Sir Graham Balfour School

A member of the Sir Graham Balfour Multi-Academy Trust

Curriculum Overview

Sir Graham Balfour School Curriculum

Sir Graham Balfour School offers a broad and balanced curriculum which develops the skills and knowledge as outlined in the national curriculum (OFSTED 2019).  We believe that the curriculum should help students to achieve high standards and make excellent progress; be challenged and stretched to achieve their potential; enjoy and be committed to learning, to 19 and beyond; achieve qualifications that are of worth for employers and for entry to higher education and to become outstanding citizens of the future in Stafford and beyond.

The Sir Graham Balfour School curriculum is built on the following principles:

•    The school has a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that seeks to engage, educate and inspire our students.  
The curriculum seeks to address the school aims and in doing so, ensure that students have the best opportunities to achieve highly.
•    The curriculum aims to raise attainment in all areas and aspects, especially in
English, Mathematics and the subjects which make up the English Baccalaureate, due to their current overarching significance.
•    The curriculum enables students to progress smoothly from Year 7 to 13, preparing them for the world of work or for Further/Higher Education.
•    The curriculum allows for the sequential development of knowledge, understanding and 
skills within each subject area, in line with the demands of the reformed GCSE, BTEC, Technical Award and A level examinations.
•    The school seeks to offer a broad range of extra-curricular provision for our students.

The school’s curriculum comprises all the learning activity that takes place in the school day.  In particular, the curriculum aims to incorporate the following:

•    The compulsory requirements of the National Curriculum in Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.
•    Other non-statutory elements as appropriate to fulfil the curriculum principles outlined above.
•    Examination courses appropriate to the needs of the students and the national context. Where necessary these are delivered collaboratively with our local •    partner institutions via the Stafford Sixth Form Partnership.
•    The curriculum is always adaptable to the individual abilities, aptitudes and Individual learning needs of our students.
•    The curriculum seeks to make students understand the synoptic links between and within subjects and to develop personal, learning and thinking skills.
•    The curriculum is enhanced by a wide range of enrichment and extra-curricular activities.

 

Sir Graham Balfour School Curriculum Structure

Please see below for details of the number of lessons that students in each study across 50 periods in the two-week timetable.

 

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Year 13

English

8

8

8

8

8

Option 5

Option 5

Maths

8

8

7

7

7

Option 5

Option 5

Further Maths

 

 

 

 

 

Option 5

Option 5

Science

7

8

8

9 4

9 4

 

 

SMSC

2

2

2

2

2

 

 

Core PE

5

5

5

4

4

 

 

Geography

4

3

3

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

History

3

4

3

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

French

 

5

 

4

 

5

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

Spanish

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

German

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

Drama

 

4 1

 

4 1

 

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

Art

2

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

Music (BTEC and GCSE in Year 10 & 11)

2

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

DT

 

4 2

 

4 2

 

5 2

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

Food Preparation & Nutrition

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

Textiles

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

Computing

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

PE

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

Psychology

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

Philosophy and Ethics

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

Business Studies

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

Option 5

Option 5

Cambridge National Child Development

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

BTEC Health and Social Care

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

BTEC Enterprise

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

BTEC Travel and Tourism

 

 

 

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

Biology

 

 

 

 

Option 3 4

 

 

Option 3 4

 

Option 5

Option 5

Chemistry

 

 

 

Option 5

Option 5

Physics

 

 

 

Option 5

Option 5

 

1 = In Year 7 and 8 Drama, Art and Music are taught in a rotation where students have 4 lessons a fortnight in one of the subjects for 13 weeks before rotating to study the other two subjects throughout the rest of the academic year.

2 = In Year 7, 8 and 9 DT, Textiles, Food Preparation and Nutrition and Computing are taught in a rotation where students have 4 lessons a fortnight (5 lessons in Year 9) in one of the subjects for 10 weeks before rotating to study the other subjects throughout the rest of the academic year.

3 = These subjects are all offered as part of GCSE options process.  Students are put onto Pathways and study an additional four subjects for 5 hours a fortnight.

4 = Biology, Chemistry and Physics are offered as part of the Separate Science GCSE option where students use one of their options to study all three sciences for a total of 14 hours a fortnight.  Students who do not opt for Separate Science still have 9 hours of science with 3 hours study of each science subject leading to the award of 2 GCSEs.

5 = These subjects are all A-Level options taught in Sir Graham Balfour School.  We are part of the Stafford 14-19 Sixth Form Partnership in collaboration with the Weston Road Academy, Blessed William Howard Catholic High School, King Edward VI High School and Stafford Manor High School.  Please visit https://www.staffordsixthformpartnership.co.uk/ for more details of how the partnership operates and the full range of courses that it offers.

Sir Graham Balfour School Assessment

A-Level

All A-Level courses that students at Sir Graham Balfour School sit are graded on the A*-E scale.  Each grade converts into different UCAS Tariff points, and these points are used by universities and colleges in their course entry requirements.  The information at the following website gives much more detail about UCAS Tariff points - https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/what-and-where-study/entry-requirements/ucas-tariff-points.  For those students following a BTEC course taught elsewhere in the Stafford 14-19 Sixth Form Partnership more details on grading can be found at https://qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/Level-3-Qualifications/DfE_16-19_Performance-Table-Points-Scores-For-Level-3-Qualifications.pdf.

GCSE

All GCSE courses that students at Sir Graham Balfour School sit are graded on the 9-1 scale.  See below for details of how the 9-1 grades compare to the A*-G that were awarded prior to 2017

The BTEC and Cambridge Award qualifications are grade on a Level 2 Distinction*-Level 1 Pass scale.  See below for details of how these grades compare to the 9-1 GCSE grades.

Sir Graham Balfour School Target Setting and Reports

A-Level

A-Level students are set targets at an early stage of Year 12 which they will be working towards achieving for the duration of their course.  All A-Level reports to parents, which are the same across the Stafford 14-19 Sixth Form Partnership Schools, will show the target grade and predicted end of course grade as well as Attitude to Learning grades focusing on effort and participation in lessons; the quality and quantity of independent work; the depth and breadth of subject knowledge and understanding; organisation and meeting deadlines; and attendance and punctuality.  Year 12 students receive these reports at Christmas, Easter (this report also contains a comment from the teachers of each subject) and the summer.  Year 13 students receive these reports at October Half Term and February Half Term (this report also contains a comment from the teachers of each subject).

GCSE

Students are set a final end of course target for each subject they study by their teacher at the start of Year 10.  All reports to parents will show the target grade and predicted end of course grade as well as a broad range of information regarding Attitude to Learning.  Year 10 students receive these reports at Christmas, Easter (this report also contains a comment from the teacher of each subject) and the summer.  Year 11 students receive these reports at October Half Term (this report also contains a comment from the teacher of each subject), February Half Term and May Half Term.

Year 7-9

Students do not receive targets in Years 7 or 8 as the focus is on ensuring that they make strong progress from their Key Stage 2 SATS and establish the knowledge, understanding and skills needed in each subject in order to succeed highly at GCSE.  Teachers are given information regarding a band of GCSE targets that each student should be aiming for (e.g.  grade 4-5 at GCSE) in order to ensure that expectations of the quality and quantity of work that each student is capable of producing remains high.  Progress is reported to parents through a colour coded progress marker in each subject where:

  • Red means that the student is currently underperforming and is not making the progress expected of them.
  • Green means that the student is performing well and is making expected progress.
  • Purple means that the student is performing very well and is making more than expected progress.

In Year 9 the above system remains in place for all subjects apart from English, Maths and Science.  In Year 9 English, Maths and Science students do receive their GCSE target band so they are clear about the standards they should be aiming for at the end of their GCSEs and progress towards achieving the target band of grades is reported using the above colour coded progress marker.  Year 7 students receive these reports at October Half Term, February Half Term and May Half Term (this report also contains a comment from the teacher of each subject).  Year 8 students receive these reports at Christmas, Easter  and the summer (this report also contains a comment from the teacher of each subject).  Year 9 students receive these reports at Christmas (this report also contains a comment from the teacher of each subject), Easter and the summer.

Sir Graham Balfour School Marking and Feedback

Teachers pay close and careful attention to the work that students complete in class.   Feedback to the work can be given verbally; through self-assessment; through peer assessment or through written marking.  The most effective feedback, whether it is written or verbal or where there is evidence of it in student books or not, will always give students clear guidance of how they can improve with students responding to the feedback and developing their skills, knowledge and understanding in the subject as a result.  Where written feedback is given, you may see some of the symbols below on the student’s work.  Each symbol relates to a different aspect of literacy and students are expected to correct these mistakes when they are identified.

O  = Punctuation error (circled)

__ = Spelling mistake (underlined)

//  = New paragraph

  = unclear expression

Sir Graham Balfour School Homework

Homework is a very important element of school life as it makes a valuable contribution to the education and development of students.  Research by the Education Endowment Foundation shows the impact of homework on learning is consistently positive.  In particular, the homework that is set aims to:

  • Provide opportunities for students to work independently and to take responsibility for organising their work.
  • Help students recognise the link between good study habits and higher standards of achievement.
  • Check that students have understood class work.
  • Consolidate or extend work covered in school and improve the students’ ability to retain and recall knowledge and understanding.
  • Prepare for future lessons.
  • Give time for more extensive coverage of the curriculum, through integrated planning of class work and homework.
  • Make more effective use of lessons by focusing on those activities, which require more direct teaching, with other tasks, not dependent on the teacher, being set for homework.
  • Improve students’ attitudes to learning.
  • Improve students’ organisational and study skills.
  • Raise the standard of achievement.
  • Help parents understand what their children are learning in school and to encourage them to participate in that learning.

 

As a school we aim to provide the students with as much support as possible to help them complete homework tasks.  Many teachers and subjects offer lunchtime and after school support sessions for homework or to assist with the completion of coursework.  In addition to this we recognise that some students find it difficult to work at home and so we keep the DAC open until 4.20pm on a Monday to Thursday and until 4pm on a Friday so that students can use the facilities to complete work.  In addition to this, the DAC is open from 8.30am each morning so that students can also use the facilities to complete work or print out work prior to the first lesson of the school day.

We do not have a prescribed homework timetable for all subjects, as there is the expectation that homework will be set on a regular basis in order to achieve the aims outlined above.

We recognise that parental support is a critical part of academic success, and parents can support their child with homework tasks in the following ways:

  • Create a comfortable and quiet study environment where background distractions (Music/Facebook) are minimised during work.
  • Help your child to keep a good balance between study and their social life.
  • Schedule a regular homework time. 
  • Help them make a plan. 
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. 
  • Make sure your child does their own homework. 
  • Be a motivator and monitor. 
  • Praise their work and efforts. 
  • If there are continuing problems with homework, get help. 

 

Address

Sir Graham Balfour School
North Avenue
Stafford
ST16 1NR

For Sat Nav directions:

ST16 1NJ

Phone

01785 223490

Email

office@sirgrahambalfour.staffs.sch.uk