Overview

At James Calvert Spence College students in Years 5 to 11 follow a curriculum which is based on the National Curriculum.

Students in Key Stage 2

With the recent introduction of the Primary Model into KS2, form teachers now teach their classes across the curriculum and can therefore ensure that targets are consistently addressed in other subject areas. This partnership between different areas of the curriculum has great value and is very beneficial to the pupils, providing them with a range of real audiences, purposes and situations through which they can develop their language skills.

Regular liaison with our feeder First Schools and thorough planning from the Subject Leaders and subject teachers ensures progression between schools, year groups and Key Stages. The school provides a stimulating environment where children are well supported and are motivated to think about their experiences which they are encouraged to articulate as fully as possible. Creativity is also an important element of this subject and is encouraged throughout the school. Pupils are actively involved in their own learning rather than being passive recipients of knowledge, and they are constantly challenged to extend their use of language in a variety of situations.

At James Calvert Spence, we strive to encourage reading for pleasure and an appreciation for language. The online, interactive program called ‘Accelerated Reader’ is proving to be extremely effective in helping to promote this. We also have a very well stocked library and deliver Rapid Reading and RWI to support our students and further encourage reading.

Students in Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) study English, mathematics, science and PE and they also choose a range of ‘option subjects’ which they study to GCSE or equivalent level. When planning these subjects teachers also take account of examination requirements.

In Years 12 and 13 students choose to take a range of Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) or Level 3 qualifications (AS/A2 examination subjects). The high school works in partnership with Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick and some sixth form students from DCHS study at our school. Students who have not gained at least a C grade in English and/or maths are also required to re-sit these subjects in Years 12 or 13. This is a government requirement.

During the academic year students regularly study personal, social and health education. This allows students to gain understanding and apply skills. During these days students learn about the world of work, how to manage money and how to stay safe. We also provide advice and guidance about future careers and further and higher education. Students are taught how to keep safe when using the internet, mobile phones or other devices in ICT lessons and during PSHCE days.

The school teaches students about British values in assembly and in some lessons. This covers concepts such as tolerance, respect, democracy and citizenship. We participate in Democracy Week and speakers from parish and local councils talk to our students.

We want our students to think about the world around them and to have their own opinions whilst also respecting the views of others. We do not expect students to hold or articulate extremist views of any kind and should this occur the school will deal with incidents in accordance with the guidance provided in our policies.

All students in Years 5 to 11, except those who have been formally withdrawn by their parents*, study religious education (RE) which is based on the Agreed Syllabus for Northumberland. The syllabus is based on broadly Christian principles and allows students to learn about other faiths. In Years 5 to 9 these lessons are known as RE and in Years 9 to 11 they are known as Philosophy and Ethics.

*If you want to withdraw your child/children from RE lessons or assembly you can write to the executive headteacher. Students in sixth form who are over the age of 18 can write to the executive headteacher on their own behalf.

To find out more about our curriculum a full list of courses, including those at Key Stage 4 or 5, are available in our on-line prospectus or you can contact the college; we are happy to take your calls.