The curriculum is at the core of a school’s purpose and at Calday Grange Grammar School we are clear about the achievements we aim to foster in our students. We are a high-attaining school and our students achieve excellent results in a range of academic subjects.
The school mission statement is encapsulated on a daily basis by promoting and celebrating:
- Personal and professional excellence
- Individual responsibility
- Success and achievement
Our history and tradition underpin all that we do, but we do not look backwards, we aim to provide a modern education that equips our students with the attributes and skills required to flourish in the modern world. At Calday, we aim to deliver ‘more than an academic education’, this is done by providing a rich academic and extra-curricular diet which is designed to provide our students with the cultural capital and personal development opportunities to succeed in their chosen pathway.
We hope that this vision is ‘lived’ through the way our teachers develop their subject curriculum and the way that students experience it. We have designed a curriculum that is true to subjects’ core content and concepts and develops a love of lifelong learning to enable personal empowerment, cultural transmission, citizenship and preparation for life beyond education.
We use the High-Performance Learning philosophy and framework to systematically teach our students how to be ‘intelligent’ and how to succeed in school and in life.
High Performance Learning (HPL):
High Performance Learning theory assumes that most students are capable of achieving the high levels of academic performance once seen as the domain of the very few and the role of the school is to help the vast majority of their students to achieve at that level. The High-Performance Learning framework is the way this theory can be converted into practical action and create world-leading schools.
At the heart of the framework are the Advanced Cognitive Performance characteristics (ACPs) – ways of thinking that students need to develop and Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs) – the ways of behaving that the learner needs to acquire.
Our subject specialists are involved at each stage of the curriculum development process with seven whole school principles of curriculum design at the forefront of regular ‘Curriculum Conversations’. Every subject has paid attention to the big ideas, concepts and themes needed to build curriculum coherence in their ‘Curriculum Maps’ and ‘Learning Journeys’.
These curriculum principles are:
- Balanced: Promotes intellectual, moral, spiritual, aesthetic, creative, emotional, and physical development.
- Rigorous: Seeks to develop intra-disciplinary habits of mind; powerful ways of thinking that are developed through sustained engagement with the discipline.
- Coherent: Makes explicit connections and links between the different subjects and experiences.
- Vertically integrated: Focuses on progression by carefully sequencing knowledge; provides clarity about what ‘getting better’ at the subject means.
- Appropriate: Matches the level of challenge to a pupil’s current level of maturity and knowledge.
- Focused: Seeks to keep the curriculum manageable by teaching the most important knowledge; identifies the big ideas or key concepts within a subject.
- Relevant: Seeks to connect the valued outcomes of a curriculum to the students being taught it; provides opportunities for students to make informed choices.
The purpose of these principles is to provide a set of ideas with which we can examine and develop our curriculum to ensure that Calday students are receiving the best possible start in life.
The PSHE programme and indeed the culture of the school prepares students to live in a world of equality and diversity. Stereotypes and sexual, gender and racial biases are challenged. Issues are tackled, not ignored; students enjoy the academic and personal freedom to express concerns and to find solutions in a supportive environment.
Our belief is that our curriculum should be about widening and developing our knowledge and skills in life. The enrichment curriculum programme at Calday is extensive; it aims to provide challenge and opportunity for exploration and for the application of knowledge. Academic enrichment is tailored to further students’ understanding beyond the confines of the day-to-day curriculum, inspiring them to stretch themselves, to collaborate in exploring new areas, and to dig deeper into topics that interest and stimulate them intellectually. The link here shows some of the opportunities available: https://www.calday.co.uk/enrichment
It is recognised that curriculum development is not something that is done periodically, it is part of Calday’s regular cycle of improvement and renewal.
- Professional curriculum conversations are an integral part of how middle and subject leaders create the right culture of cohesion in their own subject areas.
- Curriculum conversations with middle leaders the Curriculum Deputy Headteacher and SLT link
- Student voice
- Annual review by the Headteacher and Curriculum Deputy Headteacher
- Annual review as part of the Faculty Review process, between members of SLT and Heads of Faculty.
- Discussion of curriculum matters at Governors Curriculum Committee meetings.
- Annual review of results at full Governors meetings (Autumn Term).
In conclusion, our curriculum and our pedagogical approach creates an academic school, an inspiring and enjoyable place of learning and scholarship. It is a school that supports its students to develop resilience and the skills to meet the challenges of life. It is a school that allows our students to recognise their future pathways and goals and supports their progression to their next steps; to become the future leaders who will have the courage and integrity to uphold moral values, serve and inspire others in their families, communities and internationally.
Further information on what has helped to inform our thinking and rationale can be found in the following documents:
- Counsell, C (2018) Taking Curriculum Seriously
- Eyre, D (2016) High Performing Learning
- Sherrington, T (2018) What is a ‘knowledge rich’ curriculum?
- Wiliam, D. (2013) Principled Curriculum
Our curriculum model is not based on Key Stages but on a 7-year plan based on the acquisition of skills, concepts, knowledge and understanding. Progress is gauged on the student’s breadth and depth of understanding in subject knowledge and by their creativity in communicating analysis and evaluation of that knowledge. High expectations of our students enable us to assess progress as they move through the building blocks of the curriculum.
Years 7, 8 and 9: Most classes are taught in form registration groups, although students are split into ability groups for Mathematics and mixed ability groups for the Creative Arts and Design and Technology. The slightly smaller groups allow more individual attention in those subjects that include a practical element. The Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) is taught to selected students outside of the standard timetable. Students in Year 8 (2022.23) will choose a Language and an option taster course. The current Year 8 offer consists of Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Food and Nutrition, Graphics, Drama and Business Studies. Students in Year 9 choose their GCSE options in the spring term. A package of information evenings and resources are made available to students and parents to facilitate this process.
Years 10 and 11: At the start of Year 10 students commence studies in their chosen GCSE subjects. It is anticipated that the majority of students will follow a curriculum that will lead to ten GCSE qualifications. We have designed a curriculum that supports students to make the transition to Sixth Form studies and to prepare them for life after school. The core subjects form the English Baccalaureate and this is the basis for our GCSE curriculum, plus the optional subjects shown in the table below.
|Core Subjects||Optional Subjects|
|Science||Combined Science Trilogy||D&T: Product Design|
|Biology||Theology, Philosophy and Ethics|
|Core Theology Philosophy and Ethics|
|Personal Development & Careers|
Year 12 and 13: We offer a broad and extensive curriculum at A Level that means that we are able to provide an educational pathway that is tailored to every student’s individual needs.
The majority of students will choose three A Levels. A number of students who have performed at the highest academic standards at GCSE may choose to study four subjects. In either case, these subjects will be studied for two years.