Curriculum Overview

The Curriculum at Icknield High School encompasses every aspect of a young person’s learning from personal well-being, social skills and health to subject areas that promote strong academic rigour, and a whole range of more practical and applied courses that equip our students for life beyond school. The curriculum is designed to be accessible, inclusive and challenging and promotes the best standards of behaviour based on our values of mutual respect.

A central tenet of our curriculum is that all students have a right to immerse themselves in studies that takes full account of their potential and capability. Our aim is to provide a broad and balanced entitlement curriculum whereby, increasingly, students acquire the skills, knowledge, concepts and understanding to develop their full potential, whilst at school and as adults.

Our annual intake of 290 is normally divided into 10 tutor groups and an additional eleventh group known as the ‘Nurture Group’ for those children for whom the transition to Secondary School needs a more phased approach. These are the teaching groups in some subjects. In other subjects, students are placed into sets by ability, with regular assessment allowing movement between the groups.

Our curriculum is designed around 25 one hour lessons each week on a two weekly cycle. In addition to this all year groups begin each day with a 30 minute session with their tutor groups. At Icknield the role of the form tutor is extremely important and recognised as being crucial in supporting our student’s development, both academic and personal, throughout their Icknield career.

The curriculum at Key Stage 3 is designed to build on learning and provide an effective, strong base for study at Key Stage 4. There is a strong focus on reading, writing, communication and mathematics. In Key Stage 3, students follow courses in English, Maths, Science, Languages (French, German or Spanish), History, Geography, Ethics and Philosophy, Computing, ArtMusic, PE, Design Technology and PSHE.

The timetable operates on a two week basis and the table below indicates the number of hours that students spend in individual subjects.

SUBJECTS Year 7 Year 8
English 8 hours 8 hours
Mathematics 8 hours 8 hours
Science 6 hours 6 hours
Art 4 hours 4 hours
Computing 2 hours 2 hours
Design and Technology 2 hours 2 hours
Ethics and Philosophy 1 hour 1 hour
Geography 4 hours 4 hours
History 4 hours 4 hours
Modern Foreign Language
(French, German or Spanish)
4 hours 4 hours
Music 2 hours 2 hours
Physical Education 4 hours 4 hours
PSHCE 1 hour 1 hour

At Icknield our students begin their Key Stage 4 courses at the beginning of Year 9. We believe that by starting the courses at this time our students will have the best possible opportunity to meet the challenges of the GCSEs and hopefully secure the grades they need to progress in the future. All students will follow a compulsory visual arts course choosing from Art and Design, Film, Graphics and Digital Media and Textiles Design. For Key Stage 4 guided choices are offered allowing all of the above choices, plus others such as; Business and Communication Studies, Catering, Electronics, Health and Social Care and Resistant Materials.


Year 9 Year 10 Year 11
English 8 hours 8 hours 8 hours
Mathematics 8 hours 8 hours 6 hours
Science 6 hours 8 hours 8 hours
Core Physical Education 4 hours 4 hours 4 hours
Ethics and Philosophy 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
PSHCE 2 hours 2 hours
Option 1 5 hours 5 hours 5 hours
Option 2 5 hours 5 hours 5 hours
Option 3 5 hours 5 hours 5 hours
Option 4 5 hours 5 hours 5 hours

The curriculum ensures personalisation for students differing interests, abilities and career ambitions. The vast majority of students are expected to continue studying either geography, history and/or a modern foreign language.

An outline of the options framework is available in the Year 8 Options booklet 2017-18.

All students are offered two weeks of work experience, an annual cross-curricular week experience and a huge array of extra-curricular activities and opportunities.


Homework is considered to be an important factor in achieving high standards. We expect parents to support us in ensuring that work outside the classroom is taken as seriously as work within. All homework is posted onto the Show My Homework site and can be accessed, by students and parents, on the homepage of the School website.

Special Needs Provision

It is an aim of the School to fully support each student to achieve her or his potential. In regular class lessons support is provided by teaching and support staff. We also provide individual and small group teaching for students with learning difficulties. There are well equipped teaching rooms provided with specialist resources, including computers, to assist students in developing skills. All students with learning difficulties are encouraged to use these facilities during lunchtimes with staff support.

Students with statements of special educational need are supported through allocation of specialist staff time and provision is monitored by officers of the Local Authority. This special provision is co-ordinated by our SENCO who, in association with the Pastoral Leader and Year Tutors monitors the progress of students and liaises with parents.

The needs of students of high ability are met through learning activities organised by subject areas such as lunchtime and after School clubs, and by participation in master classes and special projects. An Assistant Headteacher oversees the provision for our many Gifted and Talented students.

Hearing Impaired Department (HID)

Icknield has welcomed children with hearing impairment since the early 1970s. Students are integrated into all areas of School life, with support in mainstream classes being provided by educational communicators.

The department has a well-equipped area, where some specialist lessons take place. Our team of communicators and visiting deaf tutors use oral and signing methods of communication, according to each student’s individual needs.

Lunchtime signing classes for hearing students and staff add to the richness of our curriculum.

Religious Education

We endeavour to provide opportunities for all students to acquire knowledge about and understanding of major world faiths, and to reflect on and respond to human experiences. The locally agreed syllabus is followed. All students take a GCSE course in RE which is extremely popular and successful.

Acts of Worship

The School conducts a daily act of collective worship which takes the form of a ‘Thought for the Day’ covering a wide range of spiritual and moral issues. When there is an act of worship in assembly, parents may withdraw their child from it, but no alternative provision is available.

Sex & Relationship Education

Our programme includes human growth and development, reproduction, sexual health and diseases, and contraception. This information is presented to students in mixed classes, mainly in Personal, Social and Health Education lessons. We utilise a wide range of teaching materials and call upon community health workers and our own Welfare Assistant to support us.

Topics are presented in the context of family life, loving relationships and respect for others. We strongly encourage our students to develop a responsible and moral attitude towards their own sexual behaviour.

Parents can choose to withdraw their children from all or part of sex education but not from teaching the biological aspects of human growth and reproduction necessary under national curriculum science. Our sex education encourages students to consider morals and the value of family life and any parent wishing to consider withdrawing their child from such lessons should write to the Headteacher in the first instance. Independent surveys of our PSHE programme have indicted that we should rate our provision to students as ‘Outstanding’.

Careers Guidance

The great majority of our students go on to Further and Higher Education, with full guidance from our successful careers staff. Our aim is to increase students’ self awareness, to develop decision making skills, to raise understanding of education, training and career opportunities, and to fully prepare each individual for the adult world of work.

All students are encouraged to use our well-equipped careers resource centre. We fully utilise the local Connexions Service for Year 11 students, and inputs are made by a number of colleges and employers’ organisations.

All students in Year 10 have two weeks of work experience.

Curriculum Policy

A copy of the Curriculum Policy is available by request from the School office.

Curriculum Complaints

By law we have a complaints procedure, a copy of which is available on the Policies page or alternatively by request from the School office.