At Sedgefield Community College we have developed a broad and highly aspirational curriculum for all of our students. Our curriculum ensures that they will all study a wide range of high-quality subjects that will enhance their life chances and enable them to be successful at school and for the rest of their lives.
Our starting point in devising our curriculum is the identification of four potential problems that we must overcome through the curriculum that we deliver:
- The potential for low achievement and students not achieving the qualifications that they need to compete and thrive in their future lives.
- Low aspirations that have been internalised by some students and in rare instances are then reinforced outside of school.
- Students not developing the wider skills and personal qualities that are vital alongside academic qualifications.
- Students lacking the confidence and experience to believe that they can compete and succeed when in competition with students from different backgrounds.
In order to overcome each of these potential problems, we have devised a curriculum that thinks in terms of a seamless educational journey throughout the time that the students spend within the secondary school. Subject Leaders are supported to undertake a comprehensive and ongoing review of their curriculum in each academic year and this ensures that the depth of learning and rate of progression is maximised.
Year 7 to Year 9
We ensure that students have been able to cover the KS3 National Curriculum during the course of Year 7 and Year 8 in the vast majority of subject areas. This is possible for three key reasons:
- Our detailed review of the curriculum in each subject that ensures absolute clarity in the knowledge / skills / qualities developed each year.
- Linked to this point, careful mapping of the KS3 National Curriculum against the curriculum that is delivered across Year 7 and Year 8.
- Investment in ensuring high quality teaching and learning that ensures that the time is exceptionally well spent after the transition from primary school.
The approach to the curriculum in Year 7 and Year 8 ensures that Year 9 can be used to consolidate the skills and content that are part of the KS3 National Curriculum and then to go beyond this minimum entitlement, ensuring a greater depth to learning that meets the needs of our students.
Year 9 to Year 11
As indicated above, we use Year 9 to consolidate the content that is part of the KS3 National Curriculum, but also to go beyond this and ensure a greater depth of understanding than would otherwise be possible. Our ‘Pathways’ structure means that we are confident that all students will continue to study a broad range of subjects that are linked to high quality qualifications throughout their time at the school and fulfil the National Curriculum expectations for KS3 throughout Year 7 to Year 9. We provide opportunities for all students to access subjects that are often viewed as being traditionally academic, but ensure that this takes place alongside opportunities to pursue a wide range of other subjects including creative and more practical subjects.
During Year 9, as part of our approach to ensuring we increase the depth of learning after Year 8, students will begin to study elements of the courses that they will then study until the end of their time at Year 11. Schemes of work include appropriate KS3 and KS4 content that is blended together in a way that will ensure maximum student progress. This approach has a number of significant advantages for our students and these allow us to address the four potential problems established at the start of this document:
- It avoids the temptation to teach to the exam with the challenge of condensing a GCSE specification into only 5 terms. We have sufficient time to study these courses in a way that ensures a greater depth of understanding. Our focus is on ensuring the learning is secure and can be recalled in the long-term memory of students and this approach supports this by creating opportunities to revisit topics and deepen understanding.
- At the end of secondary school, students are largely assessed through a large number of linear exams at the end of their time in Year 11. Our approach ensures students are exceptionally well prepared for this and avoids placing undue stress and pressure on students.
- Schools that offer a 5 term KS4, beginning GCSE and other courses in Year 10 often narrow opportunities for students during the final years that they spend at the school. Our approach means that we can continue to provide a broad range of opportunities to build cultural capital and the wider skills / personal qualities that our students need in order to be successful. Many of these opportunities to build cultural capital are integral to the subject curriculum that is offered to our students and others provide opportunities for our students to go beyond this.
A Broad and Aspirational Suite of Subjects
The curriculum that students follow throughout their time in secondary school is underpinned by a traditional academic curriculum that sees all students studying English, Maths, Science, a Humanities subject (Geography or History) throughout their time at the school and which also provides the vast majority of students with the opportunity to study a modern foreign language in order to complete the EBACC suite of subjects. Alongside this, it is sensible to briefly consider our curriculum approach to a number of other subjects:
Supporting Creative and DT Subjects: Our commitment to these subjects is seen in the fact that all students will study a subject from the ‘Creative Pathway Block’ during Year 9 to Year 11. As well as this, across the course of a series of half-termly learning events in Year 9, all of our Year 9 students will be supported to achieve the accredited Arts Award, supporting us in ensuring we are effectively meeting KS3 National Curriculum expectations.
Modern Foreign Languages: Our commitment to MFL is underpinned by our understanding that globalisation means our students need to be able to thrive in the global community. We appreciate the value of the EBACC qualification and support all students with the potential to achieve this to do so. For those students who still need intensive, additional support to develop their core English literacy skills, ceasing to study a modern foreign language may be in their best interests at the end of Year 8.
Humanities – Appreciating and Engaging with the Wider World: All students continue to study Geography and History in Year 9. Students continue to study both subjects as we recognise the unique way in which these subjects can help our young people to make sense of a rapidly changing world. As well as ensuring depth to their study of the KS3 National Curriculum, students in Year 9 will study those elements of the GCSE specification in each subject that will best support them to increase their appreciation of the way in which the world functions and support their development in becoming fully engaged and inquisitive citizens.
Digital Literacy: In order to provide our students with the capacity to thrive in the future, we appreciate that it is vital for them to understand the language of the digital world. All students are entitled to a curriculum that ensures this and therefore study Digital Literacy from Year 7 to Year 11 to ensure the digital skills they need are progressively developed.
Religious Education: As a non-faith school, we attach great importance to RE as a hugely valuable subject and this is seen in large numbers of students successfully achieving a high-quality GCSE qualification at the end of their five-year educational journey with us. One of the reasons we attach such importance to RE is its ability to develop key fundamental British values such as tolerance and empathy for others.
The Seamless Development of Personal Qualities, Skills and Cultural Capital
Across their time in secondary school, we have a structured approach that supports the development of the personal qualities, skills and cultural capital that our students need in order to realise their full potential. Key elements of our approach are detailed below:
As part of our ‘Inevitable Progress’ approach to Teaching & Learning, a range of thinking tools are used across all subjects and year groups. Students are supported to become experts in using these approaches and learn to do so with increasing independence. Many schools talk of a desire to support students to become independent learners and at SCC, there are a number of practical tools provided to students that ensure this is the case. Amongst the key thinking tools are the following:
The Three Storey Intellect – used to provide a consistent language and framework within which students can discuss and reflect upon their own learning.
Thinking Hats – providing students with a framework that enables them to think in greater depth about topics that they are studying.
Thinking Maps – providing students with a series of visual organisers that help them to organise their thinking on the page.
Habits of Mind – a framework for staff and students to better understand the personal qualities that they can develop in order to become more effective learners.
The development of excellent literacy skills is a key aspect of our secondary curriculum and we recognise that all subjects have a responsibility to support students in growing their core literacy skills. There is a focus on the use of effective literacy scaffolding across all subjects and another high priority is our work in supporting students to build their tier two (increasingly sophisticated language that can appear across multiple disciplines) and tier three (subject specific) vocabulary.
A vital element of our literacy approach is the use of the ‘Reciprocal Reading’ sequence as a way of equipping all students with the skills needed to independently extract the meaning from challenging texts. Whilst the ‘Reciprocal Reading’ approach is used across the school whenever appropriate, dedicated ‘Reciprocal Reading’ lessons appear regularly in the subject curriculums for English, Science, Geography, History and RE. For some students, weak literacy skills have been a longstanding barrier to success in KS4 qualifications and students have experienced particular difficulties in engaging with the subject specific ‘technical’ language that is integral to the courses that our students complete in their later years at the school. Our curriculum model ensures sufficient time can be allocated to the development of reading skills throughout Year 7 to Year 11 in a way that a curriculum model that only introduced elements of exam courses in Year 10 would not be able to do so.
Making Links Across the Curriculum
Students are supported to think deeply and make their own connections between different subject areas and academic years. In order to support students in doing so, a number of key ‘topics’ and ‘skills’ have been identified and where these are part of a lesson, teachers will signpost this through the use of the linked icon in their teaching presentation. The icons serve as a prompt for discussion in the lesson and in this way, the approach is also an element of our curriculum that contributes to the development of excellent oracy skills.
Linked to the point above, we want to ensure that all of our students develop the skills and confidence to discuss and debate issues with people from all backgrounds whilst at school and then for the remainder of their lives. We create many opportunities for discussion through our curriculum with approaches such as the key themes / skills referred to above and the school’s ‘thoughts for the week’.
To further build the oracy skills that our students need to fulfil their potential, a structured approach to the development of 6 key debating skills is part of our curriculum. Throughout their time at the school, students will regularly take part in debating lessons in English, Science, Geography, History and RE. Creating a flexible curriculum model that combines KS3 and KS4 content in Year 9 means that there remains sufficient time in Year 10 and Year 11 to develop our debating ethos in a way that a strict 5 term KS4 would not.
Building Cultural Capital Through Enrichment
One of the key reasons for our mindset of secondary education being one coherent and continuous experience for our students is that this best supports us to provide a wide range of enrichment experiences that go beyond core lessons. Our established programme of activities serves as our guarantee to students of the outstanding experiences that they will be offered in order to build cultural capital during their journey through the school. We have established out ‘LST Challenge’ to all of our students. There are 6 elements to the ‘LST Challenge’ and by meeting each of these, our young people are able to build the cultural capital that they will need to thrive in their school and for the rest of their lives.
|Attend extra-curricular enrichment programmes and activities that go beyond the core curriculum.||Represent the school in sporting, academic, community and / or cultural events.||Experience activities that promote cultural growth within school and outside of the school setting.|
|Take part in activities that will develop core skills in presenting and collaboration with others.||Engage with activities that will raise aspiration and allow you to understand the education and career opportunities available to you.||Access activities that will allow students to appreciate and contribute positively to our local, national and global communities.|
Specific details of what is covered in each subject at any time in the school year can be found by viewing the Curriculum Overviews for the current academic year[P1] and then the subject you wish to find out more about.
Please note that due to the extended school closure, our teaching staff are carefully reviewing the existing curriculum overviews to ensure that these will best support the progress of all of our students as they return to daily schooling. With this in mind, the 20-21 Curriculum Overviews will be uploaded by the end of September 20, at the time we can be confident that no further adjustments to these need to be made.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development @ SCC / Promoting fundamental British values
We believe that our school is outstanding in the way in which it ensures the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of our students. As part of this SMSC development, we ensure that students are supported to understand the four fundamental British values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance) and are therefore prepared for life in modern Britain. Should you wish to read a little more about this then click on button in the ‘What I will learn section’. Students follow a programme of SMSC lessons that comprises session in careers, citizenship and PSHE. These SMSC lessons take place on a fortnightly basis and the programme for the current academic year is available via the link below.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
At Sedgefield Community College, we believe that inclusive education means providing all pupils with appropriate education and support alongside their peers. The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development.
Further information can be found in the SEND Information Report. If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment.
Questions? – who to contact
Whilst we have made every effort to provide parents with lots of information about the Sedgefield curriculum we appreciate that parents may still occasionally have a question. In this situation parents are advised to contact the college either by telephone or email and ask to speak with:
Mr C Hutton (Deputy Headteacher – Curriculum and Standards)
How is our curriculum responding to the challenges posed by the extended school closure linked to COVID-19?
We recognise that the extended school closure linked to COVID-19 has the potential to have a significant negative impact on the learning of our young people. As a consequence of this, we have ensured that a robust ‘recovery plan’ is in place that is designed to meet the specific needs of all of our young people and support them to realise their full potential. This plan will be reviewed regularly throughout 2021-22 as we provide the support that our young people need and deserve.
Our recovery plan is organised around three stages:
Re-engage: Our aim is to support students to return to a school experience that is as close to normality as is possible, providing support and reassurance to enable them to do so. Our approach to remote learning during the lockdown has been designed to support us with this.
Review: We need to review progress that students are making as they re-engage with day to day education in school – as well as establishing the learning that has been lost, there needs to be a focus on assessing the speed with which students are ‘catching up’. We also need to closely monitor the wellbeing of all students, ensuring all who require additional support are able to receive this.
Recover: Once students have successfully been re-engaged with day to day education in schools and we have reviewed their progress, more significant curriculum and other changes will be made as appropriate. At all times, the best interests of each young person will be at the heart of any alterations made. We also need to consider longer term measures that will help to support the wellbeing of all students and where appropriate, provide increasingly intensive support to the most vulnerable students who face the greatest challenges in successfully returning to school.
Among the key elements of our recovery plan are the following:
Curriculum focus on vital content: Our starting point is to ensure that the core curriculum lesson time that we have with our students has the maximum impact. Extensive work has taken place to review the curriculum in each subject to ensure our teachers have been able to identify the knowledge and skills that will be vital to the success of their students. As a consequence of this, we can be confident that the learning that takes place focuses precisely upon this.
Digital strategy: The school developed an approach to setting remote learning that was successful during the extended closure of schools from March to July 2020 and again from January to March 2021. As a consequence of this approach, high numbers of students were regularly accessing learning throughout this period. Whilst we appreciate that there is no substitute to young people being in a classroom with their teacher, our approach helped us to reduce the learning deficit and place us in a strong position to recover.
In 2021-22, we are using lessons learnt about how technology can ensure rapid progress within our day to day teaching practice. As well as this, we continue to use technology in sophisticated ways that help us to blur the boundaries between learning in school and at home. Furthermore, we have detailed contingency plans in place that mean we are confident that we will be able to respond effectively in the event of any partial or total closure of schools in the future.
Further literacy development: Whilst literacy development is already identified as a key priority for the school, there is now an even greater focus upon this as a consequence of the loss of learning time. The introduction of the ‘Reciprocal Reading’ approach is a significant development in providing young people with a strategy that they can internalise and then apply to enable them to extract meaning from complex texts. In addition to the adaptations to teacher planning to provide additional literacy support, for students identified as requiring further intervention, this is provided through a comprehensive support programme.
Focused and high impact intervention: Even though we are ensuring excellent delivery in lessons, the loss of learning time means that it is important for schools to look at where additional time may be found. As a school, we have and will achieve this in a variety of ways including extending the school day and intervention sessions that take place outside of curriculum time. Crucially, all intervention that takes place is carefully coordinated to ensure it will have a significant impact on precisely identified areas of lost learning. In this way, we are confident that our approach will ensure our young people are supported to fulfil their enormous potential.
As indicated above, we have extended our core school learning hours to provide capacity to carry high quality intervention. As well as lessons that have been scheduled at the end of our regular school day, carefully planned holiday intervention programmes also take place, targeting individual students who are identified as requiring this approach.
In supplement the high quality intervention that is delivered by our existing teaching staff, the school has also developed a programme of one to one intervention staffed by intervention tutors who have been specifically employed for this role, using the dedicated funding from government allocated to this purpose. Our intervention tutors work with a range of students, focusing particularly on those in Y11 who need additional support to prepare them for their external examinations this summer. Utilising our team of intervention tutors to work with disadvantaged students and those with weak literacy skills, we ensure that all of our students are given an opportunity to maximise their potential.
Supporting the social and emotional needs of all pupils: Ultimately, our priority as a school is to support our young people to thrive and they can only do so when they are happy and secure. We recognise that our young people have had many different experiences over recent months and that we must provide a wide variety of support to ensure a positive return to day to day education. Thinking about the needs of all students and the specific needs of individuals is at the heart of our recovery approach and the school has extensive pastoral and welfare support in place to afford this.
How We Teach
Learning and Teaching @ SCC – Inevitable Progress
At Sedgefield Community College we have developed an innovative and highly effective approach to teaching and learning that is termed ‘Inevitable Progress’. If we were to sum up what this means, it is a teaching and learning philosophy that is founded on the belief that every student can make exceptional progress and that it is the role of teachers to find a way to make sure that this is ‘inevitable’. Our outstanding teaching and wider staff teams embrace this challenge and we have an ethos across all of the schools where teachers are passionate about the ongoing development of their teaching practice.
‘Inevitable Progress’ was first developed at Sedgefield Community College and the collection of T&L strategies was initially branded as ‘The Learning Box’. The effectiveness of this metaphorical toolbox of T&L strategies has been integral to the success of the school over recent years and has resulted in both regional and national recognition. As a consequence of the proven impact of ‘Inevitable Progress’, it is now an approach that has been introduced across each of the LST’s secondary schools as we make sure that all of our students benefit from an outstanding and inspirational approach to teaching and learning. Crucially, we ensure that best practice is shared across each school, but also adapt the approach where beneficial, ensuring the specific needs of each school’s students are precisely met.
Whilst informed by the latest educational research, ‘Inevitable Progress’ looks to distil this into practical strategies that teachers can employ and which will support students to learn deeply and then be able to retain and apply their knowledge and understanding effectively in the future. A number of strategies that are of particular importance are summarised below:
The Three Storey Intellect
The TSI is the most important ‘tool’ in our ‘Inevitable Progress’ toolbox! In simple terms, it provides us with a common language for learning that can be used by students and staff to allow meaningful discussions about the learning that is taking place. As well as this, it is also used by teachers to support them in constructing effective learning sequences in every lesson, ensuring maximum progress is achieved.
The TSI is represented by a building that is organised into three storeys and these relate to the three basic stages of the learning process:
1st Storey / Gathering: We think carefully to ensure absolute clarity in the vital content / knowledge / skills that we need to ‘gather’ with our students. We ensure that firm foundations for future learning are established, but also ‘gather’ efficiently, to maximise learning time for other elements of the learning process.
2nd Storey / Processing: Students are given opportunities to explore the content that has been gathered or to refine skills that have been introduced to them. Teachers use their expertise to identify the precise level of scaffolding that is appropriate to enable students to secure their understanding at this stage of the learning process.
3rd Storey / Applying: Regular opportunities are provided for students to ‘apply’ their learning in a range of familiar and unfamiliar contexts. By ensuring these regular opportunities to apply take place, students are able to retain their learning in the longer term. Crucially, students are given opportunities to make mistakes, but are then encouraged to reflect upon these and learn from them.
Crucially, the TSI serves as a framework to support the development of effective learning sequences. The three storeys can be thought of as the building blocks of the learning process and the expertise of the teacher determines the best way to assemble these different blocks in each and every lesson.
Questioning is a very important element of ‘Inevitable Progress’ and we use the TSI to support excellence in this aspect of teacher practice. We think carefully about the way in which the nature of questions will develop as we move through the different storeys of the TSI and also encourage students to be intellectually curious and pose questions of their own.
Edward de Bono’s six Thinking Hats are used across each school in all academic years and curriculum areas. Students become expert in employing this learning strategy and it provides them with a structure that supports them to think deeply and with independence.
When wearing each of the six metaphorical ‘hats’, students are required to think in a particular way and these are summarised below:
- Blue Hat – Planning and organising ideas.
- Red Hat – Emotions and how you feel.
- White Hat – Facts and the information that you know.
- Yellow Hat – Benefits relating to the issue being considered.
- Black Hat – Problems relating to the issue being considered.
- Green Hat – New ideas and creative thinking.
Using the hats, students are supported to think in ‘different ways’, exploring an issue fully and not defaulting to thinking about it from just one angle.
The American academic David Hyerle developed a number of Thinking Maps and each of these links to a particular type of thought process. These ‘maps’ serve as ‘visual organisers’ and are intended to support our students in organising their thinking during the ‘gathering’ and ‘processing’ stages of the learning process, enabling them to more effectively ‘apply’. As with the Thinking Hats, the Thinking Maps are a strategy that is used across the school and once again, this does ensure that our students become experts in how to employ them.
A summary of a number of the key Thinking Maps is provided below:
Circle Map – Defining in Context – Putting down on the page the information that you already know (or think you know) about the subject.
Bubble Map – Describing with Adjectives – Identifying the adjectives that best describe the different aspects of the subject you are thinking about.
Double Bubble Map – Comparing and Contrasting – Considering the similarities and differences between two people, places, events, etc that you wish to compare.
Flow Map – Sequencing and Ordering – Organising a series of ideas into the right or best sequence and understanding how they link together.
Multi Flow Map – Causes and Effects – Used to identify the different factors that might cause something to happen and the range of possible effects of this.
Tree Map – Classifying and Grouping – A range of people, places, events, etc are organised into different groups depending on the way that they relate to one another.
Habits of Mind
If we are to be successful in our aim of developing students who are able to become excellent lifelong learners, we need to help them to instil the personal qualities that will result in them achieving their full potential. We recognise that it is difficult to develop ‘learning habits’, but this does not mean that it is something we should avoid!
An American educationalist called Art Costa carried out a great deal of research into the reasons why some people were particularly successful. He identified sixteen Habits of Mind that the most successful people are able to use when necessary. It is this concept of Habits of Mind that we are using to help us to develop the ‘learning habits’ that our students need to achieve success.
Across the curriculum and in the wider operation of the school, we look to make students and staff explicitly aware of these sixteen Habits of Mind that can help us all to be successful. Through doing so, we help people to recognise those habits that it would be beneficial for them personally to develop. Crucially, we are also able to adapt our practice and plan for how best to ensure these vital learning habits can best be supported and developed over time.
The Inevitable Progress Sequence
We recognise that outstanding progress is about more than the experience of students in each individual lesson. Over time, lessons need to be expertly linked together in a way that supports our students to secure and deepen their learning. To support us with this aim, we think about our ‘Inevitable Progress’ sequence and this has many links to Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. Key elements of our ‘Inevitable Progress’ sequence involve the following:
- Enormous attention is paid to the identification of ‘vital content’. By ensuring learning sequences are precisely focused upon exactly what students need to know and do, we are able to ensure depth to learning. We also ensure that there are regular opportunities to revisit and deepen understanding of elements of the curriculum previously taught.
- We think carefully about the use of scaffolds to support learning. A key element of this approach involves ensuring that there is consistency in these scaffolds across teaching staff, academic years and where appropriate curriculum areas. Using the same scaffolds repeatedly supports students to internalise these and then apply them with sophistication for themselves.
- We want our students to think carefully about their own learning and take ownership of this. With this in mind, there is a focus across the LST secondary schools on the development of approaches that support high quality self and peer assessment.
- A simple approach to revision is used across our secondary schools and is summarised in 3 stages:
- WHAT – We establish precisely what students need to learn / understand.
- HOW – We guide students to revise effectively by providing concrete strategies that aid revision.
- CHECK – We support students to recognise the impact of their revision, enabling them to understand their next steps.
Literacy – The Reciprocal Reading Sequence
Many elements of ‘Inevitable Progress’ support the development of excellent literacy skills; we recognise that having excellent literacy skills is crucial to the success of our students both at school and for the remainder of their lives. One specific strategy that it is appropriate to mention would be the use of the Reciprocal Reading sequence as a way of providing students with a concrete strategy that enables them to independently extract meaning from challenging texts.
Across each school, all teaching staff understand the Reciprocal Reading sequence and will look to use all or some elements of this whenever appropriate. In addition to this, dedicated Reciprocal Reading lessons take place regularly across a number of subject areas, ensuring we can be confident that all students are being given regular opportunities to develop this skill.
The stages of the Reciprocal Reading sequence are provided below:
- Recall (Gathering): Students are asked to recall what they already know (or think they know) about the topic of the text to be read.
- Predict (Applying): Students are encouraged to predict how they feel the text will develop after reading the opening line…activating their thinking from the outset.
- Read (Gathering): Students take the time to read a short section of the text.
- Clarify (Processing): Time is taken to clarify the precise meaning of any unfamiliar language…or any language that students may feel is familiar, but where there may be misconceptions.
- Questioning (Processing): Students are encouraged to pose their own questions based on the section of text read.
- Summarise (Processing): Students are asked to provide a summary of the key points of the section of text that has been read.
In many schools, reading is seen as a simple ‘gathering’ activity. Through the Reciprocal Reading sequence, reading becomes a ‘processing’ and ‘applying’ activity, increasing the depth of learning that is achieved.
Making Links Across the Curriculum
Consistent with our ethos of creating learners who can think deeply and with independence, we want to support our students to make connections between their learning across academic years and different curriculum areas. We believe that supporting students to think about these connections helps them to secure their learning in the long-term.
In order to achieve our aim, we have developed eight cross -curricular themes and an additional eight cross-curricular skills. Whenever these themes or skills are addressed in a lesson, teachers draw attention to this using the appropriate linked icon. A summary of the themes and skills is provided below:
As well as supporting students to think about their learning, our process for making links also provides students with additional opportunities to develop their oracy skills in lessons.
There are many elements of ‘Inevitable Progress’ that support students to develop excellent oracy skills and we want our students to have the confidence and skills to present and discuss issues with people from all backgrounds. One vital element of our approach is the creation of a whole school ethos where students are given regular opportunities to engage with and debate a wide range of topics.
Whilst all teachers and subject areas are constantly looking for opportunities to support our debating ethos, dedicated debating lessons are part of the curriculum in a number of subject areas including English, Science, Geography and History. Through our approach, we can be confident that all students are being provided with regular opportunities to develop these vital skills that will enable them to realise their full potential at school and for the rest of their lives.
Embracing the full potential of digital technology is an important element of our ‘Inevitable Progress’ approach. Across all of the LST secondary schools, we recognise that digital technology provides teachers and students with a range of tools that can ensure outstanding progress. As well as this, we understand that we must equip our young people with the skills to thrive in a digital world.
In order to ensure that we are using digital technology in a highly effective way, our starting point is always the Three Storey Intellect and we consider the way in which digital technology can support us at each stage of this:
- Gathering: We consider how technology can support students to gather information efficiently and effectively, increasing levels of engagement through the variety of ways in which these gathering activities can be carried out.
- Processing: We consider how technology can enable more effective processing to take place and most notably through the way in which the planning of lessons can be enriched with the potential to personalise learning with sophistication.
- Applying: We consider how technology can provide students with increasingly meaningful opportunities to both apply their existing understanding and then reflect deeply upon this to allow further progress in the future.
Linked to the points above, we have identified six ways in which we look to employ digital technology within our ‘Inevitable Progress’ approach to T&L:
- Optimising learning time – allowing approaches that will ensure that learning time is well spent in and beyond lessons.
- Allowing greater personalisation of learning – students able to access an increased range of materials to scaffold or support.
- Increasing student engagement – potential to use technology to teach the curriculum in innovative ways that capture the interest of students.
- Facilitating low stakes assessment and self-assessment – access to a device will allow students to carry out these approaches in a wide variety of ways.
- Developing independent learners – students able to take greater ownership of their own learning…particularly revision.
- Developing learning beyond the classroom – technology has the potential to blur the boundary between school and home learning.
Pathways - A Personalised Curriculum
Whilst Sedgefield Community College must ensure that students follow the national curriculum, it still allows students to select from a range of other subjects. Students now make this selection during year 8 and whilst they continue to study a broad, balanced and aspirational curriculum, they are then able to tailor this to their own personal learning needs.
Students continue in learning pathways for years 9, 10 and 11. The pathway that they are placed into being determined by their academic performance in year 8.
The linked documents below provide details of the optional subjects available in each pathway, what will be taught in these subjects and what qualification they will lead to (For example, GCSE) below Please click for this information.
Specific details of what is covered in each subject at any time in the school year can be found by viewing the Curriculum Overviews and then the subject you wish to find out more about.
Please note that due to the extended school closure, our teaching staff have carefully reviewed the curriculum overviews to ensure that these will best support the progress of all of our students as they return to daily schooling.
Homework @ SCC
During Y7 and Y8, our approach to homework at Sedgefield Community College involves a number of homework tasks being set to students each half-term via our school learning platform FROG. This method of setting homework tasks was adopted after extensive consultation with students and parents who indicated that they would welcome the ability to access information about homework from home, at any time. An important function of year 7 and 8 homework is to support students to develop the skills of managing their own time and prioritising tasks. As well as this, we also hope that each homework task can be something that enthuses and excites students and offers something that is a little different to what might be taking place in school.
Some key points to make about the way in which homework is set to students in years 7 and 8 are:
- The school provides deadline dates for submission of homework tasks and a schedule of which subject areas will be setting homework each half-term via student planners and also the learning platform.
- We will ensure that the new homework tasks for each new half-term are available via the learning platform at the start of each half-term.
- We will ensure teachers take time to set and explain homework tasks in lessons.
- We will ensure work submitted is returned to students with feedback within two school weeks of the deadline date for submission.
- We will reward students who submit excellent homework.
In order to help students to manage their time in meeting homework deadlines, they may wish to use this document to plan which pieces of homework they will be working on and when
In years 9, 10 and 11, the approach to setting homework is different and this is a reflection of the huge variety of courses and qualifications that students study. As necessary, homework tasks will be set in class and specific deadlines will be set for these. However, within the Learning Platform (FROG), a wide range of revision and extension materials are available for all subjects studied from Y9 to Y11 and these are once again accessible in school or at home.
It is important to note that our students in Y9 to Y11 are studying for courses where a large element of the qualification is awarded through exams at the end of Y11 and it does make ongoing revision of the work that is done in class vital. Students who believe that they will be able to start their revision at some point in Y11 will be overwhelmed by the volume of what they have to learn and starting revision from the first day in Y9 will avoid this! Our students in Y9, Y10 and Y11 always have revision that they are able to undertake on FROG…whatever one or two might try to tell their parents!
Homework @ SCC – Reading
In addition to the homework tasks set through each subject area, we also believe that students should read regularly at home. The ability to read for understanding is crucial to students if they are to ACHIEVE success in all subject areas.
We would expect students to be reading for at least 30 minutes each evening in years 7 and 8. For students who find reading a particular challenge, this reading should ideally be done alongside a parent, older sibling, etc.
Reading is promoted across all subjects in the school and most notably in English lessons. During Y7 and Y8, all students do still have lessons in our school library and we’d remind all of our students that there are lots of fantastic books here that you can check out and take home.
As students enter year 9, they should continue to read and if they have done so throughout years 7 and 8, the habit of reading and enjoyment of this process will hopefully have been embedded.
Should a parent require advice as to books which may appeal to their child they should not hesitate to contact us and we will provide some guidance.
View Current Homework tasks
Click here to go into FROG and view your current homework tasks.
Examinations are something that take place throughout the academic year at Sedgefield Community College. Regardless of the year group that a child is in, he/she will face a period of examinations at some point in the year. The outcome of these internal examinations taken by students in years 7 to 10 are used to help teachers plan subsequent lessons to address misunderstandings or where learning needs further reinforcement. In addition, individual student examination outcomes can also influence the teaching group a student will be placed in.
Parents and students are advised to contact the college Examinations Officer (Mrs Turnbull) for information relating to future examinations which do not feature on this page.
Exam Anxiety and Stress
If you are concerned about being overly anxious about examinations then remember that you can get advice by visiting the Student Wellbeing area within FROG. Alternatively speak with your Year Manager or Jan, your Student Counsellor. Don’t panic, we can help!
Examination and Revision Support
Preparation is key to success in any examination and for this reason developing the techniques to answer the type of questions that appear on examination papers is something that is built into lessons throughout every subject in every year group. In addition, FROG our learning platform is packed with revision materials that are specific to each subject that a student may study. In each instance these resources have been produced by our own teachers who know our students and their particular revision needs as opposed to commercially bought resources which we have found to be less effective.
It is important that any student who feels they may need additional support speaks with their teacher well ahead of any examination.