The Curriculum

‘Henley-in-Arden School’ is an Academy school within the Arden Multi-Academy Trust (AMAT); we define the term ‘curriculum’ in its broadest sense; therefore, it comprises all learning and other experiences that are planned for our students. This policy is organised by considering the intent of the curriculum, its implementation and how its impact is assessed. It covers the content children need to know, how we deliver, and sequence the teaching and learning, and the skills required to access the curriculum’s content with confidence.  

  1. Curriculum Intent

Our aim is to encourage students to achieve the highest standards of which they are capable. We make every effort to ensure that work is stimulating, enjoyable and matched to their individual needs, so that all students fully engage in the learning process. We aim to help our students across the curriculum: 

  1. To give students the equal opportunity to develop their academic and applied studies, creative talents and leisure interests
  2. To raise aspirations so that everyone strives for success
  3. To help establish self-confidence, self-motivation and self-discipline
  4. To encourage pleasure and pride in one’s own and others’ achievements
  5. To provide a rich and stimulating learning environment and a curriculum that meets the needs of all our learners
  6. To promote a capacity for independent learning and the motivation to use that capacity
  7. To identify individual needs and offer the opportunity to succeed to all
  8. To provide the highest possible level of care and access to support that is appropriate and effective
  9. To offer a wide range of experiences beyond the formal curriculum and extend their learning in opportunities outside the classroom, including learning through appropriate homework
  10. To celebrate all excellence and achievements
  11. To prepare students for the opportunities and responsibilities of adult life and local and global citizenship, and integrate this into the curriculum directly.
  12. To promote an active involvement in caring for the environment of the Academy, the local community and the wider world
  13. To encourage participation and teamwork
  14. To encourage the interest and involvement of parents, Governors, industry, commerce and the community in the life of the Academy and furthering the success of our students
  15. To develop the use literacy and numeracy skills effectively

As a result, the curriculum at Henley-in-Arden school aims to provide all students with a rich and broad academic diet that engages them and prepares them for their life and employment. It has been planned carefully with due regard to the context of the Academy as well as national legal requirements and financial probity. We believe that, as our students move through the school, they need to study courses that stimulate their interest, support their future aspirations and give them strong foundations for their future education and career choices. This commitment to a wide range of courses, coupled with high quality teaching and learning within each course, supports student achievement and thus the best possible results. We also strive to ensure that each child can maximise their Progress 8 score by undertaking a broad and balanced curriculum that will support them onto their next destination.  

All students are given the opportunity to enter into the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). That said, student choice and aspiration is prioritised to give each individual the opportunity to proceed to destinations that meet their interests and aspirations – for example, we ensure that the Key Stage 4 Options process enables students to study up to three from our specialist subjects of Music, Dance and Acting should they wish to do so. This results in a broad curriculum and smaller examination group sizes than is typical in state academies nationally in some of our specialist areas. Some students undertake a literacy pathway, which begins in year 7 and is flexible to the emerging needs of students. This pathway involves MFL so students are still able to access the EBACC if suitable and it meets their needs. A small number of students are also entered into Entry Level English, Science and Maths, in addition to their usual GCSEs. This is to ensure that all students leave Henley with results and qualifications that will secure them somewhere after leaving us in year 11. PSHE and RE is integral to the curriculum and is taught in allocated areas of the timetable, to ensure it is a valued and core part of our students’ academic diet.   

Our curriculum aims to prepare students for a rapidly changing world whilst understanding and learning the best that has been thought, said and written. We promote and recognise success in a wide range of extra-curricular activities (e.g. the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; local, national and international educational visits; graded Music examinations; Shakespeare Schools’ Festival and annual whole-school productions; county sports fixtures) to enable students to discover and develop lifelong interests and talents. This rich set of experiences develops students’ strength of character, their cultural capital and enables them to become empathetic, resilient and independent young people. 

  1. Curriculum Implementation: 

2.1 The timetable 

The Academy operates a two-week timetable. There are five 60 minute periods per day as well as 20 minute slots each day for form-time or assemblies. There is a ten-minute registration slot each morning which also includes equipment and uniform checks, apart from on Wednesday. 

2.1 General principles 

In addition to the formal, taught curriculum, an extensive range of extra-curricular clubs and activities, subject enrichment and trips and visits are offered to all students (see website). 

  • There is a programme of Career Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) education throughout a student’s time at Academy. This is accessed through form time, assemblies, collapsed-curriculum days and specific events/interviews with specialist staff. Students have access to an independent careers advisor in year 10 and 11, and in lower years based on needs and requests.

A targeted group of students in each cohort who arrive at secondary below the government’s ‘expected standard’ in English Reading are supported with their literacy through a catch-up programme during MFL lessons. This is a highly-effective strategy in supporting them with accessing the rest of their broad and balanced curriculum with confidence as quickly as possible. 

  • Students also follow a programme of personal, social and health education throughout their time at Academy. This is now delivered as a key part of the curriculum , as part of subjects and also in our character lesson which includes PSHE, RSE and Careers Education as well as reflection on learning (metacognition)
  • Upon joining the academy, all students study a very broad curriculum of: English Language and Literature; Mathematics; Science; History; Geography; RE; Computing; Art; Design & Technology; Drama; Dance; Music; French, Spanish and PHSE. A small number of children who have not met the DfE’s expected standard in Reading when they arrive at secondary school have additional literacy lessons in place of MFL, but study French as part of this programme.
  • All subjects are taught by subject specialists who teach the full age range across the school.
  • Almost all students study 9 Level 2 qualifications, which are mostly GCSE (Performing Arts Acting, Dance, IT, Graphics and Business are applied qualifications, designed to offer more choice, learning styles and enable all students to progress). 
  • There is a vast range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities beyond the formal curriculum. These are offered to all students, even if they are not continuing to study the subjects at GCSE. For example, in Sports, Music, Acting, Dance, STEM. A full list is available on the school’s website
  • Students have learning maps which show them the key skills, knowledge and topics they will explore each term. This is to ensure students feel ownership of their learning and understand how they are expected to progress in each subject.
  1. Curriculum impact

The impact of the Academy’s curriculum is assessed by considering:  

  • Internal progress data is collected at least three times each academic year (more frequently in Year 11), which is tracked using Level 2 qualification Grade Descriptors throughout Years 7-11. Targets are generated for students’ progress based on the likelihood of their achieving particular grades at FFT20 (Minimum Expected Grades) and FFT5 (Aspirational Grades).
  • Progress data from external examination results in GCSE and non-GCSE qualifications at Key Stage 4.
  • The range and variety of extra-curricular and enrichment activities and students’ participation in them as tracked by the Henley-in-Arden School PRIDE Award.
  • Students’ ‘Getting it Right’ scores and attendance data inform an analysis of their personal development, conduct and safety.
  • The retention of students from Year 11 into the Sixth Form. 
  • The numbers of students applying to join the Academy in Year 7
  • The destinations of our leavers at Year 11.
  • Annual reviews of the PSHRE and assembly programme. 


The key word in this context is “personalisation”: the curriculum of each year is tailored to the needs of the student. Last year we were able to offer first choice places to 99% of our students which indicates that the variety and range of choices are very well matched to the needs of our students.


What Ofsted say…

“…marking and feedback on students’ work are precisely focused on how to achieve.”


“A small number of students are supported through additional year 7 catch-up funding, which helps the students who join the academy with attainment below the expected levels in English and Mathematics. This is an effective strategy because eligible students are making good progress and catching up well.”



Please click here to view our curriculum policy