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CWLC Curriculum

Our Curriculum

“In pursuit of excellence” is our school motto and at Christopher Whitehead Language College and Sixth Form we aim to provide a curriculum which is broad and ambitious and enables all students to achieve excellence in all areas of the curriculum.
Our curriculum design prepares students for their future. Our lower school curriculum challenges students to study a wide range of subjects throughout their GCSE years and provides a spring board to post-16 study.
As a school we are committed to offering all students the range of subjects to enable them to achieve the English Baccalaureate and to keep their options open to all career pathways.
In all subjects’ students are challenged to think for themselves and develop their literacy and numeracy skills. We aim to develop well-rounded individuals who are ready for the world of work, independent, creative and sociable students, who are motivated to learn.
At Key Stage Three students study English, mathematics, science, history, geography, a modern foreign language (one of French, German, Spanish or Mandarin), art, music, drama, dance, physical education, religious studies, computing and ICT, and PSHE.
A very small number of students follow a modified curriculum which allows them to access additional intervention. Students still have access to the full set of curriculum subjects.  

At Key Stage Four students continue with our core subjects:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science (combined science (double) or separate sciences (triple))
  • Modern foreign language
  • Humanities (either history, geography, religious studies or classical civilisations)
  • Physical education
  • Religious studies
  • Values and ethics

In year 9, students spend time investigating their next steps and select two additional subjects to study in Years 10 and 11. These subjects are detailed in the options booklets which are shared with the students in the spring term.  Students select their options in the summer term, ready to begin their GCSE journey in Autumn of Year 10.

Students study a minimum of 9 examination subjects during their key stage 4.

Key Stage Five students select 3 or 4 courses from a range of over 28 subjects. Our current offer includes both A’ levels and a number of vocational subjects. In addition to their core curriculum, students attend ‘information, advice and guidance’ sessions each week; have access to a wide extracurricular enrichment programme and are invited to attend Impetus lectures on a range of careers, ideas and experiences.

Key Stage Information

In years 7 – 9, students study English; mathematics; science; technology (including material technology, food preparation and nutrition, textiles and graphics); history; geography; religious studies; computer science & information technology; art; music; drama; dance; French, German, Spanish or Mandarin; physical education; and PSHE.

In year 7, students begin a very thorough careers and education guidance programme which continues through to year 11.

We aim to offer a broad and ambitious curriculum at key stage 4 whilst enabling students an element of choice about their studies. Except for those disapplied from languages at the end of key stage three, all students follow a pathway which enables them to achieve the English Baccalaureate.
In years 10 and 11 students continue with our core subjects:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science (dual or triple award)
  • Modern foreign language
  • Humanities
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Studies
  • Values and ethics

Students spend 40 hours per fortnight studying their core subjects.
Students choose two additional options from the following subjects:

  • Art and Design
  • Art and Design: photography
  • Business Studies (BTEC)
  • Classical Civilisations (GCSE)
  • Computer Science (GCSE)
  • Dance (GCSE)
  • Drama (GCSE)
  • Food preparation and nutrition (GCSE)
  • Geography (GCSE)
  • Graphic communication (GCSE)
  • Hair and Beauty Therapy (VTCT)
  • History (GCSE)
  • Health and Social Care (BTEC)
  • Music (BTEC or GCSE)
  • Physical Education (BTEC or GCSE)
  • Religion, Philosophy and Applied Ethics (GCSE)
  • Design Technology (GCSE)

We endeavour to keep the option offer as broad as possible but on occasions we are unable to offer all subjects due to demand.

Students apply separately for our sixth form. Students are encouraged to select three or four A level courses or a combination of A level and BTEC courses from the selection below:

  • Art – Fine Art
  • Art – Photography
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Classical Civilisations
  • Computer Science
  • Criminology
  • Drama
  • Dance
  • English Language & Literature
  • English Literature
  • Film & Media
  • French
  • Further Mathematics
  • Geography
  • German
  • Graphic Design
  • Hairdressing (Double award VTCT)
  • Health & Social Care (Single, or triple award BTEC)
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Education (A level, Single or double award BTEC)
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Psychology (A level or Single award BTEC)
  • Philosophy and Ethics
  • Sociology
  • Science (Single award BTEC)
  • Spanish

In addition to their core subjects, students are expected to attend ‘information, advice and guidance’ and pastoral sessions. During this time students are supported with their studies and also with finding appropriate work experience placements, in applying for university or further education opportunities, and preparing themselves for life after Christopher Whitehead Language College and Sixth From.
Every week students are also invited to participate in our enrichment programme. This is an opportunity to get involved in a myriad of activities including

  • living independently: essential life skills;
  • cooking on a budget;
  • debate club;
  • Crochet;
  • Couch to 5K;
  • Football;
  • music club;

We also have our unique Impetus programme, which aims to support students in gaining experiences for the future. These include careers breakfasts; independent careers advice; university open days; and a programme of invited speakers from academia and industry which help to equip students for their next steps. Students are also encouraged to become peer mentors, apprentice teachers, or join the student council or charity committee.
For more information please see the sixth form prospectus and website pages.

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