The Curriculum at St. Nicholas

The Curriculum at St. Nicholas

The curriculum is central to the process of education. It is the process by which the aims of the school are translated into the full network of learning experiences through which pupils are enabled to develop. We believe that the curriculum should be designed to offer high quality learning experiences to enable pupils to access a broad range of intellectual, personal, social, emotional and physical activities. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all our young people, so they are motivated and make the commitment to lifelong learning.

What makes us distinctive as a Catholic school is that we care more about who a child becomes than just what she or he becomes. In this way, we seek to ensure that each student is not only prepared for society when they leave school but equipped to make a positive contribution for its betterment.

All students receive entitled a broad, balanced, coherent, relevant and  personalised curriculum which meets their individual needs and provides them with appropriate qualifications in the future. The learning process at St Nicholas is engaging, motivating, exciting and allow students to achieve, as well as developing lively, imaginative and enquiring minds. All students are given the opportunity to be creative and take risks with their learning, in a supportive yet challenging environment. All students have full access to the curriculum, irrespective of gender, SEN, ethnicity, academic ability, social or cultural background.

The curriculum, through the school’s approach to spiritual and moral education, develop active citizens, both within St Nicholas Catholic High School and the wider community. Students are well prepared for their future careers through the development of independence of thought, self-reliance and a questioning approach which challenges prejudice. The curriculum encourages high expectations and aspirations.

The curriculum encapsulates students’ whole learning experience during their time at St Nicholas Catholic High School. We ensure that curriculum development is on-going and that all stakeholders understand the principles which underpin decisions around the curriculum.

The OFSTED Inspection Report from 2019, recognised that at St Nicholas Catholic High School the “The curriculum is well planned” and “Spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development is a strong features of this school. There is a comprehensive and well-designed programme of activities that cover all aspects of SMSC education, and these are interwoven into day-to-day lessons and registration at the start of each day.”

An overview of the curriculum for each of the key stages can be viewed by clicking on the links on the right.

More information about the specific content for each subject at all three Key Stages can be found on the Departments pages, which is also accessible from the main menu. Please do take the time to have a good look at this information.

Status of Religious Education

As a Voluntary-Aided Catholic secondary school, the status of Religious Education within our school curriculum is of crucial importance. To this end, Religious Education is allocated 10% of curriculum time within each Year Group in Key Stages 3 and 4, with 5% allocated during Year 12 and Year 13. Additionally, staff and students undertake a daily act of worship during morning registration time.

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the Curriculum, please contact Mr Spencer, Assistant Headteacher.

Key Stage Three Curriculum

Within Key Stage 3, students study a broad and balanced curriculum based upon the National Curriculum for England. To this end, students study:

  • (Core) English, Mathematics and Science
  • (Foundation) Art and Design, Citizenship, Computing, Design and Technology, Geography, History, Languages (Spanish and French), Music and Physical Education
  • (Statutory) Religious Education and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE)
  • (Non-Statutory) Drama

All subjects follow the National Curriculum.

In the creation of a personalised curriculum package, some students may be withdrawn from some non-core subjects to receive additional learning support.

Key Stage Four Curriculum

The curriculum provision at Key Stage 4 is governed by the fundamental aim of equipping students with the learning and qualifications necessary to fulfil their potential. To this end, the design of the Key Stage 4 curriculum promotes meaningful progression pathways for students of all abilities.

% of students gaining both GCSE English and Maths grade 5 56%
National average 39.6%

The core curriculum at Key Stage 4 consists of  all students  following the core subjects of:

  • GCSE Religious Education
  • GCSE English
  • GCSE English Literature
  • GCSE Mathematics
  • GCSE Science (including Core, Additional, Separate)
  • PE
  • Citizenship

We offer three distinctive pathways in our Curriculum and we use an array of data, information and knowledge to place the student in the correct pathway.

In the Yellow pathway all students follow the EBACC Curriculum in addition to the core subjects above. These students have shown an aptitude for Languages and they study a Language (French or Spanish), Geography or History and one further option from the list below.

The Blue Pathway  offers students one EBACC subject (French, Spanish, History, Geography or Computer science) and two further subjects from the list below.

The Purple Pathway offers students one EBACC subject (French, Spanish, History, Geography or Computer science) and one further subject from the list below. In addition they receive lessons on Functional Skills (English and Maths).

The Key Stage 4 Curriculum Choices process allows students to choose from a variety of academic and/or vocational subjects based upon individual ability, aptitude, interests and aspirations. GCSEs can be studied in:

  • Art
  • Business Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Drama
  • Retail Business
  • Food Preparation & Nutrition
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Music
  • Product Design
  • Spanish
  • Sports Science

The provision is regularly reviewed to ensure responsiveness to school, local, and national demands.

Key Stage Five Curriculum

St Nicholas Catholic High School’s Sixth Form provision offers a range of pathways for Key Stage 5 students, who can choose to study an academic pathway of traditional A Levels, a vocational pathway and work experience, or a mix of the two pathways. In addition, all students in the Sixth Form will follow a Spiritual and Moral Education programme designed to assist the development of the whole-person.

A Levels can be studied in the following subjects:

  • Applied Science
  • Art & Design
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Drama & Theatre
  • Economics
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Further Maths (must be studied with Mathematics)
  • Geography
  • History
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Media Studies
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Product Design
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Spanish

All students are expected to meet the minimum entry requirements as set out annually in the Sixth Form Prospectus.

In addition to the wide range of courses that are available, there are also opportunities to gain qualifications and skills in other areas such as:

  • The Extended Project Qualification
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Coaching and mentoring skills
  • Work Experience