Curriculum Policy

This policy is presented in HTML to support accessibility needs and to work across multiple platforms. A full PDF copy is also available below.


Policy Purpose

To identify the principles of curriculum design and provide an overview of the curriculum offer to students. This policy should be read in conjunction with the associated policies listed at the end.


2. Curriculum principles, Intention, Impact and Implementation

Underpinning principles

The principles of our curriculum design are rooted in our core values of care, aspiration, respect and determination.

  • Care: Every learner in our school community has the right to achieve their very best. All staff strive to teach the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in the future.
  • Aspiration: Kingsmead is committed to raising students’ aspirations so that every student can work towards achieving their highest possible grades within a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum. Success is celebrated at all levels within our school community.
  • Respect: Kingsmead is a supportive environment where colleagues work together to share good practice. Individual need is planned for and effective provision provided to overcome barriers to learning. Variety of approach and content is valued, celebrated and shared.
  • Determination: The whole school community is determined to support each other to achieve our best.


All staff believe in ‘Achieving Through Caring’, a commitment to a curriculum experience that meets the need of each individual learner at Kingsmead and prepares them to fulfil their role in our society.



Kingsmead School provides a high quality of education for its learners through its curriculum offer.

  • The curriculum is formed by a consensus of both the Kingsmead School Leadership Team and Heads of Department regarding the knowledge and skills our learners will need to take full advantage of the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
  • The curriculum reflects the local context of our rural school and adapts to the specific needs of our learners.
  • The curriculum retains both breadth and an academic core of subjects.
  • The curriculum is purposeful, building towards a desired body of knowledge of skills.
  • The curriculum is planned and sequenced so that knowledge and skills build upon what has been taught before.
  • There is high ambition for all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and including those with SEND.
  • Rigour and quality are evident across the academic, vocational and experiential curriculum.



  • Curriculum responsibility is shared. Learning teams have a central role in implementing the vision for the curriculum at Kingsmead School.
  • Teachers have advanced knowledge of the subjects they teach.
  • Teachers enable pupils to rapidly develop their understanding. This understanding is both checked in an effective manner to identify and correct any misunderstandings and reinforced to ensure embedding in the long-term memory of our learners.
  • Teachers employ a variety of appropriate teaching and learning methods and strategies.
  • Teachers use assessment both to check pupils understanding in order to inform teaching, and to help pupils embed knowledge in a logical interconnected manner.
  • Teachers deliver programmes of study which build upon students’ previous experiences, providing progression and continuity, and which conform to the statutory requirements.
  • Where possible, teachers enrich the learning experience with external visits or the introduction of visitors to the Kingsmead classroom.
  • Teachers have high expectations of all students. Strategies to engage target groups such as Higher Prior Attainers are evident both in classroom practise and in relevant additional learning opportunities.
  • Teachers involve the learner in the process of learning, by discussing work, giving regular feedback through assessment and marking, negotiating targets and encouraging students to evaluate their own achievements.
  • Teacher work in partnership with other staff, parents/carers and the wider community to achieve shared goals. Parents/carers are regularly and fully informed about the progress and achievements of their child.



  • The high quality of education at Kingsmead School is evident both in our results and in the confident, responsible learners who leave Kingsmead ready to make a positive contribution to our society.
  • Pupil work from across the breadth of the Kingsmead curriculum is consistently of a high quality.
  • The school has extensive provision for disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, and ensures they leave with the knowledge and cultural capital necessary for independent successful lives.
  • Students are well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment and training. This is evident in our destination data, indicating appropriate and high-quality Post-16 decision making.


3. An Outline of the Curriculum

All students receive a high-quality, broad and balanced education through a rigorous, relevant, inclusive and coherent curriculum with qualifications that meet government criteria and the type and range of courses appropriate to the individual student.

In academic Year 2020-21, Kingsmead students follow a 2-year Key Stage 3 (KS3) curriculum, followed by a 3-year broad and balanced Key Stage 4 (KS4) curriculum.


In academic Year 2021-22, Year 9 students followed a hybrid curriculum in which they studied their GCSE options plus 2 additional national curriculum subjects. This limits any curriculum narrowing between Years 8 and 9.


In academic Year 2022-23, Year 9 students study the full Key Stage 3 national curriculum. This decision was made following parental, student, and staff survey. The hours per fortnight in each subject are as follows.


Years 7 and 8:

  • 2 Art
  • 2 Computer Science
  • 2 Food Tech/DT/Product Design
  • 2 Drama
  • 7 English
  • 3 Geography
  • 3 History
  • 2 Music
  • 3 Philosophy & Belief
  • 7 Science
  • 6 MFL
  • 7 Maths
  • 4 PE


Year 9:

  • 7 English
  • 6 MFL
  • 4 PE
  • 8 in total across your Options A-D
  • 7 Maths
  • 7 Science
  • 2 in Geography or History (whichever one students do not study in options A-D) for Year 9 only
  • 9 in mandatory ‘National Curriculum Subjects’ i.e. those with NC in the class code for Y9 only (Art, Computer Science, Food Technology, Music, Philosophy & Belief, DT).


Year 10:

  • 7 English
  • 6 MFL
  • 4 PE
  • 4 in Option A-D
  • 7 Maths
  • 8 Science (including Sl – Science link)
  • 2 P&B (Philosophy and Belief


Year 11:

  • 7 English
  • 5 MFL
  • 3 PE
  • 5 in Option A-D
  • 7 Maths
  • 8 Science (including Sl – Science link)


Curriculum delivery is through a two-week timetable designed to meet the diverse needs of learners.  In line with the National Curriculum, we have numbered our Years 7 – 11. KS3 being Years 7 and 8 and KS4 Years 9, 10 and 11.


All subjects are taught in mixed ability groups with the exception of KS3-4 Mathematics & KS4 Science.

In Year 8 the same subjects are taught as in Year 7. In Year 8 students study one language from the three studied in Year 7 and can opt for a second language in Year 9. Mathematics is taught in sets. From Year 8 Science is taught in Modules, covering Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.


During the Spring Term Year 8 consultations take place between parents, students and staff about Key Stage 4 option choices to arrive at a curriculum for the final three years. This takes into account curriculum interests and the need to follow a broad and balanced range of courses.

The courses studied by all students in Years 9, 10 and 11 are English, Mathematics, Science (Combined, Trilogy and Entry Level), Religious Education and the majority study one Foreign Language. Physical Education and Games are also compulsory at Key Stage 4 but are not examined.  Within the options structure students elect to study either History or Geography to complete their core curriculum.


In addition, students may choose from the following option subjects:


  • Art & 3d Art (GCSE)
  • Agriculture (BTEC)
  • Construction (WJEC)
  • Computer Science (GCSE)
  • Catering (WJEC)
  • Creative iMedia (OCR Cambridge)
  • Child Development (OCR Cambridge)
  • Drama (GCSE)
  • Engineering (WJEC)
  • Geography (GCSE)
  • History (GCSE)
  • Motor Vehicle (ABC)
  • Music (GCSE)
  • Physical Education (GCSE & OCR Cambridge)
  • Religious Studies (GCSE)
  • Second Language (GCSE)
  • Triple Science (additional time – GCSE)


In the following options videos, Heads of Subject outline their subjects to help support students in making choices:


PSHCE (Personal Relationships, Social Pressures, Healthy Choices, Citizenship, Education for Economic Wellbeing) takes place on a rolling programme of five one-hour lessons each term for each year group. See the PSHCE policy for more details.


  • Personal Relationships will cover topics including puberty, sexual relationships, contraception, parenting and bringing up children, bereavement and loss.
  • Social Pressures will cover topics including peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and tobacco use and misuse and lifestyle choices.
  • Healthy Choices will cover topics including healthy body image, emotional and mental health issues, emergency first aid, minimising risk to health (including road safety) and personal identity.
  • Citizenship considers how an individual fits into society on a local, national and international level.  Topics covered include Democracy and Justice, Rights and Responsibilities (especially of children) and also British Values.
  • Education for Economic Wellbeing helps students to manage their future finances and careers effectively.  Students are supported in making effective transitions to college and positive career choices.  They are encouraged to be enterprising, to gain an understanding of the commercial environment and its contribution to national prosperity.


All students follow a comprehensive and sequential Careers Programme, fully supported by local colleges, businesses and employers. Also included are collapsed timetable days for careers education in Years 9 to 11. See the Careers Policy for more detail.


Religious Education (Beliefs, Philosophy and Ethics) is compulsory for all students in Years 9 to 11. It is taught in discrete lessons throughout Years 9 and 10, and then through off timetable days (via RE specialists) within Year 11.


The RE short course GCSE taught through Years 9 and 10 aims to:

  • develop students’ knowledge and understanding of religions, comparing Christianity and Islam.   We will also study secular and non-religious ideas.
  • facilitate students’ ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments, demonstrating their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject.
  • provide opportunities for students to engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth, and their impact on human life.
  • challenge students to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt and contribute to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society with British values and the wider global community.


Collective Worship is a theme of whole school and year group assemblies. During regular whole school assemblies we attempt to give a broad definition of the meaning of “religious worship” and seek to make a number of these Assemblies “mainly of a Christian nature” as required by the 1988 Act.  All parents have the right to withdraw their child from Acts of Worship in accordance with the regulation of the 1988 Education Act.  Parents wishing to do so should contact the Headteacher.


Additional Education Needs guidelines and provision are outlined in the Kingsmead AEN Policy.  Kingsmead School has the autonomy to choose an appropriate extended and enriched school curriculum for our learners. An alternative and experiential school curriculum may be offered to promote inclusion, engagement, independence and esteem building. This offer includes the following:


  • Forest School
  • Outdoor Education
  • Swimming
  • Gymnasium and Motor Skills
  • Horse riding
  • Cookery
  • SASP disability sports programme
  • Bespoke Work Experience


Students are set by ability in KS3 Maths, whilst all other KS3 classes are taught in mixed ability groups.  In KS4, there is ability setting in Mathematics & Science, whilst all other subjects are in mixed ability groups or dependent on choices made by students within the options structure. The school aims to have teaching groups of 30 students or less with practical subjects limited where possible to 24 students or less.  


In KS4, Maths and Science are taught in the same block, meaning they are taught at the same time. In one block students can study either Maths, Core Science or Triple Science. In the other they can study Maths and Core Science. Students can transfer between populations as required and this arrangement does not limit their choice, but does permit ‘fine setting’ i.e. the tailoring of lessons to a class of very similar ability.


Visits and trips to a wide range of countries, educational establishments, businesses and other places of educational interest are supported and promoted across all curriculum areas within budgetary and time limits. Those trips typically occurring across an academic year include:


  • Teambuilding exercises i.e. at Hestercombe House
  • German/French Study Visit/Exchange
  • A musical/theatre production
  • A Science activity day i.e. Skirting Science
  • A trip to Hinkley Point or to promote STEM careers
  • A Geographical trip i.e. Horner Water/Bristol Docks


Each department is required to have schemes of work related, where appropriate, to the national curriculum and or examination board requirements. Schemes of work set out how the content of the course is structured and teaching is organised, so that student’s skills, knowledge and understanding are developed progressively. These schemes of work are supported by assessment strategies and methods for ensuring standardisation of expectation and assessment. 


The school promotes a lively, purposeful and structured learning environment ensuringhigh standards and good working practices. Displays of students’ work, stimulus materials and appropriate resources are very important in setting standards and raising expectations. All departments are expected to provide displays in their areas and contribute to displays in public areas of the school.


An effective work-related programme of learning lies at the centre of the necessary experience for all students. This is outlined in the Kingsmead Career Policy.

An effective work-related programme of learning lies at the centre of the necessary experience for all students. This is outlined in the Kingsmead Career Policy.


Equality in the curriculum is promoted through the following:


  • Ensuring all pupils regardless of their profile have access to the same resources and facilities and ensuring students feel safe, giving them an equal chance of success
  • Addressing equality as part of the curriculum and part of the options selection process
  • Ensuring that resources reflect the needs of our diverse rural student population
  • Ensuring the curriculum aims to encourage social inclusion with a specific focus in areas such as PSHCE and Philosophy and Belief.


4. Staff ‘TLR’ time and Absence

TLR time is benchmarked as follows:


  • 2 TLR hours per fortnight for Heads of Subject
  • 3 TLR hours per fortnight for Heads of Department
  • 4 TLR hours per fortnight for Heads of English, Maths and Science & 2 for seconds in English, Maths and Science

Where staff have a surplus of paid teaching time, they will deliver cover for absent Kingsmead staff. Absent staff should communicate promptly with both their Head of Department and the Cover Supervisor to ensure the coordination of their cover is as effective as possible.


5. Curriculum amendments, ‘Dropping’ of examined subjects and Class Sizes

Amendments/reductions to student timetables or their curriculum are only considered for reasons of:

  • attendance at Kingsmead significantly below the average for the student’s specific year group.
  • diagnosed mental/physical health needs and additional education needs requiring a reduction to enable an individual education programme, details of which are found in the relevant student’s EHCP, or provided by doctors note.


When a student is already in receipt of a reduced timetable, any shortfall in curriculum hours will wherever possible be met through increasing student time within their existing core curriculum or options time under the direction of a Kingsmead subject specialist teacher.


Please consider both the above criteria and the following considerations before requesting any amendment/reduction to a student’s timetable:

  • Who will supervise the student? We cannot permit a student to conduct their own unsupervised independent learning.
  • What will they be taught? Our English & Maths teachers are all fully timetabled meaning they are not available to support a student’s learning if a subject is dropped.
  • Government guidance is firmly against the dropping of subjects except in exceptional cases (such as those outlined above).


When a student wish or need to change their options (subjects studied):


  • Decisions on a new option are made by the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress following discussion with student and relevant teaching staff
  • Option changes are on a trial basis for 2 weeks based on engagement and behaviour, at which point they either permanently join the new option or move back to their previous option (if unsuccessful). The only exception to this rule is when the student was removed from the previous option under the direction of the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress.


Removal of students from subjects

  • Decisions on removal of students from options against their wishes are made by the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress following discussion with parent, student and relevant teaching staff
  • If removal is requested for risk related reasons, a series of concerns should have been first shared with parent, student and the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress. The only exception to this is if an individual incident is deemed significantly concerning by the Deputy Headteacher – Provision & Progress.


Class sizes

  • Classes are deemed “full” only when they reach 20 in Engineering, 14 in Animal Care, 12 in Motor Vehicle, 14 in Construction, 20 in Catering GCSE-KS4, and 31 (all other subjects).

6. Curriculum Options, when oversubscribed at the point of selection

Where an option is selected by more students than there are spaces, the following criteria are considered:

  • Number of first choice options each child secured compared to others being considered for limited spaces in a subject. It would be unfair for child A to get all first-choice options, depriving child B of a place if child B was likely to receive just 1 of their first choices.
  • Suitability of child’s academic profile for the subject.
  • Prior engagement in the subject where relevant.
  • A review of additional information provided when completing the options form. Students are asked if the subject relates to their Post-16 ambitions as a question.


7. Links with other policies

This policy links to our policies on:


  • Examinations
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Relationships & Sex Education
  • AEN
  • Careers



The second issue of the Kingsmead Newsletter is now available. A packed edition with staff and student news, fundraising, events and sporting successes. All in an easy-to-read flip book, no need to download!

Skip to content