The Curriculum

The curriculum at Parklands is a broad and balanced blend of traditional, academic, vocational and 21st Century skills.  In conjunction with our wider curriculum, we strongly believe that our provision is deep and rich, broad and balanced, ambitious and challenging.  A good curriculum enables our students to, not only successfully progress into further education, training or employment so they can contribute economically to our society, but it also gives them a broad understanding of the world and the key issues which, we believe, make them into well-informed, well-grounded adults.  Our Curriculum Leaders have devised an ambitious and aspirational curriculum which uses the National Curriculum as a minimum expectation. They have ensured that their content is well-sequenced, is built on prior learning from primary school, and has a moral purpose behind it.  

Our 2-year Key Stage 3 has been in operation since 2014 and we provide a thorough grounding in all subjects, so that if students do not opt for a subject to GCSE, they are not disadvantaged later in life.  Curriculum Leaders have designed a progressive and cumulative curriculum with the aim of ensuring all pupils develop a deeper understanding of the bigger concepts and what links learning together, so they know more, remember more and can do more, and ultimately make sense year on year of more complex subject matter. .  

We believe, based on investigations into cumulative learning hours, that our curriculum retains the appropriate time to enable us to deliver a broad, rich, and balanced curriculum.

The wider curriculum, detailed below, is a fundamental aspect of our school’s curriculum.  Being a successful adult in a global society demands much more than good exam results, and we work tirelessly to give our students a curriculum that facilitates their transition from school into the world of work and adulthood.  

Known as SECURE, our wider curriculum incorporates statutory content, including:

  • PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education)

  • Sex & Relationships Education

  • Citizenship

  • CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice & Guidance)

  • Prevent (Anti-radicalisation)

  • Online Safety

  • SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural)

  • Inclusion and Diversity

 Beyond the statutory requirements, we are proud to offer a much broader and diverse, contemporary, wider curriculum, ensuring our students develop the academic skills, intellectual habits, qualities of character and leadership traits necessary to succeed at all levels in society and become successful citizens in tomorrow’s world. Our programmes promote:

  • British Values

  • Global Citizenship

  • Environmental Awareness

  • Creativity

  • Social Responsibility

  • Transferable Skills

  • Anti-Bullying

  • Equality & Diversity

  • Curriculum Enhancement

 In years 7 and 8 we run two academically equal pathways with all students studying art, computing, design technology, drama, English, food & nutrition, French and/or Spanish, geography, history, mathematics, music, physical education, religious studies and science.

Students begin their option subjects in year 9, with this year serving as a foundation to GCSE. This gateway year allows a curriculum that is rich, not based on GCSE content, and one which focuses on building up the acquisition of skills and love of learning the subject.  

Coupled with the SECURE programme, students develop cultural capital and receive enrichment opportunities.  This approach ensures that learning is not curtailed and enables all students to acquire knowledge which, for some, cannot be acquired at home or in the community. Ultimately, our aim is to broaden minds, enrich communities and advance civilisation.

In years 9, 10 and 11 we continue to run the two academically equal pathways, with all students studying English language and literature, mathematics, physical education, religious studies and science. A choice of option subjects is offered over three groups, including; art, computer science, catering, creative i-media, dance, design technology, drama, food & nutrition, geography, health and social care, history, MFL (French or Spanish) music, music technology, photography, physical education, and triple science.

A specialist pathway is offered across both key stages to those students who need additional literacy and numeracy support.  Known as CONNECT, this programme is designed to support those entitled to catch-up funding, and aims to accelerate progress. This is a fluid pathway which enables students to reintegrate into the main curriculum.  For further details of CONNECT, please contact Mrs Aspinall, Deputy Headteacher.

All other subjects studied at Parklands are detailed below. Your curriculum contact at school is Mrs Batson, Deputy Headteacher, who will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.


The 21st Century Skills Curriculum at Parklands.

Enquiry Based Learning; Including Aspire, Explore, Elevate and Respect

It is becoming increasingly important that young people leave Parklands not only with academic qualifications but also as well-rounded individuals who are actually prepared to face challenges in the future. Young people today need to leave school being adaptable enough to gain employment in fields and industries that perhaps haven’t yet been thought up. They need the skills, qualities and determination to be successful within an increasingly competitive environment. As the world changes around them, they need to have the skills to change with it.

When we began planning and developing Aspire; the first stage of Enquiry Learning to be introduced in May 2012 we made a very important decision in response to our recognition that we are preparing our pupils for the 21st Century world. We decided to invest valuable curriculum time in developing enquiry programmes aimed at equipping our pupils with the transferable skills that they will need in the world after school. Of course this is to complement excellent academic achievement! We have continued to develop and implement new programmes to deliver ‘Enquiry Based Learning’ which is recognised as a tool for success. This programme has the umbrella title SECURE.

View the 'Secure Overview' in PDF format



Respect Programme Rationale

In line with our progressive and innovative approach to delivering a relevant and effective 21st century curriculum; following an audit in 2011 of PSHE, Sex and Citizenship provision we decided to enhance the quality and focus of the programme that we deliver at Parklands. We recognised that for really effective delivery of these aspects of our curriculum intensive full day workshop events would have a greater experiential and learning impact for our students.

The programme of study that is covered in our Respect programme meets all of our core vision objectives by fulfilling the following points

  • Authenticity of message
  • Engaging and relevant delivery
  • Expert and specialist providers
  • Appropriate and challenging content
  • Responsive to contemporary themes and contexts

The programme is designed to be appropriate to the developmental stage of each year group whilst covering all requirements as specified in the National Curriculum. Our Respect Programme is also supported and enhanced by the themes and projects covered in SECURE time; they are complimentary.


Secure Programme

The programmes of study for SECURE are underpinned by the Parklands ‘Enquiry cycle’, this provides a framework within which a personal or group research project can be constructed to suit a pupils’ interpretation of a chosen theme. This structure also informs lesson planning, chronology and development of schemes of work. Assessment is all based on the development of transferable skills. We have identified 8 core transferable skills are a critical part of success criteria, planning and lesson objectives;


The development of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural aspects of learning are also instrumental in the overall objectives of this programme.

The main aims and philosophies of our ‘Enquiry Based Learning’ programmes are:

  • Active learners: students are highly engaged in different activities that allow them to answer their enquiry question. The teacher is a facilitator of their learning.
  • Student-led: pupils decide on a project to pursue and are then involved in the decisions about how to gather the necessary information to answer the question.
  • Inductive: pupils are responsible for generating their own theory and, where appropriate, answer.
  • Working with success criteria: success criteria are shared with pupils and pupils self-and peer-assess to determine how well they have done and what they need to do to improve.
  • Cooperative environment: pupils work together and the environment is low stress. It is OK to get answers wrong, pupils and teacher provide support.
  • Exciting process of exploration: lesson takes twists and turns to allow pupils to discover information for themselves.
  • Allows discovery: modern information-finding methods are employed. Pupils have the capacity to answer the question set and to go beyond this.
  • Knowledge constructed: pupils find out the answers for themselves and are able to link prior knowledge to existing knowledge. Some pupils will also be able to consider how they would like to extend their knowledge.

Creative Thinking & Enquiry Based Learning

“Give someone a fish and they'll eat that day. Teach them how to catch a fish and they'll never go hungry"

Proverbs like this remind us how learning skills helps to move us towards self-reliance. Memorize the solution to a problem and you may master that particular problem. Improve your ability to use transferable skills and you'll give yourself the tools to create your own effective solutions to a multitude of unfamiliar problems. The cultivation of an attitude of curiosity and eagerness in our pupils serves to widen their perspective and creates divergent thinkers. The development of transferable skills provides our pupils with keys for unlocking their own talents and capabilities; creating lifelong learners with the means to be successful in the 3rd Millennium.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum Overviews