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Our Wessex family of schools

Curriculum Design

At The Purbeck School, the curriculum is focused on: 

  • Providing a broad and balanced range of subjects and opportunities to provide the skills and knowledge that helps prepare our students for whatever future path they decide upon. 
  • Being designed to be accessible to all of our students. 

As a result, The Purbeck School is committed to a mastery based curriculum. We define this as: 

  • All staff believe that all students can learn all important academic knowledge to a level of excellence if: allowed the right amount of time to learn; provide the appropriate conditions to learn. 
  • All staff will have high expectations and meet the needs of all students. 

Across the school, each subject has designed their curriculum with these principles in mind… 

  • Content-specific: Every piece of knowledge and every skill that students will master in each unit of work will be meticulously specified, along with precise definitions. There will be a clear subject specific rationale as to ‘why’ content is being taught and sequenced. 
  • Cumulative: Knowledge and skills are intelligently sequenced and ordered for optimal instruction, prioritising longer time for the development of depth and sufficient practice to embed learning. Knowledge and skills from previous units is revisited explicitly and systematically and interleaved to build retention. 
  • Coherence: Instructional sequences are consistently planned and delivered across all stages to ensure students acquire and demonstrate a sufficient grasp of the knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to their year group. Learning objectives for every lesson are explicit. 
  • Challenge: All students are challenged through depth, but also supported through careful scaffolding. All students are expected to become ‘experts’ in each key idea. 

In Year 7-9, students study the following subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, Design (textiles, product and food), Art, Drama, Music, Modern foreign language, Geography, History, RE, PE, Computing and Personal Development. Year 7 study both French and Spanish. We are aware that providing both French and Spanish is a challenge for some of our cohort, but feel students should be provided with the opportunities to widen their horizons by learning foreign languages. As the move into year 8 students select one of French or Spanish to continue. 

At The Purbeck School, we are committed to improving outcomes for students who are behind their age-related expectations when they join us. To achieve this, we use quality first teaching delivered by specialist teachers, as well as a trained support team. However, if students require additional learning support, then they may take extra English, nurture classes for maths or have one-to-one support in place of one or both of their modern foreign languages.  

Our organisation is underpinned by the fundamental British values, and we aspire for all of our students to develop their understanding of the wider world as well as academic skills and knowledge. As a school, we follow the Dorset agreed SACRE for RE and have developed our own Personal Development curriculum from both the guidance provided and the current influences from our local area and the national news. Personal development is delivered by Tutors through a combination of teacher-led lessons, as well as specialist input external agencies via assemblies and drop-down events. 

In Year 10/11, students take qualifications in the following subjects: English, Mathematics, double science (triple is taken as one of their optional subjects) and four optional subjects chosen from: French, Spanish, Geography, History, Computing, Geology, Product Design, Food Technology, Fine Art, Photography, Drama, Music, PRE, Business studies, Media studies, Sport studies and Health & social care. We aim each year for at least 98% of our students to take a subject combination that satisfies Progress 8. The tutor programme also supports literacy development through a whole school reading programme. 

Students also study but do not gain qualifications in core PE, RE and Personal Development (a combination of PSHE, RSE, careers, citizenship and insight into wider world contexts). 

Further mathematics is also taught to approximately 30 students each year as an additional subject. The selection of a language at GCSE is optional, but students are encouraged to continue with their chosen language from year 8 & 9.   

Students who require additional learning support are offered extra English, in place of one of their options, Maths or one-to-one PLP support is provided in place of some of their non-qualification lessons. Where a GCSE programme of study is not appropriate for a student, we provide access to alternative qualifications such as Cope, entry level English and entry level Mathematics. 

As part of the whole school curriculum, there are numerous opportunities for students to access as a part of the schools’ careers programme. This structured programme runs across all 5 year groups as part of the personal development programme. 

At Y12/13, students select 3 or 4 subjects to study from the following subjects: English Literature, English Language, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Science, Psychology, Sociology, Geography, Applied Tourism, History, Product Design, Fine Art, Photography, Business Studies*, Media Studies, Health and Social Care* and Sport Studies*. Subjects identified with stars (*) are non GCE qualifications and provide a more vocational element to our KS5 curriculum. 

All of these are single award subjects, except Sports Studies in which we offer a single or triple award. There is also provision for students to retake their English language and Mathematics GCSE if they have not yet achieved a grade 5. 

There is a much more detailed guide to the sixth form curriculum offer in the Sixth Form section of the website. 

KS3 Curriculum offer 

All students at The Purbeck School are required by the government to study the following subjects at KS3. 

Design – Food, Product, Textiles & Graphics
Modern Foreign Language – French and Spanish
Physical Education
Religious Education
Personal development  (a combination of PSHE, RSE, careers, citizenship and insight into wider world contexts). 

We fully actively encourage students in accessing a broad and balanced curriculum which fits the government guidelines and supports students to achieve their potential. 

KS4 Curriculum offer 

All students at The Purbeck School are required to study and gain qualifications in EnglishMathematics and Science

Students also take but do not receive qualifications in core PE, RE and Personal Development (a combination of PSHE, RSE, careers, citizenship and insight into wider world contexts). 

In addition, during Year 9, students are asked to select up to 4 optional subjects to study from the list below that they then study in KS4. 

Optional subjects 

Food Technology
Fine Art
Health & Social Care – BTEC level 2 Tech Award in HSC
Media Studies
Product Design
Sport – Cambridge National Certificate in sports studies level 2

We recommend that students take a broad and balanced curriculum which fits the government guideline for a Progress 8 combination and also encourage students to take combinations which would gain them the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).