Principles upon which the curriculum is based
The Wren School offers an innovative curriculum designed to engage and challenge our students to make outstanding progress. The school is structured around a two-year key stage 3 and an enriched three-year key stage 4, followed by a sixth form curriculum offer that will be planned to meet the needs of The Wren students. Students will follow the National Curriculum but the approach will be enquiry based, with a strong emphasis on cross-curricular learning and development of skills within a real context. The Wren School recognises that we are preparing our students to live in a rapidly changing world where the skills of independence and resilience will be key to future success. Alongside our academic curriculum, we believe in ensuring our students have a broad range of ‘life’ skills: sex and relationships education, for example, will follow national guidelines and there will be a strong emphasis on developing economic understanding and British values, as well as the identification of core competences related to the world of work. Using the knowledge base of the national curriculum, there will be an emphasis on developing higher order learning skills. We will foster a love of reading and articulation of opinions in a forum designed to demand deeper thinking and questioning, in order to equip our students to respond positively to the demands of GCSE and sixth form study. We want our students to be challenged to think about why they are learning as well as what they are learning. Students will sit nationally-recognised assessments and gain nationally-recognised qualifications at the end of key stages 4 and 5, with the aspiration at all times for most students being to achieve the English Baccalaureate as a minimum at GCSE. Where students are significantly below age-related expectations, the core disciplines of English and mathematics will be prioritised in their timetable until they have “closed the gap”. The identification of students who will benefit from such a strategy will commence during the primary school transition programme and will be supplemented with baseline testing once the student has joined the school.
Key Stage 3
Our key stage 3 curriculum bridges the gap between primary and secondary school through a focus on developing core skills plus wider knowledge and understanding derived from a thematic curriculum linking ten subject areas: English, mathematics, science, PE and games, humanities, technology and art, modern foreign languages (Spanish and/or French), performing arts (drama and music), computing and wellbeing, as well as ‘reflection’ time. Our school day is structured to support this curriculum by enabling a mixture of double and single lessons in response to the differing learning needs of each subject.
Key Stage 4
The key stage 4 curriculum will meet the needs of our students by incorporating the opportunity for both academic and vocational study. We aim to give every student the opportunity to succeed by offering an appropriate range of qualifications including the chance to study towards the English Baccalaureate. However, for some students a continued focus on core skills (and consequent reduction in optional subjects) will be more important. The key stage 4 programme of study will commence in Year 9, with all students beginning GCSE courses in the core subjects of English (language and literature), mathematics, science and citizenship. For the optional GCSE subjects that we will offer, students will undertake ‘taster’ GCSE modules in order to help them make their choices. By the end of year 9, each student will formally select optional GCSE subjects to study in Years 10 and 11 to supplement the core GCSE subjects. Some students may follow a vocational course as an alternative to one or more GCSE subjects. It is our aim that all students will participate in one week of work experience or community service by the end of year 10 and, for a limited number of students, this opportunity will be extended into year 11 in lieu of one or more option subjects.
The Wren School will have an open access sixth form, i.e. transfer from year 11 to sixth form will be based on attitude to learning and further study rather than academic ability. As such, the school will aim to provide an appropriate range of courses and qualifications to meet the needs and aspirations of our students in Year 11. Some students may choose to continue their education post-16 elsewhere. In this event, the school will seek to admit new students to the school at sixth form level. Information about the nature of the sixth form offer will be published in 2019.
Provision for students with additional needs
The Assistant Headteacher (Raising standards) and Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) will take leadership of the identification and provision for individual students and groups. Initial identification of each student’s needs will be through the analysis of baseline data, and as a result of discussions with parents/carers and our collaborative transition programme with our feeder primary schools. Where needs are identified, students will complete specialist assessments and outside agencies will be involved if appropriate.
The Wren School will teach in groups of up to 28 students, frequently assigning an additional adult to the class to support learning. For practical subjects, smaller group sizes will be employed. Some students will receive intensive intervention to enable them to benefit from secondary education. We expect each teacher to be a teacher of special educational needs, differentiating the work to meet individual student needs and responsible for planning for each child to make progress. Our approach to student support is to offer in-class assistance rather than withdrawal wherever possible.
The Wren School believes that any student may need additional help to access their learning at some stage in their school career. Some students will join the school with an identified need whereas, for others, their need may develop during their education and could be transitory. Where students are identified as having a specific educational need, progress will be reviewed three times a year, with parents/carers and the student included.
In addition to the provision of learning support for special educational needs and disability, we will also offer additional intervention for students who are struggling to learn due to emotional and social vulnerability, behaviour or mental health concerns.
For those students for whom English is an additional language, initial information will be gained from primary liaison. An induction programme will be implemented for beginners, providing advice for students, parents and family.
We will use Pupil Premium money to focus our support on those who need it most. A priority will be the provision of catch-up opportunities in English and mathematics, where it is identified that a need is present. Additional targeted strategies in order to raise aspirations will be employed on an individualneeds basis, for example by purchasing peripatetic music lessons or additional drama.
For the most able students, teachers will stretch and challenge them within lessons as well as through an extended curriculum which responds to their interests and aptitudes.
For Looked After Children, the Assistant Headteacher (Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare) will be the first point of contact with social services, carers and external agencies, hosting regular meetings and identifying a staff mentor for each student.
In all cases, the school will seek to access the expertise of external agencies to provide specialist input related to the needs of individual students and families.
Download a PDF version of The Wren School’s curriculum statement here: Curriculum statement 2018-2019