Curriculum Overview

The curriculum at Bottisham follows the standard National Curriculum subjects for the vast majority of students.

However, where a student has particular learning or medical needs, and/or where they are gifted and talented, the curriculum may be personalized to reflect their individual needs.  

Year 7
In September 2017, we admitted 242 students into Year 7.
These students were placed in eight mixed ability form groups.  Although a few adjustments may be made to these groups, students normally remain in the same form group throughout their five years at Bottisham.

In Year 7 all students follow a common course: there are 50 lessons in a two-week cycle which are divided as follows: 

English 7 Creative Design (Art, Dance, Drama, Music)  6
Maths 8 Computing 2
Science 6 Design & Technology 3
French 5 PE 4
History 3 Practical Literacy 1
Geography 3 Religious Education 2

Students are  placed in broad ability bands for all subjects except art, drama, music, creative design and physical education which are mixed ability.  The banding is carried out on the basis of the National Curriculum Assessments and Teacher Assessments carried out at the end of KS2.  All students will aim to progress by one National Curriculum level during this first year. 

Banding will be monitored closely over the first few weeks and movements made in the unlikely event that  students appear to have been misplaced.  Students arriving with incomplete data will be placed in a ‘best fit’ set with their abilities being assessed as a matter of priority over the initial weeks of term.

Students failing to achieve expected levels of achievement during KS2 will be identified by primary schools during the summer term. Once a group has been established, parents will be informed by the primary schools and invited to attend the college summer school which will focus on literacy and numeracy. All of these students will receive additional 1-2-1  or small group intervention with higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs) with the aim of reaching level 4 by the end of Year 7. Progress will be closely monitored by Heads of Learning and members of the College Leadership team.

The information shown on the Year 7 Parent/Carer Information evening in September 2017 can be viewed here.

Years 8 and 9
In Years 8 and 9 students continue to study the same broad range of subjects.   In addition, some students will start to learn a second language: German.   Students studying a single modern foreign language will increase the number of lessons per fortnight dedicated to French whilst also receiving two additional lessons of English.  These sets will complete the Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education in French by the end of Year 9.

Independent setting is introduced for modern foreign languages, science, computing and mathematics and English at the start of Year 8 on the basis of performance during Year 7.  Creative design continues to be taught in mixed ability classes.  History and Geography are blocked in Years 8 and 9 and so have the freedom to set students as desired.  Our current model is for a lower ability group to be created in both X and Y bands leaving three other equivalent ‘mixed ability’ groups. 

During the course of Year 9 many students will commence their Key Stage 4 studies.  The time of starting will vary from subject to subject and depending upon the individual needs of students.  To facilitate this transition all students receive one period per fortnight of directed study.  Here they examine how they learn and develop strategies to maximise their progress.  All students in Year 9 will commence a Short Course GCSE in Ethics and Philosophy which may be examined in the summer of Year 11.

Years 10 and 11
Students have the opportunity to study GCSEs from this range:                                                  

English Language History German Art
English Literature Geography Dance Drama
Triple award Science Religious Studies Product design PE
Double award Science Catering/Food & Nutrition Business Studies Maths
French Music Computing Ab Initio Spanish

We also offer the following Vocational courses:  Horticulture (BTEC), Health & Social Care (BTEC) and ICT (OCR)
BTEC Qualifications are equivalent to a single GCSE grade and are awarded at five levels:

Level 1 Pass   (Equivalent to D grade)
Level 2 Pass   (Equivalent to C grade)
Level 2 Merit  (Equivalent to B grade)
Level 2 Distinction  (Equivalent to A grade)
Level 2 Distinction Plus (Equivalent to A* grade)

Non-exam option: Directed Study 
In addition, students study Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE), Religious Ethics and Philosophy (REP) and core Physical Education.  The PSHE provision will be delivered in the form of five collapsed days with the whole college off timetable and there will be an additional collapsed day to embrace the Citizenship agenda.  Throughout the college, all students will be entitled to four hours Physical Education each fortnight in line with the college’s drive for promoting healthy lifestyles.
REP and Religious Assemblies 
Students in all year groups study a course in Religious Education.  Details about the content of the course may be obtained from the Head of the Humanities Faculty. 

Parents have the right to withdraw their child from Religious Ethics and Philosophy or Religious Assemblies.  Please contact the Principal if you wish to discuss this matter.  An alternative programme would be negotiated with any parent making such a request.

Assessment and reporting
Students’ work is regularly assessed in all subjects; internal examinations are held in Years 10 and 11.
All faculties follow a common framework for assessing students’ learning and providing feedback. Oral and written feedback recognise what has been achieved and indicate how further progress can be made.  Students are encouraged to reflect on their assessments, to engage in peer and self-assessment, and to take increasing ownership for their learning.

Each faculty updates their assessment data at least once per term, together with information regarding effort, behaviour, homework and organisation.  A full report is produced each year which meets the requirements of the National Curriculum, consisting of a separate written report for each subject. Subject reports contain teacher comments on student progress and areas to be worked on.  The full report also contains an overall comment from the form tutor. In addition to the full report, parents are sent two progress checks per year. These reports summarise progress against targets in each subject and give grades for effort behaviour, homework and organisation.

Assessment information is available to parents throughout the year via BVC Parental Remote Access. Through this system, we offer a dynamic live output of current levels/anticipated grades against targets in each subject. This facility also gives the opportunity for parents and carers to contact subject or form teachers directly and to monitor all key data regarding their sons/daughters.


We believe that homework forms an important part of students' learning.  Subject teachers will set a variety of forms of homework, and students should record the tasks set in their planners.  
Students are not given a homework timetable, so they will need to plan their time to ensure that the amount of homework is evenly distributed during their school week. Students should ensure that they meet deadlines as set by teachers, and are expected to take an increased responsibility for their own learning, including homework, as they move up the school.

It is helpful if parents/carers can provide a quiet working place at work and a routine each day to allow time for homework.  Please support your child in completing homework tasks to a high standard by checking your child's planner regularly and discussing their homework with them.  The provision of high quality homework is central to our commitment to providing opportunities for independent learning and for on-going constructive feedback. 

We believe that homework should:

Homework could be set as a one off task per fortnight, alternatively, it could be a series of 15 minute tasks set more regularly – depending upon the nature of the subject area. In order to avoid students receiving an overload of homework, we are committed to giving at least 48 hours for the completion of any task.

High-Attaining Students
Without question, the college recognises that we have some high-attaining students who will require an extra-level of challenge in all areas: curriculum, extra-curricular activities and cultural awareness. With this is mind, we adopt a number of strategies:

Parents are invited to make contact with Mr Compton to discuss, if appropriate.

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