Curriculum

As an Academy we have the freedom to decide the best curriculum for our very able students and we keep our model under constant review to ensure our students benefit from the best opportunities available. Our curriculum is a seven year journey, carefully planned to create a rich experience that is coherent across all areas of school life.

Breadth of opportunity is particularly important to us and this aligns closely with our school vision. For our students to be individuals and have the true opportunity to explore their place in the world, it is vital that the curriculum remains as broad as possible, for as long as possible. We believe passionately in the study of four subjects at Year 12 and in the academic value this brings, even if only three A levels are taken as examination subjects in Year 13. We believe excellent academic outcomes are supported by this approach, rather than by merely focusing on narrow examination content. Likewise, we ‘nurture excellence through supporting each other’ and focusing on the individual.  Reflecting this, our curriculum is student centred and meets the needs of our diverse community.  For example, at Key Stage 4 we don’t have option blocks, instead building the timetable around students. This is about knowing, valuing and supporting our students as unique learners. At Pate’s we ‘embrace challenge’ as part of our vision. Academic rigour is important and students of our calibre should rightly be challenged by a curriculum that expects them to go deeper and far beyond the National Curriculum. All the subjects we offer are rigorous academic disciplines providing powerful knowledge and cultural capital for all students regardless of background.  We are fortunate to have outstanding facilities including two dedicated and fully staffed libraries that support and enhance student learning across the curriculum.

The provision of co-curricular activities at Pate's is unrivalled by any other state school, regionally or nationally.  At both lunch times and after school Pate's buzzes with activity, allowing students to be creative, perform, play sport and be active to their heart's content.  Indeed, so committed are we as a school to a true breadth of education, that on Tuesday afternoons and Flexible Learning Days lessons are suspended, allowing all students to access the 'exceptional range' (Ofsted) of enrichment activities that are on offer (see more details per Key Stage below). Furthermore, for two weeks each summer, 'Activities Fortnight' allows students in Years 7 - 10 to participate in an additional myriad of exciting opportunities.  Our House system is also an integral part of our curriculum offering, overseen by staff but led and driven by a team of Sixth Form House Officials.  Each year over twenty inter-house competitions are staged, many involving whole year groups, in an atmosphere of friendly competition.

Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 and 9

Students joining us in Year 7 study Art, Computing, Drama, English, French, Geography, German, History, Mandarin, Mathematics, Music, Personal Development Curriculum (including life skills e.g. cookery), Physical Education and Games, Philosophy, Theology and Ethics (PTE) and Science. Students can choose to opt into the Mandarin Excellence Programme in Year 7 and as they progress through their first three years, they also have the opportunity to start learning Spanish. On Tuesday afternoons we further enrich our curriculum with a wide range of additional learning activities from astronomy to climbing, and bushcraft to yoga! Year 9 is a transition year when in most subjects students start to meet some GCSE skills and content while still exploring and extending the Key Stage 3 curriculum. During Year 9 our information, advice and guidance programme helps students in deciding which subjects they will choose to study in Years 10 and 11 to GCSE.

Key Stage 4 - Years 10 and 11

Students take all their external GCSE qualifications at the end of Year 11. All students have a core curriculum of English Literature, English Language, Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. They can then choose four options subjects from the list below, on top of the non-examined subjects of PDC (Personal Development Curriculum), Physical Education, Core PTE and Games. Tuesday afternoons and termly Flexible Learning Days for all students again provide extra opportunities for enrichment activities and careers advice.  For some students it can be appropriate to sit a GCSE in Further Maths.

Art, Business Studies, Computing, Drama, French, Geography, German, History, Mandarin, Music, Physical Education, PTE (Religious Education), Spanish.

Our student-centred system means we give free choice, under the guidance of the pastoral and academic teams, as to which GCSEs a student would like to follow. We then build the curriculum around them. All of our students select a broad range of GCSEs and despite not being compulsory, the vast majority of students fulfil the EBacc criteria.  We feel this is the best approach to meet the needs of each individual student in our care.

Key Stage 5 - Years 12 and 13

The Sixth Form years offer exceptional opportunities for academic progress and self-development. Our curriculum meets all aspects of the Study Programmes for 16-19 year olds - our IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance Programme) and a vast array of enrichment and super-curricular activity supplementing pupils' core academic study.

The majority of our students begin year 12 on four A level courses, usually moving onto three in year 13. A small number of students studying Maths and Further Maths may wish to study 5 subjects, but this is the exception rather than the norm. Many students also elect to complete an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), an area in which our students have had outstanding success.  The Pate’s Bacc on a Tuesday afternoon offers an additional opportunity to broaden and enrich students’ analytical and critical skills.

Subjects currently on offer at Pate's Sixth Form:

Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Economics, English, French, Geography, German, History (Early Modern and Modern pathways), Maths, Further Maths, Music, Physics, Physical Education, Politics, Psychology, PTE, Spanish and Theatre Studies.

The impact of our curriculum is clear to see. Our students achieve the very highest possible outcomes in terms of academic qualifications (attainment and progress), which see them go on to the very best University courses (both in the UK and abroad) and also increasingly to highly competitive Higher Apprenticeship courses. Crucially, however, our students also embody the skills and qualities set out in our school vision. These skills are recorded, reflected on and assessed through our Personal Development Curriculum and IAG programme – resulting in the happy, curious, resilient and well-rounded young individuals who are the hallmark of our school.

For more information on the Pate's Curriculum please see the Faculty pages on our website, our  Whole School and Sixth Form Prospectuses or contact the school office - office@patesgs.org

"The range of subjects we do is amazing and the Tuesday Afternoon Enrichment Block has allowed me to do activities such as Mandarin, Cookery, Public Speaking and Bushcraft in addition to all my usual subjects on my timetable" (Year 8 student)