Our curriculum aims to improve the life chances and opportunities of our students. It’s designed to match the aspirations of our community, both engendering in our pupils a love of their subjects and the process of learning and giving our students a transformative experience through a broad and knowledge-rich curriculum. This ties closely into our mission statement – ensuring that all our students are well-educated, have the opportunity to attend, and thrive at, a top university, and lead a happy and fulfilled life. When it comes to ensuring our students are successful, we believe that it’s the curriculum that matters most – what pupils actually learn which will help them have successful and fulfilling lives. Our academic, rigorous and challenging curriculum defines the purpose of our school and the journey we want our pupils to take.
Our curriculum allows students to ‘acquire knowledge that takes them beyond their experience… knowledge which many will not have access to at home, among their friends, or in the communities in which they live’ (Michael Young). We believe that this knowledge empowers: it gives students the confidence to learn more, think both critically and creatively, and to be able to participate in society. Powerful knowledge is a question of social justice: children need this knowledge to understand and interpret the world, and without it they are dependent on those who have it. It ensures our pupils can ‘hold their own’ and compete when they leave Paddington.
- In music, for example, our students experiment, rehearse and develop performance skills across a wide range of instruments, including keyboard, guitar and vocals. They are exposed to, and analyse, a wide range of music including samba, classical music, and jazz. The music curriculum at Paddington allows students to interpret, comment on, and perform music that they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to engage with.
- In history, students appreciate the constructed nature of knowledge through different historians’ interpretations, engaging with concepts such as government and authority, religion and conflict over a variety of periods. Again, this is knowledge that takes our students beyond their experience, providing them with the disciplinary knowledge and social capital they need to navigate and interrogate the future world successfully.
We want our students to be excited about what they have learned and to leave them wanting to know more. Our curriculum is designed to foster curiosity, so that our pupils identify the knowledge that they acquire not merely as a means to an end but as a source of interest and enjoyment in itself.
At Paddington, we believe that the knowledge imparted by our ambitious curriculum is the entitlement of all pupils who attend our school. We never reduce the more difficult content of some subjects for students struggling with maths, English or any other subject, because we know that this would be doing our students a disservice and refusing them their entitlement to knowledge. We do not teach a separate curriculum for SEND students – all our students follow the same curriculum. High-quality teaching for pupils is our most effective tool to ensure that every student can access the same curriculum; outstanding teaching for pupils with SEND is outstanding teaching for all students.
Acquiring knowledge is worthwhile in itself, because it gives all our students a rich and detailed understanding of the world and our placings in it and the opportunity to develop a passion for their subjects. We ensure that our students are exposed to, and know for themselves, the best of what has been thought and said, so that they are able to join ‘the great conversations’ of humanity and enjoy, participate and thrive in the discourse that underpins current affairs, cultural life, and functioning democracy.
We are rightly proud of our students and their outstanding academic outcomes year after year – but we know that qualifications are milestones on our students’ journey and not the destination. Exams exist in service to our curriculum and not the other way round; exams merely check understanding of a small sample of our curriculum. Our curriculum leads to our pupils’ excellent GCSE and A level results because these outcomes are a reflection of our pupils’ knowledge and what our pupils have learned.
Our curriculum is underpinned by the following principles in order to achieve excellence:
- Thoughtfully sequenced; lesson by lesson, year by year
- Increasing in depth and complexity
- Academic, rigorous and challenging
- Consolidation through frequent and systematic review
How does the Paddington Curriculum achieve excellence?
Excellence is one of the three core values at Paddington. We aim for excellence in all we do, every day. Within our school and wider community, we live excellence by striving to be better today than we were yesterday.
In order to achieve academic excellence, an individual needs to securely grasp knowledge that they can independently apply through skills that are specific to the subject. To achieve excellence is to reach a high level of proficiency that allows for fluency. At Paddington, we aim for each student to achieve excellence within all the subjects they study as this enables students to develop their appreciation and passion for the subject and be equipped to study it further.
The curriculum is methodically sequenced to ensure knowledge and skills build in a logical order. This enables strong foundations for knowledge to continually build, increasing in depth and complexity.
The curriculum provides clarity for progression. Teachers understand the learning journey students need to follow in order to achieve excellence – within a lesson, cycle of learning, across key stages and beyond the academy. As a result, students learn more, remember more and are able to do more.
The curriculum allows for frequent and systematic reviews of student learning. Formative and summative assessments are mapped within the curriculum to provide staff with regular opportunities to assess progress and understanding, and address misconceptions and errors through feedback and re-teaching.
| Key Stage 3 curriculum
Design & Technology
| Key Stage 4 curriculum
English Language GCSE
English Literature GCSE
Religious Education GCSE
Art and Design GCSE
Business Studies GCSE
Creative Media Production BTEC
Health and Social Care BTEC
Physical Education (Sports Science) GCSE
Product Design GCSE
Travel and Tourism BTEC
| Key Stage 5 curriculum
A level courses
Government & Politics
Religious Studies - Philosophy & Ethics
Level 3 BTEC courses
Applied Science BTEC Extended Diploma / Diploma
Business BTEC Extended Diploma
Creative Media Production BTEC Extended Diploma
Health & Social Care BTEC Extended Diploma
Sport BTEC Extended Certificate