The curriculum at Cathays High is designed to meet the broad range of needs that students have within the context of our community. It is reviewed annually to ensure that it is effective in meeting the needs of our context. We ensure that all are challenged and stretched through curriculum and enrichment opportunities whilst ensuring that those who need additional help are supported to make progress and achieve. Our Summer Timetable provides a space for more creative and collaborative learning to take place for all students and particularly those in years 7 to 9.
Our curriculum is adapted for young people who require additional support to suit their learning needs. We have a specialist New Arrivals provision for students who are developing their English language skills in Years 7-11, that provides opportunities to study Maths, Science, Humanities and PE as well as a significant focus on English. In Year 7, our Learning Pathways programme provides a bespoke curriculum for identified students to focus on developing vocabulary, emotional wellbeing and IDP targets in a smaller group environment for part of their curriculum time. Many of these young people also receive intensive literacy and numeracy interventions as part of this programme.
Work on developing a vision for the implementation of the Curriculum for Wales at Cathays began in summer 2019 and was shared in draft form with staff during INSET in September 2020. It was amended and refined during the course of the last three years following discussions with different stakeholders including governors, the senior management team, teachers, pupils and parents.
Our curriculum vision statement is as follows:
A broad, balanced and highly effective curriculum that ensures the development of the knowledge, skills and wellbeing of all learners. It will: challenge all learners appropriately; develop our pupils’ sense of their identity locally, nationally and globally; be responsive to the needs, experiences and input of learners; and promote opportunities for all.
As part of our preparation for trialling new curriculum content during 2021/22, a wide range of pupil voice responses on the curriculum vision and possible content was sought during the summer term of 2021. Feedback was shared with all staff in September 2021 to inform area planning for new curriculum design.
The ongoing work of developing the content of our new curriculum across all areas allows us to ensure we realise this vision. As part of curriculum design:
- Our school leaders and teachers undertook reading, research and attended professional learning on the new curriculum, including meetings with pioneer schools and a range of other organisations.
- New curriculum leads developed a checklist to ensure that new curriculum planning is a regular feature of INSET and staff meetings at all levels and to ensure a consistent focus in curriculum design. This includes focus on the Four Purposes and the What Matters Statements and Progression Steps for each AOLE.
- Our whole staff team agreed key features of our school context, pupils and community to inform the approaches and experiences best suited for the needs of all learners at our school and considering the four purposes.
- We have put teaching and learning approaches at the heart of curriculum development leading to the development of the Cathays 5 as a foundation for lesson planning, evaluation and the ongoing professional learning of all staff.
- Through work in area teams and whole-school INSET, all staff have been engaged and involved in identifying and implementing the necessary changes to our current cultures, provision and practices. This has included: discussion of what cynefin means in our context and how local, national and global contexts will be addressed across all areas of learning and experience; planning curriculum provision with a focus on the experiences and contributions of BAME people; and planning for the effective implementation of the literacy, numeracy and digital skills frameworks across all areas.
- Teachers have worked with staff from partner primaries to develop new approaches to transition to support the development of the new curriculum and meetings have taken place at senior leadership level to start to plan further curriculum development. This will ensure clearer progression along the 3-16 continuum.
- The school has begun to develop new approaches to sharing information with parents/carers on the curriculum and ways they can support their child within and outside of the school environment.
- The school collaborates and consults with a range of providers from the local and wider community on providing learners with distinct and enriching experiences including religion, values and ethics (RVE) and careers and work related experiences (CWRE).
Our school curriculum is suitable for all learners and will enable them to realise the four purposes. It takes account of and responds to the unique opportunities and challenges that present themselves to individuals and groups of learners in our school. Our school curriculum is broad and balanced and includes learning opportunities within and across all of the areas of learning and experience. It encompasses the concepts in all of the statements of what matters and provides appropriate progression in accord with the principles of progression. It also aligns to the mandatory requirements of teaching Welsh, English and Religion, Values and Ethics (RVE). The mandatory elements of Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) and the cross curricular skills of literacy, numeracy and digital competence are embedded throughout the curriculum.