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Academic Curriculum


At Kingsmead, we have high aspirations for our pupils and a firm belief that all can achieve. Our Academic curriculum is broad, well-sequenced, ambitious and inclusive. It does not compromise on traditional academic expectations, but it also offers subjects that pupils will want to do to pursue their interests in the future.

The Academic curriculum at Kingsmead fosters deep learning that leads to excellent achievement and is designed to meet the needs of our pupils by design. It has three main characteristics: it is Knowledge-based, it is Literacy-focused, and it is Pupil-centred.

A knowledge-based curriculum – Our curriculum is designed to ensure that our pupils have access to the most powerful knowledge in a wide range of subject disciplines and develop the skills to use it. It is sequenced effectively to facilitate deep learning and it is structured to ensure that the powerful knowledge is secured over time, following the principles of cognitive science. Pupils are taught by subject specialist teachers who have deep knowledge of the disciplines they teach and who apply the most effective pedagogy.

A literacy-focused curriculum – Key to our pupils’ success is being able to access and communicate effectively in a wide range of contexts. Teaching of literacy is disciplinary, and it is embedded, as well as explicit vocabulary instruction to help pupils access and use academic language. Fundamental to the Academic Curriculum is the development of our pupils’ oracy, reading and writing skills.

A pupil-centred curriculum – Our curriculum promotes inclusivity and strives to be representative of the diverse ethnic, cultural and circumstantial backgrounds of our pupils so that they can identify with their learning experiences. It recognizes that our pupils have different starting points and learning needs- it is adaptable, which allows for challenging and supporting our pupils to always achieve their very best.


Kingsmead School is a large comprehensive school with an intake drawn from a diverse local community. The aspiration to prepare every pupil for a university course or professional career requires all subject teachers to recognise the contribution of learning in all key stages to that process.

The academic curriculum from Year 7 to Year 11 is built around the Ebacc subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, French, Spanish, German and Latin, plus RE and PE and follows the full intent of the National Curriculum. In addition, all pupils in Key Stage 3 have lessons in Art, Drama, Music, Design and Technology (including Food and Textiles) and Computer Science.

Personalisation in Key Stage 4 is afforded by a two-pathway approach: foundation, and Ebacc. Pupils select History or Geography, specialising in one from the start of term 3 in year 9, and flexibility in relation to languages options allows pupils to prepare for a GCSE in a community language in addition to French, German, Spanish or Latin. All pupils follow courses in English, mathematics, science and one humanities subject, as well as completing a GCSE course in RE. All pupils follow courses in two optional subjects, in a flexible structure which allows for a degree of specialism, for example it is possible to follow a triple science GCSE course as well as a GCSE in a Technology, Business or Performing and Visual Arts subjects. In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the structure was modified for Year 9. In 2020-21, we consulted on changing our Year 9 curriculum so that pupils continue with all of subjects learnt in KS3 but still choose optional GCSE courses to begin working on in Year 9 prior to studying the full GCSE course in Year 10 and Year 11.

Kingsmead Sixth Form offers pupils the scope to select a program of 3 or 4 A levels from a broad range of 27 subjects, including 11 facilitating subjects. The curriculum extends to a rich menu of experiences, which further prepare pupils for a university course or professional career. This includes a program of careers guidance including assistance with preparing CVs, personal statements and applications, which supports progression to next steps. Visits to universities and participation in workshops encourage pupils to aim for courses most closely matching their career aspirations and aptitudes.

A detailed rationale for Kingsmead’s curriculum design is contained here.