Curriculum

General Information

Building Learning Habits is at the heart of Learning and Teaching at Handsworth Grammar School. We want learners who are:

  • independent
  • curious
  • reflective
  • resilient
  • life-long
  • creative and imaginative
  • acquiring flexible skills for a rapidly changing world
  • collaborative

 

Lessons have a dual focus on Learning Habits as well as learning the content of courses and topics. Learning habits are the routine ways in which we think when are faced with life’s experiences and challenges. As a school, we will focus upon building the 10 habits of Collaborating, Questioning, Listening, Noticing, Planning, Revising, Making Links, Resilience, Capitalising and Distillation. We want our boys to know what to do when they don’t know what to do by referring to the habits of mind that they have acquired.

Dual learning objectives, engaging starter activities, a balance between collaborative and independent learning, activities to assess understanding and progress, creative use of resources and ICT, feedback and reflective activities will be common features of lessons at Handsworth Grammar School.

Please click here to view the BLH Action Plan.

Please click here to view the Intervention Action Plan.

Please click here to view the Literacy Action Plan.

Key Stage 3

 

Years 7

Students enter the School at eleven years of age and are placed in one of five tutor groups according to information from their primary school and their performance in the eleven plus test. In Years 7 to 9 all students follow a common Curriculum based on the following subjects Art; English; French; German; Geography; History; Computing and Multimedia Technology (C&M); Literacy/Study Skills; Mathematics; Music; Opening Minds; Physical Education (PE); Religious Studies (RS); Science; Citizenship and Technology.
The Opening Minds Project and Literacy/Study Skills lessons provide support to all other curriculum subjects in particular Citizenship, English, History and Geography.

 

Years 8

There is a slight change for students in year 8, although they will follow the same general curriculum plan as year 7. The differences are:

  • No lessons in Literacy/Study Skills or Opening Minds
  • 1 extra lesson in each of Computing and Multimedia, Geography and History.

 

Years 9

In year 9, students follow the same general curriculum plan as year 8 with the following differences:

  • Specialising in one MFL. At the end of Year 8 students will be guided to do either French or German in Year 9, to allow development and specialism in preparation for their GCSE in Year 10.
  • Science will begin teaching of GCSE and will be taught as three discrete subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics).
  • The RS department will begin teaching of the GCSE course.

 

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 and 11

In Years 10 and 11 all students study a core of subjects made up of English (leading to GCSE English and GCSE English Literature), Mathematics and separate Sciences, ICT, plus three option subjects chosen from Art, Business Studies, Design and Technology (Electronics, Resistant Materials or Engineering), Geography, History, Music and PE. While every effort is made to enable students to take the subjects of their choice, this is not always possible if the course is oversubscribed or indeed under-subscribed. In addition students continue to study GCSE Citizenship (incorporating Careers Guidance and PSHE) and PE. Citizenship is delivered in a whole day of Citizenship five times a year.

Student in year 11 will continue with the subject that they studied in year 10.
During Year 11, students attend an information evening with their parents in order that advice can be given regarding Post 16 opportunities. Students are asked for the choice of subjects they would like to study for A level. Extensive support is given to ensure that choices are made which are realistic and appropriate for likely career pathways.

 

Key Stage 5 – Years 12 and 13

The school has a successful and growing Sixth Form, offering excellent academic opportunities. The vast majority of our students choose to stay at HGS for their AS- and A-Levels before going on to higher education. Young women are able to join our sixth form and they bring a new dimension to our school life.

In year 12 students study four AS level subjects (or five including Further Maths); and three A level subjects (or four including Further Maths) in year 13, chosen from a wide range of possible subjects. Every effort is made to enable the preferred choice of course requested by students to be timetabled but where an option is not viable in terms of numbers and/or staffing, the Governors reserve the right to withdraw the subject option offer.

All Year 12 take an Enrichment Studies option from a broad offering and these run on Wednesday afternoons. The options available include ECDL, Level 3 IFS Certificate/Diploma in Financial Studies, Extended Projects, Community Work and sport. Year 12 students will also have a Study Skills lesson once a week. Some sixth formers will be selected to be Learning Mentors who will support younger students at HGS.

Students are supported through tutorial and careers advice, directed private study, access to our Learning Hub and extensive ICT facilities, a variety of study trips and visits, high quality help with higher education applications, work experience and the opportunity to continue with or experience new sport and leisure activities. An active school council representing students’ views is well run by members of the sixth form. There are also many opportunities for extracurricular activities and taking on roles of responsibility within the school.

Throughout the school career of our students, we recognise our responsibility to ensure that they are adequately prepared for adult life and regard the work of the school as complementary to and supportive of the role of the parents.