Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form will prepare its students to lead a fulfilling life by:
- building resilience;
- developing aspirations;
- nurturing talents;
- promoting positive life choices;
- and stimulating curiosity about the world around them.
When students join in Year 7, they begin a five- or seven-year learning and development journey to academic success, with each year having its own distinct identity.
We are committed to a three-year Key Stage 3 and use the time and freedom this provides to innovate and design a curriculum that captures the imagination of all our students, and fosters enjoyment and enthusiasm for a wide range of subjects. Students in Years 7 and 8 undertake a Resilience curriculum to support their acquisition of the cross-curricular skills and knowledge needed to be successful throughout school and beyond. Most classes are mixed ability with teachers using a combination of challenge and support to ensure all students make excellent progress, regardless of their starting points.
In Key Stage 4, it is important to ensure that students receive an education that is broad, balanced and relevant. Our Key Stage 4 curriculum is made up of compulsory (core) subjects and chosen subjects that enables students to follow courses appropriate to their interests and abilities. Students will follow a total of four option choices in all - reducing to three from 2020. We offer a range of qualifications, namely GCSEs, V-Certs, OCR nationals and Cambridge National Certificate. Firstly, our ambition is for all of our students to achieve to the maximum of their potential. We believe that studying a modern foreign language is important and we encourage students to consider very carefully before deciding not to continue with a language at KS4. Despite all of this, it is still their choice, and whilst it is in their best interests to consider very carefully all of the advice they are given, ultimately, they should and must decide. For this reason, the school has not made the study of this subject compulsory.
As the curriculum narrows at Key Stage 5 with students choosing to specialise, enrichment opportunities and pastoral support and guidance become even more crucial in developing well-rounded students able to make informed choices about their next steps. The tutor teams support the emotional and intellectual development of the students through regular mentoring sessions to ensure all students reach their potential.
At all stages staff have high expectations, promote a growth mindset, and strive to develop independence in all students through developing their understanding of metacognition. Challenge, aspiration, and clarity is built into our lessons so students can see, regulate and chart their own route to success. Positive, critical and formative feedback ensures students understand how to make progress and achieve highly and meaningful, targeted feedforward tasks demonstrating how to fill gaps in knowledge. High quality learning conversations establish what the student knows and identifies next steps, whilst flexible and skilful teachers have the confidence and permission to veer temporarily off course to address misconceptions. Students systematically revisit learning, using a combination of guided and independent practice to develop links and create the scheme necessary to embed knowledge into the long-term memory.
Our curriculum extends beyond the classroom. We actively encourage students to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities. We have a Pledge Passport which challenges students to broaden their horizons through embracing new experiences and capture many of the non-class-based accomplishments of their Learning & Development Journey. The role of the tutor is pivotal to this and enables the building of secure and lasting relationships. Careers, employability skills and pathways to success are emphasised from day one. We are working towards ensuring that a culture of aspiration permeates everything we do.
Our curriculum is broad, balanced and inclusive:
- supporting the development of knowledge to ensure that all students achieve their personal best:
- excellent progress is made regardless of starting points or barriers to learning;
- content is systematically revisited and builds on prior knowledge;
- higher order thinking and challenge characterises learning experiences.
- providing the skills to apply and transfer knowledge to different contexts:
- reading, vocabulary acquisition & cultural capital underpin subject specific content;
- metacognition, resilience and independence deepen knowledge acquisition.
- preparing students for the next stages in their development:
- extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities extend personal development;
- the curriculum represents and responds to the local context.
Through Personal Development
- ATL reports
- Academic Mentoring
- PDT lessons and SMSC opportunities
- Careers opportunities
- Pledge Passport
- KS5 Enrichment
- Clubs & sporting events
- HPQ & EPQ
- House competitions & activities
Through Teaching, Learning & Assessment:
- Reviewing material: daily, weekly & monthly review;
- Questioning: ask questions & check student understanding;
- Sequencing concepts and modelling: new material in small steps, provide models, scaffold for difficult tasks;
- Stages of practice: guiding student practice, obtain high success rate, independent practice.
The impact of the school’s curriculum is measured through:
- Outcomes at GSCE & A Level
- High levels of engagement measured in Attitude to Learning (ATL) grades
- Participation in enrichment and extra-curricular activities as captured in Pledge Passport
- Destinations Data
- Attendance data & Behaviour Logs
- Progress towards Gatsby Benchmarks