Our aim at Pleckgate High School is to provide an ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum that will challenge every student and allow all to achieve their full potential. Our school curriculum is continually reviewed to ensure it is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills that will allow our students to be well prepared for future learning and employment. Ofsted commented in January 2019 that we provided ‘A high-quality curriculum, outstanding teaching, learning and personal development provide students with an excellent preparation for the next stages in their lives’.
Heads of Department are subject experts, lead on the content, specifications and delivery of the curriculum in each subject. At the heart of curriculum design is a shared commitment to constructing programmes of study that students find interesting, challenging and will lead to success – whether it be transition from Key Stage 2 or when students sit external examinations at the end of Key Stage 4. At each key stage, we support students and parents with transition guidance to ensure that students are happy, well informed and make sustained progress.
The curriculum at Key Stage 3 spans for three years, which gives all students the opportunity to experience a wide range of subjects across an extended period of time allowing for a broad study before making informed choices about Key Stage 4. The Key Stage 3 Curriculum at Pleckgate is designed to ensure the aims of the National Curriculum are met and exceeded. As well as the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, all students study Performing Arts, the Humanities, Religious Education, Languages, Technology, Computing, PE, PSHE & Citizenship. Students who require additional support in Mathematics or English may have a bespoke timetable that allows for intervention in order to accelerate their progress.
At Key Stage 4, we offer GCSE’s, Cambridge National and Technical Awards to support academic and vocational study. We are proud that at Pleckgate, a larger cohort of students than those nationally, study single sciences and perform well. Every student also studies RE to GCSE, following the religions of Christianity and Islam. We have a diverse student body and the further study of RE provides many opportunities to understand how people from different faiths and diverse communities can have a common purpose, shared beliefs, tolerance and a mutual respect. These values also underpin the wider ethos of the whole school community.
The pastoral and wider curriculum at Pleckgate High School is equally important as the academic curriculum with students is carefully organised into tutor groups using information gathered during transition from primary schools. Students remain in these tutor groups for five years with the same form tutor and a Head of Year who, together with the tutor team are responsible for the safety, well-being, personal and academic success of each student. Students receive PSHE as well as SRE in both lessons and structured daily tutor time. This curriculum is further enhanced through Super Learning Days throughout the school year with a focus on enrichment, living in the wider world, CEIAG and relationships. At Pleckgate we are committed to developing the whole person and our curriculum design reflects this
We believe that excellent teachers are the most valuable resource in our school and we are committed to continuous professional learning support and development. We are outward looking, networking with other professionals and institutions to ensure that staff remain experts in their field and are best placed to maximise learning for our students. Our teachers are knowledgeable, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught. They systematically check students’ understanding, accurately identify misconceptions and provide clear, direct feedback.
Over the course of study, teaching at Pleckgate is structured with a focus on knowing more and remembering more to support students develop their long-term memory skills. The work given to our students is challenging and matches the aims of our curriculum; it is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge.
Teachers at Pleckgate ensure that their own speaking of the English language supports students in developing their language and vocabulary successfully through ‘talk like a specialist’ with a focus on correct understanding and application of subject specific vocabulary. At the heart of the reading curriculum is the development of students’ fluency, confidence and enjoyment in reading. ‘Reading like a specialist’ has a shared common language of reading instruction and using a range of reading strategies to allow students to become more confident in reading independently as well as being able to cope with more challenging academic texts. We have a rigorous and sequential approach to the reading curriculum for those students who require additional support to ‘catch up’.
Students at Pleckgate High School are extremely well prepared for their next stages in education or training. Their positive and successful experiences of learning give them an eagerness to continue with their studies. Teachers systematically build students’ independent learning skills by developing their resilience when faced with difficulties. Students are encouraged to be inquisitive and are prepared to question things they do not understand or might disagree with. They use modern technologies well to support their own learning and develop independence. Students show respect for others and are confident and ambitious. Students are well informed about the opportunities that exist for them beyond school and how to achieve their ambitions through well-structured CEIAG and enrichment opportunities. Almost all students go on to further their learning on courses that match their aspirations.
The curriculum at Pleckgate High School is underpinned by a range of assessment approaches, which allows teachers to support students to embed and use knowledge fluently, check understanding and inform teaching. Our students develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve well.
This is reflected in our internal assessment results, outcomes from national tests and examinations that meet, and in many instances, exceed government expectations.