Ofsted Outstanding

Curriculum

The curriculum at Newstead Wood School is developed with a focus on nurturing and enhancing our students’ academic potential alongside an extensive enrichment programme and supportive pastoral system.

"The curriculum is broad and ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)...All subjects are carefully planned and sequenced so that pupils study subjects in depth. Pupils acquire knowledge in the lower school which gives them the foundations they need for future success in A-Level studies." Ofsted, 2022

Our curriculum is a seven-year journey, carefully planned to create a rich experience that is coherent across all areas of school life. We keep our model under constant review to ensure our students benefit from the best opportunities available.

Breadth of opportunity is particularly important to us and this aligns closely with our school vision. For our students to be individuals and have the true opportunity to explore their place in the world, it is vital that the curriculum remains as broad as possible, for as long as possible. We believe passionately that our broad and ambitious curriculum is the progression model which will lead to excellent academic outcomes and will ensure that each student has every door open to them when they leave Newstead.

Developing the whole student is at the heart of what we do. Our co-curricular programme provides every individual with the opportunity for personal growth and development.

The provision of co-curricular activities at Newstead is unrivalled by any other state school, regionally or nationally. At break, lunchtimes and after school Newstead buzzes with activity, allowing students to be creative, perform, play sport and be active to their heart's content.

Our careers guidance is a key aspect of all key stages and is a strength of Newstead Wood. Our students are able to access first class support and guidance to ensure they make the right decisions at each stage of their learning.

Our students have always taken responsibility for running and participating in a range of extra-curricular programmes for themselves and others. The programme varies in any given year to reflect the interests and passions of the students. In addition, there are established peer and academic mentoring programmes between students in different year groups as well as with students from local primary schools, providing one-to-one as well as group support in a range of subjects.

Our Elective Programme at KS4 and KS5 allows students to indulge in their passions and explore career pathways and develop skills linked to their future ambitions. So much do we believe in this offer that each year group has one afternoon per week devoted to this programme.

At KS3 students engage in Enterprise and Arts activities in their form groups and develop activities to raise awareness and funds for their adopted charities through First Give.

Our Cultural Arts and Enrichment week in the summer makes way for a celebration of the Arts, culminating in our Performing Arts Festival and Dance and Music performances.

Our House system is also an integral part of our curriculum offering, driven by a team of Sixth Form House Captains. Each year numerous inter-house competitions are staged, many involving whole year groups, in an atmosphere of friendly competition.

We know, value and support our students as unique learners. We are ambitious and embrace challenge as part of our vision. Academic rigour is important and students of our calibre should rightly be challenged by a curriculum that expects them to go deeper and far beyond the National Curriculum. All the subjects we offer are rigorous academic disciplines providing powerful knowledge and cultural capital for all students
regardless of background. Alongside exceptional staff subject expertise, we know our students are in an environment where they know and remember more, and will use this knowledge to change the world in which we live.

Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 and 9
Students joining us in Year 7 study Art, Computer Science, Drama, English, French, Geography, German, History, Mathematics, Music, Personal Development Curriculum (Foundation Studies, Enterprise, First Give, Performing Arts), Physical Education, Religion Philosophy and Ethics (RPE), Science and Spanish. Students can choose to opt into the Latin Programme in Year 7 and as they progress through their first three years, they also have the
opportunity to start learning Mandarin and Japanese. Students opt for two of the Modern Foreign Language subjects to study at KS3.

Key Stage 4 - Years 10 and 11
Students take all their external GCSE qualifications at the end of Year 11. All students have a core curriculum of English Literature, English Language, Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics and RPE. They can then choose four options subjects from the list below, on top of the non-examined Electives Programme, Physical Education. Tuesday afternoons and termly Flexible Learning Days for all students again provide extra opportunities for enrichment activities and careers advice. For some students it can be appropriate to sit a GCSE in Further Maths.

Art, Business Studies, Computing, Drama, Environmental Management, French, Geography, German, History, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin, Music, Physical Education, RPE, Spanish.

Our student-centred system means we give free choice, under guidance of the pastoral and academic teams, as to which GCSEs a student would like to follow. We then build the curriculum around them. All of our students select a broad range of GCSEs and despite not being compulsory, the majority of students fulfil the EBacc criteria. We feel this is the best approach to meet the needs of each individual student in our care.

Key Stage 5 - Years 12 and 13
The Sixth Form years offer exceptional opportunities for academic progress and self- development. Our curriculum meets all aspects of the Study Programmes for 16-19 year olds - our IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance Programme) and a vast array of enrichment and extra-curricular activity supplementing students core academic study. Our Higher Education and Careers guidance is second to none, with bespoke support for areas including MVD (Medicine, Veterinary, Dentistry), Oxbridge and Degree Apprenticeships.

The majority of our students begin year 12 on four A level courses, usually moving onto three in year 13. A small number of students studying Maths and Further Maths may wish to study 5 subjects, but this is the exception rather than the norm. Many students also elect to complete an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), an area in which our students have had outstanding success. We also offer CREST Gold Award as part of our Electives Options.  

Subjects currently on offer at Sixth Form:
Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Civilisations, Computer Science, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, German, History, Maths, Further Maths, Music, Physics, Physical Education, Politics, Psychology, Philosophy and Ethics, Spanish and Theatre Studies.

The impact of our curriculum is clear to see. Our students achieve the very highest possible outcomes in terms of academic qualifications, that see them go on to the very best University courses (both in the UK and abroad) and also increasingly to highly competitive Higher Apprenticeship courses and employment. Crucially however, our students also embody the skills and qualities set out in our school vision. These skills are nurtured and developed throughout the seven years at Newstead in our Personal Development and IAG programmes – resulting in the happy, curious, resilient and well-rounded young individuals who are the hallmark of our school.

For more information on our Curriculum please see the subject pages on our website. 

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