There have been a number of changes to the Key Stage 3 curriculum recently. Our aim is to provide students with a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum that fosters a love of learning and enables all students to reach their academic potential. We build on students’ achievements in Key Stage 2 to develop the breadth and depth of their knowledge, skills and understanding, preparing them thoroughly for the end of Key Stage tasks, tests and assignments in Year 9 and for taking GCSE and Vocational courses at KS4.
Each year within Key Stage 3 has a different emphasis:
07 In Year 7 the focus is on reinforcing and strengthening numeracy and literacy skills; establishing high expectations and developing students’ enthusiasm and independence for learning.
08 In Year 8 the focus is on maintaining high expectations, developing students’ self-motivation by providing students with a very wide range of learning opportunities including the world beyond school and raising the level of challenge to stretch the most able.
09 In Year 9 the focus is on preparation for the end of Key Stage tests or assignments, preparing students for the demands of GCSEs and on making choices for Key Stage 4.
The Key Stage 3 Curriculum at Alexandra Park School is broad, balanced and reflects the aims and ethos of the school:
- English, Maths and Science – the core subjects – are given priority time.
- History, Geography and Religious Studies – are taught separately but provide opportunities for collaboration.
- Modern Languages form a major part of the curriculum with every student allocated to study one of two languages: French or Spanish, during Key Stage 3. All Year 7 students experience Mandarin lessons once a fortnight and provision for Years 8 and 9 has been increased to two and three hours respectively and now also includes a KS4 GCSE option. There is also the opportunity for students to study Turkish GCSE.
- Performing Arts – the importance of Performing Arts is reflected in the time allocated. Every student will study Music and Drama every week.
- Physical Education – is given time each week to allow team sports and individual skills to be developed in conjunction with a wide and impressive range of extra-curricular activities, including trampolining, cheer-leading, dodge ball, climbing and handball.
- Art and Design – has a high profile in the school with specialist rooms offering access to a wide range of materials including photography, printing and sculpture.
- Design and Technology – All students have the opportunity to study Food and Nutrition, Textiles and Product Design in a suite of specialist rooms.
- Computer Science – is delivered through weekly lessons in Years 7, 8 and 9. KS3 assessment is based on an e-portfolio and is offered at GCSE and Advanced level.
- Astronomy – is offered in Year 9 as an after school subject. GCSE Astronomy provides students who are fascinated by the night sky with an opportunity to explore, measure and describe the continuing exploration of the Universe in which we live, while also developing important scientific enquiry skills. Students will cover four main topics, which include: The Earth Moon and Sun, Planetary Systems, Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology. The course will be assessed through one two-hour examinationd containing a variety of multiple-choice, short and extended answer questions. Students will also complete two observational projects; one using simple astronomical instruments, such as a telescope, and the other with naked eye or unaided observations.
- Citizenship / Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) - is delivered by a specialist team of teachers in all key stages. Topics include: Government and Politics, Rights and Responsibilities, Sex Education, Drugs Education and Careers.
- Literacy and Numeracy are delivered across the curriculum in all years. A range of strategies are employed to provide additional support for students who have not achieved level 4 in Maths and English by the end of Year 6. The school also has a designated Literacy team and base room. The team is responsible for delivering Lexia, reading programmes aimed at identified groups and ‘Thinking Reading.’ Additionally, the ‘Accelerated Reading’ programme is delivered to all KS3 classes through fortnightly library lessons; matching reading ability with appropriately challenging books and rewarding completion and comprehension of texts.
There are also opportunities for students to engage in learning outside of the timetabled curriculum. Astronomy GCSE is a popular option in year 9 and Latin from year 7.
With every unit of work, in every subject, students will experience a wide range of teaching and learning styles. This will include individual and group work, whole class teaching, oral presentations or written reports, creative work and opportunities to make choices and have control over what they learn. Students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, developing excellent independent learning skills, so that they become less reliant on input from teachers.
Key Stage 3 students will be set pieces of work that encourage independent learning skills and, in particular, skills to: preview and summarise information, use a number of different sources, organise and plan work and improve presentation. Students are encouraged to transfer skills between subject areas, see mistakes as part of the learning process, set challenging targets and aim to achieve the best possible work. Students will get homework in English, Maths and Science every week and will also be set an additional lengthier piece of work or project from another area of the curriculum.
Homework support is offered within Department areas. The school library also offers a quiet area to study before and after school and during lunchtime.