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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

Curriculum

At Notre Dame High School, we offer a genuinely broad and balanced curriculum.

The curriculum has one central principle: that for each of our students and staff we develop a sense of ‘moral purpose’, and that we ‘light fires’ of intellectual curiosity.

The curriculum aims to develop students who are knowledge-rich in each subject, in terms of substantive, declarative knowledge, and disciplinary, procedural knowledge.

We will open their eyes to opportunities that our students might not yet know exist.

There will be a clear explanatory framework, subject by subject. This will be inspired by our Christian ethos and our grounding in evidence-based practice, which will be seen in both what we teach and in how we teach. 

Our curriculum structure and delivery will enable students to have long term retention of powerful knowledge & skills, which will be shown in the ability to transfer what has been retained to different contexts within the subject.

Our students, at the point they leave us, will take with them the cultural capital that will enable them to engage with people in all walks of life. It will allow them to access conversation, debate and appreciate the subject beyond the content of the examination. Each subject contributes to this endeavour, identifying ‘what’ they bring to this and how, e.g. use of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ in History; or Mark’s Gospel in Year 9 RE, or knowledge of Greek myths in Art and Drama. This will be an informal Notre Dame canon.

We have introduced a scholastic reading programme in Year 7 which maps out clearly to help students to add to meaningful wider knowledge. Each subject contributes 1-2 pieces per year. This will help parents support their child’s learning.

Subject-specific literary conventions will be embedded.

Assessment will be evidence-informed, richly used, with purpose clear; and will mix low-stakes retrieval practice, with more formal pieces of summative assessment. We intend for our students to succeed in their public examinations. Retrieval and spacing are key.

Finally, we have a responsibility to develop young people with a high moral calibre and commitment to Gospel values. We will ensure they leave Notre Dame spiritually and academically nourished with the example of Christ at the centre of their lives as part of their developing vocations and  careers.

Note:

  • Substantive = the content teachers teach as established fact, the material presented as ‘given’
  • Disciplinary = how the subject uses knowledge within a tradition of enquiry e.g. argument / hypothesis