Students at Branston study a broad and balanced curriculum, across a wide range of subject areas. The purpose of this broad base is to allow students to develop a breadth of knowledge and skills which will enable them to fulfill their potential and prepare them for life after they leave school. The subjects studied enable students to stretch and build on their Key Stage 2 knowledge but also introduce and broaden skills in less familiar and new subject areas. Subjects studied in Year 7 are English, Mathematics, Science, Art, Computing, Design Technology, Food and Nutrition, Textiles, Drama, French, Geography, History, Music, PE and RE.
In Year 7 and 8 there are two mixed ability teaching populations, North and South. Students are initially set for English and Mathematics based on their Key Stage 2 scores within each population. These groups are then reviewed at regular intervals. Other subjects will set students in Year 8 and parents will be informed about this at the end of Year 7. In addition, students will have the choice to study a second language or a Personal Finance course. As students move into Year 9 the setting structures vary within each curriculum area as we start preliminary GCSE work. Again parents are informed about this at the end of Year 8.
At Key Stage 4 students will study a core curriculum of English, English Literature, Mathematics, Combined Science, RE and tutorial work. Our GCSE options ensure that students maintain a broad range of subjects whilst also allowing a degree of specialisation, where appropriate.
At Key Stage 5 we run a wide range of subjects covering both academic and vocational courses. Students can choose to follow a purely academic or vocational route, with many choosing a mixture of both. These pathways enable students to pursue the full range of post-18 options available. Many students continue onto University courses and high quality apprenticeship schemes.
The curriculum is at the heart of what a school does. At Branston, we aim to give each student a balanced ‘entitlement’ covering the full range of mathematical, linguistic, technical, scientific and artistic areas. This means maintaining and demanding from students a large number of examination courses post-14.
We believe that parents play a vital role in their children’s education. Each September, ‘Curriculum Guides’ are published so that parents understand what is going to be taught and can support their children in their learning. These are available to download in the menu on the right.
Year 7, students are generally placed in mixed ability classes with some withdrawal for more intensive support in Mathematics and English; students are setted in English and Mathematics on entry using their Key Stage 2 results. Academy staff visit primary schools towards the end of Year 6 in order to meet the pupils and to gather information and make sure that, wherever possible, students are placed in teaching groups and tutor groups with at least one friend.
At Branston, we recognise that students may be strong in some subjects and weaker in other so we do not have fixed ability bands. Instead, from the start of Year 8, each subject department decides on the most appropriate grouping of students within their own area. Some departments choose to continue with mixed ability teaching while others place students in teaching groups based on their ability and aptitude in that subject. Thus it is perfectly possible for a student who excels in one area to be in a high ability group for that subject while, at the same time, being placed in a middle range or support group for another area of the curriculum where he or she is less gifted. Where necessary, transfer to another group can take place without affecting any other subject. We also recognise that even within a “set” students will have many different needs and skills.
At the present time, all students have the opportunity to take up to ten subjects at GCSE. In fact our top 25% of students have each achieved an average of over ten subject grades of A*, A, B or C. Currently, Key Stage 4 students take English, English Literature, Mathematics and Combined Science. Some students are identified as suitable to take the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects and will study a modern foreign language and either History or Geography. All students have access to a foreign language, an arts subject, a humanities course, Technology, Food and Nutrition, Business Studies, PE and RE. In addition to the full range of traditional GCSE subjects we currently offer vocational courses in Business, Health and Social Care, Travel and Tourism, Engineering and Computing – all of which are equivalent to GCSE. This important development widens the range of approaches used to assess the differing abilities of students and has helped to raise achievement levels for many students.
Similarly, at ‘A’ and A/S level, we offer around twenty different subjects with over 500 choice combinations. A BTEC level 3 course is offered in Travel and Tourism, Business, Science, Music, Health & Social Care, and Sport. We also offer BTEC level 2 courses in Travel and Tourism, Business Studies and in Health & Social Care, and re-sit English and Mathematics courses.
At Branston, our curriculum is designed to enable all individual students to achieve their full potential, regardless of their academic ability. Similarly, the teaching methods used within the Academy employ a range of approaches intended to help all students develop their true abilities. A high proportion of our students stay on in the Sixth Form from which many go on to university, but we are equally concerned to provide a curriculum for achievement, and a foundation for life, for all.
As part of our historic Business & Enterprise Specialist Academy programme we have built into the curriculum and extra-curricular life of the Academy a series of enterprise related opportunities, comprised of personal, intellectual and physical challenges, and also interactions with men and women of enterprise in society, who will, we hope, inspire in various ways the ambitions of our students.
If parents have any concern about their child’s curriculum then they should contact the Tutor or Head of School in the first instance, by phone or by using the contact form. Other staff will be consulted as appropriate. Parents can request to see their child’s Academy records by appointment at a mutually convenient time.
This document below is a breakdown of how our 45 period week is split up by curriculum area in each year group:
On entry, students, after close consultation with the Primary Schools, are placed at random into mixed ability teaching groups and are taught by specialist teachers in all areas. For timetabling purposes the year is divided into two discrete populations (North and South). Students are set on entry for English and Mathematics using their KS2 results.
Students study either a second language or Personal Finance. There continues to be two discrete populations as above. Departments/faculties arrange membership of teaching groups independently to maximise curriculum delivery.
Students are generally streamed into a single population, organised by department heads.
YEARS 10 AND 11
Students have an opportunity to adjust their curriculum English, English Literature, Combined Science, Mathematics, PE, Technology, a Humanity or BTEC Level 2 course and an Art subject form the core, although some choice is available within each area. Students will be identified as English Baccalaureate or Branston Baccalaureate students The individual student then completes his or her pattern of study by choosing additional subjects from a variety of choices. Up to ten GCSE subjects can be taken as a complete pattern or a mixture of examination and non-examination options. This enables students to continue to study some subjects that they are not taking at examination level. We are careful to see that no student is overloaded, and we welcome visits from parents to discuss appropriate student choices. The Academy offers a wide range of vocational options: (BTEC Level 2 in Health and Social Care, Business, Hospitality, Travel and Tourism and Engineering.
YEARS 12 & 13
Sixth Form students have a separate Sixth Form Block for social and for some teaching purposes. The Head of Sixth Form leads a team of tutors who have responsibility for sixth form students.
Any student who wishes to continue with full time education after the age of sixteen may, with the approval of the Principal, enter the Sixth Form. Here, under the general oversight of the Head of Sixth Form and under the guidance of their Sixth Form Tutor, students may follow a variety of courses which cater as far as possible for their individual needs.
The emphasis is on preparation for adulthood and constantly maturing approach to study and social behaviour. Please see the Sixth Form Handbook for further details.