Our Curriculum 2018-19
The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a
programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding
to be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework
over time into a structure and narrative, within a school context
(implementation)and for evaluating what knowledge and skills pupils
have gained against expectations (impact/achievement).
Our curriculum has been recognised as one of the school's
strengths and demonstrates our determination to provide equal
opportunities for all pupils. The Ofsted report from our inspection
in November 2016 stated: 'Leaders have ensured that the
curriculum is appropriate and meets the needs of pupils so as to
equip them to move on to the next stage of their education. The
pupils whom inspectors spoke to said that they feel that they have
a good range of subjects to study and subsequently choose from. The
effectiveness of the curriculum can be seen by the very high
numbers of pupils who go on to further education, employment and/or
Our Mission Statement expresses our intention to ensure that all
pupils, regardless of their academic ability, are given the
opportunity to fulfil their potential - not only academically but
spiritually, morally, socially, emotionally and physically.
So that all pupils may"have life and have it to the full".
Our context underpins our curriculum rationale. The school
works in an extremely challenging context. 42% of pupils are
disadvantaged which is almost double the National Average.
There is chronic deprivation within the Manchester context.
Additionally, cohorts are below National Average for reading,
writing and mathematics on entry. Approximately 20% of pupils
have English as an additional language. Pupils with
additional needs (SEND) is significantly above the National
Key Stage Three Curriculum
Underpinning our curriculum are our aims to ensure that pupils
are developed to be responsible citizens, independent and confident
individuals, constructive contributors to the community and happy
and successful learners who achieve well (RICH).
In order to achieve our aims we offer abroad and balanced
curriculum. Pupils study a full range of traditional,
academic subjects alongside creative, artistic, technical and
sporting disciplines. As a Catholic school Religious
Education is the 'Core of the Core curriculum. Religious
Education is also a vehicle through which we deliver PSHE, British
Values and Catholic Social Teaching.
Complementing this is our RICH curriculum which runs during 30
minutes of Family Time each day. During this time pupils
study Literacy, Numeracy, PSHE, Citizenship and British Values as
well as CEIAG. There is a strong SMSC link throughout this,
including our carefully planned 5W Weekly Focus which is delivered
at the start of each week. We place high importance on this
aspect of our curriculum provision and it is monitored and
It is critical pupils' literacy and numeracy levels are
developed through our curriculum provision at Key Stage Three which
is a vehicle for developing these skills. This is done
through an ever increasing focus on literacy and numeracy across
the curriculum, and well-targeted intervention. There is a
use of Question Level Analysis from Key Stage 2 and the 'Catch Up
Premium' to ensure gaps are closed rapidly. Where necessary,
this support continues into Key Stage Four.
Pupils also study two hours a week Core PE at Key Stage Three
due to the importance we place upon their physical and mental
health and well-being. This is particularly important given
the context in which young people live today.
Three Year KS4: Rationale
The Barlow introduced a three year Key Stage Four in September
2014. There were a number of reasons for this.
Improved pupil outcomes in August 2017 and August 2018 support
the decision to transition to a three year Key Stage Four for
pupils at The Barlow.
The two year Key Stage 3 helps to avoid a 'dip' in their
progress. It is essential that progress is rapid and there is
no time to waste repeating material already covered at Key Stage
Two unless necessary. Teachers have carefully reviewed
schemes of work and evaluated pedagogical approaches and continue
to do so. We continue to use this as a vehicle for improving
teaching and learning.
The Options process is very thorough and robust. This is
supported by pupil and parent voice. Pupils are given a
significant amount of guidance, including independent careers
advice. Pupils are given greater 'personalisation' through
their Key Stage Four curriculum as they follow one of four bespoke
pathways which best meets their needs. There is dialogue
around the allocation of Pathways with parents and pupils and an
element of flexibility as appropriate.
This structure also allows us to provide a richer and
deeper curriculum. The time gained in Key Stage Four enables
us to increase enrichment activities, for example, our British
Values Week in May 2018. (See website for the wide range of
enrichment activities offered).
It is critical that we ensure there isgood knowledge and
understanding of the content of the curriculumand that pupils are
able to manage therobust new assessment procedures.
Opportunities are built in within the three year Key Stage Four to
revisit content taught in Year 9 in both Year 10 and Year 11, to
ensure that learning is secure. This is particularly
important for our disadvantaged pupils.
For The Barlow, the increased focus in Year 7 and 8 has reduced
any restlessness ahead of Year 9;leading to improved
behaviour. It has supported pupil engagement with their
learning and has also impacted positively upon pupils' self-esteem
as they are able select subjects in which they can experience
Particularly important for our pupils is the increased
opportunities forenhanced subject depth and enrichment, e.g. STEM
Key Stage 3 (11-13 years)
In Years 7 & 8 pupils study the following subjects:
Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science, History,
Geography, Spanish or French, Computing, Design Technology, Art,
Drama, Music and Physical Education. There are a small number
of pupils in Year 7, for whom it is appropriate, who study
additional Literacy and Numeracy as part of their curriculum
Key Stage 4 (13-16 years)
Towards the end of Year 8, our pupils take their Options. This
is when they decide which subjects they would like to study in
Years 9, 10 and Year 11. This period during their school career is
very important, as the choices they make are likely to
influence their future studies.
All our Year 9, 10 and Year 11 pupils have to study core
subjects. These are: Religious Studies, English Language and
Literature, Mathematics, Science (either Combined Science or
Separate - Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Physical Education and
Personal, Social and Health Education (PHSE), Citizenship, Careers,
Enterprise & Work Related Learning.
Pupils also choose up to three subjects from the list
below, dependent on the Pathway that they follow:
- GCSE subjects: Art, Craft & Design, Business, Computer
Science, Drama, French, Geography, Graphic Communication, History,
Media Studies, Music, Physical Education or Spanish.
- BTEC Level 1/2 Technical Awards: Engineering, ICT OCR
National, Sport or Music.
- V Cert Level 1/2 Technical Awards:Health & Fitness
- Other qualifications: ASDAN 'Preparation for Adulthood',
Salford Diocesan Certificate in Religious Education, Entry Level
Literacy and Numeracy.
For curriculum information about individual subject areas,
please click on the subject area on the left hand tab of the
curriculum section of the website.
GCSE - General Certificate of Secondary
The GCSE is the chief examination that will be taken
by students in Years 10 and 11. With recent examination
reforms, there has been an increasing emphasis on linear
examinations which have now come into effect. This means as
your child begins his/her studies in Key Stage Four (Years 9-11), a
greater percentage of his/her final grade, will be determined by
the final examination.
We have undertaken a huge amount of planning for the new GCSE
syllabuses and fully aware of the importance of preparing our
students for these changes. We test students regularly to prepare
them for the increasing demands of the new national success
criteria as well as to help them develop examination
BTEC - Business and Technology Council
BTEC offer different and practical ways of working for the
student. Courses are evidenced-based and the student's success is
not determined by a final examination but on the satisfactory
completion of a number of units. These are specialist
qualifications that focus on particular aspects of employment
within a range of work areas. The quality of a student's work and
the extent to which it addresses the module requirements determines
the grade awarded. Grades at Level 2 include: Pass, Merit and
Distinction and Distinction*. Student's work is internally
assessed and externally verified by the examination board.
However, there is an increasing emphasis on externally set
online tests with regards to the BTEC reforms, which are now in
place. This means as your child begins his/her studies in Key
Stage Four (Year 9-11), a greater percentage of his/her final
grade, will be determined by the external test performance as well
as the completion of the set units.
The OCR Nationals are attractive, practically-based
qualifications intended to stimulate and interest candidates. They
support achievement of Key Skills and relate to national
occupational standards thereby providing an ideal progression to
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) once individuals are in
V Certs are technical alternative qualifications to GCSEs at Key
Stage Four holding Department for education (DfE) performance
points and are recognised in the Progress 8 Measure. V Certs
are appropriate for learners who are motivated and challenged by
learning through hands-on experiences and through content which is
concrete and directly related to those experiences. They
offer equivalent levels of rigour and challenge to a GCSE with
clear progression routes and career pathways.
ASDAN is an educational awarding organisation. They
provide flexible and engaging programmes and qualifications that
help young people develop skills for learning, work and life.
ASDAN offers a range of nationally approved qualifications based
around the development of personal, social and employability
Entry Level Certificates (ELC)
Entry Level Certificates provide basic and relevant Mathematical
and English skills and are suitable for students of all ages.
It is pitched just below GCSE level, however, is teachable
alongside GCSE and is a way of building the confidence of students
in developing key skills.
Salford Diocesan Certificate in Religious
This offers students an opportunity to focus on religious and
moral issues that are outlined in the Religious Education
Curriculum Directory and prepares students to respond to religious
and moral issues of everyday life. There is no terminal
examination, instead it is assessed through tasks that are assessed
internally and externally moderated. Successful participants
are presented with their certificate by the Right Reverend Bishop
The English Baccalaureate
The Government believes that schools should offer a broad range
of academic subjects that will promote achievement of a broad
academic core and have introduced a new award called
English Baccalaureate. Any pupil who secures 9-5
GCSE passes in English Language, Mathematics, two Sciences, a
Modern Foreign Language and a Humanity subject (History or
Geography) will receive this additional certificate recording
their achievement. The government has set a target for 75% of
Year 10 pupils to study GCSEs, in the EBacc combination of
subjects, by 2022. Whilst we remain aspirational for all our
pupils, and recognise it is important for pupils to have access to
study these subjects, our driving factor in determining the
curriculum our pupils follow is what best meets their needs.
Progress 8 and
New DfE indicators spell the end of 5A*-C GCSEs including
English and Mathematics as the key headline measure of a secondary
school's performance. Schools' performance will now be evaluated
using the following Headline Measures:'Progress 8', 'Attainment 8',
Basics (the percentage of pupils gaining 9-5 in both English and
Mathematics) and the EBacc.
'Progress 8' and 'Attainment 8' will be based on a student's
results in eight subjects: English, Mathematics, three EBacc
subjects (from the list above) and three other approved
'high-value' subjects, which may or may not be from the EBacc
range. All the options subjects offered at The Barlow RC High
School are 'high-value' subjects.
CEIAG - Careers
Education, Information, Advice and Guidance
The Barlow has been awarded a Gold Award for CEIAG. The
Ofsted report from our inspection in November 2016 stated:'Leaders
ensure that pupils are provided with the necessary careers
education, information, advice and guidance. It is of a high
quality and impartial. Recently, the school has received national
accolades for the quality of the advice and guidance it gives to
pupils. The pupils whom inspectors spoke to value the accurate
advice that they have received to help them make informed choices
about their next steps'. However, we are not complacent and as part
of our continuous school improvement the CEIAG curriculum is
constantly reviewed and developed further to provide our students
with a broader knowledge base and get them thinking about their
career options at an early age. This will enable all of our
students to have a more extensive choice of post 16 options and
lead them into successful future careers once they leave The
Barlow. Please see our Careers section of the website for