Curriculum Intent

Curriculum Intent

We are a Faith school; nourishing and fostering spirituality is part of our core purpose. It is essential that the curriculum is organised in such a way that it provides students with the opportunity to learn expected behaviours and be successful in their learning so that we can deliver our mission and aims and all girls leave Notre Dame ready to embrace their chosen career path.

St. Julie believed that education should be for all, whatever their ability. The first Sisters were encouraged to educate “the whole child: head, heart and hands” and they were urged to teach their pupils “whatever is necessary for life”.

The school continues this tradition today to create:

  • Successful learners who enjoy learning; make good progress and achieve excellence.
  • Confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.
  • Responsible citizens who can make a positive contribution to society.
We have a very broad KS3 Curriculum covering 15 subjects meeting all National Curriculum requirements. This is taught in 25 hours of contact time each week through a condensed KS3 curriculum. Teachers have reviewed schemes of work, and evaluated pedagogical approaches to ensure students are challenged and taught with rigour.

Ubuntu and Kairos are delivered in years 7 and 8 in addition to Religious Studies lessons. Ubuntu, ‘I am who I am because of others’, focuses on respect, listening, belonging, kindness, forgiveness, understanding and tolerance. Kairos introduces students to making a difference in their community and the wider community. These subjects are unique to our school and ensure all students, no matter what their background, understand what it is to be a Notre Dame student and are given the opportunity to reflect and develop this aspect of their life.

With the increased demands at KS4 and to ensure a more broad and balanced curriculum, we give three years to this key stage. All students take RS GCSE as a core subject and to make sure our students are work ready, we deliver employability along with the core subjects and four option subjects. Our option subjects are organised into option blocks and students are free to select a subject from each block (see implementation). PSHE and PE remain in our curriculum, as being healthy in mind and body is integral to our mission.
Subjects Intent

Each subject makes a contribution to opening students’ eyes to the possibilities in the world around them and equipping them with the skills necessary to explore that world in full. The intent in these subjects is that students:

Art: develop an understanding that art is the path towards the visual literacy which every citizen needs in order to maximize awareness and appreciation of the world we inhabit in order to live effectively and productively.

Drama: develop an appreciation of Drama as an art form and reflect and evaluate on drama in order to deepen their learning.

English: develop a love of Literature, Language and Media which encourages them to explore their own understanding of the world and themselves.

Geography: should enquire about the relationships and interactions between mankind and the environment and develop an awareness of the global future.

Health & Social Care: develop an awareness of the implications of Health & Social Care for the individual, the community and the environment, and to understand the nature and significance of individual and social differences in their own and other cultures.

History: develop an interest in and enjoyment of studying the past whilst acquiring transferrable skills, habits of mind and concepts essential to the 21st century citizen.

ICT: are equipped with the digital skills needed to succeed in school, further education and life.

Kairos: are encouraged to see themselves as a citizen of the world. One of the key messages from the course is that ‘This is a time to act, a time to make a difference’.

Maths: look at the patterns that make up our world and the intricate and beautiful ways in which they are constructed and realised and through numeracy make use of that knowledge.

Modern Foreign Language: develop a range of skills to become both culturally and linguistically aware of the world around them, equipping them with the knowledge needed in a global community.

Music: develop their musical skills to communicate effectively through written appraisal, performance and composition and to develop their confidence and self-esteem through all aspect of music.

PE: achieve their potential and lead healthy and active lifestyles.

PSHE: are encouraged to form their own informed opinions whilst respecting the rights of others to hold different ones and to develop the skills required and develop an understanding of the issues which will help them to navigate life’s twists and turns.

Psychology: develop an understanding of the relationship between psychology and social, cultural, scientific and contemporary issues and its impact on everyday life

RS: are encouraged to think about meaning and purpose in life from beginning to end and to reflect and wonder who and why. They are expected to evaluate viewpoints and reach justified conclusions based on evidence.

Science: are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

Technology: develop confidence in both their own ability to design and create, whilst also equipping them with the skills to work by utilising the designs of others.

Ubuntu: learn about the school ethos and our community whilst also developing an understanding of self-worth.
Curriculum Implementation

Our fundamental aim is to meet the individual needs of all students across the full ability range by delivering a differentiated and supported curriculum which has high expectations, encourages active learning, delivers academic success and builds self-worth.

For students below age related expectation or behind in their chronological reading age, additional support is provided through withdrawal to enable them to rapidly catch up. These interventions are completed 1:1 or in small groups either within tutor times, in class through paired reading opportunities or in small groups via timetable reductions. The intensity of intervention is delivered dependent on the individual need of the student.

The Learning Support Department also coordinate a reduced enhanced curriculum for a small cohort of students within each year group. This curriculum offer is provided for those students identified as having a high level of need via primary school transition. This curriculum entitled the ‘Learn for Life’ programme enhances a students’ functional Numeracy and Literacy skills whilst developing essential life skills needed for life beyond the classroom. It acts as a vehicle for the personalised development of students with more acute learning needs.

Our additional whole school lunchtime and after-school enrichment programme includes a range of sporting activities, art, drama, science and STEM. There is daily support for homework in the library and for physical fitness in the gym.

More specifically, the chief aims of the education provided by lessons, extended work and curriculum enrichment activities are as follows:
Year 7 & 8 Implementation
The curriculum includes:

English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education, French or Spanish (alternating year on year), History, Geography, Drama, Music, Art and Design, Technology, Computer Science, Physical Education, PSHE, Ubuntu (Y7) / Kairos (Y8).

Dimension Days, when the normal lesson timetable is suspended, take place during the year. These days allow students to learn in different ways such as off site, with external providers and a range of students. These days cover subjects as follows:
Date Yr 7 Yr 8
October Science Technology
February Ubuntu/ MFL Eden Project
July Personal health and wellbeing Personal health and wellbeing
Year 9-11 Implementation

In Year 9 students start their KS4 subjects that they will study to GCSE. This curriculum is taught in 25 lessons each week, each lesson lasting 60 minutes. Students are able to select four subjects that are organised into four option blocks. We believe in students having choice in the subjects that they study and have kept breadth to the curriculum by not requiring the students to study Ebacc but staying true to choice principles.

All students must study the following:

English – Literature and Language, Mathematics, Trilogy Science or Separate Sciences – Biology, Physics and Chemistry, Religious Education with Physical Education (two hours per week, non-examination), PSD and Employability.

Optional Subjects (up to four of the following):

Separate Sciences, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Drama, Music, Art & Design, Photography, Sport Science, Food, Product Design.

The option subjects are organised into the following four blocks for 2018-19:
Option A Option B Option C Option D
Food Child Development Product Design Art
History Drama Geography Food
Sep Science History Health & Social Care History
Spanish Photography Drama Health & Social Care
Sport Science Spanish Spanish Media Studies
Dimension Days cover the subjects as follows:
Date Yr 9  Yr 10 Yr 11
February Active leisure English Spoken Science
July Careers in health & first aid Mental Health awareness ArtGeographyCateringFrench
October RS SRE Day WEX
Year 12-13 Implementation

We have a mixed sixth form where we enable our young people to be able to enter the next stage of their learning journey be it at university or an advanced level apprenticeship.

Course Offer

Students can select from ‘A’ level or BTEC courses, a decision for which they receive extensive guidance from the Head of Sixth form.

Students receive 4.5 hours of contact time per A-Level subject, per week in Yr 12 and 4 hours in Yr 13. They are expected to do 2 hours of independent learning in school for each A-Level studied in addition to homework for every A-Level subject.
‘A’ levels and BTECs offered (some in conjunction with The Link Partnership):

Art, Photography, English Literature, English Language, Geography, French, Spanish, History, Psychology, Philosophy and Ethics, Drama, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Health and Social Care, Sport Science, Media Studies, Computer Studies, Law, Business Studies and Economics.

Tutorial and Enrichment Activities

Enrichment is a compulsory element of our sixth form programme and takes 2 hours each week where students follow Learn to Live and Faith for Life.

We facilitate WEX for students who need it before they start university studies- medicine and teaching. The UCAS programme provides the opportunity to visit universities and meet university admissions tutors from a range of institutions. Frequent visits from speakers across a range of professions and backgrounds are also part of this programme.

Dimension Days
Date Yr 12 Yr 13
February You’re hired  
July   Personal Statement Day

All students are strong, confident young people of faith, who have the skills, knowledge, qualifications and self-confidence to succeed and who are fully prepared to take their place in society.