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Orchard School Bristol



Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum inspires our students to empower them for life. We recognise that knowledge is powerful and that young people who are creative thinkers, readers, speakers and leaders can become agents of change.                                                                                                                                                         

We champion academic success and nurture personal development with the support of a highly qualified and dedicated team of education professionals who build purposeful links through the curriculum and an enriching co-curriculum.                                                                                                                      

Our curriculum is shaped by our students as it responds to their needs, and is underpinned by the values of Orchard School, the touchstones of the Trust and community priorities.


Key Principles

Our curriculum is based on key principles.  These are outlined below, together with potential impact:

  • To ensure our students experience a clearly communicated curriculum programme that gives them the best opportunities now and in the future for success, independence and fulfilment: underpinned by our belief in the immense potential of our students;
  • To provide a rigorous academic curriculum that is challenging, engaging, enriching and accessible to all: informed by enquiry and research based evidence and adapted where necessary to ensure students’ individual needs are met in order to make excellent progress.
  • To provide a curriculum that puts knowledge and understanding at its centre, and focuses on the best learning to support the development of skills to enable accurate recall, application and making increasingly sophisticated links within subject areas and across the curriculum.
  • To provide a broad range of curriculum experiences, activities and pathway opportunities in and beyond lessons including vocational and technical subjects and leadership opportunities to meet the learning needs, enjoyment and aspirations of our students.
  • To provide continuity and progression between the key stages, using assessment to inform teaching and learning, feedback and improvement.
  • To provide a coherent Orchard Values programme of personal, health, social and economic education; careers education, information, advice and guidance; and religious education, philosophy and ethics.  These programmes support our students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural education and develop full understanding of British values, thus ensuring our students are knowledgeable and well informed citizens,
  • To provide expert, up-to-date careers guidance that is presented impartially and gives our students access to high quality, current information supporting excellent progression to Post 16 pathways, higher education, training and employment;
  • To ensure that student progress is at least in line with national expectations and students are best prepared for national tests and examinations.
  • To maintain the highest standards of literacy and numeracy across the curriculum so that students have essential skills for life and are able to make excellent progress.


 Creative thinkers, readers, speakers and leaders 

 Our curriculum includes opportunities for students to become the creative thinkers, readers, speakers and leaders of the future. What features support this in our curriculum? What makes us different? 

  • Philosophy for Children in Years 7 & 8
  • GROW EPQ in Year 9
  • Reading at Registration for all students
  • Oracy across the Curriculum
  • Leadership Opportunities for all students in every year group; leadership built into curriculum time and supported through a team of passionate staff


Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 refers to students in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 (age 11 - 14). 

Year 7

  • English - 4 lessons per week.  This includes additional literacy or Latin, depending on each student's prior attainment in English
  • Maths - 4 lessons per week.  
  • Science - 3 lessons per week.
  • Humanities - 4 lessons per week.  This includes 1 lesson of History, 1 lesson of Geography, 1 lesson of Religious Studies and 1 lesson of Philosophy for Children per week
  • Languages - 2 lessons per week.  Students take French and Spanish, carrying out half a year of each language, before deciding which language they prefer to study from year 8 onwards.
  • Art, Design and Technology - 3 lessons per week.  This includes 1 lesson of art, 1 lesson of IT and digital media, and 1 lesson of Food/Design Technology (half of year of each).
  • Core PE - 2 lessons per week. Students also have an opportunity to do PE in their enrichment hour each week, every break and lunchtime outside play, and after school clubs.
  • Performing Arts - 2 lessons per week, including 1 of Music and 1 of Drama each week. 
  • Enrichment - 1 lesson per week.  This takes place on a Wednesday afternoon and is an opportunity for students to experience a very different lesson, and shape their own curriculum, which teachers and external partners provide.  Students choose new Enrichment options a few times through the year, so they can try out lots of different courses to find their passion.  Examples of enrichment options have included Gardening,  Coding Club, Yoga for Children,  Jewellery Making, Bike Maintenance, Creative Writing, Table Tennis, Nature Club. Poetry of Rap, Critical Thinking, Italian, Architectural Drawing, and World Sports.
  • Reading - students Read at Registration time every morning (20 minutes)
  • PSHE and Orchard Values are delivered in afternoon tutor time, along with assemblies and Year team messages.  Students have 30 minutes in tutor time each afternoon. Additional drop-down days are provided for specific delivery of key topics such as Relationships and Sex Education, Employability Days, or PSHE (healthy life choices) days

Year 8

 This is the same as the curriculum for year 7, except in Languages.

  • Languages - 2 lesson per week of either Spanish or French, as selected by students at the end of Year 7

Year 9 

This is the same as the curriculum for year 8, except for Creative Subjects.

By year 9, students need to be able to extend their skills fully, and so instead of a single lesson every week of the year, students have a double lesson for half of the year.  This means that all students experience all aspects of the curriculum, but in more depth.  This enables them to explore their passions further, and prepares them better for GCSE and vocational options.  

All students continue with a full curriculum as follows:

  • Art and Design, including Graphics
  • Cookery and Nutrition 
  • Performing Arts - Drama and Music performance
  • GROW - this is a research project, similar to the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), where students learn how to develop a research question, review evidence and literature, write their project up and then present it to their class.  

 KS3 graduation and GCSE Options 

 At the end of Year 9, students graduate into Key Stage 4. Students select their GCSE options in the Spring term of Year 9.

GCSE Options 2021 

The decision of which options to study through Year 10 and 11 is not an easy one. The choice students make will enable them to be successful now and in the future:  through Post-16 education, employment, training and beyond.


You can view our 2021 Options Booklet, packed full of information, here.

"What is the EBacc and why do I need to take a language?" Find out more by reading this guide for parents.

  Key Stage 4 

The Key Stage 4 curriculum is for students in Years 10 and 11 (age 14 - 16).

 Year 10  & Year 11 Curriculum 

English - 5 lessons per week, including English Language and Literature

Maths - 4 lessons per week

Science - 6 lessons per week, covering Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students select either Combined Science (where they gain two GCSEs, or Separate Sciences - where they gain three GCSEs) - both routes are studied in the same amount of time, 6 lessons per week. 
Core PE - 1 lesson per week.  Students also have the opportunity for outdoor sports each break and lunchtime, and for after school clubs.
Core RE - delivered through the daily tutor time programme, alongside PSHE, Careers and Orchard Values. We also have drop-down curriculum days, for example Employability Days, or PSHE (healthy life choices) days.
3 Options  - 3 lessons for each Option 
We expect the majority of students to take at least one Humanity and one Language 
  • History
  • Geography
  • French
  • Spanish
  • RE
  • Art
  • Digital Graphics
  • Engineering
  • Food and Catering
  • Drama
  • Music or Music Technology
  • Sports Science
  • Health and Social Care
  • Classical Civilisation 
  • Home Language GCSE (such as Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian)

Reading - carried out at Registration time five mornings per week for 20 minutes.

In Year 11 students continue with the same courses they studied in Year 10. 
  • Our most able maths students may in addition work towards a Further Maths GCSE

 Accessing the Curriculum

We ensure that our curriculum is accessible to students with additional learning needs as follows:

  • For a small number of students who require extra learning support in English or Maths when they join us, these students will take extra English or extra Maths instead of learning a foreign language.  Students are able to move to languages lessons when they are ready to.
  • For new arrivals to the country (with English as an Additional Language), we may substitute extra English classes instead of GCSE courses.
  • We make adjustments where necessary to the curriculum to ensure individual student’s needs are met in order to make excellent progress. 

If you require further information about our curriculum please contact us at info@orchard.tila.school