Ethos and Values
Excellence, Compassion and Respect for All
Our school promotes academic excellence and embraces the shared values of honesty, integrity, respect and compassion. We want our students to be ambitious, kind, resilient and hardworking, and have a genuine passion for learning. We want them to change the world with the knowledge, skills and confidence they have learned here; to champion fairness, have friendships for life, and pride in our school. Above all, we want our students to be happy.
All staff are expected to uphold and promote fundamental British Values including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Our curriculum has developed over the last few years and is a product of our ethos and values.
We aim to develop confident and self-disciplined learners who follow an academic curriculum which embraces the shared values of the school and is rooted in the needs and aspirations of our community Our curriculum:
- supports our ethos and values, including the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- is knowledge rich and provides students with the powerful knowledge from a broad range of subject disciplines
- supports students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
- supports students’ physical development and responsibility for their own health and well-being
- promotes respect for other people irrespective of sex, race, religion, ability, disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic group, or age
- provides students with an understanding of the opportunities available to them in later life.
Our curriculum is constructed so that:
- account is taken of prior learning at each key stage and students build on previously acquired knowledge.
- it is ambitious, broad and balanced, and designed to give all students the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
- it is coherently planned and carefully sequenced to provide students with the subject (domain) specific knowledge and vocabulary they need
- lessons offer sufficient opportunities to recall and retrieve knowledge, which is embedded into students’ long-term memory, and can be applied with increasing confidence
- students are able to practise and apply what they have learnt
- Spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) education is embedded into pastoral and curriculum programmes, and students experience a careers education based on the Gatsby benchmarks
- a three-year Key Stage 4 (with one early entry open bucket subject) is a deliberate action aimed at providing students with the time and space to study their chosen subjects in more depth, and to cover non-examined curriculum material. The number of compulsory academic subjects ensure that there is no narrowing of breadth as a result of a three-year Key Stage 4. The early entry option has been designed with student well-being and mental health in mind
- the majority of students are entered for the English Baccalaureate at the end of Year 11, as part of their academically broad and balanced curriculum
The subjects we teach are a product of our ethos and values and our curriculum aims.
Nelson Mandela said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and our ethos statement reflects that: “We want them to change the world with the knowledge, skills and confidence they have learned here”. If we want our students to change the world, first they must understand it, so we teach them about science and maths, and the world of literature and the arts. They will understand the community they live in but also learn about life beyond County Durham, in a multicultural Britain and the faiths, beliefs, cultures and languages of those who live in this country and the wider world. By learning about history our students will understand how the world they live in came to be and their geographical knowledge will allow them to understand how the natural world we inhabit is affected positively and negatively by humans.
Our curriculum, and extra-curricular and tutorial programmes, are integral to developing students who are not only “ambitious, kind, resilient and hardworking”, but who understand the British Values of tolerance, the rule of law, democracy & citizenship, are ready to learn (through an understanding of effective knowledge retention strategies) and who are prepared for the wider world (through careers and sex and relationships education).
Our students study a broad range of subjects at Key Stage 3 in Years 7 and 8. Although students make option choices at the end of Year 8, the number and breadth of compulsory subjects at Key Stage 4, and a three year programme providing depth of study, means that our students experience a rich and broad curriculum taught over five years. The overwhelming majority of our students will take 10 qualifications at the end of Year 11 in the following subjects:
- GCSE English Language
- GCSE English Literature
- GCSE Maths
- GCSE Science x 2 (some students take separate sciences instead of GCSE Religious Studies)
- GCSE History or GCSE Geography
- GCSE Religious Studies (separate science students will follow a statutory RS course)
- GCSE French (students not taking French will have an additional option choice)
- 2 Option Subjects (in sport, arts or vocational subjects, or a third humanity subject)