Every individual has the ability to learn, so the curriculum aims not only to maximise but also increase this ability and meet the needs of all pupils regardless of where they currently are. It is designed to provide opportunity for unrestricted progress in all subject areas at all levels.
As independent schools we ensure that our curriculum conforms to UK Independent Schools Standards Regulations 2012 requirements in the context of the aims of the schools.
Using the National Curriculum as a framework, we focus on a core range of subjects and ensure pupils experience linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human, social, physical, aesthetic and creative education. Within this, the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of every child is fostered and the mediums of delivering the curriculum facilitate the acquiring of skills required to learn, as well as specific knowledge and understanding.
Academic achievement is important and we want every student to really do their best. It is important that they leave school with grades that will reflect their true ability and open doors in and for the future. We provide a curriculum that is broad, balanced and rigorous; one that offers students the opportunity to understand a subject beyond what is required to merely pass an exam.
To achieve this, we encourage a creative, innovative approach that develops a lively and interesting learning environment which in turn inspires students to engage with and enjoy the subjects being taught.
The Primary Phase of the Focus school network begins in year 3 and ends at year 6, at which point the pupils transfer to our secondary campuses. In the Primary Phase, students make significant progress across a broad and balanced curriculum including the core subjects of Maths, English and Science, as well as a wide range of foundation subjects. This is supported by quality first teaching and rigorous, formative assessment.
There is a focus on using assessment data to establish what level of work students are able to produce, and this information is used effectively to plan for and deliver the next teaching and learning steps.
The national expected levels of attainment provide a benchmark for the minimum that pupils should achieve, but a high percentage of students exceed these levels. This is achieved through a supportive and encouraging environment and a belief that all pupils can, and should, reach their full potential in everything they do.
There is a positive culture of collaboration and team working evident amongst staff and a professional attitude to school improvement. New initiatives are creating an awareness amongst staff and students of the need to be creative and innovative in approaches to both teaching and learning.
KEY STAGE 3
At Key Stage 3 there remains a focus on core subjects with provision for the students to learn and express themselves in Art, DT, Food, Textiles, Public Speaking and Physical Education as well as other active subjects. An emphasis on cross curricular activities, projects, team work, peer assessment and self-directed learning is strongly encouraged and is intended to make these years a varied and inspiring key stage for the developing learner.
KEY STAGE 4 & 5
At Key Stage 4 students study for IGCSE, GCSE, City & Guilds and other examinations with most students taking 8-10 exams in Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, Citizenship, MFL, Food, Art, DT and other subjects. At this stage, the skills developed in earlier years should ensure that teachers are not just teaching to the exam but that a deeper understanding of the subjects can be explored and our goal of each student reaching or exceeding their exam grade targets can still be achieved.
At Focus schools almost all students stay on to complete Years 12 and 13, with most studying 4 or 5 AS subjects in year 12 and taking 3 or 4 of these through to A2 in year 13. Maths and English are offered to all levels, along with Economics, Accounts, Business Studies, Humanities, MFL and a range of vocational subjects.
Tracking the progress of individual students over time is a critical factor in our management of teaching and learning, so the recording, analysis and use of accurate and reliable data is absolutely essential.
Our schools use a triangular approach to confirm the data, including teacher assessment, work evidence and formally assessed and moderated attainment.
This occurs throughout the key stages, providing a picture of progress over time that can be compared with both other schools in the Focus group and national statistics.
This enables intervention to be provided at an early stage and helps to ensure that each and every student stays on track with their true learning potential.
PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE – PREPARED FOR LIFE
With the rigorous academic expectations coupled with the development of the individual as an independent learner; the development of both personal and social capital are captured within students as they are prepared for life after school.
The track record of success is that less than 0.5% of 16 – 24 year olds educated in Focus schools enter into the NEET statistics (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
Independent careers advice is provided in a variety of ways in different campuses using the facilities available within the local community where the school is based. Students also have opportunity to discuss their future careers and attributes that are most valued with experienced business owners.
Typically over 75% of students leaving Focus schools continue in some form of education or training, many of them choosing to ‘earn while they learn’ and take up further qualifications whilst in employment.