Curriculum Updates

Curriculum Intent and Rationale

As “A Learning Community Guided by Gospel Values” we see our “mission in education as a work of love”. In order to fulfil our mission, we need to ensure that our community enables all young people within our care to reach their full human potential and realise their human dignity. To support our young people on this journey, St John’s Catholic School & Sixth Form College provides a broad and balanced education, which helps students to grow in their personal, academic, social, spiritual and emotional development.  We strive to develop the whole person so that our young people become well-rounded 21st century citizens who can make a positive impact on society.   

We pride ourselves on our pastoral care and guidance, caring for all of our young people so that their physical, moral and intellectual God-given talents and gifts may develop effectively.  We endeavour to support our young people so that they may attain a greater sense of responsibility, embracing diversity and respecting the rights and opinions of others.  To this end, we promote our Gospel Values and virtues so that our young people live life to the full, becoming the best versions of themselves.

As “A Learning Community Guided by Gospel Values,” the central message of Christ’s love and forgiveness is at the core of our school’s ethos and aims.  To achieve these aims we explicitly develop in our young people the personal virtues of confidence and resilience, respect and self-belief, honesty and responsibility and justice and compassion across all aspects of the curriculum and in all Key Stages across the school. It is our intent that these virtues are embedded in robust programmes of study, in extra-curricular and enrichment activities as well as in our community engagement projects.  We aim to prepare our students for a rich and fulfilling future built on the foundations of strong virtues, a lifelong love of learning and a deep personal faith.

Our Trust Virtues


Curriculum Implementation

Our broad and balanced curriculum is led by school leaders who ensure that:

  • subject knowledge content is appropriate and relevant, suitably paced, sequenced and pitched to match the development of our young people and challenge them in their learning
  • learning experiences are designed to engage, motivate and challenge our young people with a curriculum which is meaningful for all
  • there is legitimate and sustained progression in learning for our young people 

We provide a three year Key Stage 3 in which all students have the opportunity to gain a broad knowledge and skill-set in both the academic and culturally enriching subjects. This creates a strong foundation of disciplinary knowledge and skills that are both distinctive to Key Stage 3 and essential to ensure a successful transition to Key Stage 4.

Our Key Stage 4 provision is a 2 year programme where we continue to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to experience success as we recognise and nurture their talents. Students are supported and guided by their pastoral tutors, subject teachers, SENDCO and Careers advisor to make the best subject choices for themselves.  As a school, we work in partnership with students and their parents/carers to ensure that pathways are appropriate, relevant and effective in helping our young people to achieve, succeed and progress in their next steps in further education, training or employment.  

The structure of our Key Stage 4 options provides the opportunity for all students to achieve the English Baccalaureate (EBacc): a strong pass in GCSE English, Mathematics, two sciences, one humanities subject (Geography or History) and a Modern Foreign Language (French or Spanish).  As a Catholic school, all students will study a GCSE in Religious Education.  As well as studying this core suite of subjects, it is also important that students have the option to choose additional academic or vocational subjects that they also have an aptitude for and enjoy.

Our Key Stage 5 curriculum is wide-ranging and includes traditional A Levels as well as vocational courses.  Those students joining us for Post-16 study are supported and guided to ensure that they enrol onto appropriate courses which maximise their potential for success and fully prepare them for their next steps in higher education, training or employment.  At Key Stage 5, students typically study three Level 3 courses, however, some students may choose to follow 4 courses.  In addition, we offer supplementary programmes including the  Extended Project, Sports Leadership, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, First Aid and Lifeguard qualifications, which students may follow to enhance their academic and personal profile.  The majority of our Key Stage 5 students choose and progress to higher education, including Russell Group universities.  In addition, a proportion of our students accept places on higher level apprenticeships after completing their Level 3 courses at St John’s..

Across all Key Stages, St John’s delivers a strong and progressive Personal, Social, Health, Relationship and Sex Education curriculum.  Students have PREP each morning plus one hour per week in which they explore a pastoral and RSE curriculum designed by the Catholic Education Service and approved by the Bishops of England and Wales.  Across the Key Stages our virtues and Gospel Values as well as the themes of ‘Created and loved by God’, ‘Created to love others’ and ‘Created to live in Community’ are explored in depth.  Through consideration, discussion and development, such themes and topics support our young people to: self-reflect;  consider and understand healthy relationships and lifestyles; recognise, appreciate and develop their role within society.  

Further details regarding our curriculum provision can be seen below