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Approach to the Curriculum

Select study level: Main School Curriculum Sixth Form Curriculum

At St Michael’s we offer a broad and balanced curriculum which provides both continuity and progression for our students across the key stages as well as fostering the spiritual, intellectual, moral, cultural and physical development of all our students. Our curriculum focuses on ensuring the achievement and enjoyment of each individual; we recognise that all students have different talents and ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to find and develop the talents that they possess.


  • To provide a curriculum that offers depth and balance, challenge and enjoyment, allowing students to explore, identify and pursue their talents, within a framework of high expectations
  • That is personalized, meeting the needs and aspirations of all our students
  • That prepares students for an active role in an uncertain and fluid employment market
  • Prepares pupils positively for life in modern Britain, promoting the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

Embedded within this is our mission to provide these opportunities within the framework of a Christian, Catholic community in particular building on the vision of our Salesian heritage.

The vision: From Outstanding to Transformational

The curriculum at St Michaels is reviewed annually to ensure that it:

  • Enables excellent student outcomes to be maintained and improved
  • Meets both students’ and statutory needs
  • Maintains depth and richness

Recently the curriculum has been further developed to ensure that it fully articulates the Catholic vision of the college and is able to foster in all our students: ‘the ability to enjoy thinking, generate ideas, search for answers and explore mystery’. A new vocabulary is being embedded across the curriculum to underpin this vision throughout the curriculum:

Wonder              mystery            compassion                    reflection                       celebration

So that we cultivate students who are not just academically successful according to their individual starting points but are also prepared for the varied and unforeseeable opportunities and challenges of the future.

Please refer to the appropriate part of the College SIP for the detailed plan.


Students achieve the curriculum aims through a broad range of subject areas: English, Drama, Maths, Science, a Modern Foreign Language (French, Spanish), Latin, Art , Design and Technology, Geography, History, Religious Education, Physical Education, Music, and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHRE), and Computing. Students learn and develop their ICT skills and understanding through all curriculum areas as well as studying it as a discreet subject. At Key stage 4 Business and Media Studies and at KS5 in addition to the above Law, Psychology, Economics and Government and Politics as well as OCR qualifications in Sport, Business and ICT.

We ensure that our curriculum is personalised, challenging and stimulates the interest of our students.

Key Stage 3:

At Key stage 3 we aim:

  • To provide a foundation of knowledge and skills leading to KS4 and beyond.
  • To allow students to become familiar with new subjects, develop interests and be able to make informed choices for the future, based on a realistic understanding of their talents abilities, aspirations and interests.

All students at key stage 3 follow a broad and balanced curriculum intended to build on their skills from primary school as well as develop and embed subject knowledge across a range of subjects. Year 9 is pre GCSE year whereby all subjects make the transition to GCSE skills, including the mode of assessment and models of working. There is increased emphasis on GCSE targets.

Across the key stage, an S group exists in order to challenge our most able students. These students are identified through having CATs scores of higher than 115 and have the opportunity to study Latin and Philosophy and Ethics and Computer Science in year 7.

In year 7, 8 and 9 all students will study:

 RE, English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, MFL – either French or Spanish, P.E, Design and technology: Food and nutrition, Textiles and Product Design, Drama, Music, Art, Computing.

In addition, some students will study Latin in year 7 and 8, with Classical Civilization in year 9

Key Stage 4:

At the start of Key stage 4, many of our students have begun their GCSE courses already, in terms of skills development and knowledge building.

We aspire to 90% of our students achieving the English Baccalaureate by ensuring that they take History or Geography and a Modern Foreign language as well as the core subjects of English, Maths, Science and RE. Core subject support is available as an option for those students who would benefit from additional intervention.

Courses at Key stage 4:

Core subjects studied to GCSE by all students:

RE, English language and Literature, Maths, Science – double or triple

Ebacc subjects: Humanity: either Geography or History, MFL: either French or Spanish

Students can choose from the following Option subjects as GCSE choices:

Art and Design: Fine Art, Business Studies, Computer Science, Design and Technology, Drama, Media Studies, Music, Physical Education and Cambridge national level 2 in Creative iMedia.

All students have the opportunity to do PE once a week which is non examined.

Key Stage 5:

At Key Stage 5 we offer 3 pathways: A level + for the most able, A level and the Technical Pathway. Each pathway comes with related enrichment experiences including EPQ, Core Maths, Crest Science or the opportunity for work experience. All students study NOCN RE for one timetabled period a week


St Michael’s College values the understanding that knowledge can fall outside traditional subject boundaries and that learning can be organised in different ways. Our curriculum includes opportunities for complex projects that draw on several subject perspectives and makes the most of our partnerships with leading universities (Kings College and Cambridge) and high profile companies (Bloomberg, Grant Thornton, PWC and Prudential). There is a yearly Careers and Enterprise week and the curriculum is enhanced by a range of extra-curricular activities; each subject offers a culturally enriching activity at some point during the year, ensuring that, over the course of the year all of our students experience a range of activities that will deepen their cultural understanding and appreciation of the subjects that they study.

Homework is deemed an essential aspect of our out of hours provision and is intended to enhance the students’ learning. Show my homework is used to set and monitor this and clear expectations of the amount of time that students are expected to spend on these tasks are established with parents. Parents are asked to support the college in ensuring that homework is completed to the highest standard and the college holds homework club after lessons every afternoon to facilitate this.


We provide an inclusive curriculum which allows for different learning styles and prior learning experiences, as well as one which ensures that there is a match between each student and the tasks that they are set. This means that for some subjects, students are taught in groups that are set by ability and that some students receive additional support.

Heads of departments are responsible for ensuring that the curriculum is delivered effectively with regard to differentiation and the needs of all students regardless of ethnic or social group, the most able and those with additional learning needs.

In accordance with the law, the College has the right to respond to individual needs by modifying the National Curriculum programmes to:

  • Allow a student with individual strengths to emphasise a particular curriculum area;
  • Allow a student making significantly less progress than other students of his/her age to consolidate his/her learning and progress across the curriculum.

Decisions about any of the above will only be made after discussion with the student and parent.

Sex Education

For further information on this, please refer to The Sex Education Policy

The College provides sex education in the basic curriculum for all students, in which students are encouraged and guided by moral principles and taught to recognise the value of family life/catholicity. A full statement of the College’s sex education policy is available to parents. It has been drawn up in consultation with staff, students and parents, and takes into account the views of representatives from the community. It has regard for the government’s guidance on Sex and Relationship Education Guidance, equality policies and protected characteristics. In accordance with the law the biological aspects of human reproduction remain compulsory for all students, but parents may withdraw their children from any other part of the sex education provision.

Career’s Education

The college employs a fully qualified careers consultant to work with the students and provide impartial and independent careers guidance. In years 10, 11 and 13 this takes the form of one to one guidance meetings and support, while in year 9 the options and careers process is led by members of SLT. Years 7 and 8 have discrete careers delivery through assembly and specialist lessons. In addition to this, the college works closely with a number of Business partners such as Bloomberg, Grant Thornton, Ince and Co, Metro Bank and Prudential to offer quality real life experiences for students. A full statement of our careers provision can be found in the Careers Policy.

Quality Control

The whole curriculum is monitored by the Curriculum Governing Body.

  • Curriculum review is carried out by the: Strategic Leadership Team
  • Curriculum Teams/Teaching and Learning group

and through:

  • Working Parties with a specific focus – e.g. Learning Communities
  • Listening to the student voice with questionnaires or interviews
  • External consultants and peer review
  • The Sixth Form curriculum is monitored and evaluated by the Senior Leadership Team with responsibility for the Sixth Form


Parents who have concerns about any aspect of the curriculum should discuss these in the first instance with the student’s tutor. If the issue is not resolved parents should contact the Principal in writing.

Reviewed and updated September 2019