Bedminster Down School

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

A three year Key Stage 3 is vital to ensure students have a broad and balanced curriculum before they make their options choices in Year 9 and begin a more personalised pathway in Key Stage 4. In Year 7, 8 and 9 students therefore all follow the same curriculum.

The strong academic core qualifications which make up the EBacc are heavily focused upon, receiving over 60% of the curriculum time in Key Stage 3.

All other subjects included in the National Curriculum are taught explicitly by subject specialist teachers, including IT and PSE.

Year

Subject

Number of Lessons per fortnight

Subject

Number of Lessons per fortnight

Year 7 and Year 8

English

8

IT

2

Maths

8

Drama

2

Science

6

Music

2

French

3

Art

2

Geography

3

Technology

3

History

3

PE

4

RE

2

PSE

2

Year 9

English

7

IT

2

Maths

7

Performing Arts

3

Science

6

Art

2

French

4

Technology

3

Geography

4

PE

4

History

4

PSE

2

RE

2

 

 


The KS3 offer

We believe that, in order to flourish, students need to have access to a broad range of subjects, right up until the end of KS3. This gives our students time to develop in all areas so that they are well prepared for completing the options process in Year 9. We therefore run a traditional three year KS3 model, with a two year KS4. Students continue to study all subjects across their first three years with us; the only exceptions to this are in Modern Foreign Languages and Design in Year 9.

Whilst we want every student to have access to all subjects in the curriculum we do not believe that everyone should be required to continue with MFL throughout KS3. Instead we offer approximately a quarter of the year group the chance to study additional English in Year 9. We believe this gives students a chance to improve their comprehension skills, which are so vital to their success in a range of subjects in KS4. No student is required to drop their Modern Foreign Language; we simply want to give a select few students and parents the opportunity to focus more on the core curriculum in order to give them the best chance of achieving the qualifications that they will need in order to be competitive in the workplace or in further education post 16.

In Design, the school operates a ‘two from five’ options model in Year 9. Students narrow their focus from the suite of five subjects they study in Years 7 and 8. By the start of Year 9 we believe that students are ready to narrow their focus in order to develop the skills that they need to thoroughly prepare for Key Stage 4 subjects in Design. We don’t prevent students from choosing new Design options in Key Stage 4, but we do advise that they continue with one of the two subjects they have chosen to specialise in during Year 9.

As well as the importance of the curriculum in developing young people to pass their exams, we also see it is a vital means of giving students new and exciting experiences and opportunities to develop spiritual, moral, cultural and social values. We make sure that every student in KS3 has timetabled lessons in PSHE and Religious education in order to develop a sound understanding of fundamental British values. In Year 9 every student takes part in a two day residential trip to Dartmoor National Park called ‘Challenge 24’. Students camp in a new environment, cook their own food on a stove and push themselves physically.

 

Setting by Ability

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