Curriculum

“Teachers use probing questions and provide opportunities for students to develop answers through extended writing” Ofsted 2018
Our Whole School Curriculum Intent

A broad and aspirational Curriculum for all creating a climate for great learning, success and opportunity

Our Curriculum builds on strong foundations to support and challenge every single member of our community.   ‘Benton Park School Values’ permeate all that we do and our aim is for our staff and students to fully embody these important qualities of inspiration, resilience, endeavour, compassion and collaboration. We have extremely high aspirations for all our students: we want them to achieve and exceed their potential, both academically and personally. Our students are integral to the very fabric of the school through their participation in all aspects of the life of Benton Park School so that when they leave us as Benton Park Graduates they are equipped with the qualifications and skills to allow them to make the very best life choices.

Teaching and Learning pillars uphold our delivery of powerful knowledge and skills so that teachers employ effective strategies to support and challenge students within and beyond the classroom with areas of focus including the delivery of effective feedback, memory and recall techniques, strategic questioning and the promotion of independent learning. Our Word Revolution, use of Reciprocal Reading strategies and form-time ‘Big Read’ sessions promote vocabulary and reading development to create a ‘language-rich’ environment which recognises the power of effective communication and celebrates the joy of reading for pleasure.

Subject Progression Maps create a learning journey for students so that they can see where their learning is taking them and why, while Progression Models are built to respond to the needs of all students.  We employ the most effective tools, strategies and resources to adapt to each class and cohort:

– By showing students ‘the big picture’ we motivate them: our students can explain what they are learning and why they are learning it, as well as why they are learning it now.

– By selecting and guiding our students to key knowledge, we activate their learning so that they can be independent, enquiring learners who seek out answers to their own questions and problems.

– We show our students how they can relate skills/knowledge to prior and future learning so that they can put the pieces back together themselves.

– We use teaching strategies which allow our students to retrieve and recall ideas and learning so that they will remember what they have learnt and know how to apply this knowledge.

– We teach our students how to evaluate what they do know; what they still need to learn; how to make progress and extend learning –so that they can make their own plans for future progress.

Our excellent Pastoral Care and PSHCE programmes are the cornerstones that develop students’ personal and social wellbeing and understanding and we are rightly proud of our high levels of parental engagement. Timetabled Aspiration for All sessions further encourage and inspire students to recognise all the doors that are open to them, providing a valuable space for them to explore these options.  Extra-curricular and enrichment activities, as well as the many Student Leadership opportunities, extend learning, independence and enjoyment across the curriculum, broadening horizons for all our students.  Careers provision is delivered to students through Form time assemblies, PSHCE lessons and events that are planned and hosted in school, such as the Aspiration for All sessions or Lunchtime Careers Talks. Students also have scheduled meetings with an independent careers advisor at key points in their school calendar.

We firmly believe in an inclusive school environment in which all students have an equal opportunity to access a broad and balanced curriculum. Through our school ethos and curriculum we embed the themes of tolerance, inclusivity and mutual respect, following equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there is no discrimination against any individual or group due to their gender, race, disability, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. We celebrate diversity and equality through a curriculum which actively promotes discussion and exposes students to a wide range of thoughts and ideas.

Our curriculum further promotes Inclusion through its focus on the participation and achievements of all students particularly those with a Special Educational need and those in receipt of Pupil Premium funding.

Teachers plan learning to support better cognition and learning, facilitate communication and interaction, address sensory and physical needs as well as developing positive social, emotional and mental health and in this way guaranteeing that lessons are accessible for all. To ensure any learning gaps and misconceptions are rapidly addressed, teachers employ the Benton Park Five Habits consistently in all lessons: knowing their students well; seating them strategically; targeting questions in order to deepen and broaden their understanding; personalised monitoring and feedback, ensuring teachers have an acute understanding of the current progress of all students and specific next steps to accelerate their progress.

In these ways the Benton Park School Curriculum encourages students to live out our school values as they develop the resilience, compassion, collaborative skills, and sense of endeavour and inspiration to reach the high aspirations we have for them.

Our Subject Curriculum Intent

The Benton Park School Curriculum encourages students to live out our school values as students develop the resilience, compassion, collaborative skills, and sense of endeavour and inspiration to reach the high aspirations we have for them.

In English, students are taught to understand and appreciate the power of language and literature, its complex meanings and the importance of accuracy in the written and spoken word through a range of diverse and challenging texts. In Maths, students become mathematically fluent, analytically critical and develop an enjoyment of the subject which encourages them to be disciplinary mathematicians and facilitates them to apply their knowledge to other areas of the curriculum. Similarly, in Science, students learn how to understand the scientific processes of Theory – Experiment – Validate – Evaluate so that they can recognise how the ways of organising and developing knowledge continues to evolve.

Developing students as Global Citizens and Citizen Historians is very important to our Modern Foreign Languages and History departments who develop our students’ ability to have a wide cultural appreciation of the world and to be critical and curious thinkers. Our Geography curriculum extends this by promoting student understanding of development, sustainability, population and landscape changes, while the RSP curriculum, with its heavy emphasis on debate and discussion, develops students who have a strong awareness of how religion, morals, ethics and philosophy have influenced and continue to influence the world in which we live. Through Computer Science our students also learn how to prepare for the digital world, giving them the confidence to access emerging technologies.

In the Performing and Creative Art subjects students experience a practical and student-led curriculum which inspires them to take creative risks, collaborate and experiment. In Music they explore a range of musical genres through the ages and use the up-to-the-minute software, as well as more traditional instruments, to perform and devise their own compositions. In Drama, students are taught to develop an appreciation and respect for all aspects of the Arts – they are encouraged to become ‘fearless performers’ with a true mastery of their practice. In Art and Photography, students become both artists and critics as they learn to analyse processes and contextualise works of art; while in Technology students follow a curriculum where self and peer assessment is deeply embedded. Here, students experiment with new developments in technology and employ key skills of reflection, analysis and evaluation to the process of iterative design. Food Preparation and Nutrition students also accumulate a range of skills that can equip them for life. Students work independently to plan, prepare and cook meals and understand their nutritional value. In Media Studies, students learn how to become analytical and critical readers of the media and innovative practitioners who are socially and politically aware. In all these ways, we see students leading their own learning.

These leadership skills are of vital importance to the PE and Sport curriculum where promotion of a life-long participation in a healthy lifestyle is underpinned by sports leadership at all levels. Throughout lessons, students are taught to foster an analytical and problem-solving mindset, while close links to other centres and sporting associations and clubs give them opportunities to showcase these skills. Life skills play just as strong a role in our Social Studies faculty where budding entrepreneurs in Business Studies gain a valuable understanding through a curriculum which mimics the development and setting up of a business and reflects the real-life practices of the business world, including ‘SMART’ targets and learning goals. Through the study of Finance and Economics students gain a thorough understanding of the finance of individuals, firms and governments. In Psychology students study core themes, which means that they leave the course understanding the differences and the motivation behind human behaviours. This supports their own mental health and provides the skill to apply these theories to real world contexts. Health and Social Care and Sociology students develop an equally strong understanding of real-life applications through case studies, independent research and hands-on experience.

Curriculum at Key Stage 3

All students will study English, Maths and Science.  In addition to this they will also study the following subjects:

French or Spanish, some students also study German
History
Geography
Religious Studies
Art
Computer Science
Music
Drama
Technology
Physical Education
PSE Curriculum

Curriculum at Key Stage 4

All students study the core curriculum including English, Maths, Science, Religious Studies, PE and PSHCE.

All students then choose four subjects from the choices listed below

Options include:

GCSE Geography, History, Business Studies, French, German, Spanish, Computer Science, Art, Photography, Media Studies, Music, Textiles, Product Design, Drama, PE, Level 2 Sport Science, Food Preparation and Nutrition,  Health & Social Care, Statistics, Additional Mathematics, BTEC Award in Digital Information Technology.

Alternative & Extended Curriculum

A small number of students benefit from alternative provision which is bespoke to their specific needs. These students benefit from placements at alternative providers within Leeds and placements can be for a short period of time or incorporated into their regular curriculum. Parents are kept informed of the progress and attainment of their child linked to these programmes.

Curriculum at Key Stage 5

Please access our Sixth Form page for full information on our Post 16 provision:

Sixth Form Curriculum

Our Curriculum: Reading and Research

Our Journey began with the Senior Leadership team reading Mary Myatt’s important book ‘The Curriculum: From Gallimaufry to Coherence’ where she outlines the fundamentals of the curriculum: planning, assessment and feedback, and finally leadership. Myatt succinctly argues that “All of our children ought to be able to tell us what they are learning about and why it is important” – a key aspect to achieving curriculum consistency and coherence.

We knew that we wanted a whole school curriculum that developed the characteristics of successful students; created preparedness for their next steps in life; encouraged an interest in subjects studied that would last a lifetime and most importantly – promoted enjoyment and engagement.

Further significant reading included Arthur Shimamura’s ‘MARGE: A whole brain approach for Students and Teachers’ and Tom Sherrington’s ‘Rosenshine’s Principles in Action’ both of which formed the basis for a series of training sessions and helped provide the foundations for our subject curricula.

Following Shimaura’s structure, we adapted a framework that would structure our new Progression maps and models:

  • By showing students ‘the big picture’ we motivate them: our students can explain what they are learning and why they are learning it, as well as why they are learning it now.
  • By selecting and guiding our students to key knowledge, we activate their learning so that they can be independent, enquiring learners who seek out answers to their own questions and problems.
  • We show our students how they can relate skills/knowledge to prior and future learning so that they can put the pieces back together themselves.
  • We use teaching strategies which allow our students to retrieve and recall ideas and learning so that they will remember what they have learnt and know how to apply this knowledge.
  • We teach our students how to evaluate what they do know; what they still need to learn; how to make progress and extend learning –so that they can make their own plans for future progress.

Our research and reading also underpinned for us the vital importance of building ‘schema’: a framework or a system of organising and perceiving new information – the learning blocks that help students to make connections across and within their learning. We understand that learning comes in different forms – the ‘core’ knowledge and skills of a subject discipline and the ‘hinterland’ knowledge that enables them to access and experience different aspects of a curriculum, for example a theatre or museum trip, or an explanation by a teacher of a cultural aspect of a text: experiential learning that will support and extend their understanding. In order to fully support and challenge all of our learners- particularly those with SEND or in receipt of Pupil Premium funding, our curriculum is built explicitly to meet these needs.

Our curriculum leaders worked hard in their departments to identify the essential subject knowledge and skills which structure and sequence our Curriculum Progression maps and teaching Progression models through a series of meetings, training days and shared ‘show and tell’ sessions both to the extended leadership team and to school Governors. Further reading at all levels led to a range of professional development opportunities with members of staff leading training and sharing book reviews and ‘masterclass’ conference learning. All of this means that our curriculum encompasses more than just core or ‘substantive’ knowledge; it has specific links to prior and future learning and works toward a specific purpose – enabling our students to “tell us what they are learning about and why it is important”.

See below for examples of some of this reading and research:

Discover our Learning Journeys

Click on the icons below to find out more about the learning journey for each of our subjects .

“Teachers are working hard to raise the expectations of all students through their planning to stretch and challenge them in their learning.” Ofsted 2018

 

“Inspectors observed in students’ books a range of high-quality work which consolidated and deepened pupils’ understanding” Ofsted 2018