Curriculum Intent

A broad and balanced curriculum

At Graham School we believe all students should access a broad and balanced curriculum which still recognises that all students are individuals, so we constantly review and, where necessary, modify our curriculum to meet the needs of all of our learners. This is done whilst maintaining alignment with the Education Equality Act of 2010 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability regulations 2014, as all students are able to access all areas of the curriculum at both key stages 3 and 4.

At the core of our curriculum lies our school values:

  • H – Honesty
  • E – Empathy
  • A – Aspiration
  • R -Resilience
  • T – Teamwork

These values underpin our curriculum offer and we look to interweave these values through all activities we undertake at Graham School, both in and outside of the formal classroom environment.

We believe the curriculum supports all of these values and much of our decision making is done with an emphasis on aspiration and building resilience in the young people we provide for as we believe these are characteristics we need to strengthen within our school community.

An ambitious curriculum motivates students and leads to increasingly successful outcomes as our young people learn skills and knowledge that equip them well for their future careers. Many of our learners take a mixture of academic and vocational courses to create a greater choice post 16 and raise aspirations. They are also able to access a wide variety of extra curricular activities which enhance their understanding of the wider community and help to further develop our core values.

We believe we have built a curriculum around choices which allow learners to:

  • study what they enjoy and value allowing them to make good progress
  • study subjects in depth and develop further in their cultural capital
  • access a range of subjects to allow them to fulfil their aspirations
  • access a wide curriculum, regardless of their academic ability

Curriculum implementation

In Years 7 and 8 we offer a broad and balanced curriculum which is rich, ambitious and well sequenced. All teachers share their ‘sequence of learning’ with students covering Key Stages 3 and 4 as well as links to both KS2 and post 16 courses to give them a holistic picture of the qualifications they are following. We believe the best start to secondary education builds on what students have learnt in Key Stage 2. As such we have good links with our feeder primary schools and we offer transition events in a variety of ways to the local community.

All students study Maths, English, Science, Geography, History, PE, Art, Music and Computing at key stage 3. Students also access food, textiles, workshop technology, dance and drama once per fortnight in both years 7 and 8 allowing them to cover the full National Curriculum.

Students study French in both years 7 and 8, unless they are identified as requiring additional literacy support. These students have an extra 2 hours of bespoke literacy tuition in years 7 and 8. Some students graduate into French after a short time in Literacy and the curriculum is built to allow this transition to happen.

All our students also follow a comprehensive ‘Philosophy and Ethics’ course through one lesson per week plus additional time in form. This course covers all statutory requirements of the RSE and religious education.

At Key Stage 4 we provide a range of courses, well matched to the needs and interests of the students. We provide the opportunity to study the full EBacc as well as many varied vocational options including BTEC, GCSE, CNC, CACHE and others.  All students study either a modern foriegn language, history, geography, computer science or separate sciences. We currently offer 3 modern foreign languages at GCSE. We strongly encourage students to take the full EBacc however, we do not insist upon it. A full list of the qualifications we offer at key stage 4 can be found on our website

Our students are placed onto one of 4 pathways which determines their curriculum structure. These decisions are based on prior attainment plus discussion with the students themselves to ensure their curriculum is suitable. Those who require additional support traditionally sit 8 GCSE equivalent courses whilst the majority of students sit 9 GCSE equivalent courses during Key Stage 4.

Some students have a more bespoke curriculum which includes the ‘Live and Living Skills’ qualification which they study alongside an EBacc course and one other GCSE of their choosing. These students are carefully selected with the support of the school’s SENCo.

To view the full curriculum plan, click here

Students complete the options process at the end of Year 8 having been thoroughly prepared through options evening, 1 to 1 careers appointments and a variety of careers events. The process takes place with consultation between parents, staff and the schools SENCo when appropriate. All students also have a work experience week placement during key stage 4 which allows them to gain real insight into the world of work.


Here is a link to the latest edition of the Graham Gazette, our newsletter about all the great things that have happened in Graham School this half term.… Amazing and inspiring stuff! #TeamGraham