Curriculum Overview

Highfields College is an Alternative Provider (AP) and our curriculum is developed, in part, with recognition that ‘doing the same as mainstream on a smaller scale’ is not a sufficient response to students with complex SEMH and histories of disrupted schooling. Curriculum programmes are designed to re-engage learners and, from there, provide opportunities and experiences for students to discover and fulfil their potential in the more classically academic subjects alongside a broader scope of creative and vocationally-orientated subjects.

The Highfields ‘CREATE’ vision is expressed through our curriculum as follows:

Mission Statement Connection to Curriculum
Care and Safety To become ‘worldly-wise’ in terms of a sound knowledge base. To
become independent thinkers.
Re-engagement in Learning To have meaningful classroom experiences.
Educational Achievement To have tangible experiences of success in the classroom.
Access to Holistic Support To address gaps in their prior learning. To develop core skills for
learning. To grow as a whole person (‘character”).
Transition To rediscover academic and vocational interests which ‘drive’ the
direction future learning.
Enjoyment of Life Itself To rediscover a love of learning.

For students categorised by a history of disengagement and struggle in school, it is important the curriculum encourages students to become ‘co-creators’ in the learning experience rather than it being done ‘to’ them (for example, through ever more stringent sanctions systems) or ‘for’ them (for example, by one-dimension support such as a TA writing for them). Our whole-school priorities in terms of students becoming ‘co-creators’ includes the need to become fluent, confident readers and to become cognizant, pro-active thinkers.

At KS3, Highfields aims to offer combinations of subjects and ways of learning which offer breadth & depth, have transferability (though not necessarily uniformity) with mainstream curriculum programmes and provide opportunities for students to address barriers to learning, to discover and showcase talent, to recognise and develop personal qualities and to have tangible experiences of being creative and productive.

At KS4, we aim to offer a similarly broad and deep curriculum, providing a range of programmes to address barriers and find pathways to success which wherever possible are connected to external accreditation to equip students with an ‘achievement portfolio’ which will aid them in accessing education and training at post-16 and in finding employment.

Within both of the above, priority is placed on providing a curriculum that has a sufficient number of ‘hook ins’ to make the school day appealing and attendance worthwhile alongside ‘headstarts’ in terms of post-16 options.

Our development of the curriculum retains a dual-purpose with course specifications (knowledge, understanding, skills) set alongside relationship building and personal development – that is, developing young people into trusting, engaged and responsible members of family units, future education establishments, future workplaces and wider society (‘character’).

Our curriculum plan as a whole can be viewed here:

For specific curriculum information, please click on the following links:

More detailed summaries of schemes of work can be accessed here: Subject Summaries.

The Outreach Hub and ECO Groups are part of our ‘all students receiving a regular education‘ strategy, working to prevent extended periods of non-attendance for the most vulnerable students.

With regards to the wider personal development needs of our students, all curriculum subjects include aspects of the Character 120 within their planning and teaching. Information on this central part of our curriculum can be viewed here:

Highfields operates a Supportive Social Time approach for morning break and lunch time, based on research from the Nuffield Trust, which proactively seeks to encourage and role-model social interaction and pastimes at these points of the day. Highfields also has SMSC Themes of the Week 23 – 24, which we promote through our weekly assemblies.

Much of the well-being offer is interwoven within our curriculum – however, Highfields does have a bank of therapeutic interventions designed to address specific Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs: Highfields College SEMH Interventions