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The Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School

A Church of England School

Curriculum Overview & Intent

Curriculum Overview

Faith Intent

The school’s vision 

Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, life in all its fullness.” This teaching is at the heart of our school community. Through a culture of positive learning experiences rooted in core Christian values, our students will flourish and lead fulfilling lives. 

We aim to foster the intellectual, social, creative, physical, moral, emotional and spiritual development of all our students. We see each child as a unique person with a God-given individual identity.

With the shared involvement of every individual, we aspire to be a confident outward-looking Christian community in which every member experiences these core values.

Curriculum intent

Our curriculum is based on values of Equality, Kindness, Trust, Love, Honesty, Peace and Forgiveness.

To develop a curriculum which: Our curriculum is designed to promote an environment where every child is challenged to achieve their best.

  • Is knowledge-rich.
  • Creates an aspirational high personal achievement culture.
  • Considers individual needs.
  • Allows everyone to experience success and understand how to embrace failure.
  • Raises standards of attainment. 
  • Creates a high level of resilience

Curriculum principles that underpin our curriculum design:

  • Breadth – so that young people gain knowledge and an understanding of the range of ways in which human beings have set out to understand and find meaning in our world. Also, to create cross curricular links to deepen understanding.
  • Depth – so that, as they develop, young people begin to understand the concepts which provide structure to human beings’ search for meaning, and its complexity.
  • Rigour – so that young people are encouraged, challenged and supported to grapple with difficult concepts, learn and develop high-order skills, and become confident, self-motivated learners.
  • Progression – so that learning builds on prior experience, deepens understanding and mastery, and leads to personal fulfilment and high achievement.
  • Spirituality – so that our young people develop imagination, creativity and insight; are able to reflect on their learning, their experiences, and their lives; can find deeper meaning, a sense of purpose, and an inner peace.
  • Personal growth –so that our young people are fully supported in their physical and mental wellbeing.

BHBS believes in a broad and balanced Curriculum.  We offer a wide range of high quality academic and vocational courses. The Curriculum is explained on our website under the individual subject links and within each subject there is a link showing the content for each year group from year 7-11. For examination subjects there are also links to the examination boards for further detail. More information about our Key Stage four Curriculum can be found in our pathway’s booklet.

For further information about the Curriculum or options process please contact Mrs E Bunston, Deputy Headteacher.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)




Y7: 8 hours per fortnight 

Y7: 6 hours per fortnight 


Y8-9: 7 hours per fortnight

Yr 8 & 9: 7 hours per fortnight

3 hours per week

Humanities (History/Geography)

Modern Foreign Languages

Technology (Food/workshops/Computing)


Y7: 3 hours per week of French


3 hours per week

Yr 8 & 9: 2 hours a week for single linguists

3 hours a week for dual linguists (This is divided between their 2 languages)

2 hours per week

Creative Arts (Art/Music/Drama)

Physical Education

Religious Studies / Skills for Life

Y7: 1 hour per week of each subject (except Drama)


Yr 7: 2 hours per week

Y8-9: 1 hour per week of each subject

2 hours per week

Yr 8 & 9: 2 hours per week, 1 hour a week for dual linguists


25 hours

Setting arrangements: Key Stage 3

In Year 7, students work in mixed-ability form groups for most subjects. In Mathematics and English however, students are set according to ability from the start of the year on the basis of Key Stage 2 results and primary records. In English sets will be adjusted after the October half term, considering MIDYIS (Middle Years Information System), prior attainment, expected progress and each student's commitment and progress since the beginning of the year.

From Year 8 onwards students are also set for Science and Languages. The precise pattern of setting varies from subject to subject.

Setting is reviewed periodically, particularly towards the end of an academic year. Where students have made very good progress, or struggled, changes of set are considered carefully. However, please recognise that curriculum teams always have to work within the constraint of numbers and room size! We do not let students know set numbers - we want them to know they are placed in the right set for them.  In all classes we grade on GCSE 9-1 criteria.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)

Core (all students)




hours per fortnight

7 hours per fortnight

10 hours per fortnight

Physical Education*

Religious Studies/ Skills for Life

Core PE and Religious Studies and Skills for Life
are unexamined

3 hours per fortnight

hours per fortnight


The rest of the time is made up of four option blocks, each totalling 5 hours per fortnight. 


25 hours per week

Target setting and monitoring individual progress

In all year’s students are set targets based on national data (Fischer Family Trust). The target grade indicates a grade a student has the potential to achieve. Their progress is monitored against this year on year.

Teachers encourage students to enter into a dialogue regarding ways to improve their grades. This might involve moving to a higher GCSE grade or focus on a more general objective such as improving the standard of homework or, spelling. Form Tutors may also set an objective relating to extra-curricular activities or the student’s pastoral needs.

Students will record their target grades on the inside front cover of all books so that you can see them. Teachers will mark work using GCSE grades 9-1.  Student achievement is rewarded by class teachers and tutors through house points and praise cards. If a student is identified as underachieving across a range of subjects he or she will be mentored, usually by the Form Tutor or Class Teacher, and set much shorter-term objectives for improvement.

Later in the year the teacher and student will review progress towards achieving the target. The consultation evening will provide an opportunity for you to discuss your son's/daughter's progress with individual teachers. However, you are free to contact the school at any time to discuss progress.

Student progress is also monitored throughout the year by the Deputy Head, Heads of House, and Curriculum Team Leaders who are keen to identify and act when a student is under achieving. When a student has been identified as underachieving or falling behind across a range of subjects he or she will be mentored, usually by the Form Tutor or Head of House, and set much shorter term objectives for improvement. You will be contacted if this is to happen.

Parents/Carers receive three reports over the academic year, which record progress in all subjects against the subject target grades, give an indication of completion of work and provide feedback on motivation and effort. Two of these are Interim Reports (which record progress in all subjects against the student’s target grade as well an effort grade) and a full school report (which includes progress data and a written comment from a student’s subject teachers and form tutor).

The school also encourages staff to contact you if an issue arises and we are keen to encourage you to do likewise. It is important that any academic issues are dealt with as soon as possible.


Homework will be set on a regular basis through the sims app and can be viewed in the parent and student app. Please note that in Years 10 and 11 some subjects will use homework slots on an accumulative basis to allow students to work on extended pieces. Students should regularly be going through their book and learning content, even if this is not explicitly set as a task there is always work to be done.

The best support parents and carers can give for homework is a quiet location (if this is possible) and encouragement for your son or daughter to establish a regular pattern of study. When they ask you for help we are happy for this to be given, within reason, but it is important to remember that in years 10 and 11 exam related work is expected to be the students’ unaided work. In the GCSE years, it is open to students tackling extended pieces of work, such as Design projects, to seek advice from their teachers, their peers and other adults (including parents) in the early stages. The final product must, however, be the work of the student alone and teachers are required to monitor work carefully for any unexpected variation in standards.

If students fall behind on homework they will attend a homework intervention session.

Should you have any concerns about this or any other aspect of homework – too much or too little – please consult us as the concern arises.

For more information about the school curriculum please contact Mr Owen Collingbourne