At Drayton Manor High School, the curriculum refers to the totality of all that is planned for our students during their time with us. We see the curriculum in this way as it is our view that it is more than a programme of academic study, as that simply does not do justice to the purpose of an education.
At Drayton Manor, we are committed to producing personally rounded and highly knowledgeable students who strive to be exemplary citizens, contributing in all ways, and especially as role models within their communities and on the world stage. To this end, the vision for Drayton Manor is that we provide an education which is ambitious and uncompromising in the pursuit of academic excellence as well as rich in both character development and personal development. These principles enable us to promote the maximum possible development of individual students’ talents and potential within our tolerant and caring community.
Our school mission statement and curriculum are underpinned by the core values of Ambition, Character and Civic Virtue and we aspire for the curriculum intent for each subject area to build on these values. Therefore, our curriculum strives to offer and develop:
ambitious learning; instilling in every student the fundamental importance of academic rigour and hard work in all they do, combined with the value of breadth in their studies and the commitment to doing their very best and becoming the finest version of themselves;
the character of students; stimulating relish for fresh challenges and personal responsibility alongside the development of the necessary resilience, courage and determination to overcome challenges in a fast-moving world; inspired by the school’s motto Nec Aspera Terrent;
acquisition of civic virtue; including integrity, care for others, service and sharing non-academic life experiences. Civic virtues are character traits that are necessary for engaged responsible citizenship, contributing to the common good.
Our values are at the heart of the distinctive holistic approach to education called the ‘Drayton Manor Way’. They are clearly evidenced in the behaviours and characteristics of the students who leave our school.
We have carefully considered the curriculum entitlement for our students, ensuring they receive an academic education that is robust, broad and balanced and which stretches and challenges them. We want our students to develop in-depth, empowering knowledge of key concepts and ways of thinking, a set of ethical underpinnings and well-honed character traits, and the creativity and problem- solving skills to enable to make great contributions to the world.
Our students follow the National Curriculum at KS3 as well as the ‘Shine’ programme which includes a carousel of Citizenship, PSHE and additional Singing lessons. Students in Year 7 also attend Swimming lessons and all students have Games and PE lessons. We believe this curriculum supports our students on those first steps of the journey towards being the very best that they can be. There is also the opportunity to study Latin and this is currently being expanded into a wider Classics programme for all.
At KS4, the EBACC is at the heart of our curriculum offer for the majority of our students. We believe that it provides the necessary academic breadth and rigour to open-up a broad range of future study options at both A-Level and beyond. In 2019, 85% of our students were entered for the EBACC. In 2023, 93% of our students will be entered for the EBACC. Alongside this, students also have weekly PE lessons and study a carousel of RE, Careers Citizenship and Work (CCW) and Computing. This ensures they have the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare them for post-16 study, to equip them to succeed in the world of work and to lead productive, healthy and fulfilling lives; making positive contributions to their communities.
We develop strong literacy and numeracy skills in all our students. To support this a selection of students at KS3 and KS4 receive additional targeted support to close the gap between them and their peers. We understand the curriculum needs to be flexible to allow for personalised choices to maximise the outcomes and experience for students; therefore, EAL and SEN students also receive further specialist support through our Inclusion Faculty.
The Inclusion Faculty runs a range of more bespoke small group interventions which are regularly reviewed.
Learning beyond the classroom
Although we take the academic achievements of our students very seriously and are committed to ensuring they achieve the best possible set of qualifications, we also want our students to have seven years of personal growth to look back on. It is for this reason that learning within the classroom is complemented by a vast array of activities beyond it including trips, enrichment and leadership opportunities which are aligned with our core values.
We offer a range of academic, sporting, dramatic, artistic and musical clubs, teams and trips from Year 7 onwards. We also regularly have inspirational speakers from the world of business and academia as well as our highly successful alumni who return to the school to share their personal and professional stories and words of wisdom with our student body. These speakers serve as aspirational role models who demonstrate to our students what is possible with hard work and determination and their stories are often inspired by our motto Nec Aspera Terrent. Further information on clubs, trips and speakers is available on our website.
In order to facilitate development of character and civic virtue, our students also have the opportunity to take on leadership responsibilities throughout their school career by helping to run clubs and societies, raising awareness of key issues and fundraising for worthy causes. All of these activities have service at their core.
We have a Student Leadership Team comprising Head and Deputy Head Boys, Head and Deputy Head Girls and Student Prefects who are elected into post by their peers. They serve as role models to their classmates and undertake duties to represent the school and the student body. Students may also contribute by being elected into membership of the School Council or Year Council. All students have the chance to contribute their voice through the Tutor Council which takes place each term.
The School has a House System led a team of House Captains who take the lead on supporting in running a range of competitions and events to raise money for charity. Our four Houses (Caladrius, Phoenix, Griffin and Pegasus) compete for the House trophy in a range of events such as the House Music Festival and Sports Day and the school will be reinstating formal celebrations for the winning House this year.
An extensive team of Wellbeing Ambassadors lead on the school’s work to promote awareness on wellbeing and mental health. They are responsible, with the support of the Head of Inclusion, for developing strategies, activities and approaches which support student wellbeing and mental health.
Other opportunities for student leadership arise much earlier in a student’s school career; by being a member of the Year 6 Transition Team; by participating in the Senior Citizen’s Party or Voluntary Service project; by acting as peer mentors or homework buddies; by helping to run sports or music clubs or similar activities.
Our aim is to promote breadth and balance in the Sixth Form programme of study and each student’s programme is individually negotiated. The school offers 27 A Level courses and Vocational Courses in Applied Science, ICT, Business and Creative Digital Media. To ensure continuing quality and success, existing courses are reviewed annually and new syllabuses introduced as appropriate. Students all have a daily tutor time and a weekly assembly for an hour. All students are encouraged to attend university summer and specialist courses. There is a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as sports clubs, a drama workshop and societies in Astronomy, Debating, Economics, and Medicine and Wednesday afternoons are dedicated to timetabled Sixth Form enrichment in addition to the provision which takes place outside of lesson time. Students must select a minimum of one weekly enrichment. The CREST Award and the Extended Project Qualification are also very popular qualifications which students can choose in addition to their subject and enrichment choices. Students also take part in the Community Service Programme which involves mentoring younger students, peer reading, supporting in lessons and interventions or going off site to support in the local community.