At The Weald, our ethos of opportunity and community underpins everything we do; our approach to education is to provide enriching learning experiences which require students to engage with the world around them and support the development of their character.
Our curriculum is dynamic and responsive for all students at all three key stages, developed around the principle of Mastery. As experts in their fields, subject leaders plan the content, knowledge and skills coherently to ensure that students are prepared for the next stage, whether this be employment or further study. The curriculum engenders a thirst for knowledge and curiosity about the world around them. Knowledge and skills broaden horizons. The wider curriculum enriches, builds personal skills such as resilience and self-reflection, and supports and encourages aspiration and acceptance. The broader aim is to ensure that all our students are fulfilled and that no door is closed to them.
A key part of our curriculum is enrichment: this is built into programmes of study for each subject as well as delivered through carefully planned specialist days.
Key Stage 3
Every student accesses the full suite of subjects in the National Curriculum and more. Our two-year Key Stage 3 curriculum provides a secure foundation for our students as life-long learners.
Key Stage 4
Our broad and balanced curriculum is maintained for all students with a combination of academic and vocational courses. The options process is personalised to encourage students to be challenged and supported at every step.
Key Stage 5
Students follow aspirational and inclusive courses in academic, vocational or technical subjects, or a combination of all three. We offer subjects that reflect the interests and the needs of our students, and support their next steps and destinations. All students follow an additional, super-curricular pathway to complement their learning.
Teacher knowledge of the curriculum and the best way to implement it is a core driver for the quality of education at The Weald. This includes the three types of teacher knowledge: subject knowledge, pedagogy and subject pedagogy. As a result of outstanding CPD opportunities and our thriving community, retention of staff is strong. Teachers have very good knowledge of the subjects they teach and subject knowledge enhancement is a core part of training to continue to develop expertise.
All teaching staff are supported by a clear whole school teaching and learning (T&L) strategy, which is underpinned by evidence of what works in the classroom. This is outlined in our T&L essentials, found in our T&L knowledge organiser. This focuses on:
- 'The Big Four': feedback, autonomy, challenge and engagement (based on Andy Griffith's 'Teaching Backwards' philosophy)
- Closing the vocabulary gap (KO) and reading (KO)
- Responsive teaching (KO), in particular in response to the impact of COVID closure
Memory and knowledge retention have been areas that have been a focus for curriculum development in order to overcome the 'forgetting curve'. This work is supported by the use of knowledge organisers and/or PLCs across all years (shared via our website). Fluency in this core knowledge is built through a range of formative assessment methods, including low stakes testing, which are used by teachers to find and fix mistakes and misconceptions through responsive teaching. This knowledge is secured and applied flexibly through a broad range of tasks.
We support teacher development through the inquiry question model of T&L appraisal allowing teachers to focus on a narrow, sustained and meaningful issue which they are addressing to support their students' outcomes.
The quality of education at The Weald is measured through a range of outcomes including:
- Formative assessment outcomes (eg. regular low stakes testing and internal assessments)
- Work scrutiny showing the quality of students' work and the impact of feedback over time
- Summative assessment outcomes and reporting, which is reviewed through Head of Year presentations and SLT RSL meetings
- Progress reviews and lesson visits
- Staff, student and parent voice feedback
- The success of our students over a sustained period in national tests
- Our students' readiness for the next stage in their learning or life
- Ongoing cycles of departmental and school self evaluation and improvement planning which are informed by the outcomes shown
We use assessment to infer how far the curriculum is having its intended impact against the 'mastery' endpoints at each stage outlined by all subjects. Those endpoints outline high expectations, which we challenge all students to reach by 'teaching to the top'.
It is against those sequences and endpoint expectations that we use assessment in two ways:
- Formative assessment - to support students on route, by finding and fixing errors, mistakes and misconceptions. The purpose of formative assessment is to improve student performance.
- Summative assessment - to make claims about how students are performing towards or against expected end points. The purpose of summative assessment is to prove student performance.