Learning and Curriculum
Curriculum intent at William Ellis School
Our purpose is to develop in our students the knowledge, skills and qualities, strengthening their character and resolve, so that they are well qualified and prepared for their future success and well-being.
We strive to be a centre for excellence in boys’ education in a comprehensive setting.
The curriculum is everything that happens to a student in school that is planned. It is about the whole school experience: timetabled lessons, voluntary clubs and activities, school journeys and visits, what happens at breaks and lunchtime. For disadvantaged students, the wider curriculum, beyond what is learnt in timetabled lessons, is particularly important, as generally, these young people will have a narrower range of experiences outside school. Our curriculum planning must include the wider curriculum and ensure an equitable school experience for all students. (Dunford, 2016)
Curriculum entitlement at William Ellis involves the study of or participation in the following, as part of timetabled hours in school:
Students participate in voluntary clubs and activities, trips and visits. These take place outside of timetabled hours and provide important enrichment to boys’ lives. Some are open to students who wish to participate on a first-come, first-served basis, others to targeted students who the school has judged will particularly benefit from them given their starting points. This area of crossover between these two aspects of the curriculum is articulated through our Learner Attributes, which describe the qualities that we hope to develop in all young people in our school. They also form the background of our praise and concern system.
William Ellis Learner Attributes
The subject curriculum: coherent, inclusive, ambitious, logical
The subject curriculum is knowledge-embedded: this means that in each subject, the curriculum is built around key ideas and content. While learning this content, students are able to develop and build on skills that help them to learn and demonstrate what they have learned. This means that learning is much more than a list of facts, but is still focused on helping students know and understand the world through individual subjects. In each subject, students study topics that allow them to examine a new package of knowledge, concepts and skills. There are some subjects where the curriculum must be learnt in a particular order, and others where the content is more flexible. In each subject and linking across several subjects is knowledge that builds students’ cultural capital: this helps students to understand the world in which they live and make the most of their skills. Students will use what they learn in school to support them in work or further education.
In each subject areas, there is an agreed “Single Attainment Target”, showing the knowledge, understanding and skills that students are working towards by studying the curriculum. There is also a curriculum map that outlines the order in which students develop these. When students’ work is assessed, the subject area should present to students what knowledge, understanding and skills is being assessed and how. It is through the subject curriculum, including appropriate interventions, that all students are taught to develop their reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Our post-16 subject curriculum offer is extensive and highly flexible, as we are part of the LaSWAP consortium. William Ellis students who graduate to LaSWAP maintain strong links to the school, continuing to study available courses in this school. For more details of the LaSWAP course offer, please go to www.laswap.camden.sch.uk
The personal development curriculum
The school recognises that personal development is important for academic success and is integral to the founding aims of William Ellis School. This has been a significant development in the school in recent years, with accompanying investment from the school.
The PSHE and tutorial curriculum, including Deep Learning Days, is delivered on a weekly basis and has several aims. Firstly, to equip all students with the skills, knowledge and understanding to be virtuous and purposeful adults in society and be able to make a positive contribution as citizens. Secondly, to educate them about issues related to health and relationships to make good choices about their lives now and in the future. Thirdly, to develop an awareness of community and democracy to support British values in a thoughtful way. The tutorial curriculum also includes Careers Education, supporting students to expand their interpersonal skills and access careers opportunities through industry visits to school, work experience programmes and external mentoring schemes. These skills are mapped through years 7 and 8 through the PiXL Edge programme. The personal development curriculum for post-16 students also contains these elements, including extensive guidance to support progression to future destinations including university studies and apprenticeship schemes, and ultimately high-quality employment.
The Outdoor Education Curriculum has been developed with the intent of ensuring that every child has the opportunity to gain independence via the secure route of an inclusive program of scaffolded and incremental risk taking, building the vital life skills needed to become a well-rounded young adult. This valuable learning, challenging to replicate in an inner-city school setting, includes camping at our own facility in the Surrey hills. It is a core part of the curriculum and therefore we expect all students to participate. To achieve this requires significant input from tutors and staff who are committed to outdoor education. There is a developing curriculum model that maps the activities the students complete with personal development aims. Year 9 camp provides a gateway into the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, which provides an enrichment progression model in Key Stages 4 and 5.