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Our curriculum priorities for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4

  • Giving students access to the broadest and most balanced curriculum possible at KS3 in preparation for success in all subjects at KS4.
  • Creating curriculum equality by giving students in all sets the same breadth of curriculum experience, whilst still allocating Alpha classes an extra hour of English lessons in Year 7 and Year 8 to accelerate students’ progress and secure their knowledge.
  • Preparing all students successfully for the next key stage, onwards to higher education, the world of work and adulthood.
  • Decolonising our curriculum through scrutiny and design, regularly identifying opportunities to select texts, stimuli and include knowledge areas that seek to avoid a white, Eurocentric lens.
  • Creating a connected curriculum to broaden the context of learning further, making useful links with other subjects and delivering a programme of cross-subject, Cultural Curriculum Days.
  • Encouraging teachers to go to the ‘hinterland’ of their own extensive knowledge, bringing wider reference points into the classroom to further expand students’ learning.

KEY STAGE 3 (YEARS 7, 8 and 9)

We recognise that each student at the beginning of year 7 will come with a broad range of experiences, achievements and attainment from their primary schooling. Our key stage 3 curriculum is carefully designed to fully induct and integrate students into the secondary phase. There are three ability streams: Omega, Gamma and Alpha which students follow for English, Maths, Religious Studies and MFL, being set in the appropriate class for each of these subjects according to attainment. For all other subjects, including PSHE, students are taught in their mixed attainment Family Groups.

Students in the Omega and Gamma streams will have met or exceeded the key stage 2 standard.  All students will study English, Maths, RS, French or Spanish in these streamed classes.

Students who have not yet met the key stage 2 standard will start their learning in the Alpha stream. This will provide each student with the bespoke intervention that is needed for them to make the progress. Students will study English, Maths, Science, R.S and Spanish. 

The streams are flexible and through judicious assessment, there will be opportunities during the academic for students to move between streams as best fits their attainment.

Our St. Mary Magdalene curriculum vision statement and principles promote a connected curriculum at all key stages, where teaching intertwines both knowledge and skills and students are encouraged to understand the relevance of what they learn in a wider context, making meaningful connections between their subjects. To support this approach, students in year 7,8 and 9 will experience Cultural Curriculum Days which will take them beyond the classroom, combining at least two different subject areas to enjoy bespoke days designed by staff which will enhance learning and increase cultural capital. These days may involve trips off-site or workshops in school from visiting practitioners.


Students embark on Key Stage 4 at the start of year 10 and follow a core curriculum of English Language, English Literature, discrete sciences, Mathematics, R.S, PE and PSHE. In addition to the "core", students have the opportunity to choose up to three "option" subjects. A few subjects begin elements of GCSE teaching in Year 9, to ensure students have time to gain the breadth and depth of knowledge needed to prepare for the GCSE examinations but on the whole, we teach a two-year KS4 curriculum. At the end of year 11 students will be entered for GCSE examinations in at least eight subjects. 


The Sixth Form completes our offer of an all-through education, from early years through to the age of 19 with opportunities for students to join us at each key stage. At Key Stage 5 we offer a fully academic curriculum comprising A Level and BTEC subjects, complimented by an extensive co-curricular and social programme. Please see the sixth form page for more information about the application process. 

The following subjects are offered at St Mary Magdalene School across each year group:

KEY STAGE 3 (Year 7-9)

English, Maths, Sciences, R.S, P.E, MFL, History, Geography, Computer Science, Art & Design, Drama, Music, Design Technology (includes Food Technology).

KEY STAGE 4 (Year 10-11)

Students study a compulsory core of:

English Language and English Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science – Separate Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) or Combined Science, Religious Education, Physical Education, PSHE

In addition, a range of options pathways are offered tailored to individual student needs.  Courses will only run subject to student numbers and may be offered at either or both of GCSE and BTEC.
GCSE: Art, Craft and Design, Computing Science, Design and Technology, Drama, Food Preparation and Nutrition, French, Geography, History, Music, Sociology, Spanish, Triple Sciences
Level 1/2 BTEC: Creative iMedia, BTEC Sport. Additional English and Maths 

Click on the subjects to view the programme of study