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Curriculum and Subject Information

Northampton School Curriculum

At Northampton School, we deliver a knowledge-rich curriculum that is rigorously academic and aspirational for all, regardless of background or need; we value the ambition of the English Baccalaureate and believe that all students should have access to the ‘best that has been thought and said’. We are exceptionally proud of how our curriculum also offers breadth and balance through the extensive extracurricular and super-curricular programme, allowing students to contribute to our rich heritage of sporting, artistic and academic excellence – a heritage that is at the heart of the Trust DNA. Whilst we respect and honour the NSB Trust’s long-held traditions, we also ensure that students flourish and thrive in the modern world – equipping them with the skills, attitudes, and values to navigate a successful future. We are committed to building a ‘curriculum culture’ - embracing the idea that curriculum design is necessarily challenging and is never a finished artefact. By engaging in ongoing curriculum conversations, we ensure our students are emboldened and inspired by powerful knowledge of their subjects and the wider world.  

At Northampton School, we are committed to providing a broad educational experience that enables every child to achieve their maximum potential both academically and personally and which prepares them for a successful adult life.

Our intent

The following core principles provide the framework for individual subjects and teams to construct their own curriculum intent:   

  • to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that is ambitious for every student.  
  • to embolden students with ‘powerful knowledge’ – knowledge that takes students beyond their own experiences and enables social mobility for all students.  
  • to prioritise a knowledge-rich and word-rich curriculum that allows students to know more, remember more and be able to do more, over time.  
  • to develop a carefully sequenced curriculum that allows students to make both explicit and implicit connections between topics/concepts.  
  • to create a curriculum that allow students to build increasingly complex mental models of ideas and concepts.  
  • to sequence the curriculum to revisit prior learning and progress towards clearly defined end points.  
  • to avoid the ‘curse of content coverage’ and prioritise depth of understanding across the curriculum.
  • to design a curriculum that inspires students’ curiosity.  

Curriculum Implementation and Impact  

All specialists at NS recognise the curriculum is never a finished artefact and are committed to a constant process of evaluation and reflection. Senior Leaders recognise the following ideas, models and terms and can articulate how they are relevant to their own curriculum intent: substantive/disciplinary knowledge, sequencing, interleaving, concepts, and end points.  

To deliver this intent, we have a core set of principles that underpin our implementation of the curriculum. As a result, we are proud that that teachers at NS:  

  • participate in a carefully tailored CPD programme that focuses on the ‘best-bets’ in evidence-based research – supporting staff to make incremental changes to their practice that helps to support student outcomes.  
  • work collaboratively to develop this evidence-based culture through a peer-coaching model.  
  • promote a culture of professional challenge and curiosity by pursuing a range of personalised CPD pathways – characterised by our ‘what’s next for me at NSB’ framework.  
  • have expert pedagogical-content knowledge in the subjects they teach (including those delivering outside of their specialism).  
  • deliver a carefully sequenced curriculum that allows students to build increasingly complex mental models and schema – an ambitiously challenging curriculum that reflects our whole school vision.  
  • enable students to understand concepts through effective explanation and modelling.  
  • regularly check students’ understanding to identify and address misconceptions.  
  • develop retrieval strategies that allow students to build on prior learning and make explicit connections with new knowledge.  
  • ensure that students are forced to ‘think hard’ about their learning.  
  • use a range of research-informed feedback strategies that support students to make progress.  
  • prioritise reading and disciplinary literacy that develops students’ fluency and confidence when approaching increasingly complex texts.  

These core principles go far beyond simple statements; if implemented successfully, we hope that all students at NS share the following characteristics and values:  

  • become self-starters who show willingness and curiosity to engage in their learning.  
  • produce work across the curriculum that is consistently of a high quality.  
  • understand their current progress and what is required to progress further.  
  • behave with respect and dignity.  
  • develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum.  
  • read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age.  
  • respond to feedback and improve their work as a result of effective feedback.  
  • consistently achieve highly, particularly disadvantaged students and students with SEND.  
  • are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training.  
  • rise to challenges, working collaboratively and supportively.