Focus School Atherstone Campus: Raising Potential through Learning

At Focus Atherstone Campus it is our aim to provide all students with a learning experience of the very highest quality. It is our desire to help each and every student reach their full potential in everything they do both in their academic studies and in all other aspects of school life. Grounded in the National Curriculum, conforming to the UK Independent Schools Standards Regulations 2012 and shaped by the Focus Learning Curriculum Support Manuals, our local curriculum is designed to provide students with a high level of challenge, yet give students a real sense of enjoyment as they journey towards academic success. Special Educational Needs are very important to us, therefore we spend a lot of time and effort getting to know our students; identifying their strengths, assessing areas for development and planning strategies to ensure the needs of all are met fully under the supervision of a full time SENCO.

At Key Stage 3 we provide a broad and balanced curriculum with all students expected to study the core academic subjects – Mathematics and English – plus a wide range of other subjects. This includes Science, Geography, French, History, Citizenship, English-for-Office-Skills, Information Technology, Music/Singing, Art and Food and Nutrition. In addition, we encourage Project Based Learning and help students to develop independent learning skills with each subject delivering themed project work throughout the school year. This approach sets an expectation that students will improve in a wide range of skills such as research skills, presentation skills, project management skills, public speaking, analysis and critical thinking. KS3 students attend one lesson of Bible Studies per week and in addition they have one Tutorial period per week through which a range of support and study skills are delivered. PSHE is delivered through a combination of activities led by form tutors and it is also mapped and delivered by subject staff.

At Key Stage 4 students continue to build their knowledge and skills as they engage in a variety of GCSE courses. All students are expected to take GCSE courses in the core subjects: English Literature, English Language, Maths, Core Science and Additional Science. Citizenship, Design Technology / Resistant Materials, French, Geography, History, and Textiles are also studied. Typically, our students study a minimum of 10 GCSE’s with some students electing to set themselves a higher degree of challenge by taking on additional GCSE subjects. At all Key Stages we endeavour to provide excellent differentiation allowing students to access the curriculum, no matter what their ability on the academic spectrum. At KS4 we set very high expectations through rigorous target setting and almost all students follow the higher tier route expecting to reach their full potential. Depending on their exact level of ability, those students who show even greater academic potential are therefore identified as ‘Gifted and Talented’ and are provided with a bespoke curriculum. They are encouraged to take on additional GCSE qualifications and more recently these have been in Further Maths, Law, Business Studies and Maths/Statistics. All KS4 students attend one lesson of Bible Studies per week. In addition they have one Tutorial period per week through which a range of support and study skills are delivered. PSHE is delivered through a combination of activities led by form tutors and it is also mapped and delivered by subject staff.

At Key Stage 5 our Post-16 students are provided with an even wider choice of subjects than ever before. In 2014 we increased our capacity to deliver Post-16 courses by 40% employing ‘Virtual Classroom’ technology to expand the range of subjects available for study at AS and A2. In addition to KS5 English and Maths, students now have access to Post-16 AS and A2 courses in Accounting, Business Studies, Chemistry, Economics, Extended Projects, Finance, French, Geography, Government & Politics, History, and Law. Some students require an alternative route in English therefore, where appropriate, we provide vocational courses such as English for Business Communication. Furthermore, with the installation of a fully kitted teaching kitchen in 2012 we are now able to offer another vocational course – the ‘Certificate of Culinary Skills’ which has already proved very successful. Wherever possible, we encourage our Post-16 students to take on additional courses to extend themselves further to reach their maximum potential. Independent learning is encouraged from Y7 onwards, but the importance of being able to work independently and being self-motivated is even more acute during sixth form and it is therefore developed further and strengthened in Y12 and Y13. All sixth form students attend one ‘Community Lesson’ per week which provides alternate ‘Bible Studies’ and ‘Current Affairs’ lessons. Additionally in Y13, students attend a 16 week ‘Prepared for Business’ course which helps them make the transition into the world of work and they also attend a 6 week ‘Public Speaking’ course to enhance their presentation skills ahead of their move into the world of business and commerce.

As the school moves forward in its journey of development, we are absolutely resolute about placing ‘Teaching and Learning’ at the very centre of all that we do, always ensuring that ‘life-long learning-skills’ are fully developed and making sure students go out into the world of work understanding the principles and importance of ‘Learning-to-Learn’. Hence many of our students are encouraged to take up ‘Post Graduate Studies’ long after they leave the sixth form at the end of Y13.