Studied Curriculum

The Highbury Fields School 'curriculum journey'

The Highbury Fields School curriculum intends to take our students on a journey of memorable and stimulating learning experiences that enable all students to be academically and socially successful both in school and beyond. As with any journey, it is important for those embarking upon it to know the intended destination and the signposts that help to navigate the right direction.

What does the 'curriculum journey' look like in the Sixth Form?

The information below sets out, in broad terms, how the studied, pastoral and wider cirruclar support students' academic and social success as they progress through the Sixth Form.

Year 12 - specialist pathways; broadening horizons

The excitement of the Year 12 studied curriculum for students is that they follow a suite of subjects that they have chosen, are passionate about and the effective study of which will facilitate a range of academic or vocational pathways by the end of Year 13.  At the start of Year 12, the studied curriculum established the links between Year 11 and Year 12 subject knowledge, so that students understand their academic journey and are able to transition confidently into the next stage of it.  Students start to consider how emerging subject knowledge and skills might be applied in the context of a degree or further training, as well as developing their own intellectual curiosity through wider reading around their own subjects and other fields of interest.  In each subject, they consider the skills and characteristics that have underpinned their success to date and how to utilise and further develop these, so that across the next two years, students develop into genuine subject specialists, who fully understand the rubric necessary for academia and professional life and are ready to demonstrate their expertise in a wider context. 

“The curriculum is broad and ambitious… in the Sixth Form, pupils can choose from an increasing range of subjects”

Ofsted Report, September 2022

Similarly, the Year 12 pastoral curriculum seeks to ensure that students are fully prepared for the opportunities, but also potential problems, that are created by their exposure to broader environments and contexts.  Students are rightly given the time to reflect on their academic and social journey to date and whether their likely or previously considered direction is still appropriate for them.  In this way, students are encouraged to take with them into Year 12 the mindset, skills and strategies that ensured their success in Year 11 and to build these into their way of working and living in Year 12.  At the same time though, students are coached to determine where they might like or need to make changes and so throughout Year 12 are able to develop a confident sense of who they are and what their direction in life might be.  Critical to this sense of self is ensuring that students are able to effectively manage the competing pressures of study, social life and financial planning, whilst still keeping well.  Through the pastoral curriculum, students are exposed to a range of scenarios and strategies that help them to develop the emotional intelligence to safely manage and thrive in early adulthood, so that they are able to enjoy and make the very most of this moment of their lives.

At the heart of the Year 12 wider curriculum is the ambition that students have access to as broad a range of opportunities as possible to help them discover the adults they might want to be.  Throughout Year 12, students attend a programme of university and further training visits to help them to establish the right course and environment for their next educational steps.  Students are also encouraged to contribute to the school community through our community coaching programme, which supports younger students in a range of ways, both academically and socially.  As well as providing Year 12 students with a range of school associated opportunities, the wider curriculum coaches students in how they can independently develop and pursue their individual interests.   

sixth form

Year 13 - self-determination

In Year 13, the studied curriculum operates as a bridge between students’ current academic study and that of their degree or future vocational study.  Through specialist teaching, students develop into wholly independent learners, who are confident in synthesising and applying their deep understanding of sophisticated subject knowledge and theory to a range of audiences and in a wide range of contexts.  Because of their expertise, teachers draw out from subject specifications purposeful links to potential degree courses and professions, which enable students to make informed decisions about higher education, as well as utilise their highly effective study practices to further explore areas of passion and interest beyond the curriculum.  By this stage of their education, students habitually use their credible wider reading to support and challenge their own ideas and are able to assimilate, synthesise and develop informed judgements about viewpoints from a range of sources.  Students therefore have a breadth and depth of academic understanding that puts them in control of, and ensures they are excited about, their next educational steps.

Building on the emerging sense of independence and self that students develop in Year 12, the Year 13 pastoral curriculum ensures that, by the time they leave school, students have the emotional intelligence required to successfully navigate the early stages of adulthood.  Students practise a comprehensive command of self-management strategies that enable them to negotiate new situations and develop keen instincts about the people and contexts that they encounter.  Most importantly, they have a strong sense of self-worth and confidence in who they are and what they can contribute to society.   

The Year 13 wider curriculum is designed to support students in feeling ready for the broader responsibilities, exciting and everyday, that come with early adulthood.  Students are exposed to a range of experiences that broaden and potentially challenge their world view, so that they are able to consider the issues that face society from a range of perspectives.  They are coached in expressing their own views in a reasoned and responsible way and, where they see injustice, are guided in when and how to challenge it effectively.  Through the opportunities that arise through the Year 13 student leadership programme, students develop a keen sense of what it means to be a role model and, by working with both their peers and younger students, hone the communication and team working skills that are invaluable in later life.  Just as importantly, students are prepared for the practicalities of adulthood.  From basic cooking to financial planning, the Year 13 wider curriculum considers aspects of adulthood that students might not otherwise think of and ensures they have practised them.

6th form.1

sixth form 1

How does Highbury Fields School structure the curriculum?

The overarching purpose of Highbury Fields School curriculum is to provide all students with the knowledge, skills and characteristics that enable them to be academically and socially successful, both throughout school and in future life. The school structures the curriculum in three aspects:

  • The studied curriculum, which includes the subjects and lessons which students learn throughout the educational journey.
  • The pastoral curriculum, which includes the ways in which students are taught to safeguard themselves and one another and how the school values of community, respect and tolerance are threaded throughout students' learning.
  • The wider curriculum, which includes the opportunities and experiences provided for students outside of their timetabled subjects and lessons.

Each of the three aspects of the curriculum are interrelated and all are integral in providing students with the foundations for a successful future and an understanding of how readng throughout life supports both academic progress and keeping well.

There is more information about the whole scshooll approach to the curriculum available on the school website.

"We develop connections with teachers, who always offer their support to help us"

Neda, Year 12 student