The curriculum

The college strives to provide a broad, balanced and personalised curriculum, which suits all our students’ needs.  We view the curriculum as a 5-year learning journey, with the course choice process taking place in Year 8 where a large range of subjects are on offer.  We have structured the curriculum so that we offer some 2 year courses which complete in Year 10 and some 3 year courses which complete in Year 11.  This enables students to carefully balance their work load throughout and reduce the stress caused by the increase in demand of terminal examinations under the reformed GCSEs.

Key Stage 3 - The Lower School (Years 7 and 8)

In Years 7 and 8 all students are taught the full range of National Curriculum subjects, including Creative and Technical Arts, Technology and Physical Education. Students are taught in a range of set and mixed ability groups.

Key Stage 4 - The Upper School (Years 9, 10 & 11)

In Years 9, 10 and 11 all students follow 9 or 10 courses leading to GCSEs.  They all take the following core subjects:

  • English Language and English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science (students will either study Separate Sciences (Triple Science) or Science Trilogy (Double Science)
  • Health and Fitness (VCert)
  • Religious Studies

The GCSE subjects we currently offer include:

  • Humanities: History, Geography and Citizenship Studies
  • Business and Enterprise
  • Digital Literacy / Computer Science / i-media (new for 2022)
  • Creative and Technical Arts: Fine Art, Drama, Music, Design Technology, Textiles Design and Hospitality and Catering
  • Dance
  • Sport Science
  • French, German or Spanish

For more details on what is covered in our curriculum see our overviews in the information section.

We are striving to ensure that students never have their lessons disrupted, through the use of ‘Ready to Learn’.

“Ready to learn has had a significant impact on the quality of learning within all my lessons as students are now expected to take full responsibility for themselves.” Student

Our curriculum time is adjusted so that every Wednesday morning we have a flexible timetable.   At Henry Cort SMSC, Citizenship and Personal Development Learning (PDL) are delivered by specialist teams as part of the ‘Drop Down Wednesday’ programme.  Staff are grouped into teams who become specialists in one of the six areas below and deliver age appropriate lessons for each year group throughout the academic year.   Each team is responsible for the resourcing and delivery of one of the following strands:


Topics covered:

Relationships and sex education (RSE)

Relationships and sex education (including choices, contraception, conception and STIs); relationship with self and others; healthy friendships and relationships;  healthy relationships (boyfriend and girlfriend), domestic violence; parenting; marriage / living together.

Enterprise and Finance

Fair trade and ethical shopping; running a business; spending and saving; consumer rights and responsibilities; debt, insurance, risk taking and personal life choices.


Cyber safety; stranger danger; bullying; drugs; alcohol stereotypes and diversity; discrimination; human rights and celebrating human rights; role the media plays in how we view ourselves and others; control and freedom of the press; sexting.

Careers and personal development

Managing transitions; stereotypes and diversity; enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle; careers, leaving home, work experience, future options; preparing for adult life; body image; health and safety awareness; prioritising; health and safety.

Democracy and British Values

Elections and political issues; the role of local councils; political parties and their manifestos;  Britain’s place in the world; the European Community; crime and punishment; the police and the law; diversity in the UK; anti-social behaviour; human rights and celebrating human rights.

Health and wellbeing

Developing a healthy balanced approach to life, studies and college. Building resilience and dealing with stressful situations and adversity. Physical health, mental health, and growth mind-set.

  • Mindfulness and emotional and social well-being
  • Revision, exam preparation, goal setting
  • Critical thinking, reasoning, problem-solving and teamwork

The ethos within The Henry Cort Community College is promoted through a broad set of common values and purposes which underpin the college curriculum and our wider work, including our PSHE, Citizenship, RE and Drop Down Wednesday programme.  These include valuing ourselves, our families and other relationships, the wider groups to which we belong.

We are committed to the virtues of truth, justice, honesty and a sense of moral duty.  These common values are delivered through the themes of social, moral, spiritual and cultural (SMSC) development which permeate the curriculum and life of The Henry Cort Community College.  By instilling and developing these values in our students, we believe that they will leave us as thoughtful, responsible, engaged members of society.

Page updated: 17 September 2021