Curriculum Vision

Our mission is to ensure every student leaves Great Sankey articulate, resilient, compassionate and culturally aware. That they are inspired to contribute to society, are able to pursue careers they are passionate about and live, healthy, happy and fulfilled lives.

Our ten school values fall into three pillars of community, learning and selfand these thread their way throughout our curriculum.  We believe that if children understand the purpose of what they are learning and why they are learning it; not only will they be more engaged but they are much more likely to remember what they have learnt and be able to use it again in the future.  

We also recognise the huge impact that learning beyond the classroom can have but appreciate we don’t know which moment at school will inspire a child or resonate with them later in their life.  It could be the inspirational careers speaker, a museum or gallery visit, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition, a science experiment, or be on the sports field or theatre stage.  What we do know is that if we ensure children seize as many opportunities as they can something has more chance to stick and act as a catalyst. 

To achieve all of the above we have designed a knowledge based, word rich curriculum and we evaluate what knowledge and skills pupils have gained (at each stage) against expectations.  The impact of innovations such as knowledge organisers and student self-selected KS4 target grades, will be reviewed regularly and remodelled to help all pupils perform well.  We also won’t be shy about investing in our staff to ensure they are using the most effective techniques to help students secure what they learn in class is committed to their long term memory, regardless of their starting point. Furthermore, we understand that those extra important details such as careers guidance, RSE, PHSE, British Values and enrichment should not just be bolted on but play an integral part of ‘what we do’ as a school community.  We are already the largest provider of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the North West and the largest provider of the John Muir environmental award nationally and are planning to create a bespoke approach to encouraging and recording participation in extra-curricular provision. 

All of these plans and actions are evidence-based and research-driven. 

In short, our ambition is to create a dynamic learning culture and deliver a bold curriculum and personal development programme that ensures that both students and staff have the courage and determination to dare for greatness.

Curriculum overview

What will my child study?

Our curriculum is broad and balanced; we place great value on academic, creative and technical subjects.  Therefore, all students study English, maths, science, a language, history, geography, RS, PE and ICT/computing but, in addition, we provide a broad performing arts offer for all students that includes Drama and Music as well as lessons in Art, Food and Design Technology.

Students take their options in year 9 and begin to study these in year 10.  In addition to the core subjects of English, maths, science, PE and PSHE students are able to select from a large range of options subjects.  There is a comprehensive programme of guidance available to support students through the options process.

For information regarding subject content, please see the year group guides.

KS4 Options

GCSE Courses Vocational Courses
Art and Design French BTEC Award in Creative Media Production
Business German Graphic Design V Cert
Design and Technology Spanish Information Technology Cambridge National Award
Drama Music BTEC Sports Studies
Electronics Psychology Music Tech V Cert
Food Preparation and Nutrition Religious Studies
Geography Textiles

How is the curriculum sequenced?

Research around memory and how children best learn has been used to inform our curriculum planning. Knowledge and skills are sequenced so that these are taught in a sensible order allowing for regular revisiting of knowledge and retrieval as complexity and depth build. 

How will my child be assessed?

Regular assessment and high quality feedback are essential for students to learn effectively. Students are given clear, regular feedback following each assessment they complete which consists of what went well, and areas that could be even better.  Students then address the areas that could be better through Dedicated Improvement and Reflect Time (DIRT) opportunities   This information should be clearly identified on green paper in student’s books.

Year 7 and 8

At the end of each term, all students in year 7 and 8 complete the same assessments. Crucially, these assess all of the knowledge and skills taught to students up to that point.  For example, an assessment completed in the summer term of year 8 could assess any of the curriculum content covered in year 7 and 8.  In practical subjects, students will be assessed and placed in one of four knowledge levels from Mastering to Emerging. In academic subjects, results are recorded as a percentage and a knowledge level; indicating subject knowledge and understanding. 

Years 9, 10 and 11

Students continue to complete formal assessments at the end of each term, which like in earlier years assess all of the knowledge and skills taught to students up to that point.  By the time students reach the end of year 10 they will be completing full past papers to help with preparation for formal exams at the end of year 11.  Formal ‘mock’ exams take place in June of year 10, and in year 11. Each term teaching staff report an ‘on track for’ GCSE grade from 9-1.  In vocational subjects a pass, merit or distinction is reported.


Year 7 and 8

In Ebacc subjects; English, maths, science, MFL, geography, history and RS students will be set one homework activity per week. This will either be based around the knowledge organisers or work set by the class teacher. All knowledge organiser homework is set on a week A.  Week B homework is to be set by class teacher. In all other subject’s students will be set one homework per fortnight.

Year 9

In Ebacc subjects; English, maths, science, MFL, geography, history and RS students will be set one homework activity per week. In all other subjects one homework per fortnight will be set. 

Year 10 and 11

In English, maths and science students will be set 3 homework activities per fortnight. In all other subjects they are set two homework activities per fortnight.  Homework will consist of a range of activities from using GCSEpod to completing exam questions or essays.  GCSEpod homework will be set during week B.

How can I support my child?

5 Top Tips

  1. Encourage students to use their Knowledge organisers (KS3) or revision guides (KS4) to regularly review knowledge using techniques such as read, cover, write, check.
  2. Attendance and punctuality directly relate to student attainment, avoid non-emergency medical appointments during the school day for example.
  3. Talk to your child about what they have been learning at school, this helps reinforce understanding.
  4. Download the SIMS app so you can monitor attitude to learning scores in lessons and homework deadline.
  5. Support us and your child by attending parent consultation evenings.

If you would like to know more about our curriculum please contact Mrs C Kane, Deputy Head,

KS5 Subjects

At KS5 we offer a wide range of academic and vocational courses in our 6th Form, Barrow Hall College. You can find out about the courses we offer in our course booklet.

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