Our Whole School 'Curriculum Intent and Implementation'
Lytchett Minster School
- We want every student to aspire for excellence in all areas of school life. We offer a broad and balanced curriculum, where students are able to pursue their passions.
- We seek to teach in ways that engage and challenge our students. We want our students to develop an intellectual curiosity and a love of learning.
- We recognise the importance of our students being highly literate and numerate.
- We aim to empower our students to develop self-confidence, independence and effective communication skills in both oral and written form, building their knowledge and developing their transferable skills for adulthood and the 21st century world of work.
- We seek to develop students’ spiritual, moral, cultural and social development so that they can contribute positively to society.
- We want our students to develop the character and perseverance to face life’s inevitable challenges and the resilience to overcome setbacks.
- We want students to embrace British values and respect others and their cultures. We expect students to be kind, thoughtful and compassionate.
- We promote the importance of physical and mental wellbeing so that students can lead a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
Students pursue their passions and strive for excellence
Lytchett Minster School prides itself on its broad and balanced curriculum which gives students the knowledge, skills and cultural capital to play an active, successful role in society. We have a three year Key Stage 3 curriculum because we feel it is important for students to experience a broad range of subjects for as long as possible. At Key Stage 4, students are given the freedom to choose any four option subjects they wish. This is because we want our students to follow their passion. We believe they are more likely to enjoy their learning and be successful if they can study subjects which really interest them. All students have access to the EBACC and are encouraged to consider this pathway if they wish. It is an ambitious curriculum; students are not prevented from opting for particular subjects because of prior attainment. We offer a wide range of GCSE and vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4, and A-levels and BTEC Level 3 qualifications at Key Stage 5. Our option blocks are tailored each year to suit student preferences following an “options trawl” in early October. To support students preparing for GCSE and A level examinations we also run a wide range of after-school revision sessions. Our lunchtime and afterschool provision is very comprehensive and allows our students to thrive in those areas that they most enjoy.
Teaching is engaging and provides an appropriate level of challenge
Our teachers are subject specialists who have expert knowledge of their subject and a deep understanding of how to enthuse and challenge their learners. Their pedagogical expertise is continuously developed through a cycle of subject specific CPD sessions. The school is affiliated with PiXL and also subscribes to The National College training programme. As a team of subject specialists, departments are encouraged to teach in the way that they consider the most effective and engaging using the best educational research evidence available e.g. from the EEF. Subject leaders are required to plan the learning in a logical, sequential way that allows new knowledge and skills to be built upon previous learning. The curriculum is designed to allow students to revisit past learning and build up their long term memory. Based on the best available research evidence, certain pedagogical practices are required in all subjects. All teachers are thus required to:
- begin all lessons with a review of previous learning begin all lessons with a retrieval starter which interleaves prior and recent learning
- incorporate metacognitive strategies such as the modelling of expert thinking and metacognitive talk
- engage and challenge all students with targeted questioning that encourages deep thinking
- provide appropriate levels of scaffolding to enable all students to progress, and know when to remove it
- assess students’ learning regularly to identify and address misconceptions and gaps in learning, and to inform future planning.
- encourage students to be reflective, independent learners.
Every student on the SEND register has a Student Profile detailing their needs and the strategies that they find useful. A copy of these profiles are given to every teacher and these are used to produce strategic seating plans and to plan learning activities. On SIMS and in the blue planning folders (kept by every teacher), teachers can see which students are SEND, disadvantaged and vulnerable (e.g. due to adverse childhood experiences, ACEs). Our Teaching Assistants and Learning Mentors provide targeted support on a 1:1 and small group basis.
As an inclusive school we recognise the importance of a curriculum that meets the individual needs of all our students. For a small number of ‘at-risk’ students, who have a significant struggle in a traditional education setting, we have created a tailored pathway in a facility that we call ‘The Orchard’. This inclusive pathway is designed to instil a strong sense of belonging, achievement and progress in school.
Our most able students in Years 8 and 9 participate in the Brilliant Club and all students are encouraged to attend our programme of evening lectures (Lytchett Lecture Series) on a wide range of stimulating topics.
We recognise the importance of reading
There is a strong emphasis on the importance and value of reading across the curriculum. We encourage students to read for pleasure. We recognise the innate, life-enhancing pleasure of reading, but also the benefits of having a wide vocabulary, and being able to comprehend spoken and written texts; a prerequisite to be successful in adult life. Students are taught subject-specific (tier 3) vocabulary and are expected to make use of these key terms in their oral and written communication. Knowledge organisers are used across the curriculum, and serve to reinforce subject specific vocabulary and subject knowledge.
We have a team of sixth formers who support Year 7 and 8 students’ confidence and accuracy in reading aloud on a weekly basis. All KS3 students have a library lesson once a fortnight as part of their English curriculum. Our KS3 library has over 10,000 books; the number of books being taken out by male and female students is very encouraging and is rising. We are involved in the Book Buzz programme and as part of this scheme, the school has funded two free texts for every year 7 student. Parents are actively encouraged to read with their child and this is recorded in the school planner on a bi-weekly basis. KS3 students have opportunities to take part in virtual author visits. All KS3 students have at least one morning tutor time a week devoted to silent reading. We have recently recorded staff reading chapters from a book recommended by year 8 and year 9 students. Year 7 students listen and follow this in their morning tutor time session and tutors discuss the themes of the text.
We seek to develop well-rounded students with real character who will have the knowledge and leadership skills to play an active role in society and the world of work
Our PSHE programme, along with our strong ethos and values which permeate all aspects of school life, and are embedded in the school’s House system, ensures that students have the knowledge and understanding they will need to face the challenges of adulthood. We run a KS3 programme entitled Lytchett Values which is based on the PiXL Edge concept, developing students’ skills in Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication (LORIC). Older students are encouraged to take on leadership roles within the school; responsibilities include being prefects and House captains in the lower school and being peer mentors and members of diverse committees (charity, environment, sport, wellbeing, events, and equality) in the Sixth Form team. The school has a very active Student Voice group which meets with the head teacher every half term.
We are passionate about developing the whole child. We have a very rich and varied extra-curricular programme that allows all students to develop their personal interests, talents, physical development, health, well-being and character. These lunchtime and after-school clubs actively promote and extend all areas of the curriculum and allow students to thrive. For example, we have around 100 students completing DofE (Bronze, Silver and Gold Award), and we also have a flourishing Rainbow Alliance Club attended by around 80 students.
Prior to Covid, all students in Years 10 and 12 had a week long Work Experience placement, and a mock interview with a local employer or school governor. This programme will be reintroduced as soon as possible. Our Careers Advisor sees every student in Years 9 to 11 and our UCAS coordinator provides support for our 6th form students planning for university and apprenticeship places.
We encourage healthy lifestyles and positive relationships
The mental and physical wellbeing of our students and staff are considered a priority and are monitored carefully with termly surveys. Students are encouraged to live active healthy lives. Sport is a particular area in which our students are fully engaged and successful. The House system ensures that students receive not only excellent pastoral care but also the healthy competition provided by Inter-House sporting events. Safeguarding concerns are logged on MyConcern and these are followed up by a very dedicated team of staff, with the support (as appropriate) of external agencies. The ethos of the school is based on respect for others. The school’s caring culture is demonstrated through the generous support of students, parents and staff for charitable events such as the annual Sandwalk, Sleepy Easy and the Christmas Hamper Appeal.