The decisions we make about our curriculum dictate rather than reflect the nature of our institution and its communicated ethos. It influences both opportunities that students have within the Year 9 options process and the subsequent pathways, progression routes and life chances when they leave. Whilst it is crucial that we are clear about the guiding principles behind our curriculum and the messages and opportunities implied therein, we cannot naively operate in a bubble and morally must be necessarily responsive to maximising longitudinal success for all our students.
Any considerations regarding curriculum must be congruent with our core values and school aims. These are to ensure that all students can reach the highest possible educational standards, progress through, and leave school as a successful young person able to deal confidently with the challenges and opportunities of both Further and Higher Education and indeed, adult life. Central to this continues to be careful pathway guidance underpinned by equality of opportunity measured by outcome and systematically tracked though rigorous use of Hampstead Target Grades and associated Progress Scores.
As a consequence of these overarching values and principles, at Hampstead School we seek to offer:
- a curriculum that promotes British Values recognising the importance of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance
- a challenging, supportive curriculum which is structurally differentiated to meet individual needs ensuring that students’ achievements reflect capabilities
- a focussed curriculum that allows students to experience success and empowers them to succeed in the appropriate educational pathway
- an inclusive curriculum which equips students with skills, knowledge, awareness and understanding that will enable them to contribute to the local and wider community and to function in the world of work
- a curriculum in which assessment for learning is intrinsically linked to the learning process, involving students in monitoring their own progress towards accreditation and progression
- a curriculum which engenders responsible active citizens in a pluralist society
an exciting, stimulating curriculum from which students can gain pleasure in learning and develop interests and attitudes which will continue throughout life
When students are admitted into the school they are divided into two mixed ability bands, and further divided into mixed ability tutor groups. They are taught in these tutor groups for the vast majority of their lessons in Year 7 with the exception of mathematics who set students in ability groups, initially based on data received from primary schools. Students who are identified with a comprehension reading age of below 10 years are withdrawn from mainstream geography, history and English and taught in small literacy classes. There is fluidity of movement back and forth from these groups where necessary.
The Design Faculty teach a rotation of subjects with students following modules in textiles, art, resistant materials and food - each of half a term in duration. PE includes a swimming component and is taught in single sex classes.
Years 8 and 9
The Year 8 and 9 curriculum builds on what students have learned in Year 7. Ability setting continues in mathematics, and is also introduced in English, science and languages. Design rotations continue for all students. PE is taught in single sex classes, and in Year 9 all students begin a GCSE in either PE or Dance. All other subjects are taught in mixed ability tutor groups.
Years 10 and 11
Students undertake the GCSE options process in the spring term of Year 9, where they are guided into a pathway appropriate for their needs.
The current Year 10 are now following three pathways: The GARGARIN pathway allows the majority of students to follow traditional GCSE subjects leading to the EBacc. The HILARY pathway allows students to opt for a Humanities subject together with more vocational subjects such as Health & Social Care or Leisure and Tourism. Students following the JOHNSON pathway have an additional five hours of mathematics and English in order for them to maximise their potential in these crucial subjects.
Students in Year 11 are currently following four pathways: The NORTH pathway allows the majority of students to follow traditional GCSEs leading to the EBacc. EAST and WEST pathways are generally for students who can still access the EBacc subjects but who may require additional support. Students on the SOUTH pathway have an additional five hours of mathematics and English in order for them to maximise their potential in these crucial subjects.
In consultation with parents, a minority of students at Key Stage 4 may be directed to suitable alternative provision off site in order to meet their needs. Although these students follow a separate curriculum with a different provider, they remain part of Hampstead School.
In Year 12, most students follow level 3 courses leading to AS or BTEC. There is also an opportunity for re-sit classes in GCSE mathematics and English for students who attained a D grade in these areas to enable them to improve. Some students are offered a level 2 pathway including a range of GCSE and BTEC subjects, together with re-take mathematics and English.
Students in Year 13 are almost all completing the second year of level 3 qualifications resulting in A levels or BTEC. Those who still have not attained a C grade in GCSE mathematics and English have the opportunity to continue these courses.