The Curriculum at Denmark Road High School
At DRHS, our aim is to provide a well-rounded education that enables our students to acquire the skills, knowledge and qualifications they will need for their future.
Therefore, we have designed and planned a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum experience to match our students’ ability, interests and aspirations.
Through a wide range of engaging and exciting learning opportunities, we want to create confident, successful and ambitious students who will be the leaders, movers and shakers of the future.
Only high-quality learning experiences, that engage and excite, will ignite a passion and secure a love of learning in our students that we want to last their whole lifetime.
So, our whole curriculum consists of three elements:
Exciting and engaging learning experiences as the foundation of a challenging and inspiring Academic Curriculum and DRHS+
A range of opportunities to enable student to take risks and develop different skills through our Enrichment Curriculum
Preparation of life throughout and beyond school with our Personal Development and Wellbeing Curriculum
Academic Curriculum and DRHS+
At all key stages we offer an academic curriculum to match the calibre and aspirations of our students.
Key Stage 3
In Years 7, 8 and 9, our students will study:
- English Language, English Literature and Drama
- Biology, Chemistry and Physics
- History, Geography and Religious Studies
- Two languages out of French, German and Spanish
- Art, Textiles, Food & Nutrition, Music and Product Design
All of our courses at least cover the requirements of the National Curriculum for each subject area and also provide additional stretch, depth and challenge through DRHS+.
Key Stage 4
In Years 10 and 11 our students study a Core Curriculum of:
- GCSE English Language and English Literature
- GCSE Mathematics
- GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics
- Microsoft IT
- GCSE Religious Studies
We add Level 2 Further Mathematics alongside the GCSE Mathematics course for some students who relish the additional depth and challenge.
In addition, we provide two routes in science – three separate sciences for the majority of students and combined science for some who are going to be more successful with a slightly streamlined course.
Our KS4 students also choose four GCSE option subjects, to study throughout Year 10 and 11, from the following:
Our option blocks are not fixed – each year we create them specifically to suit the students’ combination of choices.
We do provide support and guidance but, ultimately, we allow our students to be able to choose the subjects that they want to study, enjoy and feel they will do their best in.
It is rare that a student does not follow the full the academic curriculum of Core + Four GCSE Option Subjects. However, modifications are made in exceptional circumstances; for example, to support a student who is playing sport competitively at a national/international or where there is a wellbeing issue.
In KS4, all of our courses at least cover the requirements of the relevant GCSE/exam specification and are designed with intent to build on the learning in KS3. Additional stretch, depth and challenge are provided through DRHS+.
Key Stage 5
In Years 12 and 13 our students can study a combination of AS and A levels from a choice of the following:
Art – Fine Art
Art – Art Textiles
Philosophy & Ethics
All of our courses at least cover the requirements of the relevant AS/A level specification and are designed with intent to build on the learning in KS4, where appropriate. Additional stretch, depth and challenge are provided through DRHS+.
Students who join the Sixth Form having achieved at least 7 GCSEs at grade 7+ are strongly recommended to maintain breadth, along with depth, by studying four subjects.
- 4 (or 5 in exceptional cases) A levels throughout Years 12 and 13
- 3 A levels throughout Years 12 and 13 and an AS Level (Art – Fine Art, French, Further Mathematics, German, Mathematics or Spanish) in Year 12 only
- 3 (or 4) A levels throughout Years 12 and 13 and EPQ in Year 12 only
KS5 Curriculum Booklet 2020 – 2022 and 2019 – 2021
Our Enrichment Curriculum
In addition to a full academic curriculum and DRHS+, we have developed our Enrichment Curriculum to support students’ development of other skills and attributes and to provide them with as many different opportunities as possible.
- SHAPE – a bespoke course in Year 7 specifically designed to develop lifelong skills of organisation, communication, teamwork and leadership as well as resourcefulness and independent learning.
- DISCOVER – students in Years 7, 8, 11 and 12 have a timetabled weekly or fortnightly opportunity to explore different areas such as cooking, first aid, Mandarin, STEM and yoga.
- DRHS Challenge – initially introduced to KS3 students during Lockdown, the Student Senior Team created a range of different activities for students to tackle at home. The aim is to take students away from their ‘screens’ to do something different, like writing a letter to an elderly relative, ironing a shirt, stargazing on a clear night, building a fort or making a cake.
- Reading Marathon – to encourage reading for pleasure, we have created a reading marathon (26 books) for students and welcome their feedback and reviews to help other students choose what to read.
- INVEST Days – where we collapse the timetable to be more creative. This means we can have a whole day for each year group focusing on a particular theme. Examples include STEM activities, supported by the Smallpeice Trust, for Year 7 and Year 10, a Maths Fair for Year 8, Humanities Diversity workshops for Year 9 (during Black History Month) and an introduction to UCAS/Apprenticeships and preparing for Future Choices in the Sixth Form.
- Trips and events that enable students to experience learning in a different way and outside the classroom; such as History at the Black Country Museum, Mathematics through Inspiration lectures, understanding more about Islam with a guided visit to a local mosque or carrying out fieldwork for Biology/Geography at coastal and river locations.
- Activity Days in Term 6 to encompass wider learning skills and take students out of their comfort zone. For example, Year 8 have a 3-day/2-night wilderness camp and Year 9 spend 4 days/3 nights experiencing Paris and Disneyland Paris.
- (In normal circumstances) Extra-Curricular activities and clubs take place during lunch and after school to promote engagement beyond the school day – for example various sports teams and music groups as well as debating, LGBT+, chess and dissection clubs.
- Additional enrichment opportunities – we are very lucky that we have staff who are willing to spend weekends and holiday time enriching students’ learning and experiences in other ways. This includes an annual Ski Trip, Textiles Trips (e.g. Thailand and India), Geography Trips to Iceland or South Africa, Economics Trips to Brussels and New York, a Mathematics Trip to Pisa (birthplace of Fibonacci) and Florence and a STEM trip to Orlando as well as the Duke of Edinburgh Award and bi-annual World Challenge Expeditions.
Personal Development and Wellbeing Curriculum
In order to fully support our students’ development, we have also structured elements of Personal Development and Wellbeing within our curriculum.
Learning for Life
At DRHS the Learning for LIFE curriculum takes our students on a journey which enables them to cultivate confidence, the skills essential for personal wellbeing and the ability to act as responsible members of society.
- Personal, Social, Moral, Spiritual and Health Education
- Relationships and Sex Education
- Citizenship and British Values
- Financial Awareness
Learning for LIFE is mainly delivered through Tutorials in Years 7 – 13 as well as the timetabled Learning for LIFE lessons in Years 7 – 11 and SHAPE in Year 7. In addition, some aspects of financial awareness are included within mathematics for Years 7 – 11.
We also use make use of INVEST Days, where the timetable is collapsed for the whole school, to deliver some aspects of Learning for LIFE:
- Drug Education and Awareness for Year 9
- Mental Health and Wellbeing for Year 10
- Human Rights for Year 11
- Managing Stress and Wellbeing for Years 12 and 13
- Financial Awareness, Student Loans and Fraud for Year 13
We have planned a comprehensive journey from Year 7 to Year 13 that requires students to think about their skills, interests and attributes as they learn about the choices and options at each stage of their life.
- Careers Education – delivered mainly through Unifrog in Year 7 – 13 Tutorials
- Experience of the workplace is in place for Year 10 (from 2020/2021) and Year 12 who have a full week’s work placement in Term 6. In addition, Year 12 students can also gain a further weekly work experience through the INVEST programme. KS4 and KS5 students are also able to carry out additional actual or virtual work experience during holidays.
- 1:1 Careers Advice is provided by an experienced and qualified independent careers advisor for students in KS4 and KS5. Students have at least one 30-minute session in KS4 and again in KS5, with additional sessions available if required or to follow up any action points.
- Encounters with employers occur through practice interviews for all students in Year 11 and Year 13 as well as some additional opportunities, such as through STEM and Cyber workshops, as part of the INVEST Day programme, for students in Years 7, 8 and 10.
- Experience of HE also takes place in Year 11 and 12 through our STEP Up (to Oxbridge) programme and the UCAS fair in Year 12.
- We are planning to introduce a Careers Fair to our programme in 2020/21 to increase students’ encounters with employees, employers, HE and Apprenticeships.
We think it is very important to include physical exercise in the timetable of all students and give them options that will encourage them to make sport and exercise part of a healthy lifestyle choice in the future.
In Years 7 – 11, students have three hours of core PE over the two-week cycle and experience a range of sports and physical activity including athletics, dance, netball, rounders, tennis and trampolining.
In Year 11, the focus is on developing healthy lifestyles and the course includes Zumba and kickboxing.
Sixth Form students are encouraged to take part in team sports on Wednesday afternoons, such as football.
An interest in sport is also combined with the development of other life skills as students in Year 11 and 12 can choose Sports Leadership, as part of the DISCOVER programme, and work with peers and primary pupils to improve their team building, communication and leadership skills.
The Tutorial Programme has been developed to enable all Tutors to spend some time every week mentoring students in their tutor group. This could be as a results of specific wellbeing concerns or as a general check in on progress and to see how they are doing.
Timetable Structure 2020/2021
We have a two-week timetable (Week 1 and Week 2) that provides the structure we need to deliver our curriculum.
There are five one-hour lessons and a thirty-minute Tutorial lesson each day.
Curriculum Review and Development
A formal curriculum review takes place every three years and in 2019/2020 we focused on reviewing our Curriculum Intent right across Years 7 – 13 in all subject areas.
Curriculum Intent and Implementation
The full review process actually started with Year 7 in Terms 5 and 6 of 2018/2019 when Subject Leaders worked with KS2 colleagues to look at the attainment and experiences of the highest achieving Year 6 pupils and used these as a starting point.
Subject teams developed an engaging and challenging Year 7 course, with an emphasis on Metacognition and Thinking Hard, which was trialled, reviewed and adapted during 2019/2020. The next stage was to focus on Curriculum Intent and Implementation for Year 7 – Year 13 ready for September 2020.
Subject Leaders worked with their teams in Lockdown during Terms 5 and 6 in order to establish the vision for their subject area and agree the Year 7 to 13 curriculum plan, in terms of intent and implementation.
During 2020/21, all subject teams will have a termly opportunity to review and amend their curriculum plan as they go through it for the first time this year as well as some additional curriculum review and development time as part of INSETs and in place of Open Evening.
The Senior Leadership Team continually reflect on the whole curriculum in terms of staff deployment, value for money and student need and make appropriate changes to the curriculum offer as a result.
In 2018/2019, we:
- established a need for PSCHE to be included in Year 7 from September 2020.
- developed a new DISCOVER course for Year 7 and 8 which was launched in September 2020 and included different aspects of STEM, art/creativity, first aid, self-defence, writing/journalism and yoga
In 2019/2020, we
- completely reviewed our PSCHE and Citizenship programme in light of significant national changes, for example new Sex and Relationship guidance, and launched Learning for LIFE in September 2020
- redesigned Year 12 for September 2020 in order to deliver EPQ through the Tutorial Programme and an additional timetabled lesson within each option block to make is accessible to all students
- changed our KS3 model to deliver two modern foreign languages to all students in KS3. As a result, we then gave our 2020/2021 Year 7 students the choice of French, German or Spanish as their first language to reflect their primary experience of languages.
- reintroduced Computing and Product Design to KS5 Curriculum offer for 2020 – 2022 following a clear interest in these subjects within our own Year 11 cohort
- introduced Mandarin as part of our Year 11 and Year 12 INVEST programmes from September 2020 to offer new breadth to this course
For further information about the curriculum or timetable you can contact Jane Steele, Assistant Headteacher: Curriculum firstname.lastname@example.org