Aim: To introduce a new curriculum that gives a broader offer to students, and ensures that Music (re-introduced), RE and Citizenship are delivered coherently and successfully.
Background: Music had been removed by the previous school leadership and the RE/Citizenship curriculum in Years 10 and 11 needed some development. The school is in a predominantly Muslim area.
Year 1: Music — A new Curriculum Team Leader was appointed and the curriculum was devised in the summer term. One student was entered for GCSE and gained a B grade and a carol service involved the Music department. Student assessment levels at data points were initially low, as primary provision was patchy and students had lost any grounding in the subject.
RE/Citizenship — Options for delivery were presented to SLT and provision was planned in winter term. The first Citizenship day was held in the summer term.
Year 2 : Music — A GCSE offer was established in all year groups. Participation in extracurricular music continued to rise, with regular performances in assemblies, termly concerts and 250 students receiving instrumental lessons with a further 90 on a waiting list.
RE/Citizenship — A second Citizenship Day – British Values Day – was successfully delivered and reviewed. Curriculum delivery was explored.
Year 3 : Music — Participation in extracurricular music continued to rise, with 300 students taking instrumental lessons and 50 on a waiting list. Regular performances and concerts continued. 62 students took Music in Years 9-10 and 70% of students taking GCSE Music were predicted grades A*-C, higher than the target of 65%.
RE/Citizenship — Certification options were pursued to improve buy-in of students and provision developed as a result of the previous year’s learning points.
Evidence: Pupil options, exam results, staff and student feedback.
Impact: Music — Recruitment to Music has been strong: 23 students in Year 11, 40 in Year 10 (surpassing the original target of 15) and 22 in Year 9. Effort levels are at least ‘Good’ for every student. A review conducted into the department showed that despite students having little experience of music, the quality of teaching and learning and the leadership and team effectiveness were good.
RE/Citizenship — Citizenship Days are now established in the school calendar, but although RE is now in the curriculum, a satisfactory course has not been found. Students are studying an unassessed home-grown course in Years 10 and 11.
Reflections: We have learned that the most important issue when introducing (or reintroducing) a subject to a school is to employ the right subject leader, which we have done. The person concerned should be able to create a ‘buzz’ around the subject. We are pleased with the success of the Citizenship Days, and the opt-out level has been in single figures, which is surprising given that 72% of the intake is Muslim. Our insistence on parents coming in for a meeting about the content of the days when they write to withdraw their child has helped to allay fears.
Contact: Ian Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org