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Curriculum Statement

The Curriculum

The curriculum at The Henry Cort Community College is designed to provide all students with a high quality education appropriate to their needs in order to prepare them academically, socially and personally for the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of further or higher education, employment and adult life.

We believe all our students are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum that challenges their individual abilities; is relevant to their experience and present needs; is inclusive; has application and value in the world outside the college and promotes traditional British values.  The recognition of students as individuals demands approaches to teaching and learning that will engage and enthuse all our young people, including those with special educational needs.  Promoting high quality teaching and learning is the college’s highest priority.  Information, communication, new media and digital technologies are integral tools of teaching and learning in all curriculum areas.


Our curriculum aims will enable our students to become:

  • successful young people, who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve
  • fascinated by the world around them
  • imaginative, creative and reflective in their learning
  • confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
  • socially responsible people who can interact with people of varying backgrounds and cultures
  • responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society, upholding the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty
  • positive contributors to our local community through college based and local activities
  • tolerant and respectful of those who have different faiths and beliefs

Specifically, our curriculum is intended to help our students to:

  • achieve high standards and make the progress that their ability suggests
  • narrow the gap and enable those not achieving age-related expectations at age 11 to catch up with their peers
  • become independent learners
  • have, and be able to use, high-quality functional skills and be challenged and stretched to achieve their potential
  • have increased commitment to and enjoyment of learning leading to participation from 16 and beyond

The curriculum therefore aims to:

  • provide entitlement to a coherent, broad and balanced curriculum
  • provide a balanced approach to religious education which is broadly Christian but respects and encompasses all major world faiths
  • instil in our students a positive disposition to learning and a commitment to learn
  • promote and pass on essential knowledge, skills and understanding valued by society to the next generation
  • be relevant to our students and prepare them for the here and now, for the next phase of their education and for their future
  • widen horizons and raise aspirations about the world of work and further and higher education
  • make our students more aware of, and engaged with, their local, national and international communities
  • help students recognise that personal development is essential to well-being and success
  • allow our students to make the relevant progression from the primary phase to the tertiary phase particularly in the core areas of English, Mathematics and Science


In Key Stage 3 the curriculum is designed to build on the learning experiences that children had in their primary schools.  All students have access to PDL (through tutor activities, assemblies and a specifically constructed Wednesday afternoon programme.  This  addresses age related topics around 6 broad core themes.  Creative and Technical Arts (Art and Design, Drama, Music, Textiles, Food & Nutrition and Product Design), the Humanities (History, Geography, Religious Education), Modern Foreign Languages (French or German) and Physical Education.  As students need to be proficient in the use of ICT in virtually all future careers, we also deliver a Computing curriculum.

We have specialist Nurture provision for those most vulnerable students in both Year 7 and Year 8.  Students in our Nurture Group follow a broad curriculum but one sharply focussed on accelerating their basic skills.  We continually adapt the curriculum to meet the need of learners, for example, we have small numbers of students in Year 9 who follow a literacy intervention programme rather than a modern foreign language.

September 2016 saw the launch of the new mastery curriculum for Year 7 students.  This move away from the national curriculum levels has allowed subjects to develop new curricula with a much stronger focus on developing skills in learners as well as ensuring mastery of key knowledge in all subjects.  Pathways are introduced in Key Stage 4 to ensure that students continue to follow a broad and balanced curriculum that is suited to their individual needs.

Our strong core entitlement incorporates Physical Education and Religious Education, as well as English, Mathematics and Science.  

All students are required to study History and Geography in Years 7 and 8, with a large proportion choosing to continue studying these subjects in Years 9, 10 and 11.  The vast majority of students are expected to continue to study French or German at Key Stage 4 so that they have the opportunity to obtain the EBacc qualification.  In addition, we have a rich options framework leading to high value academic and vocational qualifications.  For 2017 we revised the options choice programme to include a wider range of courses and provide three distinct pathways designed to give students the greatest chance of success in either traditional academic courses or more applied vocational courses.

Teaching and learning is the core purpose of all schools and The Henry Cort Community College devotes a considerable amount of its professional development resources on promoting personalised learning, independent learning, key skills and basic skills.  Students are actively encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, using Personalised Learning Checklists to act on areas of weaknesses.  The timetable accommodates a 20 minute intervention period, 4 days per week, for each year group, designed primarily to target  specific subject strands which individuals have found more challenging, and also to develop leadership skills (via the PiXL Edge programme) and reading for pleasure.  Our ICT facilities include a wireless infrastructure and interactive whiteboards in all classrooms with each faculty having a room of 32 PCs.

Alternative provision opportunities are utilised for students who need to be re-engaged in education, have expressed a clear career path which can be supported by an external provider or need support with transition into post-16 education.

Religious Education and Collective Worship

Religious Education is provided in college under guidelines set out in the 1988 Education Reform Act and in accordance with statutory requirements.  The approach used is multicultural and multi-faith with an emphasis on Christianity.  Henry Cort Community College has church affiliation and follows programmes of study approved locally by the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE).  All students follow these programmes of study throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.  At Key Stage 4 all students complete a full course GCSE in Religious Studies.

There is a programme of regular whole-college, house and year group assemblies, supplemented by form tutor periods which are in mixed ages.

Any parent who wishes to exercise their rights under the 1998 Act to withdraw their child from Religious Education lessons or the daily act of collective worship is asked to contact the Principal in writing.

Physical Education, Sport and Health-Related Activities

The Henry Cort Community College has an excellent tradition of sporting achievement and participation, utilising its 32 acre site and considerable facilities.  As well as encouraging excellence in sport, we aim to promote enjoyment of sport by all students through active participation in well-structured programmes of study and a varied programme of extra-curricular sporting activities delivered by an enthusiastic and experienced PE Department.

Through Physical Education we promote not only participation and competition, but we actively encourage students to foster an interest in and to take responsibility for leading a healthy lifestyle.  In KS4, most students follow an accredited course in either Health and Fitness, Dance or Sport Science.  Students also have the opportunities of following the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, to participate in a wide range of extra-curricular provision (including Rock Challenge) or to become Sports Leaders and to support our Primary Schools Sports programme.  In recent years the college has supported and provided several athletes who have represented at either national, county or district level in numerous sports including football, rugby, netball, table tennis, judo, swimming, hockey, ice hockey, gymnastics, trampolining, cricket and athletics.

Physical Education is not only a statutory requirement at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, but we believe it lays the foundation for a healthy life style.

PSE and Sex Education

Throughout Key Stages 3 and 4, our personal development programme focuses upon key issues relevant to life in modern Britain, as well as supporting individuals to become confident and resilient learners. 

We aim to encourage students to understand the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of people of all faiths, races and cultures.  The programme incorporates 6 broad core themes which include Sex and Relationships education, Respect, Democracy, Citizenship and British Values, Resilience and Growth Mindsets, Enterprise and Finance, Health, Well-Being and Careers.

Opportunities also exist for students to extend their learning through a wide range of extra-curricular activities and educational visits.  Since 2016 we have introduced Wednesday afternoon timetabled lessons that will allow staff and external providers to work on a number of key themes relevant to each year group.  We enrich and enhance the taught curriculum in a variety of ways through collaborative working with community partners.

Throughout, we have a strong commitment to the development of our students’ numeracy, literacy, computing and enterprise capabilities.  We also provide a range of opportunities across the curriculum to facilitate the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students.

We have an integrated careers programme which is built in from Year 7 enabling all students in all years to have meaningful contact with employers, trainers and further and higher educational establishments.  Every student has access to independent careers advice and there is an opportunity for all students to undertake a two week work experience placement in Year 10.  We measure our progress against the 8 Gatsby principles and have been heralded as a model of best practice by the Careers and Enterprise Company with regards to the enterprise advisor network.

Page updated: 14 November 2017
Learning For Life