Overview of KS3

Key Stage 3 overview

When students arrive at Tewkesbury School, they are placed into mixed ability groups from Year 7, with the exception of maths, which is set based on ability. This approach continues throughout their journey up to Year 11 and into the Sixth Form. We strongly believe in the power of mixed ability teaching, equality of opportunity and access for all our students, regardless of their prior attainment or socio-economic background.

In Key Stage 3 (Year 7 to Year 9), students study a broad and balanced range of academic subjects which include English, mathematics, science, humanities, languages and computer science, technology, physical education, music, art and design, drama, religious education as well as Personal Social Health and Economic Education (PSHEE), which also covers compulsory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).

Subject knowledge and skills are planned and taught in a carefully sequenced way, to ensure that students build on prior learning. 

There is a well-planned, appropriate careers education curriculum, which works towards all Gatsby benchmarks and ensures students are aware of the opportunity (Baker Clause) to study alternative vocational and technical options in Year 10 through other local Gloucestershire providers.

We realise that for some of our students, their knowledge and understanding about a particular subject or field will only develop through the planned curriculum. For this reason, we have a three year Key Stage 3 until the end of Year 9. After this, students have the flexibility to opt for a more bespoke curriculum in Year 10, which remains broad, balanced and challenging.

Curriculum Intent – What are we trying to achieve in Key Stage 3? 

Our curriculum aims to expose students to the best that has been said, thought and done by humanity. The curriculum is viewed as everything a student experiences during their time at school either in lessons and also through extra-curricular activities including trips and visits and also through homework, assemblies, school led tuition, intervention and through our online curriculum.  

We want our curriculum to foster and develop a love of learning in all our students and to nurture and develop them into knowledgeable, successful, confident young people who are articulate and responsible citizens. We want the curriculum to ensure that students gain the knowledge and the cultural capital they need to succeed in life, irrespective of their socio – economic background, or their starting points. 

The vision for the Key Stage 3 Curriculum 

  • A seamless transition from Key Stage 2, with good support for students to settle quickly into school life. 
  • High expectations of all students based on their starting points. 
  • A well planned coherent curriculum, which builds on prior learning and challenges all learners. 
  • Students taught well and in a way that helps them to remember more over time. 
  • Students that learn well and own their learning, making good progress in all subjects.
  • Students that understand what they are expected to learn and have clear content to learn through the use of knowledge organisers and other well-presented resources. 
  • Formal assessments and regular feedback so that students are clear on what they are doing well and what they need to do to improve their work and their independence. 
  • High quality work in books and through displays for learning. 
  • Resilient learners who are able to cope with failure and setbacks. 
  • Excellent relationships between students and teachers. 
  • Involved and engaged parents who support the school through attendance at Parents’ Evenings.
  • Students are well prepared for Key Stage 4 through gaining appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding. 
  • A well planned, robust careers education, information and guidance programme using Gatsby Benchmarks
  • Students with high aspirations who have a clear plan in place for progression into KS4 and beyond. 
  • Students who are happy, engaged, enjoy their learning and are proud to attend Tewkesbury School. 
  • Students make good progress, so that they are able to thrive in KS4 and beyond. 

Click here to see a copy of our broader curriculum vision.  

Curriculum Implementation – How do we deliver our Curriculum? 

The curriculum in Key Stage 3 is an ambitious, coherent, knowledge based curriculum, which is broad and balanced across three years and has a strong academic core of subjects, which is rooted in the EBacc. All subjects follow a curriculum, which is similar in breadth and ambition to the National Curriculum

Each curriculum area has clearly defined end points that it is building towards and clearly states what knowledge and skills students will gain by the end of each half term and how they will be assessed across Key Stage 3. 

The Key Stage 3 curriculum enables the evaluation of students’ knowledge and skills against the curriculum aims for each half term through common formal assessments, which are assessed using each subjects Key Stage 3 assessment framework. 

Assessment framework provide benchmarks for the big themes and key concepts of each subjects curriculum using assessment strands, which are measured using a 9-1 grading scale. Each subjects curriculum overview and assessment framework can be found on the department pages of the website. 

Curriculum Impact – How well are we delivering on our KS3 Curriculum Aims? 

We have invested lots of energy and time into improving the coherence, structure and quality of our Key Stage 3 curriculum. Over the last 18 months, we have developed systems to track the progress being made by students within Key Stage 3. These systems are being refined constantly to ensure we are able to be clear on which students are making the progress in their learning we expect and which students we need to further support and challenge to improve through quality first wave teaching and further intervention. 

Impact of the Key Stage 3 Curriculum in 2020-2021 

Year 7: 97% of students made expected progress 

Year 8: 93% of students made expected progress

Year 9: 86% of students made expected progress 

Aspects of sex education are taught from Year 7 onwards as part of the Science and Personal Development programmes. Students are encouraged to have a regard for moral considerations and the value of family life. Material is presented in a non-threatening way. Students are not asked questions of a personal and private nature. Discussion of moral issues, however, is encouraged. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the sex education programme and should do so in writing to Mr Adams, Deputy Head.

Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the Religious Studies, Ethics and Philosophy programmes and should do so in writing to Mr Adams, Deputy Head.

Assemblies are non-denominational in character and it is hoped that parents will not withdraw their children on religious grounds. If parents wish to do so they must contact the Headteacher, Mr G M Watson.