Building Learning Habits is at the heart of Learning and Teaching at Handsworth Grammar School. We want learners who are:
- creative and imaginative
- acquiring flexible skills for a rapidly changing world
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.
Key Stage 3
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, Citizenship, Computing and Multimedia (C&M), Design and Technology (DT), English, French, German, Geography, History, Literacy/Study Skills, Mathematic, Music, Opening Minds; Physical Education (PE); Religious Studies (RS), and Science.
The Opening Minds Project and Literacy/Study Skills lessons provide support to all other curriculum subjects in particular Citizenship, English, History and Geography.
The same curriculum structure as year 7 is followed with a slight change for students in year 8. The differences are:
- No lessons in Literacy/Study Skills or Opening Minds
- 1 extra lesson in each of Computing and Multimedia, Geography and History.
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.
Students will begin the GCSE courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and RS.
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, Computer Science, plus three option subjects chosen from Art, Business Studies, Design and Technology, 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.
Students in year 11 will continue with the subjects that they studied in year 10.
During Year 11, students attend an information evening with their parents in order to help them make appropriate choices 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 very successful Sixth Form, offering excellent academic opportunities. The vast majority of our students stay at King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys to undertake their A-levels before going on to higher education. External students including young women are able to join our sixth form and they bring a new dimension to our school life.
In year 12 students will study 3 or 4 subjects (possibly 4 or 5 with Further Maths); and three A-level subjects (or possibly 4 with 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 Thursday afternoons. The options available include ECDL, Financial Studies, 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.