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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.

We ensure that all students have access to opportunities to:

  • 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 are also planned for throughout the curriculum in addition to lessons on Personal, Social and Health Education and British Values. 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


8.25 Staff and students to tutor bases
8.25 - 9.00

Registration / Private Reading / Assembly

9.00 - 10.00 Period 1
10:00 - 11.00 Period 2
11.00 - 11.20 BREAK
11.20 - 12.20 Period 3
12.20 - 1.20 Period 4


1.20 - 2.10 LUNCH
2.10 - 2.15 Registration
2.15 - 3.15 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) 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
English 9
Mathematics 9
Science 8
Art 2
Computing 2
Drama 1
Geography 3
History 3
Modern Language 3
Music 2
Physical Education & Dance 4
PRE** 1
Technology 2
Total 50

* Personal, Social and Health Education
** Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

How the Curriculum is structured  - Years 10 and 11

As students embark upon courses leading to GCSE, BTEC and other qualifications, we provide an element of choice in their study programmes. New courses are introduced in Year 10 which enable students to concentrate on areas of the curriculum where they may have a particular interest or strength. 

All students in Key Stage 4 are required to study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and two sciences within their core programme.

As students progress through Key Stage 4, additional hours are allocated to the core subjects and drop down days are created for PRE and PSHE.

The Key Stage 4 option blocks are created with the abilities and talents of each cohort in mind as well as ensuring that we meet accessibility requirements of the Humanities, MFL and the Arts combination. Students and parents are provided with an options survey to ensure the option blocks are most appropriate to each year’s cohort. This is then followed by interviews with a member of staff to determine appropriate option choices for each individual student.

Students study subjects from four option blocks. Students in Key Stage 4 must study at least one English Baccalaureate subject outside their core studies.

An exciting variety of option subjects is on offer:

  • Art GCSE
  • ASDAN Programme
  • Hospitality & Catering Eduqas
  • Computer Science GCSE
  • Dance BTEC
  • Drama BTEC
  • Finance GCSE
  • Geography GCSE
  • History GCSE
  • Media Studies GCSE
  • Music GCSE
  • Religious Education GCSE
  • Resistant Materials GCSE
  • Spanish GCSE
  • Triple Science GCSE

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.

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.

Mr T Lally, Assistant Headteacher
For more information on the school curriculum please contact Mr Lally at or call on 01442 394141.