Curriculum Overview

Winchcombe School aims to provide a broad, well-structured, relevant curriculum that provides opportunities for all.

All Staff and Trustees believe that Winchcombe Students are entitled to an ambitious, challenging and diverse curriculum that prepares them well for their future aspirations.

Through our curriculum, the school promotes: excellence in learning; a supportive and nurturing pastoral programme and wider opportunities for community and citizenship.

Winchcombe Students show rigour in their learning and our vision for the curriculum provision is rooted in the Values we have of:

Attitude, Stewardship, Pride, Integrity, Resilience, Enjoy and Success (A.S.P.I.R.E.S.).

All staff and students share the same, high, expectations across five years in school, leading to individual advice and support towards further and higher education; employment and apprenticeships.


Knowledge Rich: We believe that the curriculum should serve to inspire and build aspirations for the future. Subjects carefully choose the knowledge they share with students to equip them with the cultural capital to succeed in life.

Planned backwards: We want students to be ready for their future careers as well as success in GCSE. Planning, in each subject, considers the broad range of knowledge staff want students to have, by the time they leave us, and include this in the body of knowledge taught in each year group.

When planning the curriculum, our key principles are:

  • Balanced = all subjects are equally valuable and valued
  • Rigorous = we develop subject disciplinary habits of mind
  • Coherent = we make connections within subjects and between subjects and the totality of the students’ experiences mutually reinforce each other
  • Vertically integrated = this refers to progression. What do learners already know? How do you build on this knowledge? How does this feed into what needs to be learned later?
  • Appropriate = we provide the right level of challenge according to individual need
  • Focussed = focus on the big ideas. What do we leave out?
  • Relevant = situational interest. Good teachers get students interested in things they didn’t know they were interested in

(Dylan William “Principled curriculum design” October 2013)

Mastery: We aim for students to master the key knowledge before moving on.

Responsive Teaching: We believe that teachers should regularly check on each student’s progress through the curriculum. Teachers have strong subject knowledge which enables them to intervene at the point of error through oral or written feedback.

Maintain Breadth: We believe that the taught curriculum should be broad, allowing students to experience many subjects. At Key Stage 3 (Yr7 to 9) students study 15 subjects across Humanities, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Arts. Some subjects are taught on a carousel in order that class sizes can allow for more practical learning.

Challenging Choices: At Key Stage 4 we guide students to choose subjects that will both interest them but also ensure they have a breadth of subjects should their aspirations change: we expect all students to study at least ONE of: Computer Science, Geography, History, French and Spanish. We look to ensure that the subjects chosen will challenge the individual students and lead to strong outcomes; including post-16 destinations at the end for Key Stage 4.

Wider Curriculum: We believe our curriculum should develop resilience in our students: equipping them with the knowledge, skills and understanding to be stewards of both our local and global communities. Our curriculum intends to reflect values in our society that promote personal development, spirituality, equality and equity of opportunity, economic well-being, healthy lifestyles and democracy. It will allow our students to live successful and happy lives in a culturally diverse modern world. Our curriculum will contribute to our students’ intellectual, moral, spiritual, aesthetic, creative, emotional and physical development.


Flexible Structures: Our curriculum is, currently, delivered across a two week timetable with a total of 50 lessons in a cycle. As a smaller school we can make agile curriculum and timetable choices based on the needs of each year group. KS2 data and reading data is used to plan the necessary intervention of each intake.

Rigorously Planned: Our lessons are adapted to meet the needs of the groups of learners in the class. Schemes of Work detail a ‘base lesson’ which identifies the core concepts, allowing teacher to adapt for the needs for each class.

Feedback and Improvement: Students have frequent opportunities to check their progress and work. Guided peer and self-assessment (green pens) are used to support learning. Teachers give regular oral formative feedback alongside marking key pieces of work. Improvement and challenge tasks are set (purple pens) and checked.

Shared Teaching Expectations: Every lesson has characteristics that are shared to support consistency and familiarity for our students. Routines allow teachers to concentrate on delivering the learning in the most appropriate way for the needs of students.

Summative Assessment: Student progress is reported twice a year following a summative assessment (across Terms 2 / 3 and across Terms 5 / 6)

Reading & Literacy: Each English class, at KS3, has a ‘library lesson’ each fortnight. Students use the Accelerated Reader programme to record and track their reading. Reading tests are used to track the reading ages of students. Intervention is implemented where necessary to ensure students continue to make progress in their reading.

Numeracy: Numeracy is a key feature of the curriculum. Work is done across subjects to ensure consistent use of numeracy in all subjects. Numeracy is given a high profile through tutor challenges.

Shared Practice and Moderation: PiXL (Partners In eXceLence) is used to support subject areas in developing their curriculum and practice. Leaders attend training to ensure their practice is up to date. Smaller subjects have links with local schools to ensure moderation is shared to improve the accuracy of judgements.

Careers: Students have more than one careers opportunity in each year group. These opportunities enable students to build and adapt their own career journey and support students to make aspirational choices.


Progress and Attainment: Students will have a secure and extensive knowledge of the curriculum they have been taught. They will be confident and be able to apply their knowledge to lead to excellent outcomes. We will know they curriculum is successful as our GCSE outcomes will rise and be consistent.

Destinations: Our students will be active in their aspirations for the future. They will make applications that will ensure they have destination options that meet their ambitions and outcomes.

Curriculum Coverage: The regular use of both formative and summative assessment will provide information about gaps in student knowledge and common misconceptions. Short term responsive plans will address these gaps and misconceptions, to ensure students can move onto the next stage. Long term plans will be adjusted to tackle these misconceptions with future classes.

Reading: Through regularly tracked reading and, where needed, through intervention, students will be able to access examination materials in order to be successful. Students will develop a love of reading and read widely across both fiction and non-fiction.

Regular review: The curriculum, and its delivery, will monitored regularly by all leaders. Activities such as student voice, work scrutiny, learning walks, lesson observations, assessment analysis, attendance figures, destinations and behaviour data will be carried out to inform the success or otherwise for the curriculum. Time will be given to leaders to review and update their curriculum according to their plans.


Winchcombe School offers a wide range of courses under the National Curriculum, for all pupils. Throughout Key Stage 3 (Y7-Y9) students study from 16 different subjects; whilst in Key Stage 4 (Y10-Y11) all students study English Language, English Literature, Maths, Combined Science, along with 14 further Preference (Option) Subjects from which to choose for GCSE.

Pupils are taught in a variety of ability and mixed-ability classes. We use information supplied by, and in consultation with, the feeder Primary schools, along with our own testing and assessment. Different Year groups, and different Subjects, are set according to the Head of Department preference.

We continually reflect on the classes students are in and have flexibility of movement between teaching groups, ensuring pupils are appropriately placed throughout the year.

All Students have a 1 hour Tutorial period, across the fortnight, with their Form Tutor. This enables the PSHE, Citizenship and Careers programmes to be delivered to individual year groups and differentiated to suit their needs and aspirations.

In Years 7, 8 and 9, pupils will study from following:

English Mathematics Science
Religion & Philosophy French Spanish
Geography History Games (PE)
Computer Science

Art/Design Technology/Drama/Music (All Year Or Carousel Structure)

Hospitality & Catering/ICT (also in smaller, split-classes, across the year)

In Years 10 and 11 students follow a programme, primarily, of General Certificate of Secondary Education (G.C.S.E.) subjects, some of which they have chosen in consultation with their parents and teachers. Full details of this programme of study and Preferences (Options) are explained to pupils and parents in the Autumn and Spring terms of Year 9. Courses may involve project work and coursework but, with recent changes in the National Curriculum, the onus is increasingly on the final written examinations for all subjects.

As statutory, within the timetable, all students in Y10 and Y11 continue to follow courses in Religion & Philosophy and Physical Education – these will not be examined, unless chosen as a GCSE ‘Preference’ as well.

For current Y9s (starting GCSEs September 2021) the Preference choices are:

GCSE Art GCSE Media Studies
GCSE Computer Science GCSE Music
GCSE Design Technology GCSE Physical Education
GCSE Drama GCSE Religious Studies
GCSE French GCSE Spanish
GCSE Geography Level 2 Award Hospitality & Catering
GCSE History Cambridge National Sports Science