Curriculum is Everywhere
“Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you say is who you become.” (Heraclitus)
The curriculum at The Bolsover School is built on a foundation of education for all. Our ambitious, creative curriculum is reflected in the ambitious, creative students we work with. This is reflected in the four cornerstones of the curriculum:
High expectations of all students
Valuing and celebrating academic achievement
Outstanding teaching for all students
Widening student experiences
We know that, in order to build a successful, powerful curriculum, we need to do it from the moment our students arrive in Y7: brick by brick, lesson by lesson, accepting nothing but the best. We support our students to become confident subject experts and not just test passers; young people who know and think more about the world around them than an exam can ever assess. Whilst exams are important, we recognise that a young person’s worth cannot be captured in a test paper. Education is not just about what happens in lessons, but what happens beyond the classroom, beyond the school day, beyond their years at school with us. We believe that knowledge is powerful and limitless; that education is the passport to the future; that a broad vocabulary leads to broader opportunities in the future. Each day they are with us, we encourage our students to make informed choices, to think critically, to speak with confidence and with respect. We want to encourage a thirst for knowledge that begins in the September of Y7 and stays with them for life.
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” (Sydney J. Harris)
We aim to nurture students who:
Enjoy learning, make strong progress and achieve excellence
Are confident individuals, able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
Are responsible citizens who can make a positive contribution to society.
Teaching and learning is the keystone of our curriculum, constructed via a broad and balanced subject offer. This is built alongside an effective approach to social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of young people, to help prepare them for life in modern Britain. All curriculum subjects along with our strong pastoral system share the responsibility of developing students as active learners and preparing them for their post-16 life. Over five years, we aim to move our students from mirrors to windows: rather than reflecting someone else’s values, they are able to articulate their own for the world to see.
Students at The Bolsover School study for 25 hours per week. This is comprised of 5 one-hour lessons each day. The timetable spans two weeks totalling a 50-hour cycle.
Key Stage 3
DEAR time [Drop Everything and Read] enhances the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and literacy continues to be a whole school priority. Students are able to access the wider curriculum within tutor time, assemblies and other deeper learning opportunities throughout the year. The school is actively widening reading intervention in line with Trust policy in that all students who are reading below their below chronological age can access intervention at Year 7, 8 and 9.
The taught curriculum aims to offer the maximum breadth possible at Key Stage 3 allowing students to experience as many different subjects as possible.
All Students in Key Stage 3 will experience the subjects listed below:
A separate target group of students in years 7 and 8 receive a period of literacy and a period of numeracy alongside a period of MFL each week.
Key Stage 4:
With an intensive programme of guidance and support for students through our established pastoral Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) systems, students make their option choices during Year 8 in readiness for a more focused curriculum pathway. We use a pathways approach to options, allowing students as much freedom as possible whilst guiding them to study subjects that will help them to achieve their potential. By focusing on the subjects they are most interested in from the start of Year 9, we feel our students are able to develop lines of enquiry and build knowledge that will allow them to achieve the strongest results at GCSE. It means that students can spend longer interrogating and evaluating the ideas they are being presented with, becoming thinkers and experts in each discipline.
Curriculum Pathways: GCSE
The English Baccalaureate pathway
We believe that, for a significant proportion of students, the addition of a modern foreign language and either geography or history to the core offer is entirely appropriate and necessary in order to provide them with a balanced but challenging experience at Key Stage 4. For this reason, we have developed an Ebacc pathway of choices for students so that as many of them as possible are able to study the full suite of Ebacc subjects in Key Stage 4.
The Median pathway
We also acknowledge that for some, the full Ebacc is not appropriate because their skills and interests lie in other areas. As a school which values practical and creative subjects, we believe it is appropriate to encourage students to choose subjects which play to their particular strengths and skills.
Foundation Learning pathway
A specific group of students are withdrawn from one GCSE option block and follow a foundation learning qualification. Students study a work skills qualification, equating to half a GCSE, which equips them with key life skills: managing money, applying for jobs, organising time effectively, etc.
In addition to the core curriculum, all students at The Bolsover School also study Careers Education, Personal Social Health Education (PSHE), Relationships and Sexual Education (RSE), Citizenship and SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education). These important aspects of our students’ education take place during tutor time, assemblies and enrichment activities during special events within the school year.
“Educating the heart without educating the mind is no education at all.” (Aristotle)
We define the curriculum as everything that happens in school and everything that the young people who attend our school experience and learn. In that sense, it is not just about the academic knowledge and skills delivered in lessons but also the array of opportunities and experiences we offer to our students outside the classroom. Student wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do. In addition to the students’ timetabled day, the school encourages student involvement in our curriculum plus offer. The aim of this is to enrich student lives and improve wellbeing through encouraging student engagement with learning opportunities outside of their lessons. Students taking on specific leadership roles and an involvement in the broader life of the school and the community will only lead to a greater development of their character. It is vital that we develop outward looking students who want to contribute to the community they live in.
Curriculum plus student experiences may include:
School trips, visits and residential experiences
Performing Arts events
The Trust Games events
Lunchtime or after school clubs and societies
Duke of Edinburgh award scheme
Involvement in school charity links
Positions of responsibility and leadership available to students such as Sports Leaders, Performing Arts Captains, etc.
Inter-House activities and competitions
Targeted assemblies and guest-speakers
School memorials and acts of remembrance
Careers guidance and work experience.