The Carshalton High School for Girls curriculum prioritises embedding aspiration with a culture of learning and provides opportunities to achieve far beyond limitations. It is strategically structured and contains carefully selected content to ensure that students are challenged and supported to develop as knowledgeable, inquisitive, resilient, and empowered young women, equipped with the requisite knowledge and dispositions for a successful and happy life.
Equity of entitlement to knowledge sits at the heart of our curriculum, with its core purpose being the acceleration of social mobility and improvement of life chances for all our students, regardless of their starting points. The decisions we have made regarding our curriculum offer have been driven by the goal of providing both an ambitious, challenging programme of study whilst maintaining an accessible and dynamic course option so that the needs of all students and their careers aspirations are met.
The curriculum embodies the purpose of our school. Our curriculum operates as a deliberate and explicit guarantor of both female and social equity as we work to counter the limits to opportunity that exist in society. The inventive design of our curriculum structure, our broadly traditional academic offer and our high-quality implementation are integral to what we do. The curriculum is ambitious and ensures that all our students have access to a broad and balanced canon of knowledge regardless of their prior attainment. Our curriculum aims to advantage the disadvantaged and all students have equal access to a diverse curriculum. Only when students have specific learning needs are there any necessary adjustments to the curriculum offer.
Our curriculum is coherent and cohesive. As well as ensuring that all aims and subject requirements of the national curriculum are met, each subject curriculum within it considers and incorporates our core curriculum principles. These principles are applied to the requirements and characteristics of each subject, thus ensuring that all subjects’ curriculums develop disciplinary knowledge and understanding with fidelity while contributing to and delivering a coherent global philosophy.
The curriculum is designed to ensure that our students have access to a substantive body of Powerful Knowledge that will allow them to be more successful and to take advantage of opportunities, both economic and cultural, that otherwise might have been denied them. It prioritises the acquisition of knowledge, and this is central to all phases of planning and is made explicit in our processes and documents. All subjects work towards explicitly planned end-points at the end of each Key Stage and deliver carefully sequenced units of learning that build on prior learning to ensure students build, sustain and utilise stable memories.
All subjects place full access to learning at the heart of their planning and explicitly consider auxiliary knowledge, prior and future learning, anticipated challenges and misconceptions, required vocabulary, the sequence of lessons and common assessment opportunities, all of which also contribute to successful development of schema. British Values and Spiritual, Moral, Social Cultural aspects are also made explicit. Thus, within each subject we prioritise transmitting both the disciplinary and substantive knowledge required to think and communicate within the discipline, understanding that the former can never be taught in isolation but rather as an organic product of the latter. Central to this approach is an understanding that the cultivation of critical thinking is not something to be taught in isolation. We recognise that to think critically, students must know something to begin with. Therefore, enquiry does not drive the curriculum but rather tests its efficacy.
We recognise that language is the principal medium through which knowledge is acquired and securely retained. An enriched vocabulary enables better understanding of abstract concepts and ideas. We facilitate access to knowledge beyond our students’ ordinary daily experiences through prioritising the acquisition of vocabulary across the curriculum. We explicitly teach subject and domain specific vocabulary alongside more generalised academic language, the kind of high-frequency academic language that students encounter across many different subjects that an educated adult uses fluently across different domains and in different contexts. Every CHSG teacher is dedicated to raising every student’s level of eloquent, accurate and confident communication. The teaching of vocabulary is based on pre-planned and rigorous definitions, since it is the accuracy of these definitions that best fertilises conceptual understanding. Teachers plan and implement activities in which these words are heard, spoken, written and read several times across teaching sequences. The curriculum both corresponds to and enacts our Literacy Curriculum, which is planned to ensure that within each subject, students are exposed to the seminal texts of the discipline and are exposed to a variety of texts both fiction and non-fiction both inside and outside the classroom.
Our curriculum is crafted to fulfil the demands of the national curriculum and attempts to go beyond this to invigorate and enrich the overall student experience, therefore unlocking the potential of all our students. It both corresponds and is reflected in the other CHSG Curriculums: Leadership, Pastoral, Literacy and Careers. It is academically ambitious. It builds and coherently develops our students' knowledge, skills, and abilities to inspire success and encourage aspiration in preparation for their next stage of life or education, regardless of what that might be.
CHSG Curriculum Principles:
Each of our 5 Curriculums is underpinned by the following key principles:
RELEVANCE: they provide all our students with content that is relevant, interesting, and intentionally challenging.
COHERENCE: they prioritise the building, sequencing and recall of specific knowledge, in a coherent manner for all our students combining both depth and breadth.
COMMUNICATION: they develop the ability of all our students to communicate with increasing effectiveness and sophistication.
CONFIDENCE: they support all our students with their development of confidence and self-regulation in facing the challenges of learning and life.
INSPIRATION: they inspire all our students to become lifelong learners and active, responsible citizens.