Curriculum

Our Approach to the Curriculum

 

At Ashlawn School we seek to establish through evidence the most effective methods to teach and to learn. Underpinning our approaches are some agreed principles:

  • Remembering is vital to successful learning.
  • The curriculum should be structured and sequenced into important building blocks of 'core knowledge' to help learners become independent, creative and fluent in their understanding.
  • Teaching starts with prior learning and takes account of the needs of all our students, particularly those that face the greatest barriers, and this causes the acquisition of knowledge and depth of understanding to happen over time.
  • As an organisation committed to excellence everywhere, we will continue to gather evidence and develop our views on what works to serve the moral imperative of transforming lives through learning and leadership.

The curriculum at Ashlawn, which is rooted in British values and leads to the development of a rich cultural capital, recognises that every young person journeys from novice to expert learner in the deliberate and progressive acquisition, assimilation and application of knowledge and understanding.  

 

Our intent is to provide a broad, balanced, academic and enriching curriculum, where literacy, reading, oracy, numeracy and careers guidance enables knowledge to be used flexibly, powerfully and procedurally, so that learners are equipped for the challenges, opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life, through learning.

 

The educational experience at Ashlawn, which is rigorous and rooted in intellectual challenge and pace, fulfils the vision of the school by providing a range of opportunities for all our students to learn, achieve and realise their full potential. The curriculum has been designed to provide continuity and progression between and within key stages by a sharp focus on transition, and the transfer and development of knowledge and skills to be applied and creatively extended in both familiar and different contexts. This rigorous and academic curriculum promotes progress, success and achievement as well as developing students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural appreciation which leads to engaging students in a commitment to lifelong learning.

 

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 & 8)

All students study the sciences, English, maths, at least one language, geography, history, PE, PSHE, art, drama, music and computing. All Key Stage 3 students follow a DT curriculum which offers a ‘taste’ of the range of DT subjects available in Key Stage 4.

Two slightly different curricula are available at Ashlawn School with one for students who join us through selection whilst the other curriculum is available to students who have not chosen the selective route. All students follow the curriculum above whilst selective students have the opportunity to study two languages, additional qualifications in mathematics and the separate sciences. There are opportunities for over 30 students in each year group in Key Stage 3 to join the selective route if this curriculum is appropriate for them.

We believe that literacy and reading are essential for students to fully access the curriculum and to achieve at the highest level. In Year 7 and 8 students (except those in the selective groups) will develop their reading skills by a timetabled weekly reading programme designed to extend and enhance their vocabulary and knowledge of reading. Students entering Ashlawn with low prior attainment are offered an intensive programme of literacy and/or numeracy support in sessions which are tailored to their individual needs.

 

Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 & 11)

All students follow a curriculum programme which includes between 9 and 10 GCSEs (including the same compulsory core subjects). The final number of GCSEs depends on the exact combination of options chosen. As an academic curriculum the majority of students will study the Ebacc subjects (English, maths, science, a foreign language, and a humanity subject) plus a number of high value option subjects. It is possible for students to study more than one foreign language and more than one humanity subject.

The option blocks are organised after the students in Year 8 have indicated their preferences for GCSE subjects and are designed, within timetabling and staffing constraints, to fit the optimum number of student choices for subject combinations.

Mathematics, English and science are taught in sets according to ability and, where timetabling makes this possible, modern languages and humanities may be set. The modern foreign language chosen has been studied in Year 8 (unless a student is bilingual), although the opportunity for able linguists to start a new language is available if there is sufficient interest. Foreign language assistants are timetabled to help provide practice in oral and listening skills for groups of GCSE students.

Where possible, students are encouraged to study the separate sciences. Students who are studying the separate sciences will take one of their GCSE option subjects at the end of Year 10. This will increase the number of timetabled separate science lessons in Year 11.

In addition to the examination courses the curriculum includes PE and a programme of personal, social and health education.

 

Key Stage 4 Courses for Study:

 

Subject

Level

Awarding Body

English Language

GCSE

AQA

English Literature

GCSE

AQA

Mathematics

GCSE

AQA

Combined Science

GCSE

EDEXEL

Biology

GCSE

EDEXEL

Chemistry

GCSE

EDEXEL

Physics

GCSE

EDEXEL

Art and Design

GCSE

AQA

Business Studies

GCSE

OCR

Computer Science

GCSE

OCR

Dance

GCSE/Level 2 Equivalent

AQA / RSL

Drama

GCSE

OCR

Design and Technology

GCSE

AQA

Engineering

Cambridge National Level 2 Equivalent

OCR

Food Preparation and Nutrition

GCSE

AQA

Further Mathematics

GCSE

AQA

Geography

GCSE

AQA

Health and Social Care

Cambridge National Level 2 Equivalent

OCR

History

GCSE

EDEXEL

Media Studies

GCSE

EDUQAS

MFL: French

GCSE

AQA

MFL: German

GCSE

AQA

Music

GCSE

EDEXEL

Photography

GCSE

AQA

Physical Education

GCSE

AQA

Psychology

GCSE

AQA

 

Key Stage 5 (Years 12, 13 & 14)

Ashlawn Sixth Form provides academic success, the opportunity to go on to study further at university, the opportunity to achieve an apprenticeship, or support into paid employment. This is achieved through offering a stimulating and diverse range of course options with specialised teachers providing personalised learning experiences. This approach enables students to receive individualised support so that they can better realise their potential.

 

The current pattern of post-16 is based on linear A levels or Level 3 equivalents. Students typically study 3 subjects over the two years. All Year 12 and 13 students without a GCSE Level 4 for maths and English are compelled to attend lessons for GCSE maths and English until a level 4 is achieved.

The option blocks are organised after Year 11 students have indicated their preferences for A Level subjects and these blocks designed, within timetabling and staffing constraints, to fit the optimum number of student choices for subject combinations.

 

Students can access post-16 courses through a number of pathways depending upon their performance at GCSE and capacity to meet each subject’s entrance requirements. Pathway 1 is for students who typically attain 9 GCSEs at Level 5a and will include facilitating A Level subjects; Pathway 2 is for students who typically attain 9 GCSEs at Level 4 including English and Mathematics.

 

Ashlawn Sixth Form prides itself on the wide range of activities offered and we encourage students to participate in as many as possible.

  • Sixth Form Student Council: The democratically elected Sixth Form Committee is made up of 16 sixth formers who meet every 2 or 3 weeks to discuss issues raised by either sixth form students or staff.
  • Sixth Form Leadership: There are a number of leadership opportunities open to Sixth Form students which contribute to the life of the school.
  • Volunteering: For those students who have a little more non-contact time because of the nature of their chosen course of study, there is an opportunity to support students and staff in lessons either at Ashlawn or in one of the local primary schools or nurseries.
  • Educational Vists: Educational visits are an integral part of many advanced level subjects and these include residential trips.
  • Work-Related Learning and Activities: Students gain experience of work in their chosen subject or discipline in preparation for post-18 choices and destinations.
  • World Challenge: An opportunity for an extended expedition to a developing country to participate in volunteer and charity work

 

Post-16 Courses for Study:

Subject

Level

Awarding Body

Accountancy

A Level

AQA

Art and Design

A Level

AQA

Biology A (H420)

A Level

OCR

Business Studies

BTEC Level 3 Equivalent

EDEXEL

Business Studies

A Level

EDEXEL

Chemistry

A Level

OCR

Computer Science

A Level

OCR

Drama & Theatre Studies

A Level

OCR

Economics

A Level

EDEXEL

Engineering

Cambridge Technical Level 3 (Extended Certificate)

OCR

English Language

A Level

AQA

English Language and Literature

A Level

AQA

English Language

GCSE (post-16)

AQA

English Literature

A Level

AQA

Extended Project

AS Level

EDEXEL

Film Studies

A Level

OCR

French

A Level

AQA

Geography

A Level

AQA

German

A Level

AQA

Government and Politics

A Level

EDEXEL

Health and Social Care

OCR Technical Level 3 Diploma

OCR

Health and Social Care

OCR Technical Level 3 Extended Certificate

OCR

History

A Level

EDEXEL

Law

A Level

AQA

Mathematics (Core)

Level 3

AQA

Further Mathematics

A Level (A2)

EDEXEL

Mathematics

GCSE (post-16)

AQA

Mathematics

A2

EDEXEL

Media Studies

A Level

EDUQAS

Music

A Level

OCR

Performing Arts

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate

EDEXEL

Performing Arts

BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma

EDEXEL

Photography

A Level

AQA

Physical Education

A Level

OCR

Physics

A Level

AQA

Product Design (3D)

A Level

AQA

Psychology

A Level

AQA

Science

BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

EDEXEL

Sociology

A Level

AQA

Spanish

A Level

AQA

Sport

BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

EDEXEL

Sport

BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate

EDEXEL

 

Specialist support within the curriculum

Ashlawn values all students equally and is proud of its commitment to an inclusive mainstream education. Partner teachers, specialist staff and Teaching Assistants from the Learning Development Department (SEN) work with subject teachers in lessons across the curriculum, age and ability range. Some students may be withdrawn from lessons for individual and small group teaching and learning, if this is considered to be the most effective way to meet their individual needs. A wide range of support is offered within the department itself including spelling groups, handwriting club and additional reading. All students have access to homework and coursework support which is available during lunchtime and after school. This range of support means that we expect our students to perform not only to expectations from their primary school predictions but also to comfortably exceed expectations as many of our students do year after year.

 

Enrichment

Ashlawn School offers students a full range of enrichment opportunities and experiences including competitive sport, sports-coaching, oratory, leadership, as well as cultural development and academic support and enhancement.

For students wishing to extend their learning in subject areas not offered as part of the school’s main curriculum there are opportunities to study twilight Level 2 and 3 qualifications in areas such as photography and the performing arts.

Sports are well catered for with competitive sport and fixtures offered at all levels in addition to sports clubs. This is supplemented by bi-annual sports tours (typically to America) and annual skiing trips on the continent.

An annual ‘immersion’ residential to France and Germany are offered for students who wish to deepen their practice of a foreign language and this is supplemented by close links with our partner school in France.

We understand that students learn differently in different contexts; we therefore encourage all students in Year 8 to experience a 3 day residential developing skills of survival, bush-craft and independence.  Similarly, students in the sixth form are also encouraged to undertake work experience, voluntary work or community work throughout their course of study.

 

Careers

Students at Key Stage 3 undertake a range of careers opportunities which are delivered through the Careers Enrichment Day in the Summer Term, during parent consultation afternoons, tutor time, school assemblies and in the run-up to Year 8 Options. Following an extensive programme of information, advice and guidance students will choose their GCSE option subjects in the Spring Term of Year 8.

During the Summer Term of Year 10 all students participate in a work experience placement. This will be informed by individual careers advice and guidance and a series of opportunities to learn directly from employers about work, employment and the skills and qualities that are valued in the workplace which occur periodically across the key stage during parent consultation afternoons, through the PSHE curriculum, in form and school assemblies.

Students are supported in their choices for post-16 study/apprenticeships through the school’s pastoral programme, induction experiences, independent information, advice and guidance interviews and a rigorous application process to study at Ashlawn Sixth Form.

 

For further information about Ashlawn School’s curriculum please contact the school either in person, by telephone or by email. For enquiries regarding:

  • Key Stage 3 speak to the Head of Lower School Mrs L. Pountney
  • Key Stage 4 speak to the Head of Upper School Mrs K. Smith
  • Year 8 options speak to Mr N. Taylor
  • Post-16 education speak to the Head of Sixth Form Ms J. Delves
  • Any other aspect of the school’s curriculum speak to the Vice Principal Mr S. Urding

Curriculum Maps