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Academic Curriculum

In their journey towards intellectual maturity, the excitement of forging one’s own path through previously unexplored territory may be one of the most compelling times of a young man or woman’s academic life.

Dr Stephen Wilkinson - Director of Studies

Our aim is to provide pupils with a long-lasting love of learning. We try to achieve this through a variety of means, depending on the age group and ability level of each individual. In addition to inspirational curriculum study, we offer a challenging and exciting academic enrichment programme across all year groups where pupils are challenged to think beyond the normal demands of subject curricula.

True academic excitement demands detail as well as the big idea.  Through our curriculum, and through all the work that happens outside the classroom, pupils learn that learning is not the same as entertainment – but is entertaining.

In their journey towards intellectual maturity, the excitement of forging one’s own path through previously unexplored territory may be one of the most compelling times of a young man or woman’s academic life.

The journey starts when pupils enter the school in the Shell year (Year 9). Arriving from many different backgrounds into an unfamiliar environment, it is through engaging with the familiar world of the classroom that many pupils first find their feet – and will often have their first experience of falling in love with learning, whether in the context of a specific subject, or through one of the many cross-curricular projects they undertake. Our Shell curriculum is designed to encourage habits of concentration, of aiming for the best and of taking risks in order to achieve something special; the work they do in this vital year enables our pupils to make the most of the curriculum opportunities they have through their GCSE choices in Years 10 & 11 – the Fourth and Fifth forms.

Sitting on top of the academic ridge accessed through the GCSE curricula allows our pupils to see a wide panorama of further intellectual opportunities, which they will strive towards during the Sixth form. Here, alongside lessons to explore the depths of the A level curricula, pupils learn to plan and execute extended projects through the EPQ programme, and they have the chance to develop deep and personal knowledge of the subject they wish to make their own, through University preparation groups that encourage reading and study beyond the curriculum.

Detail and the big idea: the cultural and intellectual enrichment groups, sitting alongside our formal curriculum enrichment, work together to offer a rich diet and a rewarding journey for all of our pupils.

Lower School Curriculum
SHELLS FOURTH AND FIFTH FORM

In the first year the curriculum is very broad. All pupils follow the same basic programme, which comprises all the subjects offered at GCSE as well as our own course in ICT and computing, comprising elements of Microsoft Office and basic coding. There is one choice in the curriculum, between German and Spanish, made by pupils after a short taster course in the two languages.

All pupils study for GCSEs or IGCSEs. Most take ten subjects in total of which one (Philosophy and Religion) is non-examined. The seven options (in addition to the core subjects English, Maths and Philosophy and Religion) may be chosen from the subjects listed below. In order to encourage a degree of breadth, we require that at least two of the options are single sciences, one a foreign language. English is examined in both language and literature, so that most pupils gain 10 GCSE or IGCSE grades.

Shell Curriculum Guide

 

GCSE/IGCSE Course Guide

 

Curriculum Policy

 

Sixth Form Curriculum

At Canford, we have taught A levels for many years.  For us, the excitement of A level teaching remains undimmed and we believe that there are huge challenges in mastering the content of any of the A levels we offer.  The A* grade, introduced in 2010, provides a real and demanding target for the most able.

It would not help many of our pupils, we feel, to study the six subjects (including English, Maths and a foreign language) required by the International Baccalaureate. We believe that there is ample scope at GCSE level for pupils to test their ability in a wide range of subjects.  Sixth Form academic choices are the start of the process of specialisation for a University degree.  

While we do not offer the IB at Canford, there are elements of the IB programme which we like and have adapted these into our Sixth Form curriculum. The IB's extended essay has led to the introduction of Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs) for interested Lower Sixth.  The Theory of Knowledge component has been threaded throughout Canford's unique General Studies programme, called Connections, giving pupils in every year group the chance to place into a wider context the knowledge they gain through subject lessons. For further information about our Academic Enrichment programmes, please click on the link on the right.

By using the Cambridge Pre-U where appropriate (currently in Art and Modern languages) alongside A levels we believe we have a modern Sixth Form curriculum that offers the most flexible combination for today’s sixth-former.

A Level course guide

 

Link to Sixth Form area