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 will have high expectations and meet the needs of all students.
  • 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.

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, prioritizing 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, French, Spanish, Geography, History, RE, PE, Computing and PSHE.

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 or have one-to-one support in place of one or both of their modern foreign languages. Additional maths support is provided by running nurture classes (max 10 students) in each year half taught by qualified maths teachers and assigned 2 extra lesson per cycle. This provision is available throughout Year 7-9.

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.

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 PSHE curriculum from both the guidance provided and the current influences from our local area and the national news. PSHE is delivered through a combination of teacher led lessons, specialist input from a local nurse, 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 and social care.

We aim each year for at least 98% of our students to take a subject combination that satisfies Progress 8. Students also study, but do not take a qualification in, core PE, RE and citizenship (a combination of PSHE, careers and 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 the numbers have been slowing increasing over the last few years, 35% of Y10 in 2019 are taking a modern foreign language, which is an increase from our current Y11, where only 27% selected to study them and our Y11 leavers where it was 22%. The tutor programme also supports literacy development through a whole school reading programme.

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 the GCSE programme of study is not appropriate for a student we provide functional skills qualifications.

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 – please see the careers section of the website for further details.

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, Travel and 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 Sport studies in which we offer the single, double 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 under ‘Curriculum Intent’.

Alongside the formal curriculum design there are a range of opportunities for students to access relating to their own personal development, please access the Personal Development 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
ICT & Computing
Physical Education
Religious Education
Personal, Social & Health Education

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

KS4 Curriculum offer

All students at The Purbeck School are required to study and gain qualifications in English, Mathematics and Science.

Students also take but do not receive qualifications in PE, RE and citizenship (a combination of PSHE, ICT and development of their understanding of the wider world).

In addition 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.