“BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES”
We increase the life chances and aspirations of our diverse group of students by working relentlessly to raise standards of education and providing exceptional experiences. We are morally driven to collaborate; to develop staff expertise and to create exceptional learning experiences for students in our community and beyond.
Students First – all staff, governors & parents totally focused upon the education of all our students.
It’s about Learning – students, all staff, governors & parents totally focused upon developing and improving the learning of students underpinned by harmonious and trusting relationships.
No Barriers – no excuses, only support, to ensure students, all staff, governors & parents maximise the academic achievement of students whilst enabling them to develop and flourish as well rounded individuals.
All Barr’s Hill students develop PRIDE through their seven year journey. They don’t just achieve excellent results but are confident & well-rounded individuals who make a difference to their communities, building brighter futures for themselves & others.
Students are aspirant & self-regulated learners who have a clear vision for their future & have the knowledge, experiences & determination to get there.
They are proactive leaders of their own learning with a deep understanding of how they learn & why they learn & they are determined to not allow any barriers stop them from achieving their goals.
When things go wrong, our students are resilient, reflective & able to put them right.
They communicate formally & maturely engaging with complex concepts through exploratory talk to broaden their understanding of the world.
Our students write with academic expertise enabling success in their subjects.
They are numerate & able to problem solve & they choose to read regularly with purpose & for pleasure.
Their inquisitive nature means they demonstrate curiosity in every situation and confidently challenge inequality & stereotypical thinking.
Engaged in school life, they fully embrace & seek opportunities & enrichment experiences in sport, performance, service & academia; they celebrate their successes & reflect on their experiences to continually progress & develop their character.
They are responsible: empathetic & understanding of others & are aware of the impact they can have in our community & world.
The Curriculum Offer
At Barr’s Hill, we believe the transition experience is a critical moment in a young person’s learning journey. The Barr’s Hill experience begins well before Year 7. Students first experience of Barr’s Hill is during the Year 5 Programme, following this, the ‘Bridge to the Future’ programme provides a range of learning opportunities throughout Year 6 including a summer school to ensure that students feel ready to start their seven year journey at Barr’s Hill.
The impact of the curriculum across the seven year journey is clear. Students at KS4 make progress significantly above the national average (P8 – +0.67 in 2019) and the highest of all non-selective schools in Coventry. In 2021 a high percentage of students secured offers to Russell Group Universities, including Oxbridge.
Students join Barr’s Hill school in the Bridge. The Bridge is a self-contained Hub dedicated to Year 7 students, based in its own building with its own specialist staff, social space and classrooms. A senior primary specialist is employed to target intervention at students who are not at age related expectation and to ensure a clear focus on literacy across The Bridge curriculum. The Bridge aims to lay the foundations for the crucial communication skills that will help students access the curriculum and excel in it, whilst also enhancing students’ ability to communicate with confidence in all contexts and situations. This includes: developing high-quality formal and exploratory talk; embedding explicit reading strategies and habits so that students can confidently read a range of texts across their curriculum; promoting a culture of reading so that students choose to read books appropriate to their reading age; and the explicit teaching of writing for different forms, purposes and audiences. The curriculum is carefully crafted to flow from Year 5/6 study and is highly aspirational for all. Students study high level concepts such as the foundations of communication & the art of rhetoric, algebraic manipulation, chemical reactions, Latin, classical Roman mythology, the origins of British civilisation, climate change and religious leadership. All students study MfL in Year 7 and Year 8, and they also have the highly rewarding opportunity to study Latin as part of their Classics project.
The Year 8 and Year 9 curricula is carefully planned to build upon what students have learnt in Year 7. Students study Shakespeare, a range of critical theories and ideas around the Russian revolution, communism and totalitarianism; Pythagoras & trigonometry; the reactivity of elements and displacement reactions; environmental issues which link to ocean circulation, coral acidification, water density and salinity; democracy and power; and Hispanic environmental issues and La Comida. Whilst engaging with this ambitious curriculum, they are also developing their formal talk. Any students not yet at ARE in English and Maths receive additional intervention. Additional proven interventions can include Fresh Start, Lexonik, Reading Inference, Thinking Reading, Catch up Numeracy and Nessy Dyslexia support.
The three-year KS3 curriculum is designed to be both broad and balanced. The curriculum structure for all year groups can be seen below:
A strong emphasis is placed on the EBacc with all students studying a Modern Foreign Language in Year 7 and Year 8. This will be extended into Year 9 in the 2022/23 academic year, and from this base we expect to start to see a significant upturn in our already rising Ebacc entry at KS4. All students are given the opportunity to study for the EBacc in KS4.
Throughout KS3 RSHE is weaved into the curriculum. In addition, good use is made of timetable crashes to bring in external experts in specific RSHE topics to work with groups of students. A clear and coherent plan, which allows flexibility to react to the needs of the cohort, is primarily delivered through tutor time, Science, RE and English.
English, Maths, Science and MFL groups are set based on ability. Sets are regularly reviewed and are fluid. The ability of students must be assessed accurately before being placed in sets; behaviour and language barriers are not a factor in deciding sets. Heads of department have flexibility to choose sets. All other subjects are taught in mixed ability.
At the end of Year 9, there is a rigourous options process that helps students choose the right subjects for them. All students at Key Stage 4 are offered a broad and balanced curriculum with 11 course choices – these include: Spanish, Triple Science, Computer Science, Music, Food, Art, Business, RE, Sociology, Sport and Health & Social care. All students study English, Maths, Science, PE and History or Geography. A very small number of students are offered a bespoke curriculum which can include alternative provision or additional English and Maths support. These tend to be brand new arrivals to the UK who speak no English.
Throughout KS4 RSHE is weaved into the curriculum. In addition, good use is made of timetable crashes to bring in external experts in specific RSHE topics to work with groups of students. A clear and coherent plan, which allows flexibility to react to the needs of the cohort, is primarily delivered through tutor time, Science, RE and English.
There is a strong focus throughout KS3 and KS4 on destinations. We aim to send all of our students, especially SEND, to aspirational destinations. A carefully crafted careers programme ensures that all students understand the career pathways available to them that align with their interests and the experiences and grades that will help them get there. They are given opportunities throughout the curriculum and 7-year journey to partake in a range of opportunities to enthuse them.
At the end of KS4, the school aims to send a large majority of its students to P16 select. P16 Select is a joint venture with President Kennedy School and Stoke Park School, which are part of The Futures Trust. Academic, vocational and blended pathways are offered. The following subjects can be taken in P16 select: English Lit, English Lit and Lang, Maths, Further Maths, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, History, Geography, Philosophy & Ethics, Business, Sport, Art, Photography, IT, Music, Drama, Design + Technology, Health studies and Spanish. The subjects delivered at Barr’s Hill are: English Lit and Lang, Maths, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Sociology, History, Geography, Business, Sport, Spanish, Art and Photography.
Subject Curriculum Overviews
Key Documents That Underpin Our Curriculum
The Barr’s Hill teaching and learning principles set out what we think constitutes outstanding teaching and learning. These principles are grounded in subject integrity and subjects have complete ownership on how best to apply the principles in their subject.