Curriculum Overview

Our school vision statement challenges each student to Be Your Best Self

We want all students to maximise their potential through excellent academic and personal development and to be able to achieve fulfilment in their current and future lives. This will allow individuals to understand and appreciate their existing and developing role in modern Britain and the world. Our four staff values reinforce and inform this commitment:

  • Students considered first;
  • High expectations – no limitations;
  • The best support for each student;
  • The optimum curriculum experience for each student.

Our Curriculum Intent – The Strategic Aims For The Curriculum

We define the curriculum as all of the experiences offered to each student, including their academic subjects and co-curricular opportunities. It is grounded in an understanding of the knowledge and skills students need in order to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences now and later in life.

The curriculum promotes spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as part of the Personal Development programme and study within subjects, as well as physical development and creativity. Our curriculum encourages students to develop transferable knowledge and make connections within and between subjects. We also value learning beyond that which is recognised within the National Curriculum and seek to provide all students with opportunities for enrichment and deeper learning. The curriculum experience in each year and Key Stage has significant merit in its own right and prepares students for future learning.

The school is committed to:

  • Promoting equality of opportunity for each student;
  • Assisting each student, through developing ambition, responsibility and resilience to achieve the highest standards of work of which they are capable;
  • Helping each student to develop a lively enquiring mind, the confidence to question, and the ability to debate rationally;
  • Ensuring each student acquires knowledge, skills and training relevant to the world of work;
  • Enabling each student to receive challenging, stimulating, worthwhile and enjoyable experiences;
  • Making sure all students recognise their existing and emerging personal strengths and set ambitious goals accordingly;
  • Developing an informed concern for local and global issues such as the environment, and an understanding of and respect for the values of other groups and cultures.

The intent of our curriculum is therefore to offer breadth, depth, balance, ambition and richness.

Throughout Key Stage 3 (years 7-9) we support students and parents to make informed choices for GCSE and Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQ, including BTEC) ready for Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11) and beyond into the Sixth Form or alternative post-16 providers.

Our curriculum offer does not remain static and evolves in response to students’ needs, expectations and aspirations.

Further information about the curriculum for each subject is provided in the Curriculum Overview section.

The English Baccalaureate Curriculum (EBacc)

The EBacc is a subset of GCSE subjects at Key Stage 4 which students can take during Years 10 & 11:

  • English language and literature
  • mathematics
  • the sciences (biology, chemistry, physics and Computer Science)
  • geography or history (the humanities)
  • a language (we offer French and/or German)

The governing body at Tadcaster Grammar School has considered the importance of the EBacc subjects in relation to our curriculum intent and wider curriculum principles. The agreed position of the school in relation to the EBacc and other GCSE/VTQ subject options in Key Stage 4 is as follows:

  • Students have access to all of the EBacc subjects which are signposted through the Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance programme and the Year 9 options process;
  • Currently all students study mathematics, English language and literature, combined science (or triple science, based on assessment in Key Stage 3 by the Science Department) core PE, RE and Life Skills (PSHCE);
  • Beyond this core curriculum, students have access to 24 further options subjects. They currently choose three of these, which should be a free choice – as such, we offer all students ‘study options’ rather than predetermined ‘study pathways’.

Our Key Stage 4 curriculum has significant breadth and we regard creative subjects, vocational and technical qualifications, subjects allied to design and technology and business and economics for example as having equal standing to the humanities and modern foreign languages.

Typically, many of our Key Stage 4 students actually choose to study the EBacc humanities and modern foreign language subjects:

SubjectYear 11 Class of 2022Year 11 class of 2023
Geography41%46%
French and/or German36%40%
History30%35%

In addition, all students are given the opportunity to develop their interests and talents in a diversity of alternative subjects. Current examples include:

  • GCSE Computer Science
  • BTEC Health & Social Care or Child Development
  • GCSE Food Preparation & Nutrition
  • GCSE Electronics
  • BTEC Creative Media Production
  • GCSE Art & Design
  • GCSE Economics
  • GCSE Drama or BTEC Performing Arts

More information about full range Key Stage 4 subject offer is available to view HERE

The current Department for Education guidance on the English Baccalaureate is available HERE

Examination results and student destinations demonstrate that students achieve well with our Key Stage 4 curriculum subjects which provide high quality progression routes to sixth form study programmes, and beyond.

Key Stage 3

Our students receive a rich and varied programme within Years 7, 8 and 9. Our 3 year KS3 programme is designed to ensure that our students ultimately leave school with strong skills and knowledge across all their subjects – including the ones they do not study at GCSE/BTEC. 

In Year 7 this coverage includes each of the following:

For six hours per fortnight:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science

For four hours per fortnight:

  • Physical Education

For three hours per fortnight:

  • Geography
  • History
  • French
  • German

For two hours per fortnight:

  • Art 
  • Computing
  • Design Technology 
  • Drama
  • Food and Textiles Technology
  • Life Skills
  • Music
  • Religious Education

Apart from Mathematics, where broad setting takes place and PE where some students are grouped based upon their ability within specific disciplines, all other subjects are taught in mixed ability teaching groups in Year 7.  We believe that this structure eases the transition from Key Stage 2 and reflects our ethos and values.

In Year 8 this coverage includes each of the following:

For six hours per fortnight:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science

For three hours per fortnight:

  • French
  • German

For four hours per fortnight:

  • Physical Education

For two hours per fortnight:

  • Art 
  • Business
  • Computing
  • Design Technology 
  • Drama
  • Food and Textiles Technology
  • Geography
  • History
  • Life Skills
  • Music
  • Religious Education

In Year 8 students continue to be taught in mixed ability curriculum groups for most subjects except for Mathematics and Science, where broad setting takes place and PE with some discipline specific grouping.  

In Year 9 this coverage includes each of the following:

For six hours per fortnight:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Language**

For four hours per fortnight:

  • Physical Education

For two hours per fortnight:

  • Art 
  • Computing
  • Design Technology 
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • Food and Textiles Technology
  • Geography
  • History
  • Life Skills
  • Music
  • Religious Education

In Year 9 students continue to be taught in mixed ability curriculum groups for most subjects except for Mathematics, Science and Modern Foreign Languages where broad setting takes place and PE with some discipline specific grouping.  

**For most students this time consists of three hours of French and three hours of German per fortnight. However for some students this consists of four hours of the language they studied in Year 7 alongside a bespoke Art course. A very small group of students are disapplied from Modern Foreign Languages and access a Personalised Life Skills course.

Key Stage 4

During Years 10 and 11 the majority of students follow New GCSE and other Level 2 courses. The Key Stage 4 curriculum consists of core subjects supported by a group of choice courses.

This coverage includes:

Core:

  • English for eight hours per fortnight, preparing for GCSEs in Language and Literature
  • Mathematics for eight hours per fortnight, preparing for a single GCSE
  • Science for ten or twelve hours per fortnight, preparing for two or three GCSEs respectively
  • Physical Education for three hours per fortnight
  • Life Skills for one or two hours per fortnight

For the Core Curriculum, students are grouped in each subject depending upon their ability. The exception to this is English where the majority of students are taught in mixed ability groups, with the most able students being taught together to enable additional challenge and a small number of  lower achieving  students in Year 11 being taught together to enable additional support to be provided as required.

Choice: 

Our Choice Curriculum includes the possibility of a number of programmes. Choices are made in the Spring Term of Year 9 from the subjects listed below. 

One choice is restricted to one of the following:

  • Computer Science (GCSE)
  • French (GCSE)
  • Geography (GCSE)
  • German (GCSE)
  • History (GCSE)

Students then choose their remaining three subjects from this list:

  • Art and Design (GCSE)
  • Business Studies (GCSE)
  • Child Development (BTEC)
  • Computer Science (GCSE)
  • Creative Media Production (BTEC)
  • Design & Technology (GCSE)
  • Drama (GCSE)
  • Economics (GCSE)
  • Electronics  (GCSE)
  • Enterprise (BTEC)
  • Food Preparation and Nutrition (GCSE)
  • French (GCSE)
  • Geography (GCSE)
  • German (GCSE)
  • Graphic Design (Technical Award)
  • Health & Social Care (BTEC)
  • History (GCSE)
  • Hospitality & Catering (Level 1/2 Vocational)
  • Music (GCSE)
  • Physical Education (GCSE)
  • Religion Philosophy and Ethics (GCSE)
  • Sport Studies (Cambridge National)

For the Choices Curriculum, students are grouped in mixed ability groups for each subject. A small number of students are able to access a Vocational Life Skills course in place of one of these options, which offers the opportunity of achieving various Level 1 and 2 qualifications, together  with regular work experience throughout Year 11.  

Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13)

Sixth Form courses offer both continuity and variety for our students. Students select combinations of subjects from the list below.

In Year 12, most students study three subjects, however some do follow four. Students have taught lessons for eight hours per fortnight for each subject (unless numbers are very small, in which case taught curriculum time is on occasions reduced), as well as a timetabled lesson for structured Independent Study. In addition, students can opt to take an Extended Project Qualification and appropriate support and guidance will be provided. All subjects are taught in mixed ability groups.

In Year 13 most students currently study three subjects, however some select to continue to study four subjects. Students have taught lessons for eight hours per fortnight for each subject, a Guided Study lesson as well as a timetabled lesson for structured Independent Study. All subjects are taught in mixed ability groups.

The full list of subjects which were available to our current Sixth Form students upon enrolment is:

  • Biology (A level)
  • Business Studies (A level)
  • Chemistry (A level)
  • Computer Science (A level)
  • Criminology (BTEC)
  • Design Engineering (A level)
  • Economics (A level)
  • English Language (A Level)*^
  • English Literature (A level)
  • Extended Project Qualification
  • Fine Art (A level)
  • Food Science and Nutrition (WJEC Level 3 Diploma)
  • Forensic Science (BTEC Level 3)
  • French (A level)
  • Further Mathematics (A level)
  • Geography (A level)
  • German (A level)
  • Graphics (BTEC – double award)
  • History (A level)
  • Law (A level)
  • Mathematics (A level)
  • Media Studies (A level)*^
  • Music (A level)
  • Photography (A level)*^
  • Physical Education (A Level)*^
  • Physics (A level)
  • Politics (A level)
  • Product Design (3D) (A level)*^
  • Psychology (A level)
  • Religious Studies (A Level)
  • Sociology (A level)

*^ These subjects are studied by our students at a partner STAR MAT secondary school (Sherburn High School) with whom we offer collaborative courses to broaden our curriculum offer.

For more information about the curriculum please contact Andy Sykes (Assistant Headteacher) Contact >>