Upper School – Key Stage 3 & 4

Students aged 11-16 years work towards academic and vocational qualifications and accreditation. Students can gain  GCSEs  in  up to 10 subjects that are taken in years 10 and  11, however, gifted and talented students are entered early if ready.

Students are supported in developing life and social skills through personal development programmes which include; anger management,  making  positive  choices, healthy lifestyles and independent living.

Students are supported on part-time college placements in a vocational area of their choice. Work experience placements are arranged each term to maximise students’ experience and knowledge of the world of work.

We work closely with local businesses and industry to provide our students with up to date information and guidance on the skills that are needed for successful employment.

Students have access to specialist staff who provide counselling and therapeutic support

Subjects

English

 

General Overview

English at our school aims to create an inclusive and positive learning environment via collaborative learning. We aim to promote independence and confidence through reading a variety of texts, literacy based tasks and spoken language. We utilise whole school initiatives including the accelerated reader programme to develop vocabulary, focus and imagination.

 

Key Stage 3

As part of the Key Stage 3 English curriculum, we study a wide range of texts including Charles Dickens novels, Shakespeare, Victorian monsters and poetry from other cultures. We focus on spelling and grammar throughout all key stages as well as development of speaking and listening abilities to promote confidence and learn key skills via spoken language.

 

Key Stage 4

The Key Stage 4 English Department offers entry 1,2,3, level 1 and level 2 Functional Skills, which focuses on giving students practical skills for the modern world and helps them get the most from life, learning and work. This specification aims to ensure students have good communication skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. This course can be used in preparation for GCSE English.

GCSE English focuses on reading a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction. Students will evaluate texts critically and make comparisons between texts, summarise and synthesise information or ideas from texts. Students will learn a new set of terminology and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.

We also offer English Literature which focuses on challenging and inspiring students via texts such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Robert L. Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Poetry and the modern play The Blood Brothers.  Students explore the different characters and how they are portrayed as well as learning how to interpret texts and discuss their social context.

Science

 

General Overview

Science lessons aim to promote enthusiasm and curiosity throughout the curriculum. We have an established history of promoting and rethinking scientific literacy which help students to achieve their target grades. Unfamiliar vocabularies are emphasised on to further support their scientific literacy. The lessons are designed to include practical and educational trips relating to Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

Key Stage 3

During Key Stage 3 Science, students are introduced to a range of topics within Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Science is linked to the wider context to ensure that students can apply the scientific topics to the things that they see and interact with everyday. Students also develop a range of scientific skills through a range of practical experiments.

Key Stage 4

There are two pathways for KS4 students in Science – the GCSE route (9 – 1) and the Entry Level Certificate (ELC Route).

Maths

 

General Overview

Mathematics lessons are aimed to develop students’ knowledge, skills and understanding of methods and concepts. The mathematics curriculum is divided into five subject areas – Number; Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change; Algebra; Statistics & Probability; Geometry & Measures. These are taught and revised over the key stages to provide greater variety and mental stimuli for our students. We also put emphasis on the Functional Skills element of mathematics to improve on the confidence of those students who joined us with little interest in mathematics. We do this by incorporating mathematical games, real-life examples of how maths is used and kinaesthetic materials.

Key Stage 3

Students in Key Stage 3 are taught the main five subject areas in mathematics across the key stage. Students in year nine are introduced to the GCSE curriculum and work at a more advanced role to build on their problem-solving skills.

 

Key Stage 4

During Year 10 and 11 students are prepared and entered for the Edexcel mathematics GCSE award and Functional Skills – depending on their ability. Students who progress in the Functional Skills and GCSE in Year 10 are encouraged to take the Higher Tier levels of mathematics in Year 11. We do this by making it fun with educational trip activities, real life problem solving and games. The GCSE final examinations consist of one non-calculator paper and two calculator papers.

PE

 

General Overview 

The underlying principles of our approach in PE are to help students develop an understanding of the benefits of maintaining balanced, active and healthy lifestyle as well as the opportunities and pathways for participation in physical activity. This is achieved through a rich culture of practical sports activities, theoretical lessons, and whole school initiatives.

 

Key Stage 3

During Key Stage 3 in PE students are studying how to evaluate and improve their performance by identifying what makes a performance effective. They are also gaining knowledge and understanding of fitness and health by how exercise affects the body in the short term and why wearing appropriate clothing and being hygienic is good for their health and safety.

Activities involved include; football, basketball, badminton, health related fitness, boxing, swimming, tennis, cricket, athletics.

 

Key Stage 4  

At Key Stage 4, all students take part in PE activities. Those students who choose PE for a GCSE, follow the AQA full course which takes two years of preparation including theory and practical assessments.

Within the theory course for the first-year topics such as health, fitness and well-being, applied anatomy and physiology and movement analysis. For the second year, Y11, the topics are physical training, sports psychology, socio-cultural influences and use of data.

At the end of the two years, students will be assessed in two written exam papers which account for 60% of their total marks and the remaining 40% will be assessed on their course work for the analysis and evaluation of their chosen sport together with the external practical moderation for three practical activities.

Art and Design

 

General Overview

Art and design at Insights focuses on providing students with visual, tactile and other sensory experiences to develop creativity and awareness of how ideas and meanings can be communicated through Art. Within all age groups the development of confidence, competence, relevant skills and importantly imagination in Art underlie the planning and delivery of the national curriculum and GCSE classes.

Key Stage 3

In addition to techniques, skills and competencies being taught, during Key Stage 3 Art the focus turns to critical thinking and reflection around students’ own and other people’s art and creations. This judgement of quality, meaning and expression of art develops the students’ abilities to think and act as artists, crafts people and designers, working creatively and intelligently.

 

Key Stage 4

For students who choose GCSE Art they undertake two portfolio projects in Year 10 and Year 11 and one Set Task in Year 11. The most successful portfolio project is selected and is worth 60% of the GCSE grade with the making up the additional 40% of the GCSE grade. The four assessment criteria throughout all assessed work for the GCSE course consist of developing ideas through research, refining and experimentation of ideas, recording ideas and intentions, and finally presenting their ideas.

Music and Music Technology

 

General Overview

Music lessons at our school involve teaching through practical activities and playing instruments. Students develop their individual as well as group music skills through various performance and practice activities. There is also a strong use of Music Technology facilities within the department allowing students to become proficient using Music software and learning the art of audio engineering and music production.

 

Key Stage 3

During Key Stage 3 Music, the emphasis turns to traditional musical skills including using notation, keyboard skills as well as ensemble performance skills. The awareness of how music plays a part in society and different cultures around the world is covered broadening the students’ knowledge and context around music.

 

Key Stage 4

Students who take Music and Music Technology at Key Stage 4, complete NCFE Level 1 to Level 2 qualifications in Music Technology and Music Performance. These courses are equivalent to GCSE grade courses of study and develop respective music and music technology skills within a vocational context. This gives students the necessary skills as well as career awareness to utilise their skills within society.

Alternative Learning, Enrichment and Work Experience

 

Alternative Learning and Enrichment

The Alternative learning & Enrichment programmes enable students to experience a range of activities that enrich and enhance their learning.  This holistic approach to learning enables our students to achieve and excel both academically and socially as well as developing their individual talents and interests.

 

The Alternative Learning and Enrichment programme is carefully designed to challenge and stretch students by providing new opportunities that broaden their horizons, increase their range of skills, enabling them to reach their full potential.

Key Stage 3

Within the younger key stages, the focus is on development of personal and inter-personal skills through activities. This has been achieved through, fishing, orienteering, water sports, team building sessions, Martial Arts, Nature and other outdoor pursuits.

 

Key Stage 4

As the students get older the emphasis turns to preparing them for the transition into adulthood with more emphasis on vocational, independence and life skills through individualised and small group activities. An e.g. accredited; cooking, food, hygiene & nutrient, motor mechanics, construction, hospitality, animal care, sports coaching and training placements for students who have expressed an interest in vocational learning.

 

All of the ALP and enrichment programmes are mapped to selected ASDAN and other relevant qualifications.  This enables Key Stage 4 students to develop an accredited portfolio of work within Independent Living, Personal Finance, Vocational and Citizenship areas.

 

Work Experience

As students enter Key Stage 4, they have the opportunity to undertake work experience placements which are organised through the school. We partner with trusted businesses that understand the unique nature of our students so that we are able to provide relevant and effective placements benefitting the students and helping them learn about their chosen industries and gain a true experience of the world of work .

 

During COVID restrictions where possible students will have access to simulated and virtual employability and industry experiences.