At Our Lady’s we are determined to do all that we can to ensure that every pupil achieves success. We set ambitious individual performance targets based on a higher than average rate of progress. We expect pupils to work consistently hard and insist that they produce classwork and homework of the highest possible quality. Woven within the formal curriculum are enrichment opportunities e.g. Enrichment Days, Animal Care, Duke of Edinburgh Award. These allow pupils to develop areas of personal interest outside the formal curriculum and engage in the life of the school. Co-ordinating the curriculum as a whole is Mr R. Charnock, Deputy Headteacher and supported by Mr A. Nelson, Assistant Headteacher who has specific responsibility for assessment, reporting, options and careers.
We place pupils into academic groups based on a number of factors including KS2, CAT and internal baseline assessments. Pupils are placed in groups where they have the greatest possibility of achieving their own potential. These groups are monitored regularly and if it is appropriate changes will be made but only if it is clear that a pupil will make stronger progress in a different group and not due to a high or low performance in particular assessments.
Key Stage 3 – Years 7, 8 and 9
Because of the nature of our diverse and comprehensive school population, we believe we should keep the options for future careers for as long as possible hence at Key Stage 3 all pupils follow a 3-year curriculum pathway which is designed to be broad and balanced and to maximise opportunity at Key Stage 4 to be able to study subjects that best open opportunities for their future. All pupils study the following subjects: Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Computer Science, History, Geography, Modern Foreign Languages, Design and Technology, Art, Music, and Physical Education. The award of Platinum Arts Mark is testimony to Governors’ commitment to extend and develop the full range of talents of our pupils especially in areas of music, drama, and art where option numbers are consistently strong.
Key Stage 4 – Years 10 and 11
At Key Stage 4 we offer an open options process backed by thorough careers education and guidance teaching which enables pupils to choose subjects that best compliment their interests and future career and study. Our guidance is pupil centred and as such may result in a learning pathway being taken, for a minority of pupils that does not include all of the ‘English Baccalaureate’ subjects. Such a pathway may involve vocational subjects which do not gain points in school performance tables. All pupils at Key Stage 4 study the following subjects to examination level: Religious Education, English, Mathematics and Science. Pupils then have a choice of four options from a list of twenty subjects which together with Physical Education make up their timetable.
Religious Education is at the core of our curriculum as a Catholic School as we are wholly committed to the spiritual and faith development of all our pupils. All of our pupils study Religious Education from Year 7 onwards and all study the subject to GCSE examination level in Year 11.
Human Relationships and Sex Education
Human Relationships and Sex Education is taught in all year groups following the Programmes of Study provided by the Diocese of Lancaster and covering the content of the national Curriculum for science. Parents may choose to educate their children in HRSE themselves and if so, need to write to the Headteacher to make him aware. Their child will then be removed from all HRSE lessons, except those which cover the National Curriculum for Science.
As a high school in the Diocese of Lancaster Education Service, we use the term Human Relationships and Sex Education (HRSE) as we believe that relationships education is about understanding how to have a fulfilled and happy life; sexual education is a dimension of this greater whole
Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship
We want all our pupils to develop as a whole person and so we offer a complementary programme of PSHE that is taught within curriculum lessons and through significant extra-curricular and cross-curricular enrichment days.
At Our Lady’s Catholic High School we are committed to providing all of our students in years 7 to 11 with a comprehensive programme of careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) and work related learning (WRL) that is underpinned by the firm belief that every young person needs high-quality career guidance to make informed decisions about their future.
Our programme is guided by the Gatsby Foundation benchmarks, where we strive to:
- Have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.
- Provide good-quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities.
- Offer different career guidance needs at different stages where opportunities for advice and support are tailored to the needs of each pupil.
- Link curriculum learning with careers for a wide range of future career paths.
- Facilitate opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace.
- Provide first-hand experiences of the workplace to help their exploration of career opportunities.
- Ensure our pupils understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.
- Provide guidance interviews with a trained careers adviser.
Our Lady’s attaches great importance to homework, which is compulsory for all pupils. Details of the subjects set for homework each day are given in the homework planner. The emphasis, at first, is on establishing a regular habit of study which, once acquired, will bear fruit in later years. The staff meet regularly to discuss the work of pupils and any cause for concern will be reported to parents. Conversely, if parents are in any way dissatisfied, they should contact the appropriate Learning Manager.
The Year System
We place great importance on the Pastoral Care of our pupils. At its heart is our Year System where the emphasis is placed on care, support and guidance.