One of the main aspects in striving for ‘Excellence for All’ at Harrow High School is ‘Excellent Learning and Progress’. Our ambition for our learners is to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills that will support them in their future lives, be that in progressing to Sixth Form, university or a career. We are keen to avoid knowledge and skills being for the short term to simply pass an exam but rather be embedded so that they can be used and applied in different contexts in the future. To this end, subject leaders in the school have carefully sequenced the learning so that knowledge and skills are built upon year-on-year allowing learners every opportunity to flourish in that subject. The curriculum sequencing rationales and learning journeys can be found within each year group/subject in the curriculum area of the school’s website.
The building and retrieval of knowledge is at the forefront of what we do at Harrow High.
Cognitive science provides the evidence that Knowledge Organisers are capable of creating a physical change within the brain that further enhances the capacity of long term memory. Learners use knowledge organisers in all Key Stage 3 lessons to help them remember what they are learning in any given unit. This can be vocabulary or key facts in each subject. This then gives our learners a solid platform before embarking on their GCSE courses.
Reading is something we want our learners to both enjoy and value at Harrow High School. We have recently introduced guide form time reading in Years 7 to 10 to help inspire our learners to perhaps read texts or genres that they might not necessarily have chosen. This helps widen our learners’ vocabulary and develop comprehension skills. Learners are also encouraged to visit our library where our librarian will support them in choosing appropriate reading material. Learners are also regularly exposed to challenging resources in their lessons which might be, for example, an academic journal. This allows them to access material above what might be expected of them in each key stage. We understand that not all learners will develop their reading skills at the same rate and offer additional support where necessary through reading intervention programmes.
We want learners to value the importance of writing, so we develop their ability to write extended responses across all subjects so that writing is not just perceived as something done in English. Teachers will support learners in developing written responses where appropriate by scaffolding the work, for example, using a writing framework. This supports our learners in making excellent progress throughout all 3 key stages.
The curriculum at Harrow High School is broad covering all subjects in the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum. We want our learners to believe they can be successful in all their subjects. To that end they are organised into prior ability sets in English from Year 7 and taught in mixed ability groups in Years 7 and 8 in Mathematics and Science. Having developed skills and accumulated knowledge, they are then allocated appropriate sets in Mathematics and English in Year 9 to support them in making the best possible progress through their learning journeys in those subjects.
The modern foreign languages we offer are Italian and Spanish with learners covering both of these in Year 7 before specialising in Year 8. We encourage all of our learners to take the English Baccalaureate which involves taking GCSEs in English, Mathematics, Science, Geography or History and a modern foreign language. In Key Stage 4, we provide more curriculum time to the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science to support our learners make the best possible progress in these subjects.
Religious Studies is also a compulsory subject leaving the learners with three further option subjects. This means the vast majority of learners would have 9 GCSE qualifications. Learners in the top sets in Sciences may be entered for Triple Science meaning they are likely to finish their time at Harrow High School with 10 qualifications.
We are very proud of the rich diversity we have in our school, so we also support learners with taking a GCSE in their community language. In addition, our Inclusion team offers support to learners who are new or relatively new to English enabling them to access other areas of the curriculum as quickly as possible. Our curriculum intent also supports and celebrates our diverse community in the school. In curriculum design, middle leaders have given careful consideration to the resources and texts used to ensure all our learners from whatever background or culture are represented.
Excellent Learning is not just for our learners but indeed for our staff too. We want to ensure that our teachers develop their skills based upon the latest educational research so that our learners in turn have a rich and rewarding experience through their learning journeys at Harrow High. Curriculum Team meetings are used both to develop subject knowledge and to monitor and review the curriculum sequencing and content.