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Charles Darwin School

Curriculum Aims and Intent

Our key purpose

Charles Darwin School is committed to creating and maintaining a caring community in which students are enabled to confidently meet the challenges of the wider world and where educational excellence is encouraged and fostered purposefully.

Specifically, we will endeavour to:

  1. Enable each student to develop personally, social and intellectually through engaging in a broad range of learning experiences.
  2. Enable all students to make the most of their intellectual ability through the attainment of high academic standards.
  3. Enable students to develop into independent and responsible citizens ready to contribute positively to an ever-changing world.
  4. Provide a secure moral framework where pupils can develop values congruent with civilised society.
  5. Prepare students to play an active part in building a caring community.
  6. Ensure that each student develops a positive sense of self-worth which will contribute to a self–disciplined, determined approach to the pursuit of their goals.

In order to achieve these broad aims, it is our belief, that the curriculum be able to provide all students with the opportunity to learn through engaging in a broad range of academic and practical subjects, in a well determined programme that:

  • Creates an aspirational culture
  • Considers fully individual student needs.
  • Allows everyone to experience success
  • Raises overall standards of achievement
  • Fosters the acquisition of good behaviours and attitudes.
  • Enables students to live safe and happy lives.

Key Stage 3 Years 7-9

English, Maths, Science,

Art Computing Drama, French/German, Geography, History, Music, Personal Development Physical Education, Religious Education and.  

Selected students, who have very low prior attainment and have special learning and literacy needs, are taught for a good proportion of their time in a small group setting (group).

Students in this group benefit from additional learning support to assist them with the quicker acquisition of literacy and essential learning skills. 

For students whose reading age is behind their chronological age additional support is also provided through an intervention programme that includes in class support as well as withdrawal.

Key Stage 4 -Years 10 -11

In Year 10 students have the opportunity to study subjects that they have chosen to study to GCSE level. The common core curriculum studied by all students includes.

English Language and Literature


Physics, Chemistry and Biology or Double Science,

Physical Education

Students are encouraged to make their GCSE choices from a broad range of subjects. These include GCSE and equivalent and applied vocational subjects. They consist of:

Art, Business Studies, Computer Science, Dance, Design Technology, Drama , Film Studies ,French, Geography, German, History , ICT, Media, Music, PE and Textiles

Obviously, the choices that students make for GCSE study are very important, it is imperative that students study a broad and balanced group of subjects and that they study the EBAC subjects wherever possible. Consequently, we devote time and energy into providing good guidance to all students and their families. In addition to an options evening we schedule personalised meetings for families with tutors for all students undergoing this choice process. The aim being to ensure that students are challenged academically and are motivated by their choices, studying subjects that are likely to ensure long term success.   

  Social Disadvantage  

We are fully aware of the impact that social disadvantage can have on the achievement of some students. We therefore intent to undertake the following as far as resources allow.

  1. Ensure that provision for children who enrol with low reading ages is robust, enabling students to make progress with their reading as quickly as possible. We are fully aware that any poor prior reading skill will have an undue impact on children’s overall progress so addressing this through intervention and class focus is important.
  2. We will endeavour to ensure that the LIP group in Years 7-9 is kept to a small size, thus enabling more opportunities targeted 1-1 support for those who need it. 
  3. In core subjects of English and Maths we will endeavour in years 10 and 11 to provide small group support, particularly for those that are from disadvantaged backgrounds to boost their progress.
  4. Where there are financial hindrances to a disadvantaged pupil’s progress, such as no access to ICT, need of books, revision guides etc. we will seek to assist as far is reasonable.
  5. From time to time we will fund out of school broader educational experiences such as university visits, theatre trips, field trips. 

Learning Beyond subjects

Enriched Curriculum days and the Tutorial programme

Enriched learning days, when the normal timetable is suspended, take place several times a year for each year group, these days together with a well-developed tutorial programme are utilised to broaden the student learning experience further; enabling students with the development of key understandings in a whole range of issues.     Examples of subject matter covered in this way includes:

  • Staying safe, including online safety and drug and alcohol awareness
  • Developing greater resilience and a Growth Mindset attitude
  • Aspects of key British values,
  • Study skills,   
  • Healthy living including mental health
  • Bullying
  • British values

Enriched Learning and Tutorial Programme Priorities

Tutorial Themes (Years 7-11)







Summer 2

Year 7





Our behaviour for learning

Making Friends (healthy relationships)



(kindness and mutual respect)


Confidence and Self Esteem



Tolerance and Diversity



Revision Techniques

Big questions

(reasoning and debating skills)

Year 8

Role Models and



Self Esteem


Revision, study skills and Growth Mind-set

Tolerance and Diversity

Year 9

Physical and mental wellbeing

Career and options

Careers and options

Diversity and tolerance

E-safety and exam prep

Exam revision and attitude to learning

Year 10

Healthy relationships and consent

The Big Debate

Nation Building


PPE Exam Prep

Prep for Y11

Year 11


Revision & resilience

Post 16 pathways (careers)

Power & prepare to perform

Power & prepare to perform


Tutorial Themes (Years 12-13)














Year 12

How to be a six form student - organisation including effective use of study time and folder

Reflection on Week 6 Assessments The Art of independent learning 

 Next steps - your future/your career

Employability Skills and CVs

Effective revision strategies

Summer exams, end of year reflection, preparation for work placements, uni open day research

Sixth form prefect applications

Year 13

Reflection of Year 12 Organisation and independent study recap Next Steps - UCAS/Apprenticeships CVs

Next  Steps - UCAS /Apprenticeships/CVs

Reflection on Term 1, goals and aspirations for PPE2

Effective revision strategies

End of year exam preparation

Summer exams

In addition we offer the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme at bronze and silver. We regularly have in excess of 90 participants.

Extra-curricular programme 

We believe that a strong extra- curricular offer is important to ensure that we provide the full range of opportunities for the self and personal development for our students. An example of the programme  on offer is included below:

Wellbeing Support

Mindfulness  with Mrs Holloway in LA6 [lunch time]

Years 7/8 -  Tuesdays
Years 9/10  - Wednesdays
Years 11 and 6th form -  Thursdays

Counselling Drop-ins with Mrs King in the Support Room[08.00-08.30]

All years - Tuesday and Wednesdays

Buddies run by Sixth form mentors in DR2 [lunch time]

Year 7 – Thursdays

Homework Support

Homework Club with Mrs Adams in the library [3 – 4pm]

All years – Monday to Friday [every day]


Learning Development with LD staff in VQ

Every break & lunchtime

Lunch-time Club - all years (by invitation only) in TE6


High Prior Attainers with Mrs Quinn in Hi2 [15.00-16.00]

Year 7 Rising Stars Enrichment Programme – Wednesday

Year 8 Rising Stars Enrichment Programme – Thursday

Please check the timetable outside Hi2 for the venues of each session.

DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD SCHEME [Mr Culver, Miss Candy and Miss Abbotts]

Years 9, 10 and 12 will have the opportunity to enrol for a Duke of Edinburgh’s award and take part in a walking and camping expedition this academic year. This opportunity will be presented to you in assembly. Make sure to you keep an ear and an eye out to find out more!

Year 12 Silver D of E Award during week 2 Wednesday Rec.

Year 13 Silver Award

Students complete their rescheduled Silver expedition in the New Forest from the 8th – 10th September. There will then be a short presentation to give and a couple of meetings arranged with Miss Candy to ensure the physical, skill and volunteering sections are completed before students are successful overall.

Year 11 Bronze Award

Students who completed their expedition section in year 10 will have a couple of meetings this half term to ensure they have finished their physical, skill and volunteering sections and the required evidence is uploaded to their eDofE accounts. If any of these students have any questions about the rest of their award then please speak with Mr Culver or Miss Abbotts at any time. Your DofE award will really strengthen your 6th Form applications and help you achieve your goals post GCSE – this is the last push to get it completed!


KS4 & 5 Art & Textiles focus sessions 
Tuesday in Art2 with Miss Doughty and Miss Hayes [15.00-16.00]

KS4 & 5 Art & Textiles focus sessions
Thursday in Art3 with Miss Doughty and Art1 with Mrs Doig [15.00-16.00]

Photography support sessions 
Tuesday in Po1 with Mr Chubb [15.00-16.00]

Expressive Arts

Thrive: Commercial Dance Company

Monday 15.00-16.30.30 in the dance studio - for those that have successfully auditioned

Year 7 choir - MU3

Wednesday Lunchtime 

Orchestra for all - MU2

Friday Lunchtime 


Year 11 English Literature Catch-Up
(by appointment only) on Thursday with Ms Roberts in EN9 [15.00 - 15.55]

Year 11 English Language Catch-Up
(by appointment only) on Thursday with Mr Nunn in EN1 [15.00 - 15.55]


Y7 Geography Club 
Monday lunch time with Miss Buckle in GE4

Y7 & 8 History Club
Thursday lunch time with Miss Monk in HI1

Y11 History catch-up
Tuesday with Mrs Ruth and Mrs Quinn [15.00-16.00]

History Magazine to start after half term.

Interior Design Club [by invitation only] – please see Mrs Davies


Boys Football (Year 9 and 10)

Monday 15.00 – 16.15

Fixtures are played after school on either a Tuesday or Thursday

Boys Football (Year 7 and 8)

Wednesday 15.00 – 16.15

Fixtures are played after school on either a Tuesday or Thursday

Girls Football (All Years)

Tuesday 15.00 – 16.15

Fixtures are played after school on either a Wednesday or Thursday

Girls Netball (All Years)

Wednesday 15.00 – 16.15

Fixtures are played after school on either a Tuesday or Thursday

Boys Rugby (All Years)

Monday 15.00 – 16.15

Judo (All Years)

Wednesday - 15.00 - 16.15‚Äč (Starts after October Half-Term)

Trampolining (Year 7)

Friday – Lunch Time

ICT with Ms Temisa and Ms Elliott in the ICT rooms

KS3 Computer Science Club
every Wednesday [15.15-16.15]

Y11 Computer Science 
Monday week one [13.15-13.45]

Tuesday week one [13.15-13.45]

Tuesday week two [13.15-13.45]

Y11 Computer Science
Friday week two [13.15-13.45]


Business Studies Support (by appointment only)

Health & Social Care Catch Up, Y12/13 
Thursday with Mrs Sheehan in VQ3 [15.15 - 16.30]


Year 7 & 8 Science club – Tuesday lunch time with Miss Candy in SC 12

Robotics club – Wednesday lunch time with Miss Agyeman in IT3

Sex and Relationship Education

Effective Sex and Relationship education is essential if young people are to make responsible and well informed decisions about their lives. The objective at Charles Darwin School is to help and support young people through their physical, emotional and moral development. The programme will be embedded in tutorial sessions, assemblies and visiting speakers led discussions. Our aim is to help young people learn to respect themselves and others and move with confidence from childhood through adolescence into adulthood; becoming fully aware of how to engender good relationships. Our aim is to ensure that pupils are better prepared for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Areas covered include the understanding of the importance of marriage for family life; stable and loving relationships; respectful relationships including friendships; rights, responsibilities and opportunities online. It is also about the teaching of sex, sexuality, and sexual health, recognising the positive aspects of healthy intimate relationships and knowing where to go to for advice and guidance. The Sex and Relationship Education guidance from the DfE will be used to direct the programme from Years 7 – 13 . Elements covered will be age appropriate using materials created specifically for young people.

British Values – our intent

At Charles Darwin School we have a duty to ‘actively promote’ the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs through:

  • an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
  • an understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
  • an acceptance that people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
  • an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination

At Charles Darwin School we are all proud to belong to a community which encompasses both urban and rural catchments. Our work on experiencing social, moral, spiritual and cultural understanding empowers us to develop our students’ understanding and experience of modern British values: what it means to be a British citizen and how we can all promote tolerance, resilience and an understanding of other cultures. Not only are these values of British citizens, but underpin the values of good citizens in school, our local community as well as in our global community. Every Monday year group assemblies are led by the Senior Leadership team promoting a set of calendared themes across the school year, ensuring that each year group have a set of values promoted on a half termly basis. There are planned tutor programmes for each year group, including the 6th form, that set out to promote these values, whilst allowing students the opportunity to discuss and debate with peers and tutors.

Through the curriculum, through pastoral experiences during tutor times and assemblies and through extra-curricular work, our pupils gain an understanding of these values through:


The curriculum is designed to promote democracy across all subjects, through voting and through teaching the values of democracy in society. All pupils will learn about democracy from a theoretical perspective in History and Citizenship at key stage. This area of humanities is where they consider the advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries. Democracy has roots in specific Geography schemes of work and is debated in English lessons, through the medium of historical and contemporary texts. Pupils also experience how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes through the election of the head boy and head girl, which involve all pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff, from the hustings and selection through to manifesto and ballot box voting. Pupils elect on a termly basis the student voice representatives who are then also shortlisted to run for school council. Student council and student voice both have decision making meetings across the year group

The Rule of Law

The curriculum is designed to ensure pupils are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities this involves and the consequences when laws are broken Students learn the value and reasons behind the rules which we abide by in school and also the wider laws that exist within society. Pupils are rewarded for excellent/model behaviour and are aware of the consequences of not following the rules of the classroom and that of the school, and how they mirror the laws of society. Each year planned assemblies include; The Metropolitan Police; covering key stage 3; Transport for London to assemblies also with years 7-9 to discuss the law and the rules of using public transport.

Individual Liberty

Pupils are taught that with rights come responsibilities. Pupils are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. The curriculum is designed that promotes debates and discussions within class. This enables learners to make informed choices based on the evaluation of facts. For example, students are taught about the risks of using the internet and how they can keep themselves safe in the ICT curriculum, and through all key stages in E-safety, rights and ethics surrounding scientific discoveries such as evolution, modern genetic engineering and cloning techniques, impact of global warming, slavery, war/conflict and through literature. The English department have particular focus on developing young peoples’ understanding of rights and responsibilities which is reflected in the style of learning and the literature that is used to promote libertarian understanding. The school’s approach to liberty and respecting the right for students to have their own freedoms, without the disrespect of others, is seen through planned tutor programmes and in the conduct of students and staff in classrooms.  Our Code of Conduct refers to ‘Mutual Respect’.

Respect and Tolerance

Respect and tolerance are promoted in all subject areas and through the pastoral system, as well as in classrooms. Everyone learner has a right to be listened to and respected. Pupils learn about the consequences of a lack of tolerance and respect, which is promoted through the pastoral system as well as in class through the behavioural routines that allow students to listen to and contribute to class discussions. The plan of assemblies across the year focuses on developing an understanding of cultures and cultural identity and that other people might have different values and beliefs to the pupils’ own. Staff use appropriate opportunities in lessons and through the pastoral programme to allow pupils to experience other cultures and the viewpoints of those cultures. There are opportunities to develop cultural through extra-curricular visits and trips. Parents speak highly of the way in which that the school fosters the development of pupils’ understanding of respect and tolerance, particularly in recent years. IN RE, students investigate how the church fits into the 21st Century and in year 10, a unit focused on marriage and the family with a subsequent unit focused on Community Cohesion – dealing with racial intolerance, extremism and hatred in addition to focus on community values.

British values and SMSC are embedded throughout a broad and balanced curriculum, as well as in the school’s ethos and vision.

Organisation of our timetable and teaching.

The school currently operates on a 2 week timetable 50 x 1 hour lessons. Lesson allocations are as follows

Post 16 -10 x1 hour lesson   per option

Option A

Option B

Option C

Option D









Sports BTEC

Sports BTEC Core

Sports BTEC

English Literature


Health & Social Care

Digital Media





Business Studies





Business Studies


Computer Science

Core Maths




Music Technology





Film Studies



Medical Science


English Literature


Further Maths



English Re sit

Maths Re sit


In Y7 there is grouping by ability in a range of subjects (English,, science, MFL, History , Geography). In the main this is by the identification of two “top sets” on each side of the year group. This is supported by a Literacy Improvement Group – a smaller teaching group, taught by a fewer number of teachers and aimed at supporting those students with low reading ages and other potential barriers to learning. All other subjects are taught in mixed ability groups. Maths is taught in ability groupings in Y7 and in Y8.

This grouping arrangement is extended and refined in Y8 and Y9 with more grouping by ability joining maths, including MFL and Science.

In KS4 maths and science, are taught in groups set by ability and where possible this is extended to other option subjects.