Home / Students / Years 7-9 Curriculum / Curriculum Organisation

Curriculum Organisation

Upon entry, all students are engaged in a broad and balanced curriculum that enables them to explore new areas of study whilst building on their talents, skills and interests.

The numbers of periods allocated to each subject in Key Stage 3 (KS3) is shown in the table below. Each period is 60 minutes. Some Design and Technology subjects are taught in double periods. Please note that the tutor period does not appear below. Students meet with their tutor at the beginning of each day for 20 minutes. (Each house has an assembly on one of the tutor periods each week).

Timetable Hours

SubjectHours
English7
Mathematics7
Science6
Geography3
History3
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics2
French and Spanish4
Design and Technology4
Physical Education and Sport4
Computing2
Drama and Dance2
Music3
Art and Design3
Foundation Group
(English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, Typing)
32

See also: Year 7 Meet the Tutor presentation

SubjectHours
English7
Mathematics7
Science6
Geography3
History3
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics2
French or Spanish5
Design and Technology4
Physical Education and Sport4
Computing2
Drama and Dance2
Music2
Art and Design3

SubjectHours
English7
Mathematics7
Science6
Geography3
History3
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics2
French or Spanish5
Design and Technology4
Physical Education and Sport4
Computing2
Drama and Dance2
Music3
Art and Design2

Teaching Groups

When students arrive in year 7 they are taught in mixed ability groups for most of their subjects. Most commonly, students are taught in their English groups. It is for this reason that we invest a great deal of time ensuring that these groups are carefully constructed. There are only four exceptions to mixed ability teaching in Year 7:

  • Design and Technology – students are taught in smaller mixed ability groups to ensure practical work can take place safely
  • Mathematics – follows a mastery curriculum in Year 7 based on students' prior attainment data and CATS scores
  • Physical Education and Sport – students are taught in groups that reflect the type of activity being studied and the gender mix within/between groups.
  • French and Spanish – students are placed broadly into setting arrangements at the start of the academic year using average KS2 scores.

In Year 8, similar mixed ability sets are used across the curriculum. English adopts a mastery curriculum. Broad setting arrangements are used in MFL, Maths, and PE; this is also the case in Year 9 with the addition of English and Science which is also taught in sets for this pre-GCSE year.

Ensuring Strong Progression from Primary to Secondary

In order to build effectively on the skills and knowledge that students have mastered in Primary Schools, we collect detailed information about students’ prior attainment. This includes the KS2 Teacher Assessments and KS2 National Test scores for tests taken in Year 6 as well as special educational needs and wider information.

The KS2 information forms the beginning of a process that is added to once students arrive in year 7 and begin their journey through school.

KS3 Assessment

It is important to build on students’ prior learning. In order to do this effectively we need to understand what students already know and what they then need to do to develop their knowledge and understanding even further.

We have developed a system that links the student’s KS2, KS3 and KS4 journey together and is based on the grades that we anticipate (using national benchmarks) that the students will receive at GCSE. At the beginning of year 7, students will receive a ‘Threshold’ level in every subject based on their anticipated trajectory to GCSE.

We have also developed steps within these threshold levels to ensure that students make progress. To understand threshold levels and what grades students are likely to achieve in a different year, please read the following overview.

Overview of Grading at KS3 and KS4

The government has changed the way schools assess students.  At the end of their primary education (Key Stage 2) students no longer receive a level but are awarded a ‘fine points score’.  At the end of GCSE (Key Stage 4) subjects are graded using to a new system with numbers from 9-1 (instead of A* - G). In addition to this, the structure of GCSEs has been made more rigorous and standards have been raised; a good pass has been moved from a C to a new grade 5.

Consequently secondary schools have been given complete freedom over the way they set targets for students in years 7 to 9.  At Lytchett Minster School we feel it is vitally important for students to receive new targets as soon as possible in order to prepare them for the new GCSEs.  The Key Stage 3 curriculum has been adapted to ensure the skills and knowledge required for KS4 are introduced and developed as early as possible.

Threshold Levels in Years 7 to 9

To ensure that we all monitor progress effectively, the school has developed an assessment model that uses threshold levels.  We look carefully at what students have achieved prior to arriving at Lytchett and set an expected “Threshold” as a consequence.  This threshold in fact aligns with the grades we believe students will achieve at GCSE.  Students are expected to achieve their threshold in each of years 7, 8 and 9.  They can of course move up a threshold but would not normally be expected to fall below it.  Teachers give regular feedback to students relating their performance against these thresholds and we report to parents on three occasions throughout the year indicating their child’s progress.

What do the Thresholds look like?

The table below demonstrates how we set a threshold and how this relates to the new GCSE system.  New Year 7 thresholds are set according to the students’ end of Key Stage 2 fine points score.

ThresholdPrevious GCSE gradeNew GCSE grade
FoundationD3
FoundationD3/4
FoundationD4
DevelopingC4/5
SecureB5/6
SecureB6
AdvancedA6/7
AdvancedA7
ExceptionalA*8
ExceptionalA*9

Will my Child be Adequately Challenged?

In addition to targeting students who are below their threshold, departments also stretch students to move “beyond” it.  In many instances this is not be about introducing a new topic but in deepening a student’s knowledge. This in turn provides the solid foundation students need to ensure they are ready to start the new and more challenging GCSE programmes of study.

Key Skills

Throughout KS3, students will learn, practise, develop and refine a wide range of skills and learning behaviours in their work across the school. Some of these skills are subject-specific (e.g. painting in art & design), some are common to several subjects (e.g. enquiry skills in science, history and geography).

Some skills are universal, for example; the skills of communication, students improving their own learning and performance, and creative thinking. These skills are also embedded in all subjects and are essential to effective learning. Students are encouraged to reflect on what and how they learn and how these skills can be applied to different subjects; different problems and real-life situations. In addition to their regular timetable, students experience 6 Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) lessons throughout the year. These lessons are tailored to the extension and development of key skills for each year group and are led by their tutor.

Ultimately, we want students to become resilient and independent learners at KS3 and be prepared for the rigours of KS4 and beyond. The first 3 years of life at Lytchett Minster School are designed to be challenging, supportive and build on students' talents, skills and interests.

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