The Heathfield Curriculum

There are three inter-related parts to the Heathfield Curriculum:

  1. The particular school ethos, iterated through the behaviour and attitudes of both students and teachers; an ethos that led the last Ofsted to describe Heathfield as ‘a very moral place.’
  2. The ‘Second Timetable.’
  3. The taught curriculum from Years 7 to 13.


"We recognise that there is colour in every child, and as a community we strive for all to realise their aspirations. We consider everyone in our community to be a learner and view every experience as a learning opportunity"
Peter Hoare

The curriculum at Heathfield Community School is personalised and aspirational, ensuring that every child is supported to achieve their best while studying a broad, creative and interesting range of subjects. The KS3 and KS4 curriculums are aligned to ensure that students are given the opportunity to master the subjects that they follow through five years of study that complement each other and build on key skills and knowledge to ensure that they are firmly embedded and that students are able to apply what they have learnt in a variety of contexts.

Our KS3 curriculum is followed in years 7,8 and 9. The KS3 curriculum places a strong emphasis on building ‘cultural capital’ – we firmly believe that the arts are crucial to a deep rich curriculum for our students. They are the bedrock of cultural capital.

We want our students to be inquisitive learners about the broader picture; to feel confident in approaching unknown texts and tasks and applying their wider knowledge; to develop their knowledge of the world beyond what they will be assessed on; and to learn more about the world that surrounds them and within which they are living. KS3 is where we aim to establish a strong skillset of positive work habits in our students so that they can be successful as they move through the school, feel confident in what they can achieve, and feel prepared as young people to enter the next stage of their education when they leave us. It sees a strong focus on supporting our students to build their resilience and independence so that they feel confident to rise to the challenge of KS4, formal examinations and the world of work beyond.

At Heathfield we firmly believe in the value of studying languages. From September 2019, all students will study French and Spanish in year 7 before choosing one language to continue through KS3 with the opportunity to continue their studies to GCSE at KS4 (with the other being offered as an option subject so that they have the possibility of studying two languages).

The value we place on languages is equal to that that we place on the suite of qualifications that form the EBacc; values which represent our aspirations for our students. Our expectation is that the majority of students will study a curriculum of which the EBacc subjects form part and we believe that this strong academic foundation combined with our commitment to all students studying at least one of our suite of arts subjects will combine to provide a rounded Heathfield education.

We recognise that the EBacc is not appropriate for all students however, and our curriculum therefore includes alternative vocational courses and/or alternative curriculum pathways for these students. This ensures that they are supported to be successful and progress to post-16 courses of their choice successfully.

In summary our KS4 model sees all students studying at least one arts subject, as part of their combination of 9 subjects. A small minority of students follow an alternative curriculum pathway which is more suited to their needs and includes studying for the Prince’s Trust Award. These students will also study 7 subjects in common with their peers.

All students will pursue studies in a common core of subjects which includes, Mathematics, English Language, English Literature, Double Science and an Arts subject. The majority of students will then choose three further option subjects of their choice. Students choose their options in year 8 from a full range of vocational and GCSE courses. We offer a breadth of choice as it is our firm belief that our students are talented in many different areas and that an option process should provide as many alternatives as possible.

Vocational: Performing Arts Dance, Drama or Musical Theatre, PE and Enterprise. GCSE: Triple Science, Computing, History, Geography, Music, RPE, Art, DT, PE, Food & Nutrition, Spanish, French, Sociology and Psychology.

This breadth of choice is also seen in the KS3 curriculum. Students study English, Maths, Science, DT, Art, Drama, Dance, Music, French, Spanish, Geography, History, RPE and PE. In Year 7 students also have a discrete lesson of Character education which includes topics ranging from settling in at secondary school to study skills as well as more traditional PSHE topics and British Values.

However, as with the personalised nature of the KS4 curriculum some students, in KS3 will also spend time studying the Princes Trust Award and some will also study Humanities in a small class with the same teacher to ease the primary – secondary transition. A further group of students will be eligible to access a ‘Fast Track’ curriculum. This curriculum provides students with additional lessons in English and/or Maths to support their progress in the core subjects with the intention that they will make rapid progress and return to the other curriculum at some time during years 7 & 8.

The development of our students as young people; raising their awareness of the society in which they live and their roles within it; and preparing them for life after school are of fundamental importance to us, and are key drivers in our Character Education provision across both key stages. In addition to the discrete Character Education lesson in year 7, students also benefit from a fortnightly tutorial programme which consists of a range of topics appropriate to the year group and can be tailored to any emerging needs of the cohort.

We also use elements of the curriculum to help support our students develop their resilience and to ensure they are fully prepared for post-16 study and the world of work, through for example, revision skills sessions and formal and informal work life experiences.

Offering our students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom is a key part of our curriculum and we often refer to it as the ‘second timetable’ our enrichment programme is firmly embedded within every day school life. We have a strong tradition of providing outdoor education opportunities, after school activities, educational trips, visits and events and a week-long Enrichment period in the summer term. We particularly monitor the attendance of our disadvantaged students at these experiences, as we know the benefits that such participation can afford students. We continually review our provision and our ambition is to continually expand our range of enrichment activities that students can utilise in building cultural capital.

Examples of our wider curriculum offer include:
  • Student Leadership Opportunities
  • Ten Tors
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Book Buddies
  • Year 7 residential trip
  • Brunner Creative Writing Competition
  • Poetry Competition
  • Speech Competition
  • Eco Team
  • Maths Challenges
  • A range of school productions
  • Café Paramo
  • Theatre visits and workshops
  • Sports teams and fixtures
  • Visits to Universities
  • STEM activities and events
  • Public Debating Clubs and competitions
  • Musical tuition, clubs and workshops
  • Art, Dance Computing and Drama clubs
  • Pen Pals
  • Master chef
  • Great Heathfield Bake off
  • A range of foreign trips
  • Multicultural week
  • Fund raising opportunities – ePraise charity days

our ethos is based upon the conviction that both children and adults in the school community should treat each other with tolerance, courtesy and respect – and that our dealings with the outside world should be informed by these same three values. We expect the adults working here to be doing so because they like working with children and because they are committed to improving the students’ life chances. As such, they need to model the types of behaviour that we would also expect from our students. Equally, we expect the children to recognise that they also have a responsibility to behave well towards others and that their individual behaviour has a decisive impact on making our campus a safe and a welcoming environment. We have high aspirations and high expectations of everyone at Heathfield; we will not always succeed in our aspirations but they remain, nonetheless, our aims. The fact that we do succeed, at least to some extent, is instantiated by the many positive comments that we receive both from visitors to the school and from when our students go out on school trips.

The Second Timetable:

by this we mean all of the activities and opportunities that take place at Heathfield that could be described as either ‘extra-curricular’ or ‘super-curricular’ (that is, cut across or take the place of the timetabled curriculum – such as a trip to Regency Bath for students studying Jane Austen or a conference in Turin for students taking part in our Comenius project). We offer a wide range of both extra-curricular and super-curricular activities and they form a crucial part of the overall experience for students at Heathfield. These activities enrich the lives of our students immeasurably and they form a crucial part of the whole curriculum experience at Heathfield.

In Year 7 students are taught mainly in their tutor group - the exceptions being Maths, Science, PE, Food/Textiles and Product Design. For Years 8 and 9 students are set according to ability or other criteria in all of their subjects. In Year 9 students will start on their GCSE courses in RPE; they will also have the opportunity to start an after-school class in GCSE Spanish.

In Year 7 students have 5 lessons per fortnight of Maths, Science and English (they also have an extra lesson of Literacy that is delivered by their English teacher).

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)

During Year 11 the great majority of students study a core programme of :

  • English and Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Double Science (core and additional)
  • Religious Studies
  • At least one Arts subject (Art, Dance, Music, Drama, Performing Arts, Photography).

Students also choose from a wide range of options. Currently these include :

  • Catering
  • Childcare
  • Computer Studies
  • English Plus
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Maths Plus
  • Photography
  • Physical Education
  • Product Design
  • Resistant Materials
  • Spanish
  • Sports Studies
  • Textiles
  • Triple Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)
  • Work-related learning

Most students will take 4 options subjects, although some will opt for three options and extra English and/or Maths.

Many students also opt to take an after-school course in ICT.

Key Stage 5 (The SPACE)

At The SPACE, students study the Level 3 BTEC in Performing Arts or Production Arts. This vocational qualification allows practical training that is hands-on and relevant to the workplace.

Students can specialize in either Dance, Acting or Technical Theatre.

They also complete an Extended Project, which sees them explore the answer to a self-assigned question in an area that most interests them. This exploration takes place through live production and a 3000-word dissertation. The course is equivalent to 3.5 ‘A’ Levels.

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