Curriculum Policy

Effective delivery of a curriculum which offers flexibility and choice and personalises the learning experience of each student is essential to all learning throughout the school. This will broaden students’ knowledge and experience, increase students’ abilities to learn for themselves, build self-esteem and promote the development of good relationships.

Aims of this Policy
  • Meet current statutory demands by the provision of a core curriculum and for the requirements of registration for an independent school.

  • Meet the school’s commitments by providing a flexible and appropriate curriculum.

  • Develop literacy and numeracy throughout the school, according to those policies.

  • Provide Equality of Opportunity for all students.

This Policy

All subject areas and staff will:


  • Deliver the National Curriculum for students up to the age of 16, providing adequate time for the same (and associated testing and assessment arrangements).

  • Provide appropriate recording and reporting arrangements.

  • personalise the learning experience for all students

  • continually monitor, evaluate and review current provision

  • Where possible allow for ‘stage not age’ learning and flexible exam entry.

  • Provide appropriate Careers Guidance and Work Related learning within an Enterprise curriculum.

  • Foster voluntary extra-curricular activities and record students’ contributions to the school and their achievements in informal, social and extra-curricular activities.

Curriculum Structure

The curriculum is planned in a coherent manner ensuring it meets legal requirements, including those of the National Curriculum, and embraces cross-curricular themes (including careers education and guidance, citizenship, economic and industrial understanding, environmental, health and sex education) and cross-curricular skills, in particular those of literacy, numeracy and ICT.

The development of students’ personal and social skills and their spiritual and cultural development are addressed specifically through the citizenship programme and school assemblies, as well as permeating the whole curriculum, both formal and hidden.


The importance of developing ICT, literacy and numeracy is recognised by the allocation of discrete lesson time at KS3 and a continuing emphasis on the further development of these skills across the whole curriculum.


All students study a core curriculum comprising timetabled lessons in English, Maths, Science, PE and ICT. This is further enhanced by PSHE and Citizenship lessons along with activities designed to support and develop social skills, self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. L4L (Learning for Life) sessions additionally support students in reflecting on their learning and developing strategies to make that learning more effective.

Curriculum Time

A full time education will be provided for all students of statutory school age. The taught school week is 25 hours. Teaching time per subject reflects the need to maintain a broad and balanced curriculum. A generous time allocation is made in particular for English, Maths and Science reflecting the importance of these subjects for all students at KS3 and KS4 and the development of vital basic skills. Since all of our students have recognised Social, Emotional and Behavioural difficulties a substantial amount of time is allocated to activities that address these needs.


A table of curriculum time allocations can be found at Appendix A.

Schemes of Work

A scheme of work for each subject is essential in helping to plan teaching and learning within and across subjects, as well as documenting the curricular activities planned for groups of students and coverage of programmes of study and GCSE syllabuses. Schemes of work also provide a basis for monitoring and evaluating the curriculum.


Each subject leader will produce a scheme of work for each year group and will review this, and update it as necessary, each year. The standard school format for schemes of work will be used, addressing common headings including:


• Planned teaching and learning activities;

• Cross-curricular aspects and links to ICT and other subjects;

• Differentiation;

• Assessment;

• Resources.


Students need to work at a level and pace appropriate to their potential. Students are taught in classes of mixed ability. Whatever the form of grouping a differentiated approach is required to ensure that the range of abilities and interests of students is taken into account, so enabling them to experience success.


All students have the right to a personalised learning programme suited to their individual needs and ability. Individual Learning Programmes are expected to be in place for all students based on accurate assessments by teaching staff. These programmes will outline assessment opportunities, differentiated learning objectives, expected outcomes and learning activities. Once individual programmes have been completed they are to be evaluated and a new one will be produced.

Teaching and Learning

Students learn through their experiences and by being taught. They learn most effectively when they feel valued, when they are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and when they are actively involved in the learning process.


A range of teaching and learning strategies needs to be employed with students of all ages in order to increase and maintain their motivation and to create a challenging, stimulating and rewarding learning environment in which they can succeed. Strategies will include working individually, in pairs and small groups, whole class teaching, practical work, problem solving, role play, the use of ICT and video and visits outside the classroom.

All lessons at Howard House School should feature the following characteristics of good quality teaching:



  • Create an organised but stimulating environment in which to work

  • A thorough knowledge of pupil’s academic abilities and behaviour patterns. With good behaviour management techniques

  • A good working relationship between teacher and pupil

  • Enthusiasm and positive attitude

  • Lessons should have clear objectives of which pupils are aware and are able to achieve.

  • Objectives and work are differentiated.

  • Explanations in lessons are clear and explicit

  • Teachers have high expectations of pupil achievement related to ability

  • Lessons provide for challenge and progress but success is achievable

  • Encouragement, praise and reward are appropriate

  • Appropriate questioning or examination of work to assess learning

  • Appropriate and good use of recording/assessment system

  • Teachers should use a range of teaching styles and stimuli including visual, auditory and kinaesthetic

  • Lessons should be well planned and paced. Teachers should have thorough subject knowledge and resources ought to be readily available

  • To give students security, acceptance and respect. They may still want to destroy the lesson but they are likely to want to be given another chance.

Features of Quality Learning

Learning is most effective when:

  • The Learner is relaxed and secure

  • The environment is controlled but stimulating

  • The Learner has confidence in the teacher

  • Lessons are at an appropriate level and the learner is confident he understands the lesson and what is expected

  • The Learner knows success is achievable

  • The Learner is given appropriate help, support and encouragement

  • That work is marked in a constructive manner

  • That suitable praise and reward is given

  • That learning experiences are varied and exciting

Assessment for Learning

Assessment for and of learning is a continual and ongoing process. It is both formative and summative, encompassing initial assessments, ongoing assessments of every day work, statutory and non-statutory tests and informal observations.


Assessment allows us to:


  • Know what a child can do

  • Identify weaknesses and gaps

  • Check that appropriate progress is being made

  • Inform our teaching to set appropriate targets

  • Check that our delivery of the curriculum is allowing progress

  • To inform the child that he is progressing

  • To generally raise standards and ensure a focused and targeted approach


More specific details can be found in the Assessment Policy and the Marking Policy.

Provision for pupils with SEN

General and specific learning difficulties


Following the collation of all relevant information prior to admission, the students are placed in what is considered to be an appropriate teaching group. Consideration for placement to given to all students however, this can ultimately be determined according to age and availability of spaces.


During their first few weeks at Howard House School, students are assessed to ensure that they are correctly placed. This includes initial teacher assessment to ascertain a baseline in English, Maths, Science and ICT. In addition to this a reading test will be carried out to establish a reading, spelling and comprehension age.


Whilst at the end of year, there is movement between the teaching groups, most students will remain in the same teaching group throughout any given year, and so will receive similar provision throughout this time.


Some students in all classes may be withdrawn from lessons for help with basic literacy skills. This support would generally be for those students requiring the greatest input to develop these skills.


Some students receive extra support for developing literacy and numeracy during the day. This will be on and individual or small group basis.


Towards the end of Key Stage 3 a group of pupils is identified for whom a full Key Stage 4 curriculum is felt to be inappropriate. These students, with parental/carer consent, are offered the opportunity to follow an alternative curriculum. This leads to a reduction in examined subjects and an opportunity to develop practical life skills often through work related learning placements (e.g. NACRO, Northumberland College, Work Experience and the Motor Project).


In class support and withdrawal sessions continue where relevant.


Where a student has a statement of SEN education will be provided in accordance with the requirements of the statement. This might include MFL and RE in KS3.

Management, Monitoring and Evaluation

Overall responsibility for the curriculum at Howard House School rests with the governing body. The governing body’s further curriculum responsibilities are:


  • To work with the Headteacher in ensuring the Curriculum and its assessment procedures are carried out;

  • To agree a sex education policy for the school;

  • To ensure RE is provided;

  • To ensure the special educational needs policy is being carried out in identifying and helping students with special needs;

  • To hear any complaints from parents/carers and other stakeholders concerning the curriculum.


The Headteacher, in consultation with teaching and other staff, is responsible for day-to-day decisions about the management of the curriculum of the school.

Reviewed: March 2019

Next Review: February 2020

Encourage – Achieve - Aspire

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