Balshaw’s Whole School Curriculum Vision:
The curriculum design at Balshaw’s has always been based around providing the most appropriate curriculum for its students that is as academic as possible, in order to provide the best possible onward opportunities. It does not, and has not ever been changed to be optimised for performance measures or league tables – it is always based upon delivering the curriculum that provides the greatest breadth and depth possible for as long as possible for each individual, based upon their ability without limit to their aspirations.
All subjects cover the National Curriculum as a minimum, but implicit in the way that the Balshaw’s curriculum is implemented is the desire to make subject content relevant beyond students’ time at school and have meaning in the context of their future lives.
Curriculum aspires to be a local curriculum. This takes account of the context of the employment opportunities, the post-16 education aspirations and the comprehensive nature of the school’s intake – further reason for its breadth, without compromise on academic ambition. The local area has a strong employment field in engineering and technology. Major employers are BAE Systems, Paccar (Leyland) Trucks, Dr Oetker food manufacture and many associated industries. The development of industry around Buckshaw in Chorley means that there will be a growing need for skilled labour. Equally, the close relationship that the school enjoys with Runshaw College means that the vast majority of Balshavians hope to study level 3 courses to the age of 18. It is important that the Balshaw’s Curriculum opens as many doors of opportunity as possible to our students when they leave us.
Another element of intent that underpins the way the Balshaw’s Curriculum is designed is a consciousness of how the ‘hidden’ curriculum impacts upon the richness and quality of our students’ lived experience of the taught curriculum. Our Christian vision and ethos plays a huge part in this through the interaction within the Balshaw’s Family. The experiences that our students have access to through leadership responsibility, club membership and participation in extra-curricular opportunities are deeply important to all staff.
One of the outstanding features of the Balshaw’s Curriculum is its breadth of subjects that all students are able to access. There are common pathways through the curriculum that students typically follow, all students have access to all elements of the curriculum below:
The allocation of time within the curriculum (which is scheduled over a two week timetable) is below:
Each department has its own approach to implementing its curriculum within the framework of intent for the whole school as described above.
Almost all students follow a broad and balanced curriculum of:
- 13 subjects in Year 7
- 12 subjects in Year 8 and 9
We aim to keep as many students on this broad pathway as possible before making option choices at the end of Year 9. There is a nurture path for an identified group of students in Years 7 – 9. The nurture pathway is delivered when other students study MFL in order to support the development of literacy and numeracy which in turn can impact upon improved confidence and well-being.
At Key Stage 4, students choose options in 9 blocks and receive CEIAG to support them in making appropriate option choices:
Apart from the positive progress measures that students achieve, securing places to their onward destinations is very important and all of our students continue in education, employment or training from the September that they have finished with us.
Each year Balshaw’s students are successful at gaining apprenticeship or employment at Paccar (Leyland) Trucks, BAE Systems and other local business and industry. Some take up positions at these places following Level 3 qualifications. Our most able students go on to gain Oxbridge places following Runshaw study – normally one or two students per year.
Students keep returning to Balshaw’s decades after they have finished studying, because to study at Balshaw’s is to become a Balshavian. That gives our students a pride in the school and a set of values that provides them with the love of learning that sets roots from which they grow to adulthood.
You can access the information about the Departments using the links below or via in the menu on the left: