Curriculum Purpose Statement

Whole school experience
Through belonging to our school community and through our broader curriculum we aim for Hanley students to develop a strong sense of positive values, to be confident and resilient and to become kind, community-minded citizens who are aware of bigger issues in the world. More than that, we encourage them to be ambitious and to strive to taking a lead in society to make a difference.

Academic Curriculum
The core purpose and function of HCHS is the academic progress of all students, beyond knowledge acquired through experiences in their daily lives, and aspiring to achieve excellent examination outcomes. Our role is to provide a bridge between students’ prior learning and the specialised knowledge which has developed over time to underpin human cultures and societies. We believe that by exposing all young people to the specific way of working and best way of learning in different subject disciplines we help them to be curious about and make sense of concepts developed by expert communities in their respective fields.

We provide a broad and inspiring KS3 curriculum, rich in literature, mathematics, the sciences, humanities and arts, to consider the very best of each subject without being constrained by external examination specifications. We take all reasonable steps to fulfil our moral imperative to provide additional support for those significantly behind their peers in terms of literacy, numeracy or emotional needs, and to support the accelerated progress of those who have been disadvantaged by limited prior experience or vocabulary. We also provide opportunities for those with particularly enquiring minds to explore areas beyond the main curriculum.

Students are aware of their strengths by the end of year 8, and so in addition to a common core a carefully-tailored approach to the KS4 curriculum is taken from Year 9 whilst strongly encouraging EBacc subjects. Breadth of learning is maintained to the end of Year 11 by students studying more GCSEs than at many other schools, alongside a full range of extra-curricular activities that allow them to maintain their interests in areas such as music, drama and sport where these are not choices for formal study.

In addition, the timetabled curriculum is enhanced for year 9 students by ‘cultural capital’ days – opportunities for students to acquire knowledge about significant ideas and achievements and their role in shaping our wider world.

We celebrate the distinct knowledge and skills developed in different areas of the curriculum, and encourage teachers to adopt the most effective techniques to support students’ learning and assessment in these different disciplines. Subject specialists aim to inspire through delivering the very best their subject has to offer.

Within subjects, we sequence important concepts to build understanding and make links to previous and future learning, thereby supporting progress and helping students to recall and organise their knowledge in their long-term memory. Where possible we make links between knowledge in different subjects and develop common approaches to the delivery of similar skills.


Our subject specialists have considered the distinct nature of their subjects, and their own curriculum purpose statements can be found on their subject pages within this section of the website. They have also identified goals for the end of each key stage that they teach.





Key Stage 3

Students in Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8) study a core of English, mathematics, science, modern foreign language(s) (MFL), technology, computing and physical education (P.E.). Students are grouped in the most advantageous way for learning in that subject. For mathematics, science, computing and MFL this involves setting by ability.

They also study geography, history, religion and worldviews (RWV), art, music, citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). Most students learn these subjects in mixed ability groups.

Please click here for time allocation for subjects in Key Stage 3

Students therefore have approximately half of their curriculum taught in sets grouped by ability, and half taught in mixed ability groups. However the students are grouped the teachers differentiate work and support for the range of abilities and aptitudes in the group.

All students study one MFL in Year 7, and most start a second MFL in Year 8. The only exception to this is with a small number of individuals for whom we have significant worries about their attainment in English and for whom additional support in English and maths is required.


Key Stage 4

Students in Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11) study a core curriculum comprising English language, English literature, mathematics, science, P.E., religion and worldviews and Personal & Social Development (PSD). They also study Citizenship in Year 9. They then follow a 'pathway' of 5 option courses that best meets their learning needs and aspirations, maximising breadth of their curriculum until the end of year 11.

A small number of students follow an entirely suitable work-related personal skills course that builds their confidence, their sense of self-worth and provides post-16 progression opportunities [but which does not currently feature in school performance tables].

please click here for learning pathways and information regarding Key Stage 4 courses


Personalised learning

Every year we design option blocks for KS4 and KS5 around the courses selected by students. In this way we make every effort to meet students' preferred combinations.

click here to see option blocks for each cohort in the 2022-23 academic year


Sixth Form 16-19 Study Programme

Our sixth form curriculum comprises a broad range of over twenty AS and A-levels. It also offers vocational learning packages which provide progression routes from our Level 2 BTEC subjects in Key Stage 4.

All students follow an individually tailored 16-19 Study Programme which details their entitlement and their responsibilities as learners. This supports their progress, their growth as independent learners and their outcomes at the end of Year 13 and beyond. It includes:

  • appropriate courses to match their aptitude and aspirations
  • high quality information, advice and guidance in relation to post-18 progression
  • supportive tutoring
  • an expectation of at least 25 hours of volunteering
  • a work experience placement

click here for further information regarding the Sixth Form and the courses available

click here to see option blocks for each cohort in the 2022-23 academic year


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