Curriculum

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
- (Plutarch)

We are a school that strives for excellence. We deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, which is dynamic and challenging.

We continually review the curriculum on offer to ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve academic and examination success. In its design the curriculum, at all key stages, endeavours to support student learning by addressing the following aspects:

  • Aptitude
  • Breadth and balance
  • Challenge for the complete student ability range
  • Development of independent learning
  • Equal opportunities for all to succeed
  • Flexibility

Our curriculum is grouped into three phases:

Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

Students engage well with the school's PSHCE programme, which deals with relevant issues in each Year group, e.g. keeping healthy, road safety, drugs, alcohol and relationship education.

Specific issues such as bullying and drugs awareness dealt with at appropriate stages and reinforced regularly. Internet safety is central to the ICT programme, in which all students in Years 7 to 9 participate.  Additional information events with the Police have been provided for students.  Students from the School's CCF have delivered courses in basic First Aid to other students.  Awareness of racism and homophobia are dealt with through the Citizenship programme within PSHCE, assemblies and relevant lessons in RS, History and Geography. 

Students make a very strong contribution, both as leaders and participants, to many activities and events.  They lead and perform in assemblies and other presentations where they share and celebrate their experiences.  The prefect system is a great strength in this respect; both creating and developing an expectation that students will have a stake in the on-going success of the school and helping to create a very strong collective identity.  There is a strong tradition of raising money for local and national charities; with such activities entirely run by students. Many students act as ambassadors for the school locally, for example working at the local junior school and with the elderly.

Students’ cultural development is aided throughout their time in school through whole school events such as our annual Remembrance Service and visits to sites of important local interest such as: Portchester Castle, Hurst Castle, Hengistbury Head and Lulworth Cove. Trips are also run to London to places such as the Natural History Museum, Kew Gardens, the Science Museum and the Imperial War Museum. Further afield still, students also have the opportunity to ski in Italy and visit the First World War Battlefields. All of these visits help the students to put their own culture and heritage into context.

The school has no religious affiliations, but enjoys close links with all of the main faith communities in the Bournemouth area. We encourage students to celebrate their own faiths.

Religious Education

Section 78 (1) of the 2002 Education Act states that all pupils should follow a balanced and broadly based curriculum which:

“promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, social, mental and physical development of pupils and of society, and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.”Our Religious Studies department aims to develop critically evaluative and reflective students.  We believe that an exploration of religious beliefs and worldviews should be combined with introspection and academic study.  We strive to keep philosophical dialogue and discussion at the heart of our programmes of study.  Through an engagement with relevant belief systems, ethical issues and big questions, students have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of their local, national and global society.  We build from a systematic engagement with a number of major worldviews and then begin to explore moral dilemmas and philosophical questions.  It is open to parents to withdraw their children from all or part of Religious Education by putting a request in writing to the Headmaster.

Religious Education in Years 7 and 8

We aim to help students learn about and from religions. In Years 7 and 8, students explore four of the six main major UK religions in depth.  These are: Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.

Religious Education in Years 9-11

In Key Stage 4 all students follow a full course GCSE.  Students will acquire a knowledge and understanding of the key beliefs, teachings and practices of the Buddhist and Christian faiths and look at the impact that they have upon the life of a believer.  In addition students explore a wide range of philosophical, secular and societal issues including: the challenges to religions posed by evil and suffering; the relationship between science and religion; and issues such as abortion, euthanasia and animal rights. We hope that students will gain an appreciation of how the different religions respond to these challenges and also reflect upon, develop and express their own opinion.

Religious Education at A Level

Philosophy is an optional subject at A Level.  The course aims not only to develop students’ knowledge of the above but also to develop their analytical thinking skills as well as their precision and accuracy in written work.

Health, Sex and Relationships Education

Health Education plays a significant part in a young person’s personal development, and an important area of this is Sex and Relationships Education.

The knowledge, understanding and skills developed are always put into the context of positive, caring relationships and the need for trust and respect in relationships.

Sex and Relationships Education is provided for all students through Science and PSHE lessons. The aim of Sex Education is to foster students' understanding of their emotional and physiological development and awareness of the attitudes and values of others.  We normally use the Bournemouth Sexual Health Team to deliver lessons on sexual education to years 9 and above. This experienced team visit most local schools at key times of students’ development to provide up to date, relevant and thought-provoking lessons on relationships and making good decisions. Parents will receive a letter home to tell them when these lessons will occur and the topic being covered. Exact timings and content do vary from year to year.  

In Year 7 Science lessons students consider how life begins. Classes study reproduction in plants and animals, which leads on to work on human reproduction. There is a general introduction to the sex organs; pregnancy and birth are considered. Puberty changes are discussed and lessons stress that all variations of such changes are normal.

In Year 9, classes follow a short unit of work in which students consider their attitudes to others. The work incorporates examination of adolescence and responsibility.  This programme introduces AIDS and the use of condoms.

Various aspects of Sex Education are included in Key Stage 4 Science courses. These involve a more advanced study of fertilisation and birth, as well as infertility and hormone treatment. 

Parents who wish to know more about the programme may consult the teacher concerned. It is open to parents to withdraw their children from all or part of Sex and Relationship Education, by putting a request in writing to the Headmaster.