Principal’s Message

As ever our students continue to thrive and strive for the best outcomes they can get.

The OfSTED/DfE Curriculum review revealed that breadth and depth of curriculum at KS3 is a concern:

• The curriculum should be broad and balanced and a rich experience to develop knowledge, understanding and application to best prepare for the future
• The curriculum should be served by exams and should not dictate the curriculum
• A good school curriculum should lead to good results. What is the body of knowledge that a student needs so that they flourish in the future

We have also found at PCSA that some students struggle to choose options when they are only part way through Year 8. They have only spent 8 terms in school and they are making choices that may impact on their future opportunities. At this point students will have completed 6 out of 19 learning cycles that they will take part in during their five year journey at PCSA. Furthermore, exams taken at the end of Year 10 have not always allowed students to show their full potential in a particular subject.

To this end PCSA want students to thrive on this five year journey through school – KS2 to KS4, giving them the opportunity to really embrace the right option choices and to further improve their outcomes. We are passionate about our students leaving PCSA on the right pathways to a secure future.

It is our intention that from September the curriculum structure will change as follows:

• Our students in Year 9 will continue to study the range of subjects from Years 7 & 8
• The time spent in Year 9 lessons will be preparing them for the study necessary should they choose to specialise in that subject for GCSE
• Some students may be offered an intervention pathway through Year 9 depending on need. This will be decided on an individual basis to ensure the right support is in place
• Therefore, specialisms will start at the beginning of Year 10 and continue over two years

Essentially, students will select three specialist subjects – for the majority of students this will be 2 subjects that are included in the English Baccalaureate (geography history or a modern foreign language) and 1 other subject, such as art, drama, music, DT, PE and others, with some of these available as courses leading to a less academic, vocational qualification.

Our Current Year 9
For our students who are already on option courses that were due to be completed at the end of Year 10 these will now complete at the end of Year 11. I fully expect this to have a positive impact on the final grades they are awarded. RE was due to be examined at the end of Year 10. This will also move to be examined at the end of Year 11.
Year 9 students will, in the next two months, choose another course to start at the beginning of Year 10, which will be completed at the end of Year 11.

As a forward – thinking school, we are planning what is taught, how it is taught and how it is assessed for a student on a five year journey school.
The PCSA team is focused on making sure that students are building correctly on the knowledge, understanding and skills that students have gained during earlier years. I believe these curriculum changes can only benefit our wonderful student body. We will be holding parent’s information evenings shortly to provide answers to any questions you may have. As ever, I am happy to respond to questions via e-mail or phone should you wish to contact me.

This curriculum will be rolled out across all schools in The Priory Learning Trust over the next two years.

Jane McBride