Year 9 Gateway
Baysgarth School’s curriculum is based on 4 key principles and these have been used to shape all aspects of the school's work. These drivers allow us to have clarity about our intent, recognising that the curriculum is delivered through individual subjects and within the wider hidden curriculum.
Rationale for Year 9 Gateway Curriculum
The curriculum in Year 9 is bespoke and our rationale for this approach is under-pinned by these four areas:
- Our students tell us that it causes them stress and anxiety to continue studying subjects into Year 9 that they know they find it difficult to be successful at and in which they have no interest when it comes to future career opportunities. This can lead to disaffection and poor behaviour which impacts upon the wellbeing of staff and other students. Therefore, we are confident, based upon the breadth and depth of our curriculum from Year 9 onwards, that our rationale for options in Year 8 is good for wellbeing
- We are also acutely aware that picking option subjects in Year 8 can lead to stress in Year 9 if students realise they have made a poor choice and are then either faced with continuing with a subject for three years that they do not like or switch to a different course and have to catch up a significant amount of GCSE work. By taking a different approach in Year 9 and not starting GCSE content, we allow students to immerse themselves in their new subjects and really reflect and understand whether they have made the right choices. Option changes can happen for the right reasons with no penalty to the students in terms of having to make up lost ground. This has a significant positive impact on student wellbeing
- Sometimes staff are constrained by the limitations of the national curriculum at KS3 and GCSE specifications at KS4. By allowing staff the freedom and empowering them to follow their interests, develop their specialisms and complete topics in more depth, we are increasing their job satisfaction, rekindling their passion in their own subjects and enhancing their wellbeing
- Our school motto is ‘Strive Believe Achieve’ and encouraging staff and students to reach the pinnacle of their own achievement will always be our goal. Using Year 9 as time to explore the richness and depth of learning and exploring cross-curricular links is an excellent way of inspiring our students to strive to be the best that they can be. For our students to explore ‘the best of what has been said or done’ this year gives opportunities for creativity, enquiry and problem-solving.
- Academic success is built on firm foundations and it is not always the case that the KS3 National curriculum provides all the foundations of skills or knowledge that students need to maximise their potential in every subject. Our Year 9 approach gives subjects the time to develop the foundation of skills that will serve them well at KS4 and beyond. It also allows students to ‘know more’ - giving them that joy of knowledge that will serve them well at GCSE and beyond.
- Our approach at Year 9 allows our students to start their KS4 option courses at Easter. KS4 courses are designed to be studied over two years and with the summer exam season starting earlier and earlier every year, this has become impossible to accomplish if courses begin in Year 10. Starting at Easter gives teachers and students two full years to study their option subjects at KS4, allowing the time after Easter in Year 11 for revision and exam preparation to support maximising their academic potential
Preparation for the Future
- Baysgarth is very proud to hold the IAG Gold Standard and we use Year 9 as an excellent opportunity to prepare our students for the world after Baysgarth. Courses in Year 9 are aligned to the Gatsby benchmarks and teachers and students are encouraged to see the links between their subjects and real world situations.
- A comprehensive programme of careers fairs, visits to employers and universities, guest speakers from business and industry etc is designed to raise the aspirations of our students so they attack their KS4 courses with an appetite whetted by the desire to reach the next stage of their lives
- Core subjects like Maths take a problem-solving approach, giving their subjects relevance by looking at real-life problems and careers where Maths knowledge and transferable skills are invaluable for life-long success
Family & Community Engagement
- The cross-curricular work and in-depth study carried out in Year 9 is designed to bring in families, building on the Flipped Learning activities that form part of Expert Learner in Year 7 and Year 8. Students are encouraged to work independently and to be resourceful and to do this they will benefit by calling on the support of friends and family.
- Subjects are encouraged to design their Year 9 work around the local and wider community, giving the students both a greater understanding of the local area and a wider appreciation of the interconnected and multicultural world in which they live
- A significant number of visits take place in Year 9, designed to bring our students into the local and wider communities and underpin those British Values that underpin strong community. In this way, without the constraints of either the National curriculum or KS4 exam course specifications, we broaden the horizons of our students and fully engage them in the wider issues affecting family, community and society.
The clarity of our rationale alongside our holistic curriculum intent, allows us to create a curriculum programme with the intent to:
- Increase the breadth of curriculum beyond the limitations of the National Curriculum and/or GCSE specifications in each subject to deepen knowledge and strengthen skills
- Allow learners to experience what a subject is like before any GCSE content is delivered. This will allow learners to change an option without the extra stress of having to catch-up GCSE content
- Develop learning skills to increase independence and success in further and higher education.
- Develop a range of employability skills in our learners that will allow them to have successful careers.
- Deliver subject specific careers information and raise aspirations through active opportunities in further and higher education
- Actively engage in global, national and local communities and issues.
- Provide real life scenarios and context for subjects, illustrating the role the subject plays in society.
- Expose learners to the best of each subject.
Year 9 Gateway Curriculum Delivery Model
All subjects for the first term in Year 9 will not be teaching GCSE content, this will extend to the first two terms from September 2021 and will remain this way for the foreseeable future. Two hours will be allocated to this programme each week. English, Maths and Science can continue delivering national curriculum content or look at non GCSE content that will enrich the experience of learners.
For option subjects this is a wonderful opportunity to bring subjects to life and showcase what makes each subject so fantastic, how it is relevant in the real world and the potential careers that it can support. KS4 content does not always reflect the most current, innovative thinking within an area and this is an opportunity for students to experience the best of each subject, this could include the best people, best ideas, best businesses, best work or anything you think will ignite a student’s interest in the subject.
Careers will form an integral part of the new curriculum, with learners exploring the employment opportunities available as a result of gaining a qualification in a subject. This may involve case-studies, guest speakers, business visits or work experience placements.
The vast majority of Baysgarth students leave school with a broad range of qualifications that they make outstanding progress in. What we also need to do is make sure they leave with the same high level of employability skills. The new Year 9 Gateway curriculum is the perfect opportunity for students to learn about some of these crucial skills and put them into practice. The table below has been compiled by a range of UK-based companies (Siemens, Shell, BP, Nokia, AstraZeneca), and it lists the Top 10 Employability Skills which they look for in potential employees and what each skill means:
|Skills that employers want||What that means|
|1. Communication and interpersonal skills||The ability to explain what you mean in a clear and concise way through written and spoken means. To listen and relate to other people, and to act upon key information / instructions.|
|2. Problem solving skills||The ability to understand a problem by breaking it down into smaller parts, and identifying the key issues, implications and identifying solutions. To apply your knowledge from many different areas to solving a task.|
|3. Using your initiative and being self-motivated||Having new ideas of your own which can be made into a reality. Showing a strong personal drive and not waiting to be told to do things.|
|4. Working under pressure and to deadlines||Handling stress that comes with deadlines and ensuring that you meet them.|
|5. Organisational skills||Being organised and methodical. Able to plan work to meet deadlines and targets. Monitoring progress of work to ensure you are on track to meeting a deadline.|
|6. Team working||Working well with other people from different disciplines, backgrounds, and expertise to accomplish a task or goal.|
|7. Ability to learn and adapt||To be enthusiastic about your work, and to identify ways to learn from your mistakes for the benefit of both you and your employer.|
|8. Numeracy||The ability to use data and mathematics to support evidence or demonstrate a point.|
|9. Valuing diversity and difference||Knowing the value of diversity and what it can bring. Understanding and being considerate of the different needs of different individuals.|
|10. Negotiation skills||To take on board other people’s feelings and express your own requirements in an unemotional clear fashion to achieve a win-win outcome.|
Every subject will have a theme based project that will culminate in a piece of work which allows learners to demonstrate at least three of the employability skills. This may be in the form of a video, presentations, speeches; whatever medium is suitable for the subject and the topic theme. The project will finish with the opportunity for students to reflect on their own performance, what they’ve learned and areas they need to develop. This is a critical aspect of developing resilience and motivation in our learners.
If you have any questions about the Year 9 Gateway Curriculum, please contact Mr North.