Our curriculum ambition at Atherton High School is to make learning irresistible for all. We have designed a challenging and ambitious curriculum to provide the best learning opportunities for all our students to aspire and achieve.

Our core values that drive our curriculum are:

  • Aspiration for all to improve life chances for every student.
  • Excellence in learning through an ambitious knowledge and vocabulary rich curriculum for all.
  • Character and personal development to equip all of our students to succeed in life.

Curriculum review is continual at Atherton High to ensure what is taught is coherently planned and sequenced to equip students to succeed in life.  Our curriculum supports students from all backgrounds, including those who are disadvantaged, so students access a high quality, knowledge rich curriculum. Our school community believes strongly in providing disadvantaged pupils with a curriculum that enables them to reach the academic standards of their non-disadvantaged peers. Our goal is to bring our young people into the big conversations of our disciplines, to bring depth to our curriculum, so they can understand the world around them.

Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum intent is to engage our young people in learning and to foster a culture of commitment to lifelong learning. Our curriculum ambition is to challenge all our students to be knowledge and vocabulary rich, to foster deep learning opportunities, so our young people have a strong, conceptual understanding of subject matter and a love of learning.  We believe our curriculum builds opportunities for our students to develop a strong sense of character, and responsibility as young citizens who are able to make positive contributions now, and in the future, to the communities to which they belong. Our curriculum intent is to nurture a culture of aspiration through the principles of balance and choice; hence, our young people can apply their knowledge to challenges and experience an enormous sense of accomplishment in their achievements.

Curriculum Implementation

Our philosophy puts the curriculum at the heart of our practice through well-planned opportunities to review the scope and depth of the curriculum and the delivery of the curriculum; and to keep a relentless focus on the quality of education in our school to secure an aspirational, knowledge and vocabulary rich curriculum by reflecting on three key questions:

  1. What is taught?
  2. Why is it taught?
  3. How is it taught?

Every subject discipline has a carefully planned ‘Learning Journey’ from Year 7 to Year 11 with the components of learning coherently sequenced, so that learning builds on learning. Knowledge Organisers outline the essential knowledge and vocabulary students will learn within a component of study. Teachers create high quality, challenging resources and design demanding learning opportunities to engage learners: we believe in a high challenge – low stress model of implementing our curriculum. The heart of our teaching delivery is to be responsive: our driving question is ‘Have students learnt what I have taught them?’

Curriculum Structure

At Key Stage 3 (Year 7-9), learners study a broad and balanced curriculum to ensure that all students experience the breadth of subjects, delivered by subject specialists, before making informed choices about Key Stage 4. There are opportunities for students who need extra literacy support and numeracy support to receive this.  As a school, we are keen to enable pupils to experience many different subjects and to create a learning journey through Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, so that aspiration is high and individual needs are met.

At Key Stage 3 (Year 7-9), all pupils study the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, History, Geography, RE, MFL (Spanish & French), Computer Science, Design Technology, Food Technology, Art, Music, Drama, PSHE and Citizenship Education, and PE. We aim to provide our students with a rich learning experience – intellectual, artistic nourishment, the tools to develop physical and mental health, to have opportunities to be creative and to have an appreciation of the arts and culture.

Key Stage 4 (Year 10-11) offers students a wide variety of option subjects alongside core subjects.  We offer GCSEs and Cambridge National Awards to support academic and vocational study. We are committed to enable every young person to aim high, and study subjects that will help them to continue to achieve long after they leave the school. To guide students to make these important choices we have a range of support sessions, from a Guided Options Evening, one-to-one sessions, College Drop- in Days, College Taster Days and an individual interview with local colleges and/or people from the local business community.

In addition, core academic learning experiences are extended with curriculum opportunities for personal development to build character: strong morals and values, to build respectful and positive relationships, to develop a strong sense of character as young citizens who are able to make positive contributions now, and in the future, to the communities to which they belong. Our ambition for our whole school programme for building skills (personal development skills: communication, self-belief, teamwork, self-management and problem solving) and developing character is to support students to realise their potential. All students have the opportunity to gain the following awards: Pioneer Award, Active Citizenship Award, Progression Pathfinder Award, and Progression Personal Skills Reflection Award. These awards are accredited by SLQ, a regulated Awarding Organisation with over 35 years’ experience in building leadership and life skills in young people. Atherton High School believes in equality of opportunity for all students, maximising achievement and that all students are capable of success.

The curriculum is organised into 25 periods per week comprising 5 x one-hour lessons each day for Years 7-10. For Year 11 we have extended the school day and their timetable is 28 periods a week.

Curriculum Impact

Students are supported to develop in-depth knowledge, understanding and skills across the curriculum. Pupils produce high quality work, enjoy their learning and progress as they learn more and remember more.

“AHS has felt like a family for me.  I’ve been supported when I’ve needed it and allowed to grow when the opportunity has arisen.  The SLT make me feel valued as a member of staff, I’m accepted for who I am and encouraged to become more.”

Mrs Gittins