Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4 there is an exciting, broad and balanced curriculum which builds on the substantive and disciplinary knowledge and attitudes gained in Key Stage 3. Pupils are provided with opportunities to build on work related learning, key academic skills and deepen their understanding of the world they live in. Opportunities maximise their abilities to develop independence and problem-solving skills to support their transition to becoming young adults.
Key Stage 4 has a two-year rolling curriculum and is taught in mixed year classes with pupils from year 10 and 11. English, Maths and Science are taught by subject specialists to enhance the learning opportunities for pupils.
The curriculum prepares our pupils for transition into post 16 education and subsequently the next part of their lives and adulthood. We support our pupils to become well rounded young adults who are ready to access further education and to be ready to live healthy fulfilling lives, becoming responsible citizens and make positive contributions to society.
English and Maths
At the core of Key Stage 4 curriculum is the development of skills in English and Maths. This provides the pupils with the essential knowledge, skills and understanding to progress in work, education and life. The curriculum in these core subjects becomes more functional, to support pupils to apply their learning in real life situations ensuring learning is meaningful and relevant.
Maths for higher attaining pupils is accredited through Functional Skills – learning is provided in the areas of number and the number system, shape, space and measure, and information and data. Pupils demonstrate their underpinning knowledge and skills both with and without a calculator. They are taught how to problem solve and apply these to real life situations.
English for higher attaining pupils is accredited through an Entry Level Certificate – learning is developed in the three subject skill areas of speaking and listening, reading and writing. This supports pupils to become effective communicators and understand the communication of others. It will prepare them to understand and participate in discussions, interpret pieces of writing and instructions, as well as helping them to put their point across clearly. Carefully chosen key texts are crucial to developing vocabulary and reading; and are also used as a stimulus for writing.
Maths and English for pupils working below Entry Level is accredited using the AQA Unit Award Scheme at Pre-Entry Level. Units are carefully chosen and differentiated to match student ability and in line with the overall coverage planning.
Each year pupils study units in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Alongside the substantive knowledge taught as part of the curriculum, science provides the opportunities to develop the six basic science process skills of: observing, inferring, measuring, communicating, classifying and predicting. These transferable skills encourage pupils to be curious, problem solvers and reflective learners.
Our Careers programme is relevant, purposeful and progressive for pupils by following the Gatsby Benchmarks:
A stable careers programme
- Learning from career and labour market information
- Addressing the needs of each pupil
- Linking curriculum learning to careers
- Encounters with employers and employees
- Experiences of workplaces
- Encounters with further and higher education
- Personal guidance
Progress towards the Gatsby Benchmarks is monitored via the Compass+ tool for special schools. The Talentino programme provides a progression of learning to encompass the skills required for and an understanding of the workplace. Pupils access careers advice from an independent advisor which also supports their understanding of the post 16 settings available.
PSHE and RSE
PSHE in Key Stage 4 enables pupils to become independent, confident, healthy and responsible members of the community. Our whole school approach to PSHE brings together citizenship, personal wellbeing as well as promoting fundamental British values.
PSHE is integrated as part of the daily ethos at Bennerley Fields and learning opportunities are used throughout the school day. PSHE is also taught as a subject in its own right. Each topic is presented as a ’Big Question’ and the implementation of ‘Zones of Regulation’ and ‘THRIVE’ are utilised as tools for reflecting and understanding their feelings.
Through RSE pupils develop their understanding of relationships, becoming aware of their rights and responsibilities in order to become positive members of a diverse society. They will continue to develop relationships, develop confidence and build on their emotional resilience.
The PE curriculum teaches pupils about the importance of healthy living as well as the need for good nutrition. Pupils take part on a range of team games as well as fitness activities and athletics.
We aim to create positive outcomes for pupils by helping them develop the necessary knowledge and skills in order to facilitate them becoming physically active citizens; this is for the benefit of their long-term health and well-being. Pupils take part in a range of team games as well as fitness activities and athletics.
Culture Studies is a curriculum designed for Key Stage 4 pupils, composed of units of study which extend their cultural experiences. These units combine elements of humanities and the arts. Pupils’ views were sought and taken into account when planning the curriculum. The curriculum is linked to AQA Unit Awards to ensure pupils receive recognition for their hard work. Over the two years the elements of learning are planned under the following headings:
• Drama: Drama Education Network outlines the key benefits for pupils of drama education, these include: confidence, imagination, empathy, collaboration, concentration, communication skills, memory skill and social awareness. (www.gbtc.com) The teaching of drama in Key Stage 4 develops these key skills in fun engaging sessions.
• Forest Schools: Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. Forest School ensures everyone is valued, welcomed and respected whilst working cooperatively and ensuring team work throughout the sessions.
Forest School has a strong emphasis on raising all pupils’ self-esteem, building relationships, increasing confidence, developing interactions, team work and independence skills. It also encourages them to develop their love and understanding of our outdoor learning environment and the natural world all around them. All pupils access Forest Schools provision, building on the skills they learn as they progress through the sessions, through the classes and year groups.
• The European Culture: In addition to pupils building an understanding of the UK and British Values, this area of study develops their knowledge of other European Cultures. They are able to explore the cultures, embrace and accept the differences from a positive perspective. They learn about and compare a range of European countries with the UK. This prepares them for the diverse world in which we live.
• Exploring Nature: Through these units of work pupils will learn about the scientific reasoning for our changing seasons and light and dark. The substantive knowledge is supported through the arts providing opportunities to explore the arts through music, poetry and art.
Learning through and about the arts enriches the experiences at school as well as preparing pupils for life after school. Arts subjects encourage self-expression and creativity and can build confidence as well as a sense of individual identity. Creativity can also help with wellbeing and studying arts subjects can also help to develop critical thinking and the ability to interpret the world around us. (www.tate.org.uk)
• Design: Through product design pupils are able to use and develop a range of essential skills whilst completing a graphic design product related to food packaging. Pupils use essential team work and communication skills building on their planning, problem solving and evaluation skills whilst developing their creativity. Pupils are motivated to use and develop these skills in an engaging and innovate task.
• Local Community (Willows): Some of our pupils benefit from applying and using skills within the local community. By exploring different shops and services in the local community they develop key life skills, transfer their learning in real life situations and develop independence within safe and structured trips and visits.
Pathways to Adulthood.
Pathway to Adulthood is a bespoke curriculum designed for Key Stage 4 pupils combining key elements of learning and development to prepare them for adult life. Pupils’ views were sought and have been taken into account when planning the essential elements required for them to transition to adulthood and develop skills for independent living. The curriculum is linked to the AQA Units Award scheme to ensure pupils achieve and receive recognition for their hard work. The elements of learning are planned under the following headings across the two years.
• Finance and banking: Managing money is an essential part of living independently. Being able to understand and manage a bank account is essential when dealing with money. Pupils are keen to explore what bills needed to be paid and how to pay for bills.
‘Having basic personal financial skills is one of the most important things you can do to live a healthy, happy and secure life. Your level of understanding around the fundamentals of budgeting, saving, debt and investing will impact every part of your life.’ Forbes 2019
• Democracy: In life pupils are faced with making choices, making joint decisions or decisions that impact on others is an essential skill for shared or independent living. Living in democratic society with the right to vote and how the local and national government works helps then to understand their role in society.
• Enterprise: Planning and developing a mini enterprise develops team work and leadership skills as well as organisation and presentation skills which will support with employability skills. The British Council (2021) values the benefits of learning through enterprise education as it encourages learners to be creative and develop self confidence in risk taking, whilst learning from their own mistakes.
• Meal Preparation: Following instructions and being able to prepare a snack or meal are essential life skills linked to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Pupils learn how to prepare simple meals whilst developing team work and communication skills and social skills. Alongside essential cooking skills pupils will learn how to implement standards of hygiene required for preparing food in a kitchen area as well as the basics of health and safety.
• ICT: computers are an integral part of our world and are key for online banking, filling out forms and applying for jobs. Pupils need to be prepared for a living and working in a society where ICT skills are integrated into all areas. As well as using ICT in all elements of learning pupils will undertake learning to use software that includes word processing, spreadsheets and design.
Through our Beyond Bennerley curriculum we give pupils the opportunity to build and transfer the skills outside the classroom in real life situations as well as building resilience and raising aspirations. They are able to build independence in the community and enhance their experiences beyond the classroom environment.
Making Maths and English Work for all. March 2015. The Education and Training Foundation