What is meant by ‘curriculum’

The curriculum should be viewed as including both the formal timetabled curriculum and all the informal learning and development that occurs outside the timetable. It is a plan or strategy for progression for our students: how we move them from a state where they have not acquired specific knowledge, skills, experience and dispositions, to a state where they have acquired these. It encompasses everything that students acquire: what they know, what they can do, what experiences they have had and how they are likely to behave. It involves a deliberate choice to select, from all the possible knowledge, skills, experiences and dispositions, those which we believe students should acquire. It is responsive through well-designed assessment as to whether students have acquired what was intended.

This curriculum intent statement outlines why/how the DCHS curriculum has been created/enacted, as well as the benefits it will bring to students’ learning and self-improvement.

The core statements of the DCHS curriculum

Our Curriculum is in a period of review, however, the three statements below are fundamental to further curriculum development:

At DCHS we have designed our curriculum with student’s learning at the centre. We recognise that a curriculum has to be broad, balanced and offer students opportunities to grow as individuals as well as learners.

Through a the DCHS Teaching Principles, we aim to ensure students enjoy learning and feel prepared for life after school. We also intend to offer our students new and exciting experiences through extra-curricular activities that are designed to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem.

We recognise that students should be challenged in their schooling; learning from failures and celebrating successes. We intend for our curriculum to be empowering, enabling students to develop their interpersonal skills, creativity and independence.

How the school intends to deliver the curriculum throughout the school

As briefly mentioned above, we intend to deliver the curriculum through a variety of methods that are both classroom-based and extra-curricular. Below, we have outlined how we intend to deliver this promise. We promote equal opportunities to all of our students in line with the Equality Act 2010 throughout our practices.

Classroom-based learning: Our staff value the different ways in which students learn and plan lessons to account for these differences, this includes the use of PSHE drop-down days. We encourage teachers to make cross-curricular links where possible within their planning so that students can draw upon knowledge from different subjects and understand how each topic plays a part in everyday life.

The school carries out one-to-one teaching sessions for students who require additional support. Parents can request this, but the school prioritises students who need the most help. We also carry out interventions for small groups of students with LSA’s. Within these interventions, LSA’s breakdown of the content of the lesson in a more digestible way for students. The sessions can last between 30 minutes to one hour and groups are no larger than six students to every LSA. This allows students to get dedicated one-to-one time with the LSA, ensuring any questions that students may have, get answered in a way they understand. It is important to note that these interventions supplement the work of the teacher and do not replace it.

Extra-curricular activities: We believe we provide an extensive list of extracurricular opportunities that cater to all of our inquisitive minds. Sessions are run both after school and over lunch in order to cater to those students for whom transport home is an issue. Extra-curricular activities are designed to enhance students’ learning experience, form personal connections between students and their peers, and teach skills essential for life after school. We encourage staff and students to engage with activities that may take them from their ‘norm’

How the school involves parents, students and the local community in curriculum planning and delivery

Our school values the input of its students, parents and the local community with regards to the planning and delivery of the curriculum. We believe students get a well-rounded education if everyone is involved in shaping it. This is why we will aim to send students and parents questionnaires on a termly basis. These questionnaires ask questions about factors such as what students enjoy about learning and lessons, what they find challenging, and whether they feel well informed on attainment.

We have a named person in charge of Community and cultural engagement. We believe this is central to what we do. We engage with the wider community by ensuring there are opportunities for students to participate in community projects, e.g. litter picking. We embed each project within the curriculum into the relevant subjects, e.g. creating art out of litter and investigating the effects litter has on the environment. This shows students the value of protecting and being involved in their community and establishes a link between the theories they learn in the classroom to practical examples in real life.

How the curriculum benefits students’ learning and personal development

Our curriculum has been designed for a range of learners, providing equal opportunities for all – by doing this, students will benefit in the following ways:

  • Learning how to lead safe, healthy and fulfilling lives

  • Understanding that failure is part of the road to success

  • Being rewarded for academic successes

  • Being supported with their next stages in education or training and feeling prepared for life after school

  • Becoming responsible individuals who contribute to community living and the environment

  • Achieving to the best of their ability

  • Acquiring a wealth of knowledge and experience

  • Becoming critical thinkers

  • Finding a sense of belonging to the school and its community

  • Becoming a more informed and more active citizen that is aware of British values and democracy

  • Learning how to cooperate with their peers and respect one another inside and outside the classroom.

Curriculum Construction

Our taught curriculum is delivered through a two-week timetable with each day divided into 5 periods. The timing of the day is as follows:

The offer of subjects is broad and balanced. Core lessons are highlighted in grey, option subjects in white: