grows progressively through Years 7-9 to ensure students are Key Stage 4 ready.
Year 6 Curriculum
At Kingdown, we have close relationships with our primary feeder school colleagues, particularly those who are part of the Acorn Trust. This means we have a wealth of information, particularly for vulnerable students upon entry from these schools. We also build links with schools outside our Acorn Trust schools through visits.
We know that a focus on reading, writing and numeracy is paramount at this stage of education. We see the benefits of this in many of our students coming to us in Year 7. We also see there is an understanding of French and less frequently Spanish amongst some of our students and an appreciation of basic Science principles.
Subjects like Geography and History are also developed to a foundation level and students come with some knowledge of the world around them. Sport and PE are enjoyed by the students as well as opportunities to do Performing Arts and Design Technology. This ensures a broad and rich curriculum with plenty of enrichment, taught by subject specialists.
All students have a weekly Learning2Learn (PSHE) lesson with their Head Of House.
Areas students need to develop on entry to Kingdown School
As a fully comprehensive school which takes students from up to 29 different feeder schools, we regularly see a wide range in terms of what students know (substantive knowledge) and what they can do (disciplinary knowledge, skills). We have certain deficits that we must overcome with our students on entry. On average per year, 60% of our students come from Acorn feeder schools:
- Avenue School and Early Years Centre
- Crockerton C of E Voluntary Aided Primary School
- Heytesbury C of E Primary School
- Horningsham Primary School
- Minster C of E Primary School
- New Close Community School
- Princecroft Primary School
- Sambourne C of E Voluntary Controlled Primary School
- St George's Catholic Primary School
- St Johns C of E Primary School
- Sutton Veney C of E School
- Wylye Valley C of E Voluntary Aided Primary School
Additionally we take 2 or more students from a further 17 schools outside catchment.
17.4% of our current Year 7 students are classified as disadvantaged and are either currently receiving free school meals or have done so within the last 6 years. This comes as a challenge, as for these students they annually arrive at Kingdown as the group who have underperformed most at primary school and are most at risk of continuing that underperformance at secondary school.
21% of our current Year 7 students had a reading age below 10 years at the start of the academic year. This figure is 24.7% for spelling. For this group of students their vocabulary is limited and they are not in the habit of reading regularly (both independently, or with help). Students have varying ability and deficits in terms of punctuation and grammar. Many make basic literacy errors.
Numeracy skills for some our students are also below expected standard on entry. For example, the current GPS for Maths in Year 8 is 99.8, below average.
We acknowledge that lots of our students arrive needing support to re-learn or practise applying content they have learnt in Year 6. In all foundation subjects, we find that students come to us with some substantive knowledge, but are weaker in terms of disciplinary knowledge.
Curriculum Intent: Year 7
Therefore, our Year 7 curriculum is about making students at least competent in all subject areas.
Our curriculum has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy (both within English, maths and with a focus on the whole curriculum). We have standalone literacy lessons taught by English specialists twice per fortnight for Year 7.
In English and Maths, students are placed in broad-banded sets in Term 1 in Year 7. This setting will be based on entry data, CAT tests, reading and spelling ages, and internal assessments (baseline tests at the end of Term 1). Students in the Set 1 are likely to have retained more of this knowledge and be further along the track to becoming competent in that area. These students will need to be developed more quickly. Students are placed in mixed ability classes for all other subjects to give them the opportunity to develop their understanding of them with their peers.
Implementation: Becoming Competent (and Year 8 ready)
Students are threshold tested on entry via CAT tests. Alongside available entry data, this allows us to determine which students have the greatest deficits in their core knowledge. These students will have access to our smaller classes; and for those with most need, the Learning Centre from Term one onwards. Here, they will be given small group literacy and numeracy intervention to allow them to catch up and then keep up.
At any point in the year, if internal assessments show a student is not likely to meet the following Year 7 Benchmarks, they will access literacy/numeracy support from the Learning Centre and our specialist intervention teachers.
By the end of Year 7
- All students should at least be able to form simple, compound and complex sentences.
- All students to be able to use a comma accurately.
- All students should be able to competently spell and use KS3 subject specific words (Tier 3 vocabulary).
- All students should have read at least 6 reading-age appropriate books by the end of Year 7 – via the English Curriculum, Register and Read, library and reading lessons and the Library Cup, and access to the school library in English lessons.
We aim for all students to be fluent in basic numeracy and to have overcome any deficits from KS2. All students develop their mathematical and statistical literacy through a broad KS3 curriculum encompassing mathematics units of work.
All other subjects will build on disciplinary knowledge across Year 7. As the cumulative curriculum builds across the year, so the assessments students do will test them on the knowledge in a systematic way, building to a synoptic test at the end of the year. All subjects will have clear benchmarks for Year 7 and will teach these across the year.
All students to be at least competent in these areas by the end of Year 7 (competent means: meeting at least the criteria for being level 3 ready on the KS3 Assessment Grid) . Many will be significantly above this. Those who do not meet this benchmark across the board will be given specific literacy/numeracy intervention in Year 8.
All students in Year 7 will have access to an enriching curriculum, that includes:
- Year 6 Summer school e.g. with trips to the seaside for raft building (attended by 87% of our cohort)
- Subject trips to widen horizons
- Healthy lifestyles
- PIXL Edge Programme
- Leadership opportunities through the Student Council and Sport
- Physical Education
- PSHE – understanding healthy and unhealthy relationships, personal health and hygiene.
- Careers advice and guidance.
Curriculum Intent: Year 8 - CONFIDENT
Year 8 will develop these skills further and add in more challenge. Students not meeting the Year 7 benchmarks will be given extra support and intervention via our Learning Centre and specialist maths and English intervention teachers.
For those meeting or exceeding the Benchmarks, the Year 8 Curriculum will continue to embed the benchmarks from Year 7; and build and challenge further.
In terms of setting, students are set in Maths, English and Science based on their end of Year 7 exam results and data from across the year. In Humanities and MFL, students are broadly set in 2 sets, higher and foundation. Mixed classes remain in all other subjects.
Implementation: Becoming Confident (and Year 9 ready)
In Year 8, we consolidate Year 7 Benchmarks. In addition, we aim for the following in literacy:
- All students to be able to use more complex punctuation (semi colons, colons, brackets, apostrophes).
- All students to know the key terminology in each subject and to have accurate spelling of these words in their books. All students to be regularly using these words in their books and most to spell them accurately.
- All students to have read at least 6 age-appropriate books.
Numeracy through maths and key subjects like Geography and Science, will continue to develop students’ confidence and skills in these area. In all other subjects, students will be taught with the aim of becoming confident in terms of knowledge and skills in those areas.
All subjects will build on disciplinary and substantive knowledge across Year 8. As the cumulative curriculum builds across the year, so the assessments students will do will test them on the knowledge in a systematic way, building to a synoptic test at the end of the year in Term 6.
All subjects have clear benchmarks for Year 8 and will teach these across the year.
The aim is for all students to be at least securely at level 4 (confident).
Students continue their enrichment as outlined above.
Curriculum Intent: Year 9 - ASSURED
In Year 9 students will develop further to become detailed and accurate in their knowledge and their application of it. The aim of Year 9 is to ensure all students are Key Stage 4 ready.
Students in all subjects continue the Key Stage 3 curriculum until at least Term 3 of Year 9 when they begin topics and develop skills that prepare them for success at Key Stage 4, where they will be looking to fully embed all learning from Years 7 and 8 and develop further the disciplinary knowledge required to cope with GCSE.
Maths, English and Science classes are set according to end of year tests from Year 8 and reviewed during the year. MFL groups are in sets 1 and 2. Humanities group 3 is a supported set with extra literacy. A fortnightly PSHE lesson is taught by Heads of House.
Implementation: Becoming Key Stage 4 ready in their knowledge and skills
We consolidate Years 7 and 8 Benchmarks, plus we aim for:
- All students are able to form simple, compound and complex sentences.
- All students to be able to use a comma accurately.
- Most students are able to use more complex punctuation (semi colons, colons, brackets, apostrophes).
- All students to be able to use punctuation for effect.
- Most students are able to spell the high frequency words used in the English language. All students to be able to use and spell more sophisticated vocabulary.
- All students to have read at least 6 age-appropriate books.
- All students to know the key terminology in each subject and most to have accurate spelling of these words in their books.
Numeracy will continue to develop students’ knowledge and skills in this area, through maths and work in Geography, Science and Design.
All subjects will build on disciplinary and substantive knowledge across Year 9. As the cumulative curriculum builds across the year, so the assessments students will do will test them on the knowledge in a systematic way, building to a synoptic test at the end of the year. All subjects have clear benchmarks for GCSE and teach these across the year.
The aim is for all students to be at least securely at level 5 – assured.
Enrichment continues as above.
If you'd like to look at our Curriculum Intent at Key Stage 4, please click here.
If you'd like to look at a particular subject's curriculum in more detail, please click here.