Pupils describe teachers as very caring and supportive, encouraging them to participate in the excellent facilities available.
Our curriculum is designed to inspire our young people and motivate them to learn; to continuously improve upon their best, whatever their background. We aim to provide learners with opportunity and choice as they learn, and for as long as possible. We aim to deliver learning with challenge through high expectations, enabling young people to aspire to be the best and envision their future in the here and now: aiming to Pursue Excellence and Be the Best.
We teach a broad curriculum, one that will open doors for our students, impacting their future life chances and the part they play in society. Our curriculum values academic and vocational learning as we strive for every child to become a well-rounded, caring and confident individual; able to play a part in their community and equipped with the skills and mindset to contribute to wider society. Students develop not only their academic potential, but also their artistic, sporting and leadership talents. An exciting extra-curricular programme aims to extend their interests beyond the classroom, whether that is in computing, sport, music, art or drama. Our students are actively encouraged to use social time to read, play, compete, or use our musical instruments such as the piano in the main atrium; our students respect their environment and each other.
Our core curriculum: English Language & Literature, Mathematics, Science and Humanities enable our students to have the essential skills, knowledge and understanding to be successful. Students attain recognised qualifications so they can reach their future destinations, employment, training or further study. We believe passionately that students should have access to a broad curriculum, particularly at Key Stage 3. We do not reduce curriculum time and we avoid abridged curricula that lead to option decisions being made far too early. To this end we provide a full curriculum during Years 7-9, including the arts and creative subjects, which provide breadth and rigour. Furthermore, we expect students to study humanities and languages for as long as possible to ensure they have the requisite knowledge to either continue their studies at GCSE, if they choose to do so. The curriculum is structured and timetabled to ensure that leaders can improve standards, whilst providing value for money. (Ref: Curriculum Policy for details on how the curriculum is constructed).
Our subject leaders and classroom teachers use Schemes of Learning to deliver short, medium and long-term learning goals. These schemes are comprised of three documents:
- Subject Intent Statements, which outline the values, life skills and philosophy within each subject beyond and not limited to a Level 2 qualification;
- a Continuous Curriculum Plan that documents the learning diet of each student in each subject from primary school all the way through to further education;
- Sequences of Learning that detail what is taught to every student in every unit and are underpinned by the pursuit of knowledge, challenge and cognitive load theory.
We expect that every student is challenged and that both students and teachers are intrinsically clear on what excellence looks like in their subject. and in each unit of work. Our Continuous Curriculum Plans (CCPs) are promoted around the school and on the website. All stake holders have the opportunity to access the CCPs – they can see what they are going to learn, how they are going to be assessed as well as when that assessment will take place; students and parents / carers can look ahead at the learning to come and be prepared.
Castle View's teaching and learning priorities revolve around making students more independent in their learning. We recognise that the students who are able to apply metacognitive strategies to their studies, make more progress. Therefore, our teachers actively teach metacognition in lessons to ensure that students are clear on how learning happens and to equip them with the tools they need to do well.
We are highly ambitious for our students. Challenging targets are set for all pupils of all ability ranges and we ensure our students and teachers can measure their success with other students nationally and against their starting points. Teachers are focused on reducing differences in outcomes for our students compared to others nationally, particularly within key focus groups. We support our students in achieving their targets through a variety of interventions and support including targeted academic mentoring. Teaching and learning initiatives are underpinned by a robust pastoral support structure, to ensure wellbeing and mental health needs are met.
Our core curriculum is supported by an entitlement & enrichment curriculum that we aim to operate in tandem. This curriculum (supported by Tutor and Personal Development time) enables all young people to access a variety of inspiring and motivational learning activities, often away from the formality of a classroom, including local, regional and international visits. We provide a programme that includes visiting speakers, covering a wide range of social and domestic issues such as safeguarding, mental health and wellbeing, and it supports the development of students’ personal, social, community, cultural and human capital; essential for them to become active participants in society for the rest of their lives. The enrichment curriculum provides subtle learning opportunities to achieve our vision: to develop well-rounded, caring and confident individuals.
Opportunities to celebrate success, to recognise effort, hard work and the impact a young person can make to their lives and those of others is key. Our first value is to ‘Take Notice.’ We are encouraged to notice of those around us and the positive impact they have. The school values are a unique learning tool that we have created to assist in the development of caring human beings. College Points, postcards, certificates, badges, nominations, prizes such as the Jack Petchey Young Leaders Award, celebrate success. Those who contribute significantly to the ethos of the school are nominated and awarded our highest accolade, the Headteacher’s Platinum Award and badge. Via the Headteacher’s Roundtable, pupils have the opportunity to speak academically about their work that has been nominated as excellent, receive feedback and be published in the school’s Inspire Magazine. For this too, they will receive the Headteacher’s Platinum Award badge.
We take our responsibility as educators very seriously; we regularly review the school curriculum at departmental level, making adjustments to, ensure our curriculum planning with learners and their needs at the centre. We believe that we have a curriculum to support, challenge and provide opportunity for future success, combined with genuine breadth, choice and progression. Leaders at all levels engage with students, parents / carers and governors, external consultants and other educational settings to ensure we provide a curriculum that meet the needs of our current learners. Our curriculum remains organic, responsive to the future and, to some extent, the unknown employment opportunities of the 21st Century. We are ever mindful that our young people need the skills and adaptability to meet future employment market demands.
Most importantly of all, we take pride in providing a safe, happy and harmonious learning environment – one where every child is known as an individual and is afforded the opportunity to meet their needs, interests and personal ambitions. At Castle View we actively Pursue Excellence to Be the Best.