At St Joseph’s we really do believe that our central purpose is to provide all students with a Firm Foundation for Life. Academic success for students of all abilities lies at the heart of this, and we endeavour to ensure our curriculum is flexible and innovative enough to maximise opportunities for every individual to achieve results of which they are proud. We have the confidence in our outstanding teaching staff to focus on excellence in teaching and learning, rather than simply delivering the latest curriculum innovations for their own sake. We are also able to take a creative and innovative approach to timetabling in order to ensure that we cater for the needs of every student from morning registration through to the end of the school day.
At St Joseph’s we are proud of the fact that class sizes are small, which means we can maximise the individual attention and support each child receives. Our focus is on ensuring that every child has the opportunity excel, and in teaching groups that rarely exceed fifteen, and are often much smaller, we have the opportunity to assure this.
In our small classes each child's academic potential is recognised and developed through teaching of the highest quality, building confidence that can be transformative both in a school context and in later life.
Assessment is key to ensuring progress across the curriculum. The strategic aim of assessment at St Joseph’s is to ensure individual student learning is at the heart of the school; a focus on learning that further underpins the school’s vision to provide a Firm Foundation for Life. As a school we intend that:
• Every student knows how they are doing, understands what they need to do to improve and how to get there.
• Every teacher is equipped to make well founded judgements about students’ attainment, and understands the concepts and principles of progression, using their assessment judgements to forward plan, particularly for those students who are not fulfilling their potential. All teachers are empowered to identify this at classroom level - across the ability range - through diagnostic and formative assessment and the use of high quality data provided to all staff to ensure student progress is on a continual upward trajectory.
• St Joseph’s has in place a structured and systematic assessment programme for making regular, useful, manageable and accurate assessments of pupils and for tracking their progress and making timely interventions as appropriate.
• Every parent and carer knows how their child is progressing, what they need to do to improve and how they can support their child and their teachers. This is developed through the Parent Portal, regular contact between parent and school and should be easily evident when parents look at students’ books.
From Year 7, each child will follow a broad and well balanced curriculum. Subjects included are: English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, a Modern Foreign Language, ICT, Art, Design, Food Technology, Music, Religious Education, History and Geography. From Year 8, a second Modern Foreign Language is introduced and from Year 9, Science is taught separately as Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
In the Spring Term of Year 9, pupils begin to consider the subjects they wish to study at GCSE. Parents are fully involved in the decision making process, and GCSE Options Evening gives the pupils, parents and teachers the opportunity to discuss individual GCSE preferences to ensure students are following a high quality personalised curriculum.
At GCSE, in addition to the core subjects of English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics or Dual Award Science, each child will select four additional subjects to study.
These currently include Art, Catering, Child Development, History, Geography, ICT, a second Modern Foreign Language, Music, Physical Education (Single or Double award), Religious Studies and Textiles. From September 2013, we intend to offer Digital Photography as a separate GCSE within our outstanding Art and Design department, and also to run a GCSE Drama course that builds on the excellent KS3 drama course we have run for the past two years.
In Years 10 and 11, each individual’s GCSE courses will be supplemented by an enrichment curriculum including lessons in Physical Education, Music and PSHE. Throughout their time in KS3 and KS4 student progress is monitored against ambitious target grades, in order to provide assurance of quality and, most fundamentally, to ensure that every individual child is provided for and given the very best opportunity to develop academically throughout their time at St Joseph’s school.
Please do not hesitate to call, email or visit us at the school should you have any questions about curriculum provision at St Joseph’s School.