Our Curriculum Intent is for Kings Priory School pupils to be respectful, tolerant and friendly young people, who are able to present their ideas confidently, with reason and be a problem-solver. Our curriculum supports this intent.
Why we follow the curriculum we follow – what is the KPS curriculum ‘diet’?
Kings Priory School has a curriculum which reflects the context of the school. Established in 2013 the school has a curriculum which is built upon the strong academic legacy of the two predecessor schools (Priory Primary School and The King’s School, Tynemouth) which amalgamated to form the new school. The academic nature of the school is also founded on the local expectation to provide an appropriate curriculum offering an academic pathway and opportunities for enrichment. The curriculum followed also reflects the local context where there are well-established colleges providing more vocational courses and the two closest schools finish after Year 11 and therefore do not offer A Level courses.
The curriculum at Kings Priory School is more than a set of subjects timetabled for pupils. The rationale of the curriculum is based upon a set of core values and core skills that all pupils at the school are encouraged to possess. The rationale for this shown below:
Respect, tolerance and friendship are a 2018-19 distillation of wider set of school values agreed upon by the key stakeholders (namely, pupils, staff, parents and Academy Council) in the school during its initial establishment. The three core values are enshrined in the school’s curriculum and reflect the current national agenda, as evidenced through the Government’s Educate Against Hate https://educateagainsthate.com/about/ which aims to protect children against radicalisation and extremism. The current national situation resulted in the three core values of respect, tolerance and friendship (a slight variation on the EAH campaign’s kindness) being adopted across the whole school curriculum at Kings Priory School. These three values were debated and agreed during a consultation with the school’s leadership groups, namely the SLT and MLT during April and May 2018 and then the wider staff and school in June 2018.
Reasoning, presentation and problem-solving are the three core skills promoted across the school. These were selected following consultation with staff during the academic year 2017-18. Staff across the school felt that these skills were transferable between subjects and age-ranges to provide a continuity for the individual pupil to develop these skills, whilst at Kings Priory School. Staff were consulted and following discussion on the three core skills, the final choice was agreed during MLT/SLT meetings in the summer of 2018. These three skills became a school focus from September 2018.
To equip Kings Priory School pupils to be able to reason, present their ideas and solve problems, whilst being friendly, tolerant and respectful citizens was universally agreed as being our school curriculum’s aim and therefore provides much of the rationale.
Kings Priory School is one all-through school with one curriculum.
The Heads of School (Rebecca Watson & Phil Nicholson) and the middle leaders work together to ensure that the curriculum is one across the school and that any transition points are as smooth as possible. Pupils move through three phases within the curriculum.
As most Kings Priory School pupils start their curriculum journey in our reception, the tone is set on the Percy Park site. The move into school itself is carefully managed, as is the transition at the end of Year 4 across sites for Year 5 and beyond.
Phase One of the curriculum is ambitious, creative and imaginative, whilst challenging all pupils at whatever level they may be. High quality staffing is integral to our success in this area. We believe that pupils should be able to explain ‘why’ as well as ‘how’ something may happen or work. Pupils follow a Mastery Maths approach with this explicitly seen in lessons. Pupils are expected to explore their learning to ensure that they are building a depth along with wealth of knowledge and learning. Talk for Writing (TFW) is used across all year groups to allow pupils to access, learn and develop their writing skills. Reading is integral to our offer and we actively celebrate, promote and develop reading skills through a range of medium, including the Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme. RWI is delivered in all year groups up to Year 6 in a graduated manner. Reception use this as a basis to learn simple writing skills and this can be then further seen in Year 4 to develop spelling. In order to ensure relevance of curriculum we use a thematic approach where children will have a focus for a term (e.g. Great Fire of Newcastle) and where relevant the lessons will reference this across the curriculum. Themes are chosen to reflect local, national or international relevance. Subjects are recognised as geography or history, not as topic to build awareness for the pupil’s forthcoming curriculum journey. It is our belief that this allows pupils to develop ownership and ‘buy in’. In order to take advantage of outdoor learning we have currently placed forest school in Reception - Year 2. This not only widens the learning experience, but also acts a transition for this key stage.
In Phase Two of the curriculum we offer in Years 5-8 allows transition to be completed smoothly at both ends, especially as we are a split site with Year 4 on a different site to Year 5. We have worked carefully to fully merge KS2 and KS3 to ensure that no gaps or drop-offs are seen, taking from the best primary and secondary practice to enable this. As on Phase One high quality staffing is integral to our success in this area. We deliver in a range of primary and secondary learning settings across these year groups with a gradual introduction of pupils to working with an increased number of teachers, particularly in specialist areas (e.g. music and PE). Initially, we use routines and approaches from Phase One of the curriculum in the middle year groups and then apply a number from Phase Three later on to ensure smooth and consistent progress can be seen. The main aim of curriculum is to continue to develop depth of knowledge and understanding, whilst allowing pupils to become fully equipped to make informed choices in Year 8 for GCSE study. This is supported without any wasted time in KS3.
The curriculum in Phase Two, as in Phase One is ambitious, creative and imaginative whilst challenging all pupils at whatever level they may be. We believe that pupils should be able to explain ‘why’ as well as ‘how’ something my happen or work. Pupils follow a Mastery Maths approach (currently in Year 5 and Year 6, developing in Year 7 and Year 8) and this can be seen explicitly in lessons. Pupils are expected to explore their learning to ensure that they are building a depth along with wealth of knowledge and learning. Talk for Writing is used in English lessons across all year groups to allow pupils to access, learn and develop their writing skills at an age appropriate level. This is more explicit in Year 5 and Year 6 where pupils are still developing some of these skills. Reading is integral to our offer and we actively celebrate, promote and develop Reading skills through a range of medium including the DEAR, reading lessons, whole school literacy foci and Chapter time. Read Write Inc. is delivered in some guise to some year groups in the Middle School, but is used more as a tool for intervention for those pupils below ARE. Pupils in the MS will experience a wide range of ‘outside the classroom’ experiences and this has been majorly increased over the last two years. The aim is that all pupils will be exposed to at least two opportunities of this nature each term. Curriculum in the upper part of this phase is both mapped down from KS4 as well as up from KS2 with a recognition of where the pupils have come from and where they are headed, whilst ensuring development and extension.
The Kings Priory School KS4 and KS5 curriculum is designed to allow staff to develop inquisitive and knowledgeable learners beyond the confines of exam specification in Phase Three. It is like Phase One and Phase Two, ambitious for the school’s pupils with high quality staffing integral to the curriculum’s implementation.
Pupils begin GCSEs in Year 9 choosing from a wide range of GCSE subjects with a high percentage accessing an EBacc suite of subjects. The 2018 percentage was more than twice the national percentage for EBacc subjects (35-75%). The rationale for this is the cohort profile of pupils shows that in Year 7-11 in 2018-19 only 21 out of 577 pupils with KS2 baselines are Low Prior Attainers. Repeated successful GSCEs outcomes (above national for EBacc 5.55 APS to 3.83 in 2018) for pupils and staff teaching expertise strength the rationale for only offering GCSEs at KS4. No pupils were NEET after leaving Kings Priory School’s Year 11 in 2017. There is an acknowledgement that the subject offer needs to enable different types of learners to be successful and two open choices are available to pupils in addition to a MFL and humanity. Pupils, parents and the school collaborate on the appropriate pathway for individuals. Decisions on exam entries (in English, for example) are taken in conjunction between the CTL and SLT. A three-year KS4 is followed for a number of reasons including the greater challenge of GCSE work for pupils with high or medium prior attainment who enjoy the challenge of real GCSE work, more scope for enriching the curriculum through visits and speakers and less time for a KS3 dip. Year 11 top set maths pupils are entered for Stats, further maths and maths as evidence of stretching the HPA. Kings Priory School pupils are ready for GCSE study in Year 9, as they enter the Senior School into a three-year pastoral system with a Head of Year who stays with the year group and a tutor who does the same.
The academic KS4 then follows into an academic KS5 where the school offers A Level qualifications, again reflecting the expectation of the school’s key stakeholders. The vast majority of leavers from Year 13 progress to university study (over 95% in 2017 and 2018) and therefore A Levels are the most appropriate qualification to offer. This rationale is supported by increasingly successful outcomes for students and the staff expertise. The local context also impacts on the school’s offer with local colleges providing vocational opportunities on a wider scale, whilst fewer local providers offering a more academic KS5 suite of subjects and only one school close-by with the same type of learning environment. Sixth formers are encouraged to engage in wider curriculum opportunities such as, Sports Leaders and EPQ. CTLs have responsibility within their subjects to decide the exam boards in conjunction with their SLT line manager. All these details are annually reviewed with current information held on the school website.
Kings Priory School has the following aims for its curriculum (taken from the Curriculum Policy - June 2019):
- To provide a broad and balanced education for all pupils
- To enable all pupils to develop knowledge, understand concepts and acquire skills to apply in the relevant situation
- To equip all pupils with a set of lifelong values by developing their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
- To support all pupils physical development and responsibility for their own health
- To promote high expectations of all pupils and positive attitudes to learning
- To allow pupils to become confident, independent and confident learners equipped for further/higher education and employment
- To ensure that our curriculum provides smooth transition for all pupils (whether internal or external) across all key stages
- To ensure that rich extra-curricular opportunities are firmly embedded into the curriculum
- To ensure pupils are knowledgeable and informed about the digital world