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Curriculum

Our Curriculum Aims and Values

At The Astley Cooper School, we strive for the very best for all our students.  We are committed to ensuring that when students leave they have become successful, well rounded and confident individuals prepared to succeed in the modern world. Our core values of Aspiration, Determination and Integrity underpin our curriculum. We achieve this by delivering the highest possible academic standards and offering students a wealth of opportunities within and beyond the national curriculum to develop their talents.

Our Values

Aspiration • Determination • Integrity

Aspirational individuals who go above and beyond and lead safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
Determined learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve
Students who have Integrity and make a positive contribution to society

At The Astley Cooper School we believe that all students should be treated equally and given access to the opportunities available.

All children should be free from discrimination and fear in school and have a secure environment in which to learn.

  • develop lively, imaginative and enquiring minds and the ability to question and argue rationally
  • apply themselves to extended tasks and take responsibility for their own learning
  • develop physical skills and artistic skills
  • acquire understanding, knowledge and skills relevant to adult life and employment in a fast-changing world
  • use language and numbers effectively
  • develop personal moral values, promote respect for other cultures, religions and ways of life
  • develop a concern for the environment and an understanding of the world in which they live and the interdependence of individuals, groups and nations
  • appreciate that human achievements and aspirations take their place in society in an informed, positive and active way

The progressive curriculum we deliver at Astley Cooper ensures students have the skills, concepts and knowledge to progress successfully through the Key Stages. The ambitious curriculum is built to ensure the knowledge and skills learned in Key Stage 2 continue to be developed further through Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. Departments’ Schemes of Learning are carefully planned to ensure skills and techniques are developed each year and build on prior knowledge.

Students’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Culture awareness is also planned for throughout the curriculum in addition to the new September 2020 statutory curriculum lessons on Personal, Social and Economic (PSHE) education.

Our Religious Education programme is taught throughout the school unless parents/carers exercise their legal right to withdraw students on religious grounds.

The school ensures all aspects of The National Curriculum are met as well as furthering students’ education with additional activities beyond The National Curriculum. This includes Dragons’ Apprentice, The Interact Club, Speak Out Challenge, Sports Clubs, Drama and Dance Clubs, external speakers, University of Hertfordshire Aspire Higher, and The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Detailed syllabuses and schemes of work may be examined on application to the school. All Key Stage 3 curriculum maps can be found at the bottom of this page.

The School Day

Year 7, 9 and 11 

:Morning

8.25 Staff and students to tutor bases
8.30 –   9.00      Registration and Assembly
9.05 –  10.05      Period 1
10.05 - 10.25     BREAK
10.25 - 11.25     Period 2
11.30 -  12.30    Period 3

Afternoon

12.30 - 13:10     LUNCH
13.10- 14.10      Period 4
14.15 - 15.15     Period 5

Year 8, 10 and 12 

:Morning

8.25 Staff and students to tutor bases
8.30 –   9.00      Registration and Assembly
9.05 –  10.05      Period 1
10.10 - 11.10   Period 2
11.10 - 11.30    BREAK
11.30 -  12.30    Period 3

Afternoon

12.35- 13:35    Period 4
13.35- 14.10      LUNCH
14.15 - 15.15     Period 5

How the Curriculum is structured  - Years 7, 8 and 9

We follow the National Curriculum which consists of the core subjects (English, Mathematics and Science) and the foundation subjects Art, Computing, Dance, Design Technology, Food Technology, Geography, History, a Modern Foreign Language, Music, Physical Education, Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE), Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE).

For a small number of students, we ease their transition from primary school by replicating their KS2 classroom in our nurture group. This is to ensure all students have the opportunity to develop and recall the skills needed in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. The transition groups are identified using information provided by our feeder schools. This programme is further supported in Year 8 and 9 to ensure all students have the ability to go above and beyond.

We have developed an exciting programme of study within our PSHE programme which focuses on developing personal, learning and thinking skills. We seek to promote leadership and teamwork, engender enterprise and creativity and promote independence as well as providing students with the opportunity to work with outside agencies through our broad and balanced curriculum.

The school week is divided into 25 periods and the timetable runs on a fortnightly cycle.

Subject Number of hours per fortnight
Year 7
English 8
Mathematics 8
Science 7
Art 2
Computer Science 1
Drama 2
Geography 3
History 3
Spanish 3
Music 1
Physical Education & Dance 5
Dance 1
PSHE/RSE* 2
PRE** 2
Technology 2
Total 50

* Personal, Social and Health Education/Relationships and Sex Education
** Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

How the Curriculum is structured  - Years 10 and 11

The subjects available in Key Stage 4 are:

  • English Language GCSE (Compulsory)
  • English Literature GCSE (Compulsory)
  • Mathematics GCSE (Compulsory)
  • Physical Education (Compulsory & GCSE)
  • Physical, Social and Emotional Education (Compulsory)
  • Science GCSE Double Award (Compulsory)
  • Art GCSE
  • ASDAN Programme
  • Hospitality & Catering Eduqas
  • Business BTEC
  • Computer Science GCSE
  • Dance BTEC
  • Drama BTEC
  • Geography GCSE
  • History GCSE
  • Film Studies GCSE
  • Music BTEC
  • Production Arts BTEC
  • Religious Education GCSE
  • Resistant Materials GCSE
  • Spanish GCSE
  • Sport GCSE & BTEC
  • Triple Science GCSE

Enrichment activities, such as clubs, ski trips, Duke of Edinburgh and visits abroad, aim to develop the skills of our students beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

We do insist upon a broad and balanced choice to enable students to gain a suitably diverse experience which will provide a firm basis for their adult lives.

Options are chosen with guidance from senior staff.

Enrichment activities, such as clubs, ski trips, Duke of Edinburgh and visits abroad, aim to develop the skills of our students beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

We do insist upon a broad and balanced choice to enable students to gain a suitably diverse experience which will provide a firm basis for their adult lives.

Key Stage 5

At Level 3, the majority of students study three subjects with a small minority taking a fourth option. There are entry requirements to these courses. Enrolment is generally for a two year programme, with examinations at the end of this two year period. All option blocks are designed using intentions forms with the aim to cater for every student. Some subjects are studied at a local partner school to ensure students are offered an aspirational and ambitious curriculum.

Support for students in transition to the next phase of learning and/or employment is central to our provision. 

At Level 2, we run an award winning Pre-Apprentice Programme. Students work with a local employer for two days a week and spend two days in school studying for BTEC qualifications as well as having the opportunity to improve on English and Mathematics grades. At the start of the course, a short induction period of about four to six weeks with intensive study at school is mandatory for all. This allows us to give the students sufficient skills and knowledge to be successful in their work placement. Students also have the opportunity to achieve employer based qualifications and extra-curricular awards.

PSHE, careers education and PE and some measure of community contribution are all part of the Post 16 curriculum.

You can read more about our Sixth Form curriculum here.

Mr T Lally, Assistant Headteacher
For more information on the school curriculum please contact Mr Lally at t.lally@astleycooper.herts.sch.uk or call on 01442 394141