Our Curriculum Offer
The curriculum at Westcliff High School for Girls has been designed, with the English Baccalaureate at its heart, to set up young scholars for future academic, social and emotional success.
The importance of breadth and depth in the curriculum
“Our curriculum is broad and balanced; it provides intellectual challenge, develops creativity and curiosity and empowers our students to articulate their thinking confidently through a focus on literacy and oracy.” Westcliff High School for Girls Vision Statement
We offer an extensive range of subjects from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5 and are particularly proud of our offer of leadership qualifications in year 9. We believe these qualifications introduce a comprehensively broad range of knowledge to our students, preparing them to adapt in a wide range of social situations in their futures.
The depth of our curriculum is demonstrated in the curriculum planning where subject knowledge is explored in depth rather than at a surface level. It is also evident in our learning journey roadmaps, where staff have carefully considered the cultural capital students can gain both within the classroom and beyond in each curriculum area. Furthermore, the depth of our curriculum is also carefully considered in our literacy strategy, where students are encouraged to read widely beyond the curriculum.
The importance of knowledge
We believe in a curriculum built around ‘the best that has been thought and said’. Knowledge should be thought of as mental Velcro.
“People who have lots of subject-specific knowledge find that new knowledge ‘sticks’ to it, helping them commit the new information to long-term memory. In the same vein, a lack of subject-specific knowledge can mean that new concepts slip past you or that you make mistakes. The outcome of this is completely predictable: those with more prior knowledge learn more than those with limited prior knowledge, and therefore the gap between these two groups widens.” Nick Gibb MP
We are proud that our staff have expert subject knowledge. Teaching is focused on passing on knowledge to our students so that they can use that knowledge in real world applications to build skills and develop disciplinary knowledge. Assessment is designed to test substantive knowledge (the ‘what’), disciplinary knowledge (the ‘how”) and how this is used to demonstrate practical skills.
The importance of the whole curriculum
“Without a curriculum, a building full of teachers, leaders and pupils is not a school. Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector
A lot of thought and care has gone into our curriculum and it should be seen as a coherent whole rather than a collection of isolated topics. Our curriculum is compulsory, with built in optional pathways for students in year 9 for our high quality leadership options, in key stage 4 for GCSE options and in A Level, preparing students for life long learning after they leave us. The only exception to the compulsory offer is that parents have the legal right to withdraw their child from RE or from some parts of sex and relationship education, but, for everything else, no such right exists and, when a parent sends their child to our school, they are agreeing that their child will study the full curriculum as set out by the school.