The following ‘Whole School Curriculum Statement’ is the result of development work done by all stakeholders in the school: governors, teachers, pupils, parents and the leadership team.

It is underpinned by reference to the diocesan ‘Our Catholic Schools’, to the School’s mission statement and to 3 key cornerstones of our curriculum for all:

  1. Catholic formation
  • Ethics, spirituality and meaning
  • Building relationships
  • Growing self-awareness
  • Positive dispositions
  1. Cultural and disciplinary development
  • Cultural literacy
  • Big ideas
  • Aesthetic and academic appreciation
  • Applying and combining knowledge in, across and between subjects
  1. Creativity and the development of self-efficacy
  • Valuable and valued work
  • Opportunities to develop particular areas of interest and skill
  • Problem-solving, investigation and debate
  • Purposefully combining knowledge, skills and dispositions

Whole School Curriculum Vision 

The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School is a loving school at the heart of the Catholic community where all commit to and enjoy supporting each other in the successful pursuit of excellence.  We work to develop the discernment, integrity, knowledge and self-efficacy necessary to realise our God-given mission and potential, and so live life to the full.

As a school we aim, through the guidance of our faith, to:

  • show love; seek truth; express ourselves positively;
  • develop a curriculum which enables each student to attain the powerful knowledge, advanced skills and constructive dispositions required to engage with the challenges of the world confidently and creatively;
  • share our own passion for learning, for subjects and life;
  • celebrate success: learn from failure;
  • provide our school community with a secure, inspiring and stimulating environment in which they will enjoy being challenged to think and engage reflectively in their own learning;
  • enable all students to progress towards becoming the person God intended them to be through: enjoying memorable, character-enhancing experiences; opportunities for leadership and meaningful self-direction; and the chance to make a difference to the world around them;
  • foster conducive relationships between staff and students, and with families and the community so that all students can fulfil their potential.

In order to achieve this, we will inspire our students to be Catholic, confident, cultured young adults who:

  • are motivated by truth and have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the different ways this can be revealed spiritually, academically and personally;
  • are loving, caring and principled individuals who have the knowledge, skills and dispositions that can be used for the benefit of all;
  • are willing to take risks, keen to learn from their mistakes and confident in their abilities to effect change;
  • love learning and appreciate the benefits of being challenged to be able to access the highest order of understanding possible.  These include:

the increased influence on and control of their own lives;

the increased ability to influence the world around them, challenging injustice and standing up for what is right in their stewardship of the Earth;

the increased ability to wrestle with complex issues;

and the increased ability to take pleasure from the finest experiences the world has to offer.

  • have the command of languages, understanding of behaviours and interpersonal skills required to be responsive and so access the richest of understanding and experiences;
  • understand and welcome the fact that learning is hard work, and see learning about the skills and dispositions required to address this as a vital part of their education.

Our lessons will be characterised by teachers and support staff who:

  • clearly have high expectations for all, based on a well-informed balance of challenge and support;
  • work hard to create high quality relationships, based on good humour and the manifest interest in each pupil or student;
  • create a welcoming, purposeful and stimulating atmosphere where love of subject is communicated, and inspirational ideas and examples are employed;
  • lead carefully sequenced and adapted work, informed by timely assessment and feedback, which effectively adds to pupils’ knowledge and understanding;
  • enable students to increasingly being able to lead their own learning through:

utilising a deliberate and planned focus on how learning works;

maintaining an approach to oracy where everyone’s voice is heard via the skilled use of questioning, discussion and collaboration;

facilitating the creative formulation of students’ own questions, the development of their own solutions, and critiquing of their own performance;  developing a skilled control of subject specific literacy and numeracy;

  • show an awareness of the significance of gospel values in the presentation of content and in the interactions with the pupils.

The lessons will be characterised by students who:

  • have high expectations and aspirations for themselves, arriving at lessons promptly and ready to learn.
  • look to form positive and respectful relationships with all their teachers, support staff and classmates.
  • fully engage in the learning process in class, in home learning and beyond, demonstrating a creative, resourceful and resilient mindset.
  • ask questions, seek clarification, share their views and respond to feedback effectively.
  • have a thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm to understand how it can be applied in the real world.

Key Stage 3: Year 7 & Year 8
Key Stage 4: Year 9,Year 10 & Year 11 (GCSEs)
Key Stage 5: Year 12 & Year 13 (A Levels, BTEC/CTEC)

Key Stage 3

On entering the school, pupils are placed in mixed ability tutor groups which will form the basis of much of the teaching that takes place in Year 7. Later in the year pupil groupings maybe rearranged in Maths so as to accelerate the learning of the most able pupils and support those who would benefit from some more consolidation work in the subject area.

A small number of pupils receive additional literacy and numeracy support from the Autumn term.  In this way, we are able to tailor lessons appropriately, supporting those who need more time to assimilate new knowledge and providing challenge and stretch to all.

The other subjects taught at Key Stage 3 are Art, Creativity (Year 8), Design Technology, Drama, Food and Nutrition (Year 7) Geography, History, Music, PE, Philosophy for Children, Religious Education, Science and Citizenship.

A mixture of setting and mixed ability teaching continues throughout Key Stage 3.  Where subjects are taught in sets, the group are kept under review by the Subject Leader, and pupils may be moved periodically to ensure they are in a group which matches their ability and stretches them sufficiently.

We regularly assess pupils’ progress through classwork, formal assessment activities and tests. Details of assessment at Key Stage 3 can be found here


Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, there is a greater degree of flexibility in the programmes pupils may follow.  Pupils begin their option choices at the start of Year 9.  Following a three year Key Stage 4 Programme,  enables pupils to study a broad range of subjects to GCSE.  In addition to a compulsory core of English, Mathematics, Religious Education, Science and Games, there are option blocks from which pupils can choose subjects which match their interests and ability. The number of options a pupil studies depends on the pathway they follow through Key Stage 4.

The subjects available include: Art, Business Studies, Computing, Dance, Drama, French, Italian, Spanish, Design Technology, Food and Nutrition, Geography, Graphics, History, Media Studies, Music, PE, and Textiles.  Vocational courses include Cambridge National Courses in courses in Child Development, iMedia and Sport.

The EBAC is an ‘overarching’ qualification at Key Stage 4 which includes the study of key academic subjects: English, Maths, two sciences, History and/or Geography and a Modern Language.  We would encourage the majority of our pupils to study a combination of subjects that allows them to fulfil the EBAC criteria.

The content of the curriculum is subject to regular review and may be changed at the direction of the Governing Body.


Key Stage 5

For details of the curriculum and choice of BTECs, AS and A Level Subjects at Key Stage 5, please visit the Sixth Form section.


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Curriculum Information booklet 2020 08th Jul 2020 Download