Our Curriculum Intent and Our Curriculum Values
We place great value on subject knowledge and skills as a basis for developing competence and an understanding of the world. We value the qualifications that students achieve but we also want to ensure that we expand the knowledge and skills that students have, beyond those needed to pass the tests.
We believe in the breadth of learning; the right of students to study maths, literature, history, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, art, design and technology, music, drama, religious education, languages, computing, and PE. We believe in developing their literacy and their physical and artistic competence alongside empathy within a social and moral framework.
Our curriculum promotes spiritual, moral, social, cultural and physical development alongside creativity and academic work. Our curriculum encourages students to develop transferable knowledge and make connections between subjects.
These subjects form the basis of knowledge and skills that all pupils are entitled to learn. We debate very hard what this knowledge is, accepting we may not be 100% right but that the debate will strengthen our curriculum. We believe that when we teach this knowledge the cultural capital of pupils grows and we get to the key purpose of education; to help students become part of an educated and productive community.
The intent of our curriculum is therefore to maintain breadth and depth until the end of Year 9 and to bring in choice, supported by effective careers advice and guidance, for the GCSE and A Level years.
Further information about the curriculum for each subject is given in our curriculum overviews, these can be viewed on the departments page.
The governors of King James’s School have carefully considered the importance of the EBacc subjects alongside wider curriculum principles. The key considerations were discussed, most recently, during a strategy day in July 2021. The following sets out the agreed position of the school in relation to the EBacc and other study options at GCSE.
It is a fundamental principle that all pupils have access to the full suite of EBacc subjects. At GCSE all pupils study maths, English language and literature, combined science (or triple science as an option) core PE and PSHCE. Beyond this core curriculum, all pupils have access to 25 further options subjects. They choose four of these.
Our curriculum has considerable breadth, the arts and creative subjects have equal value and status as the humanities, social sciences and languages. Many of our pupils choose to take history, geography and modern foreign languages. Typically, at GCSE, 35% study geography, 60% study history and 30% take a modern foreign language. Many other pupils wish to develop their talents and interests in the arts, social science, IT, and creative subjects.
It is the position of the governing board that all option subjects at GCSE should be open to a free choice. The school continues to signpost the EBacc subjects and to provide pupils with the best advice and guidance to support their next steps. Their destinations data and examination outcomes demonstrate that pupils achieve well and go on to aspirational and sustained pathways for further study. This demonstrates that the curriculum offer is broad, balanced and fit for purpose.