Curriculum Statement 2016-17

A Broad and Balanced Education

At the Abbey School we place emphasis on the importance of every child having a broad and balanced education which includes a range of experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. In the Lower School (Years 7 and 8) students build on their existing subject knowledge and develop a range of new skills and understanding. In the table below it shows the curriculum allocation for students in each year group. The number of one hour long lessons is either shown in brackets or referred to in the text. The school operates a two-week timetable consisting of 48 periods.


Year GroupSubjects and Hours per Fortnight (each lesson is one hour long)
Year 7 Art (2), English (8), MFL* (5), Geography (3) History (3), Food Tech (1), Music (2), RE (2), PSE (1), Mathematics (8), Technology Rotation (3), Science (6) & PE (4)
Year 8 Art (2), English (8), MFL* (5), Geography (3) History (3), Food Tech (1), Music (2), RE (2), PSE (1), Mathematics (8), Technology Rotation (3), Science (6) & PE (4)
Year 9 English (8), RE (2), Mathematics (7), PE (3), Science (8) and four options each allocated five periods per fortnight. Options include History or Geography (one of these is compulsory), Business, Sport Science, Art, French, Spanish, Enterprise Education (non-examined), textiles, Health and Social Care, Drama, Media, Dance, Ingots or ECDL (ICT) and Psychology.
Year 10 English (8), RE (2), Mathematics (7), PE (3), Science (8) and four options each allocated five periods per fortnight. Options include History or Geography (one of these is compulsory), Food Technology, Drama, Sport Science, Business, Health & Social Care, Ingots (ICT), Art & Design, Dance, French, Spanish, Child Development, Product Design, Media and Textiles.
Year 11

Legacy KS4 Curriculum Model
English (9), RE (2), Mathematics (8), PE (3), Science (8) and four options; two with 4 periods per fortnight and two with five periods per fortnight**. Options studied by these students since Year 9 include Geography, History, ELBS, Food Technology, Drama, Health & Social Care, Ingots (ICT), Computing, Art & Design, Sports Science, Business Studies, Spanish, French, Child Development, Media, Textiles, Leisure & Tourism, Performing Arts, Expressive Arts and Product Design. Lower ability students study only three option subjects within a separate timetable band with increased curriculum time per subject (i.e. 7 for History or Geography and 5 for each of their other two choices).
Sixth Form

(Years 12 and 13)
Students will typically choose subjects from four option blocks (named A to D). Each option block is scheduled for 9 one hour periods per fortnight. There is a fifth option block (E) which is typically used to schedule football academy time in addition to any other subjects that need to moved there to facilitate student choices. Options include : Accounting (AS & A2); Art & Design (Extended Cert), Biology (A-Level), Business (A-Level), Business Management (IB Diploma), Business Studies BTEC Extended Cert (Single), Business Studies BTEC Diploma (Double), English Literature (A-Level), French (A-Level), Geography (A-Level), Health & Social Care BTEC Extended Cert (Single), Health & Social Care BTEC Diploma (Double), History (A-Level), History (IB Diploma), ICT BTEC Extended Cert (Single), IT in a Global Society (IB Diploma), Maths (AS & A2), Media Studies (AS & A2), Performing Arts (Dance) Cambridge Technical, Performing Arts BTEC Extended Cert (Single), Performing Arts BTEC National Diploma (Double), Psychology (A-Level), Psychology (IB Diploma), Religious Studies (A-Level), Sociology (A-Level), Sport (Performance Excellence) BTEC Diploma (Double) and the Extended Project Qualification. A number of students study towards the IBCP programme. Students have the ability to take courses at QE Grammar and vice versa due to timetabling agreements between the two schools which act to increase curriculum choice.

*  Students learn French or Spanish. Students assessed to have low levels of literacy will have two fewer lessons of MFL per fortnight and have literacy lessons instead.

One of the option blocks has been studied in Year 11 has been taken over 18 months. That is to say that students in Year 10 began a new subject in said option block in January 2016 to terminate at the end of Year 11.


The Upper School (Years 9-11) curriculum has been developed in order that students study a range of qualifications that meet the new national Progress 8 measure. This is the new benchmark statistic against which all schools will be measured and requires students to take GCSEs in the core subjects of English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Science. In addition to these subjects students must also study a Modern Foreign Language, Geography, History or Computer Science. Finally, students can choose the remainder of their subjects from the option blocks as detailed above. This will enable them to tailor their educational journey to match their personal strengths and future career prospects.


There are a wide range of extra-curricular educational experiences that are available for students studying at the Abbey. These include school trips, visiting speakers, competitions and school clubs. The international dimension of the schools and focus on thinking skills mean that every student has the opportunity for a breadth of education that will prepare them well for the challenges associated with becoming an adult.


Small group intervention is used, as needed, across the year-groups to ensure that no student is left behind and that all make good progress. The detail of these intervention plans is available from relevant subject leaders and the pastoral teams that support each year group.


Other important aspects of every student’s timetable are:


  • Accelerated Reader Programme – Students in Year 7 are provided with time each week, supported by their teacher, to read. Testing is used to identify students’ reading development needs. Books are then carefully selected to provide interest, challenge and development. There is a range of follow-up assessment that is used to monitor the students’ progress in reading and ensure that they are reading books that are of a suitable level of difficulty.

  • Academic Mentoring – This takes pace at least once every half term for each student. In an individual or small group session with the student’s form tutor to explore their ambitions and discuss academic progress. The discussion centres on establishing appropriate short and medium term targets to ensure that the student reaches their expected progress. Appropriate resources and activities are used to explore areas of strength and set targets for areas of improvement.

  • Assembly Programme – Our Heads of Year plan a programme of assemblies which cover key themes of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The programme is matched on an ongoing basis to educational events and current affairs. Visiting speakers include those from industry and members of the local clergy.

  • Tutor Time Programme – Form tutors have a weekly programme of activities to follow through the morning registration period. These activities include a focus on numeracy and literacy in the lower school in addition to checking homework and discussions around attendance and behaviour. There are also thinking skills and team building activities. The programme makes a significant contribution to the personal and social development of students.


In the Sixth Form students have opportunities including:


  • The International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP) in which the students undertake a minimum of two IB Diploma courses, a core consisting of four components and a career-related study.

  • The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in which students gain a qualification worth half an A-Level for undertaking a largely self-directed and self-motivated project and then writing it up. Students mush choose a topic, plan, research and develop their idea and write up a report of up to 5,000 words. This is excellent preparation for Undergraduate study.


For more information about the curriculum our school is following please, click here.

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