The school is committed to a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the needs of each individual. Every effort is made to ensure the balance between challenge and support is right so that students feel confident in their abilities and able to respond to an exciting and creative curriculum in a resilient and positive way. Enjoyment is at the heart of learning and the breadth of the extra-curricular programme ensures all students have the opportunity to excel.
Preparing young people to make the next steps in life is central to everything we do. Throughout their time at St Laurence School, each individual is encouraged and helped to become a well organised, creative, reflective person who has the ability to work independently but also in teams.
Both the Careers and Challenge programmes support this holistic development. Literacy and numeracy skills are central to learning and the school is committed to a cross faculty approach to these two important areas.
The school works on a two-week timetable. Weeks are referred to as Week A and Week B and labelled as such on the school calendar. There are five one-hour lessons a day as well as a thirty-minute tutorial. Therefore, across the two weeks, students attend 50 lessons in Key Stage 3 and 4. In Year 9, students consider what subjects, beyond the core, they would like to study. However, to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum there are some restrictions on choices. These are explained fully in the Key Stage 4 Curriculum booklet. Every effort is made to consider the needs of individual students and wherever possible opportunities to stretch individuals or to provide support through timely interventions are mapped into an individual’s curriculum provision.
Homework encourages students to extend their learning beyond the classroom and we set tasks online on ClassCharts. You can login here.
Subject specific information can be found on the Curriculum Maps in the Downloads section below.
Many students choose to make use of the Independent Learning Centre (ILC) to support homework. The ILC is open to students from 8:00am till 8:30am and to Years 7-11 in a supported homework club from 3:00pm till 4:30pm. 6th Form students can also use the facilities in the 6th Form Centre to study.
The school is very well resourced with specialist rooms for Dance, PE, Art and Design, Photography and Music.
Relevant policies can be found on the School Policies page.
Key Stage 3
The first three years at St Laurence are important ones as it is here that students will build and develop their knowledge and understanding in a wide range of subjects, some of which will be very familiar to them from Key Stage 2 and also some which they will experiencing for the first time. Our curriculum is broad and balanced; we have retained a 3-year Key Stage 3 in all our subjects in order to build a solid platform of transferrable, independent learning skills and good progress prior to GCSE courses. You can access full details of our Key Stage 3 curriculum in the PDF downloads below.
When students join us in Year 7, they will be placed in Learning Groups. Our transition team work very hard prior to the arrival of our new in-take to ensure that each of the eight Learning Groups represents a cross section of our St Laurence community – as such, it is a group where the full range of our prior attainment profile is represented. Year 7 students will be taught in these groups for the duration of Year 7, with the exception of PE where students may be re-grouped in some lessons according to prior experience.
Some subject areas introduce different grouping arrangements in Year 8 and Year 9. The structure and organisation of these arrangements is not fixed and a decision will be made each academic year to best meet the needs of the students. This academic year in Year 8 Maths, English, French and PE have re-grouped students. In Year 9 re-grouping has taken place in English, Maths, languages, DT and PE. Further details about these changes can be found in the PDF downloads below.
Following the national changes to assessment arrangements at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3, we have introduced a system of assessment which is now utilised throughout Key Stage 3 in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9. Our approach is based on the development of Key Learning Concepts which will need to be mastered and practised in each subject area during Key Stage 3 to prepare students for successful study at Key Stage 4. You can access full details of this assessment framework in our Key Stage 3 Assessment Booklets for each year group below.
Key Stage 4
Making decisions at the age of 14 can seem daunting, but students are well supported in this process. In February, we arrange workshops and discussion groups for all Year 9 students during the school day. This then allows them to gain a better understanding of what is on offer at Key Stage 4 (KS4).
In Year 10, all students follow the core programme of English, Maths, Science, PE, Philosophy and Ethics and PSHE. Most students then select three further subjects and are expected to select at least one subject from History, Geography, French or German. However, some students are guided towards a more bespoke package within their choices.
Students sit internal examinations in the summer term of Year 10 and this is followed by a parents’ evening to discuss the progress since the start of Key Stage 4. Students also complete controlled assessments within many subject areas in Years 10 and 11 and these are a significant percentage of the students’ final examination. It is important that students develop good study habits from the outset and are able to plan their workload and be organised to meet deadlines. Each subject area will develop generic study and revision skills which can be used across all subjects as preparation for assessments and exams. Parents are invited to attend a parents’ evening in Year 11 following shortly after the mock examinations in November and mock examination results in January.
Below is a range of information to support you and your child with their learning over the course of KS4.