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Copleston High School

Curriculum Information

Curriculum Principles

What is the Vision for our Curriculum at Copleston?

  • All students will receive a curriculum that provides access to powerful knowledge which will provide opportunities and maximise life chances. Our school will challenge social inequality by instilling powerful knowledge
  • By providing powerful knowledge our students will access the best that is thought and said. They will receive more than just everyday knowledge and will be challenged on a daily basis
  • By providing powerful knowledge to our students, we will give them something that is cognitively superior to everyday knowledge, transcending and liberating students from their daily experience. They will be able to interpret the world, and to think in new and unexpected ways meaning they will not be dependent upon those who have powerful knowledge
  • Powerful knowledge creation will be maximised by exposure to a carefully sequenced curriculum for all students
  • All students will be taught the core values that provide a foundation for a just and sustainable democracy. Students will share an understanding of what these core values mean, and how they will help them to play a part in shaping a brighter future
  • All students will be prepared so they can maximise opportunities in modern Britain and globally. Labour markets are both competitive and dynamic. Our curriculum will prepare students for the opportunities as well as challenges that this will bring

How will our Curriculum Vision work in practice?

  • Our curriculum is highly ambitious for all students and when designing it our mantra is always to consider the needs of the most disadvantaged learner. We teach to the top and make sure that scaffolding is in pace to support all students to reach this level.
  • Curriculum breadth and academic rigour are key to our offer. We believe that imparting broad knowledge to all children is the single most effective way to narrow the gap between demographic groups through schooling.
  • Our curriculum is not simply about the subjects on offer. It is about the quality of the offer. It is led by, collaborated on and delivered by high-quality subject specialists, working in teams to create the richest narrative possible for their students
  • The grammar of each subject is given high status; the specifics of what we want students to learn matter and the traditions of subject disciplines are respected
  • Skills and understanding are seen as forms of knowledge and we do not believe that there are any real generic skills that can be taught outside of specific knowledge domains
  • The curriculum is planned vertically and horizontally giving thought to the optimum knowledge sequence for building secure schema. Intelligent sequencing supports the initial mastery of basic principles so students have the building blocks to move onto more and more complex learning over time. Sequencing is also used to identify gaps in learning allowing a renewed focus on the things that students have missed out on where necessary
  • The design of the curriculum reflects the school’s local context. It has been mapped out with thought and care taking into account the high frequency gaps that our students have in their knowledge, understanding and skills
  • The curriculum is designed to be remembered in detail: to be stored in our students’ long-term memories so that they can later build on it forming ever wider and deeper schema. As a result, our knowledge-rich curriculum embraces learning from cognitive science about memory, forgetting and the power of retrieval practice leading to a position where students inherently know things and they are able to illustrate automaticity of responses
  • The curriculum is owned by students from all faiths and backgrounds, not by one in particular. The selected content conforms to shared cultural agreements of what is considered valuable to know and embraces the most powerful knowledge from a variety of cultures and traditions. It is the entitlement of all and we place a great deal of emphasis on culture, diversity and inclusion
  • At each phase, the curriculum focuses on closing gaps, early intervention, and developing the core literacy and numeracy skills for success at that level
  • Both in and out of the classroom, the curriculum will build the hard work, diligence and resilience necessary for success in life. The personal development of our students is a key driver for our curriculum design
  • The curriculum should introduce students to new experiences and powerful knowledge beyond the classroom and outside the academy to broaden their horizons and to prepare them fully for later life. The school offers a huge range of extra-curricular clubs and educational visits. This allows students to develop the cultural capital that will help them to navigate the society in which they live

How will we measure the success of our Curriclum?

  • By the time a student reaches the age of 18 they will have the choice of Higher Education or a high-quality apprenticeship
  • Regardless of setting, streaming or mixed ability classes, children of all abilities will gain the most powerful knowledge they can retain and to the highest expectations they can meet
  • Children will be be prepared thoroughly for national assessments and this will be evident from the attainment and progress that the students at Copleston achieve
  • All students will acquire sufficient knowledge wider domains and a broader cultural understanding to fully enable both further study and an enriched life
  • Students are entitled to high currency qualifications which improve their life chances. This is as entitlement for all students and the academy will ensure that its practice makes this a reality
  • The Core Values of being Respectful, Resourceful, Resilient, Aspirational and Compassionate will be seen in the students at Copleston and their behaviour will display these values



We provide challenging content and substantial time across our subjects for students to acquire a deep understanding of the Ebacc subjects and more. In English, students will study ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ to ensure they appreciate classic texts. By the end of KS4, students will have in-depth knowledge of plays and a have accessed a selection of influential texts, classic and modern poems and plays. In Mathematics, pupils in Year 7 build on year 6 learning and develop their mental arithmetic and fluency around negatives and fractions, geometry and ratios; in science students will learn about the periodic table and the respiration system, electricity and magnetism. Each subject goes into great depth, spending six weeks rather than half a week on areas, securing knowledge before moving on. In MFL, Year 7 pupils learn the foundations of French grammar, and learn to create complex sentence structures covering a range of topics. In Music, performing arts and drama, pupils learn the art of singing and musical expression, and study the history and variety of musical styles and influential genres. Students will also learn different art techniques; textiles; food technology and design- all of these subjects combined provide a broad and rich curriculum that is challenging and allows for deep thinking. We also ensure all students develop an understanding of issues that affect all of us through their bespoke form time programme and PSHE education. As they move on into KS4, they become equipped with the wider knowledge that helps them grow as individuals.



At KS4, the following subjects are compulsory:


English Language and English Literature

Science: separate (Biology, Chemistry & Physics) or combined

Computer Science/Information Technology - Creative iMedia


Copleston Culture

Physical Education

We offer different pathways for our students depending on their personal choice, academic ability and future post 16 plans. Our most able learners must follow the English Baccalaureate pathway. This means that in addition to the above subjects, they also study a language (French or Spanish), history and/or geography and separate sciences (Biology, Physics and Chemistry). Other students are able to follow this pathway if they wish to, but we will provide personalised support and guidance to each student to enable them to make the right choice. We also provide a broad choice beyond these subjects and students can choose to study drama, media, sociology, Business Studies, Food Technology, Textiles, Design Technology or Graphic Communication. Copleston Culture is a unique course for all students in year 9 that helps them continue to develop their maturity and character by reading and debating key issues.



The academic curriculum offered at our sixth form gives each student a broad range and opens up possibilities. We want our sixth form students to achieve the best possible grades at A-level and develop a deep understanding and appreciation of their subjects as well as provide choices for them to move on to the best universities and post 18 options available to them. As well as the more traditional subjects such as art, English Language, Literature, Economics, Mathematics and the humanities, students can also study Religious Studies, Business Studies, Government and Politics, Psychology, Graphic Communication and Media or Film Studies. Many students will also study the Extended Project which will develop them as independent young adult thinkers.