Our Curriculum Offer
The Derby High School offers a knowledge-rich curriculum that celebrates the creative and vocational alongside the academic. We are proud of the breadth of our curriculum, including our offer of nine GCSEs featuring a vibrant range of subjects. Our unique Resilience Curriculum threads personal, social, health and economic life skills throughout every subject area. We provide culturally vibrant experiences and opportunities that ensure that our students are fully prepared for the world of work, ready to lead the way, shape the future and be inspired to make a difference.
Our curriculum is underpinned by ten core principles that we believe are crucial to students’ personal development:
R = REAL WORLD
E = ENGAGING & ENRICHING
S = SKILLS FOR LIFE
I = INCLUSIVE
L = LEADERSHIP
I = INDEPENDENCE
E = ENCOURAGES REFLECTION
N = NEXT STEPS
C = CHALLENGE
E = ETHICS & EMPATHY
Ultimately, we want our students to enjoy their learning and leave feeling prepared to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Below is a summary of the subjects students will study at Key Stage Three, and potentially beyond. By clicking on the link to the curriculum map, you will be able to see the topics taught at each point in the year to help you support with homework and revision.
Art and Design
The Art and Design curriculum develops students’ practical skills and techniques realising intentions through themed topics across Key Stage 3. Students will build knowledge of Art History, Art movements and artists alongside the development of skills through investigating, designing, making and evaluating creatively.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology is a rigorous, practical, and real-world subject that teaches students to use imagination, creativity and innovation to solve everyday problems and understand through empathy and the iterative design process the needs and wants of others (clients, customers and users). Students are encouraged to use a range of soft skills such as critical thinking (including risk taking), elements of Maths, Science and Engineering and skills to analyse, design and develop practical solutions that have an impact on their daily life and local community.
Students will develop dance skills and techniques using the 3 strands: perform, create and appreciate. Students will develop stage and rehearsal discipline. They will study a range of dance styles/genres & characters in relation to professional works. They will develop their physical and expressive skills, as well as learning the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle for physical and mental wellbeing. They will continue to develop an appreciation of dance performance alongside building mutual respect, leadership, historical and cultural context.
Students will develop appropriate use of drama language and build resilience, teamwork, confidence, and leadership. They will be introduced to different drama styles and genres which link to professional plays/texts. They will develop an appreciation for drama performance building mutual respect and links with the professional industry. In practical lessons, they will explore drama improvisation and rehearsal techniques which build to performances.
The English Department has a clear vision to create a challenging, stimulating learning environment for all staff and students. We challenge our students to become independent, thoughtful citizens and our curriculum embeds a natural love of reading by exposing students to a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including literature through the ages and two whole Shakespeare plays. At Key Stage 3 we have a thematic Resilience Curriculum in which students are taught the necessary knowledge and skills to allow them to succeed at Key Stage 4. Ambitious vocabulary and regular diagnostic assessments are embedded throughout and we ensure that our curriculum is accessible and aspirational for all.
Students will be taught how to cook a variety of meals and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in students will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables students to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.
Through our departmental motto of ‘Speak, Know, Discover,’ (Parler, Savoir, Découvrir) we intend to create enthusiastic language-learners who can transfer the many skills they learn in MFL into other areas / subjects. We aim to provide opportunities for learners to communicate for practical purposes, experience francophone culture and experience authentic sources of knowledge in the original language. We will provide a carefully sequenced curriculum based on vocabulary, grammar and phonics. We wish to inspire a thirst for learning languages beyond students’ time at The Derby High School, based on a confidence gained in reading, listening, speaking and writing, understanding that much of this confidence comes from speaking.
All students studying geography will be inspired to develop their understanding of the world we inhabit. Through this all students will understand the role they have in making a difference to our future by valuing local, national and international communities, and the diversity of both human and physical landscapes.
Mathematics lessons follow a 4-part lesson structure (diagnostic questions, anchor tasks, guided learning, independent task) with a Teaching for Mastery approach. The content of curriculum draws examples from the real world, challenges all students in an engaging and enriching way and gives them skills for life. This enables our students to become confident and fluent in problem solving and reasoning, collaborating with each other as well as developing the ability to work independently. All students are given the necessary tools to succeed as well as being challenged with ambitious tasks where they have opportunities to support each other with a joint purpose. Ultimately, our intent is for the curriculum to equip students with the confidence to tackle maths problems and the social skills to thrive both in school and later in life. We believe this curriculum will give our students the widest possible choices in future academic and career opportunities; allowing them to lead, develop empathy and mentor other students.
Students are encouraged to develop their musical skills throughout Key Stage 3. Following on from the completion of Key Stage 3 the music curriculum for Key Stage 4 aims to harness these skills in order to succeed within GCSE music. The course focuses on the three fundamental music skills that are to be tested as part of the course, these being Performance, Composition and Listening & Appraising music. Music lessons at Key Stage 4 are designed to further enhance student appreciation of different musical genres and styles whilst developing the creative skills of performance and composition.
To develop students’ knowledge, skills and understanding in a variety of sports and physical activities. To enable and inspire them in becoming confident and competent performers with the motivation to engage in physical activity as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. Through carefully selected and sequenced activities, students will develop in physical competence to be able to perform increasingly complex and advanced skills. They will develop the knowledge and understanding of strategies and tactics as participants and as leaders so that they are able to perform independently and confidently, taking ownership of their involvement in activities. Moreover, through the EXCEL curriculum, students will recognise and value the difference that sport and physical activity can have on their lives now and in the future.
R-Time (Personal Development)
Our R-Time curriculum is relevant with meaningful content enabling students to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society, now and in later life. It encourages students to take safe risks by building their confidence in, and understanding of a wide range of topics and themes that are well-planned and sequenced throughout key stages 3 and 4. Our vision is to offer a well-structured, relevant programme that is flexible enough to respond to the needs of our students and our local community. The curriculum will be flexible to respond to local, regional, national, and global events whilst meeting the statutory RSHE outcomes. Different Awareness Days will be addressed by every year group each half term. Our programme promotes the values of establishing informed and active involvement in family, school, social, economic and civic life and ensures that students revisit each of the following core themes as they progress through school: Health and Wellbeing, Relationships, Living in the Wider World.
Students follow content according to the National Curriculum for science, which reviews and builds on the understanding from KS2. Content at KS3 is sequenced carefully for progression and links to prior learning are made clear as students make progress through the key stage. Practical skills are modelled for students with opportunities for students to develop the skills of enquiry and working scientifically. During Key Stage 3, the curriculum also builds in meaningful links to our learners’ real-world experiences as well as the wider world. We aim for students to not only gain the subject knowledge of science, but through practical work to become good scientists themselves. The challenging technical vocabulary of science has a key role in promoting literacy. The curriculum is designed to reinforce and develop mathematics skills in all students.
Key Stage Four Options
Students at The Derby study nine courses at GCSE. All students study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Combined Science. They also continue to have one lesson of core PE every week. Students can then choose from the following subjects:
Art, Business Studies, Dance, Drama, Food Studies, French, Geography, History, ICT, Music, PE, Religious Studies, Engineering, Health & Social Care, Triple Science, Creative Digital Media, Photography, Computer Science.