Curriculum

Our curriculum is shaped by the context of our school.  We are an exceptionally inclusive school and we work in a relatively isolated rural community.

We recognise that every one of our students is an individual.  Our role is to help them find their own direction in life, and to support their journey into adulthood.

We challenge all of our students to achieve their potential academically.  However, it is equally important to us that they leave us with the self-confidence, knowledge and understanding to be safe, successful and happy in a rapidly changing world.

We work hard to help students understand the options available to them in the future.  We want them to understand their own community and the contributions they can make here, but also to open their eyes to the world beyond the hills of the High Peak, whether in top universities, skilled trades or multi-national companies.

Delivering academic excellence whilst remaining a highly inclusive, friendly and happy community school is not an easy balance to strike.  Our curriculum is carefully designed to support our aims; it is based on our teachers’ strong subject knowledge, learning science and research.  It will never be a finished product; we adapt our curriculum as we learn and as the world changes.

Our curriculum is designed to support academic excellence and to provide a foundation for further study.  We aim to make our students stand out from the crowd in competitive environments, with the subjects they study and the communication and people skills they gain.

The English baccalaureate is open to all of our students, as is the study of separate sciences, we teach three modern languages to GCSE.  We offer four GCSE options; this encourages our students to add an arts or creative subject to their GCSE curriculum.

Our careers support is aspirational.  All of our students have the chance to visit employers, post-16 providers, and universities.  We take interested students to visit top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

We are committed to maintaining a broad and balanced curriculum. All of the national curriculum subjects are taught until the end of year 9.  In years 10 and 11, music, art, drama and design remain strong here.  We allow our students an unusually open options process, all subjects are open to all students.  We encourage uptake of the English Baccalaureate, but we believe that ultimately options choices are a matter for students and parents, supported by high quality careers advice.

Our curriculum has to meet a wide range of needs because our school consists of a merged special school and comprehensive secondary school.  Our learning support team cater for students with moderate to high levels of special educational needs.  Given our rural location, we have to cater for a wide range of needs.

Our learning support provision runs its own independent curriculum, with an increased focus on social and communication skills, life skills and employability skills.  This is carefully mapped to the main school curriculum, allowing students to move between the two curricula when appropriate.

Our own learning for life curriculum covers the essential knowledge needed to be heathy and safe in life.  This includes citizenship content, current affairs, relationships and sex education, health and mental health and our food for life course - an introduction to cooking healthily for yourself.  The learning for life curriculum is responsive; we can quickly design units to cover issues of current interest and to help students understanding of the world.

Learning extends beyond the classroom; we value enrichment activities both for students’ personal development and to make our students stand out as different.  These include clubs and activities after school, opportunities to engage with music and drama, an exceptional programme of sport, and a wide range of school trips.

Above all, we believe in the power of young people to make a difference.  We want to equip our students to ask life’s big questions, to engage with our diverse and complex world with empathy, and to help bring about change for the better, however small that change might be.


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