Curriculum

At Sedgefield Community College, our curriculum focuses on the needs of the children in our school and providing all of our students with the broad and balanced educational experience that each individual is entitled to in order that they are able to achieve their full potential.  Our curriculum is ambitious, aspirational and provides our students with opportunities to excel academically, gaining a range of high-quality qualifications when they leave the school.  Of equal, if not of greater importance, we also ensure that the personal qualities, employability skills and cultural capital that are so crucial to personal success, are built progressively throughout a seamless five-year educational experience at our school.

At Sedgefield Community College, we recognise that it is only through achieving excellent examination performance and securing outstanding development of their wider personal qualities that our students can fully realise their enormous potential.  We have designed a curriculum that supports both of these aims in a multitude of ways and these are summarised below:

Thinking Skills: We have a curriculum founded on our core belief that it is our role as a school to support our young people to be able to think in depth and with independence.  Our innovative and highly successful approach to teaching and learning ensures that the progressive development of thinking skills is integral to the learning that takes place and further detail is provided later in the prospectus.

Literacy Development: We understand that the development of excellent literacy skills is a fundamental entitlement for all of our students.  Without excellent literacy skills, children can not fully access the curriculum or unlock and then achieve their full potential.  Across our school, all of our staff, irrespective of their subject area, recognise that they have a duty to embrace our whole school approach to literacy development.  During their time at SCC, your child will develop strategies that will help them to read and decode complex texts with independence and verbally express their ideas with subtlety and sophistication.

Appreciating and Engaging with the Wider World: We ensure that the curriculum our students follow reflects the reality of the modern world in which they are growing up and will support them to both understand and thrive within this.  A comprehensive programme of enrichment activities such as educational visits and guest speakers is entwined with our curriculum delivery during lessons.  As well as this, we help our students to think for themselves as they make connections between the learning that takes place across each academic year and also across the full range of subjects that they study.

What subjects are part of our curriculum?

As indicated in the introduction, our curriculum is ambitious and aspirational and this is the case for all of our young people.  We believe that all young people have an entitlement to study a broad and balanced curriculum and that this should ultimately result in students gaining high calibre and highly valued qualifications.  Having achieved in subjects that are of such a standard, we know that our students leave us with the qualifications that will enable them to excel in the next stage of their educational journey and then on into their future lives.

Our curriculum does see all students have the opportunity to study subjects that would enable them to achieve the valued EBacc qualification by the time that they leave Y11.  In addition to this, we also continue to offer a wide range of creative and practical subjects that enable us to realise the full potential of all of our young people.  The arts are vibrant at Sedgefield Community College and whilst our students rightly have the opportunity to study what might be considered traditionally academic subjects, this is never at the expense of creative and more practical subjects that are also of such profound importance.

Finally, in order to give our students 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 Y7 to Y11 to ensure the digital skills they need are progressively developed.

How is our curriculum structured?

The educational journey of our students has started before their first day in Y7 at Sedgefield Community College and will continue long after they leave us at the end of Y11.  During the five years that we have the privilege to shape their education, we endeavour to make this a seamless experience, with students developing their knowledge and skills progressively from one year to the next.  Some schools focus on an artificial division between what takes place in KS3 and KS4, but to ensure rapid and sustained student progress, we strongly believe that our approach is the right one.

When your children join us in Year Seven, our curriculum is designed to ensure that it both consolidates and rapidly moves beyond the curriculum that has been studied in their primary school.  Where students need additional support, we provide this, but make sure that there is no possibility of a dip in learning as students move into their new school.  By the end of Y8, we have ensured that the KS3 National Curriculum has been covered in depth and this allows us to use Y9 to go beyond the National Curriculum and ensure that your children leave KS3 in a position of enormous strength.

As indicated, our curriculum in Y7 and Y8 allows us to be innovative with our approach in Y9, providing our students with opportunities to flourish and avoiding limiting their progress.  We build upon the foundations of the KS3 National Curriculum, going beyond this and are also able to introduce elements of the GCSE and other qualifications that students will study until they leave the school.  Our approach ensures that there is genuine depth to the learning that takes place throughout the five years that our students spend at the school.  Our young people develop a level of understanding that will allow them to apply this with sophistication in external examinations and more importantly, for the rest of their lives.  One of the primary roles of education, if not the greatest role, is to increase the opportunities afforded to young people, and ensuring excellent achievement enables us to fulfil this moral imperative.

Curriculum Overviews

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.

SMSC Programme 2020-2021

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 20-21 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.  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 20-21, 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 an innovative and highly effective approach to teaching and learning that is termed ‘Inevitable Progress @ SCC’.  For any of you familiar with the school, this is the continuing evolution of what we previously termed ‘The Sedgefield Learning Box’.  Our approach to teaching and learning has been integral to the success of the school over the last decade and has resulted in the school being asked to share this with schools within our region, nationally and even with schools overseas.  As we embark on the next stage of Sedgefield Community College’s development as part of the Laidlaw Schools Trust, the ‘Inevitable Progress’ approach is now being introduced to the other secondary schools that are part of the LST.  Already, we have seen the effectiveness of this and the positive impact it is having on standards of teaching and learning.

If we were to sum up what we mean by ‘Inevitable Progress @ SCC’, it is an approach that is founded on the belief that every study can make 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 team embrace this challenge, making sure we live up to it each day.  If we are to achieve the ‘inevitable’ progress described, we need to enable our young people to think in depth and with independence.  One way in which we achieve this aim, is by developing the expertise of staff and students in employing a number of ‘thinking tools’.

Thinking Hats

Students develop the strategy of using the six Thinking Hats (based on the research of Edward De Bono). By using the six hats, students are encouraged to think about different aspects of the issue as each hat relates to a different kind of thinking:

  • 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.

Question Matrix

The purpose of the Question Matrix is to help our students and teachers to think more about the questions that are asked in lessons. We encourage teachers to think more consciously about the language they use to pose questions and the way in which different types of questions each have a valuable contribution to play in the learning process. As well as this, we want our students to pose their own questions and our Question Matrix provides them with a structure to do this.

Thinking Maps

Having observed excellent learning in several different schools, we have chosen to train our staff and students in using the eight Thinking Maps developed by the American academic David Hyerle. These Thinking Maps act as ‘visual organisers’ and are a consistent and effective way of students organising their thinking about any issue, in any curriculum area.

Each of the eight maps relates to a different thinking process as outlined 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.

Brace Map – For Analysing Whole Objects and Parts – One whole object is taken and is broken down into the different parts that go together to make it.

Bridge Map – For Seeing Analogies – Used to make a bridge between different ideas and help students make connections between their learning in different areas.

Communicating Learning

In order to ensure ‘Deep Learning’, we need to develop the ability of our students and teachers to have effective conversations about the learning processes that take place in our school. All of our learning strategies lend themselves to effective conversations, but those in this compartment help to provide a common ‘language of learning’.

Three Storey Intellect

The Three Storey Intellect is represented by a diagram of a building that is organised into three storeys. Within each storey, ‘learning words’ are provided that relate to the different learning processes that take place in the classroom. Across all subject areas, these are the words that we use to talk about learning and this helps our students to make connections between their learning in each different subject.
The Three Storey Intellect breaks down into the following:

1st Storey – Gathering – These words relate to more straightforward learning tasks where students are ‘gathering’ together the key information.

2nd Storey – Processing – These words relate to learning tasks where students are undertaking task to make sense of the information already ‘gathered’.

3rd Storey – Applying – These words relate to learning tasks where students need to take the information ‘gathered’ and ‘processed’, ‘applying’ it in new situations.

Using the Three Storey Intellect to help us, we encourage students and staff to think more consciously about the learning process and the way in which the various elements of this fit together.  We understand the importance of ensuring firm foundations for future learning that link to the ‘gathering’ stage of the Three Storey Intellect.  As well as this, we also look to move students up to the second and third storeys whenever it is possible, ensuring that the more challenging thinking and learning at these storeys is taking place.

Learning Habits

If we are to be successful in our aim of developing students who are able to become successful lifelong learners, we need to help them to instil the personal qualities that will result in them being successful. We recognise as a school 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 16 key ‘Habits of Mind’ that the most successful people were 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 16 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.

Learning Together

The habit of being able to work and learn together effectively is such an important one that a whole compartment of our Learning Box is devoted to it. We recognise that whilst students need to be able to work alone, some of the richest and deepest learning experiences come through activities where students can work and discuss together.

In order to support our students in developing the skills that will enable them to achieve when learning together, a bank of common group-work strategies have been developed and these are shared with all new staff who join the school.  Each of these strategies is designed to serve a particular purpose, whether it be listening more carefully to the contributions of others, providing meaningful peer feedback or carefully weighing contributions to be made.

Ultimately, using these strategies helps us to ensure progress is made and that a number of the vital Habits of Mind are being developed effectively.

Inevitable Progress in Developing Literacy Skills

Our school curriculum and linked approach to teaching and learning places enormous importance on supporting our students to develop excellent literacy skills and we recognise that these are vital to support them to achieve their full potential.  The ability to read is crucial to students in being able to unlock learning in all subject areas and we foster a love for reading during the time that our students spend with us.  In addition to this, we have a structured approach to the development of reading skills that students learn across subject areas and which then supports them to be able to extract meaning for themselves from increasingly challenging texts.

Another essential part of the literacy approach involves supporting our students to develop their ability to communicate verbally.  We focus on providing a wide range of opportunities for students to develop their verbal skills and this includes a focus on debating skills with dedicated debating lessons taking place as part of our curriculum in multiple subjects areas.

Inevitable Progress and Tablet Devices / FROG

As indicated above, we continue to ensure that our approach to teaching and learning evolves, identifying and building upon best practice and ensuring we remain at the forefront of teaching and learning development in our region and beyond.  One notable way in which we have seen the evidence of this approach over recent years has been the continuing development of our school’s approach to the use of technology to ensure rapid student progress.  Where some schools allow technology to become a gimmick, we never lose sight of the fact that technology is only a tool and should only ever be used when it can ‘construct’ better learning.  Keeping this in mind, we have developed our school’s virtual learning environment (FROG) in a way that absolutely does support rapid progress, blurring the boundary between learning in the classroom and at home.  In addition to this, during Y9 to Y11, we are one of a small number of schools in the region that see all students having access to an electronic tablet device in lessons.  The success of this approach is seen in the way that our young people engage with the strategy and the consistently outstanding exam performances that the devices contribute to our students receiving.

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.

Options Pathways

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.

Yellow Pathway Booklet 2020
Green Pathway Booklet 2020
Blue Pathway Booklet 2020

Yellow Pathway Booklet Form 2020
Green Pathway Booklet Form 2020
Blue Pathway Booklet Form 2020

Curriculum Overviews

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 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.

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

Student Homework Planning Schedule Pro-Forma

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.

Exams

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.

Loading...