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Curriculum

“Culture is to know the best that has been said and thought”

Matthew Arnold

At Mercia School, we believe all pupils, whatever their background or ability, have a right to access the best that has been said and thought. This includes a variety of writers, from all parts of the world, and thinkers from all the ages.

Strategic Intent:

To develop and refine a whole school curriculum which:

  • Supports pupils to develop their cultural capital. The curriculum is designed to allow pupils to accumulate huge amounts of knowledge that allows them to thrive in modern Britain. Pupils will leave Mercia School with a substantial knowledge-base. We believe that all pupils, regardless of their background or need, have a right to access the very best of what has been thought and said. All pupils are challenged to master and learn a huge amount of exciting, interesting knowledge from a broadly academic suite of subjects. We never lower our standards or expectations for any pupil.  
  • Enables pupils to encounter a broad and balanced curriculum in each and every subject. Every subject seeks to cover a wide range of content in Key Stage 3, before we specialise for a 2-year Key Stage 4 and 5. In options subjects, for example, pupils encounter a breadth of topics, as opposed to depth of a limited set of topics. This is to ensure all pupils have a broad understanding of a subject before they decide whether or not to continue their studies in Year 9. The curriculum will expose pupils to knowledge that they are unlikely to experience in their home lives. Pupils are challenged in every subject, in every lesson, every single day. 
  • Provides all pupils with access to the EBACC suite of subjects – these subjects make up a significant part of the school’s curriculum and it is our intention that 100% of pupils are able to study EBACC GCSEs. This will ensure all doors are open for them as they move in to higher education and in to valuable careers of their choosing.
  • Enables subject areas to capitalise on the content of other subjects through carefully designed schemes of work. For example, during the study of the Norman Conquest in history, pupils consider the exploits of Guillaume le Conquerant in French. This intention helps pupils to solidify and remember key knowledge in both subject areas.
  • Delivers pupils with repeated opportunities to master the disciplinary knowledge of subjects. We do not ignore the discipline and we provide pupils significant opportunity to think critically about each subject and practice the relevant ‘skills’ once the relevant knowledge has been mastered.
  • Provides opportunities for pupil to commit knowledge to their long term memory through carefully planned interleaving, spaced retrieval and deliberate practice. This echoes the research in cognitive science from the likes of Ebinghaus and Willingham.
  • Develops a love of learning within each subject. We are ambitious for our pupils and work tirelessly to develop the next great historians, geographers, writers, mathematicians, linguists, scientists, musicians and artists. Our curriculum is central to this ambition.  
  • Designed to be remembered, not merely encountered. Pupils have not learnt anything unless they can remember it. Our intention is to ensure all pupils can remember a lot and then apply it to the disciplines on offer. As Willingham makes clear, pupils will enjoy school if they feel successful. Our curriculum will provide opportunities for low-stakes testing to help pupils commit key knowledge in to their long-term memory.

Our strategic intent is clearly rooted in educational research and cognitive science. Our curriculum intent has been formed in-house, but influenced by E.D. Hirsch (Knowledge and why it matters), Barack Rosenshine (Principles of Instruction), Siegfried Engelmann (Direct Instruction), Daniel Willingham (Importance of success and memory), David Didau (How children are motivated to learn) and Paul Kirschner (Explicit Instruction). This is not an exhaustive list. 

Curriculum Implementation: 

The school is relentless in its ambition that all pupils can learn and enjoy every single subject. The school’s curriculum is designed so pupils can remember a significant amount of knowledge for the long term, we do not want pupils to merely encounter knowledge. We want them to remember it. The curriculum seeks to embed a significant amount of knowledge, whilst ensuring pupils are highly proficient in a skillset that is specific to the learning of each subject discipline on offer. Subject curricula will often overlap to help pupils remember and consolidate their learning. Pupils receive numerous opportunities to apply knowledge to larger, subject specific concepts on a regular basis. The implementation of the school’s curriculum is organised in to four categories: knowledge and concepts, resourcing and delivery, use of assessment and promotion of literacy. See the 'Mercia School - Curriculum' document below for more information. 

Curriculum Subjects (lessons per week):

English (5)

Mathematics (5)

Science (4)

French (3)

History (2)

Geography (2)

Art (1)

Music (1)

Computing (1)

Physical Education (2)