Our curriculum is designed to help us realise our school vision:
Our vision is to be an outstanding Christian learning community where everyone is valued as a unique individual and where everyone feels safe. We will aim to be the best we can possibly be, to treat others as we wish to be treated and to make a positive difference to our community and beyond. We strive to be peaceful problem-solvers with open minds and hearts, living God’s love and being kind.
The curriculum also reflects our ethos:
Holywell School is a caring, distinctively Christian, community-focussed Church of England School. We aim to continue the historic tradition of Church of England Schools by providing a Christian Values-inspired education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. As a school, we are a loving, supportive community with high aspirations for all. We promote inclusion, we are proud to belong and we value each individual. We look after each other, believe in second chances and aim to be the best we can be so we can serve and support the common good.
For us at Holywell, the curriculum is the totality of student experiences and, through those experiences, we aim to enable all of our learners to be happy, successful and to be the best they can be.
We are committed to a deep and rich curriculum that enables students:
• to achieve high standards
• to be ‘secondary ready’
• to be independent, curious learners
• to be ready to take on challenges with an open, positive and caring approach
• to be discerning, thoughtful members of their community
• to serve others
• to be grounded in strong Christian values so that they can make ethical and informed choices and decisions
We believe that the curriculum of the school:
• should be designed to enable our children to enjoy and achieve, to grow and prosper, and to be stimulated by learning
• must look to serve the full breadth of student ability and the variety of interests and skills
• must be coherent and well planned
We have a secondary curriculum model underpinned by a values-based approach to learning. The taught curriculum is delivered substantially through discrete national curriculum subjects so that students have access to subject specialists who can enthuse and inspire them. Most subjects are taught in mixed-ability groups, however, Maths is taught in ability sets.
Schemes of Learning cover the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. Lessons are between 55 and 60 minutes long. Students have the following allocation of lessons during the week:
In Year 8 students have an ‘Option’ lesson in their weekly timetable. Students choose from a wide range of subjects – Sports Leadership, Art appreciation, Music Technology and Making Movies. This prepares students for the very important choices they will be making about Options soon after arriving in Upper School. It was a part of the curriculum to which Ofsted gave particular praise. In addition, for students the option lesson also created a very popular variety to our KS3 curriculum.
Wider Curriculum Opportunities.
The curriculum at Holywell benefits from a range of additional activities and events to support our children’s learning. Examples include: Values Day: this provides an opportunity to explore our Values with a specific focus; Widening Opportunities Day provides each year group with an opportunity to explore an aspect of PSHCE in more depth – Year 5 are looking at Safety Awareness; Year 6 are looking at Health and Wellbeing; Year 7 are looking at British Values; and Year 8 are looking at Careers and Work-related learning. Other whole-school events include: ‘World Book Day’, The school sponsored walk and Charity Week. There is a wide range of opportunities for residential trips: Year 6 have a four day residential at the PGL centre near Weymouth – working on a wonderful range of outdoor pursuits; Year 8 have a Geography field trip to Swanage and there is a bi-annual Ski-Trip. Year 8 also have an Options Day when they explore their chosen option subject for an extended period of time.
• Good outcomes at KS2 and Year 8
• Quality work produced across the curriculum demonstrating an interest and commitment to learning
• Excellent take-up of curriculum clubs and opportunities
• Students who are well-prepared for their next stage of learning – Upper School colleagues comment on how well prepared Holywell students are for GCSE courses and KS4 results demonstrate excellent achievement for former students.
• Feedback from parents and visitors to the school (eg. After Open Evening, one parent wrote: “In my niece’s case, we had a concern that she might not get much out of the evening because she tends to be a bit shy in new settings and situations however, the way the pupils encouraged the youngsters in particular, to enter the rooms and then enthusiastically invited them to see and take part in the activities on each desk; quickly allayed our fears and allowed her to see, hear and explore with freedom.”)