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Learning Experience

Our Curriculum – Fulfilling the Larkmead Promise 

Teachers at Larkmead are specialists in their subjects, teaching in specialist facilities across the school. Larkmead staff get to know each student so that they can support and encourage them to achieve their very best. We aim to ensure that students develop their curiosity, confidence and creativity, discovering new talents and passions as they move through Larkmead.

Teaching at Larkmead thrives on research, collaboration and sharing good practice from in and out of school. Professional development is supported by the National College of Education and other professional organisations.

Larkmead’s learning community reflects a culture of ambition and aspiration for all, where confidence is created through celebration and challenge. Students acquire knowledge in ways that develop skills, helping everyone to achieve their individual potential through  a broad and balanced curriculum.

The principles of our ethos and curriculum support students  throughout their learning journey are:

Curriculum Excellence:

  • Developing literacy, vocabulary, oracy, and numeracy so that all students can confidently access the curriculum, enhancing their life chances
  • Ensuring that students know more and remember more, creating a core body of knowledge and cultural capital as a foundation for success and engagement with continued learning in a fast-changing world
  • Nurturing ambition and confidence through taking responsibility, working together, embracing opportunities, meeting challenges, developing curiosity and building independence
  • Stimulating true engagement so that all students form connections and understand the relevance and lasting importance of their learning, with the adaptability to apply their knowledge and skills in different contexts
  • Fostering skills of advocacy, analysis, debate, discussion, and evaluation to make informed choices, seek the truth, be a positive influence in the world and know how others try to influence them

Personal Development:

  • Encouraging a broad range of talents, skills and interests through experiences and opportunities that inspire engagement, performance, participation, contribution and leadership
  • Developing each student’s social and moral awareness and understanding of their responsibilities to themselves, others, society and the environment as active citizens in the local, national and global communities
  • Inspiring students to stay fit, healthy and safe and make sensible choices now and in their future
  • Modelling and nurturing empathy, compassion and cooperation so that all students value and respect differences and diversity in an inclusive school and society

The curriculum at Larkmead encompasses learning within lessons as well as our school’s ethos, our social, moral, spiritual and cultural provision (SMSC) and each student’s wider experiences. Larkmead’s curriculum includes our tutorial programme building cultural capital, and our rewards and awards programme nurturing our values. With work experience in Years 10 and 12, Larkmead’s award-winning careers provision runs through Years 8-13, inspiring aspiration and supporting students to achieve their ambitions.


Curriculum structure

Key Stage 3 Years 7-9

In Year 7, 8 and 9 our curriculum establishes, embeds and explores  captures, fosters and develops the enjoyment of learning in a safe, caring, accessible and inclusive community, ensuring our students create secure foundations for their futures, characterised by resilience, courage and curiosity.

Our 3 year KS3 means all students will enjoy a breadth and depth of learning, accessing an appropriately broad body of knowledge, skills and experiences to support their transition to KS4 and beyond. Special events, extra-curricular enrichment and the Larkmead Extended and Academic Programme (LEAP) add to  students’ learning in Year 7-9.

Students in KS3 enjoy lessons in art, dance, design & technology, drama, English, French, geography, history, ICT, mathematics, music, PDC (Personal Development Curriculum), physical education, philosophy & religion, science and Spanish. These courses meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and build upon students’ prior knowledge, understanding and skills. We will adapt our provision for some groups of students in order to meet their needs while maintaining ambition and preparing them for their next steps.


Key Stage 4 Years 10-11

In Year 10 and 11, our curriculum fosters resilience and independence, deepening our students’ knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of their studies, developing their learning skills, securing aspirational outcomes and ambitious destinations.

During KS4 students study the core subjects of English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Triple or Combined Science, PDC, Philosophy & Religion and core PE. Students will apply to specialise within a system of timetable blocks that currently includes art & design, business studies, computer science or I-Media, dance, drama, film studies, French, food & nutrition, geography, history, music, philosophy & religion, photography, physical education (sports studies), product design (electronics & mechanisms, graphic products, resistant materials, textiles), sociology, Spanish and Triple Science. 

We maintain opportunities for learning outside of the classroom so students can access arts and sport. We adapt our provision for different students (for example, some of those with SEND) in order to meet their needs while maintaining ambition and preparing them for their next steps. We aim to review, update and adapt the curriculum each year to meet the needs of our students.


Key Stage 5 Years 12-13

In the sixth form, our curriculum guides, supports and inspires all students in their further studies, embracing the challenge of learning in greater depth, building on the independent study skills learnt and embedded at GCSE and adopting an ambitious A level mind-set that fully equips them for their next steps.

Larkmead Sixth Form consistently achieves outstanding value-added, with our ethos, expectations and support enabling students to succeed across a wide range of A Levels and access to vocational subjects. Students may also follow the Extended Project Qualification alongside Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and a wider range of enrichment and career events. 

Collaborations with other schools in the OX14 Partnership and the Vale Academy Trust expand opportunities for students.

At Larkmead School, we are committed to ensuring our curriculum is accessible for those with disabilities or special education needs.  Further information regarding this can be found under our SEND Provision.  We also comply with our duties under the Equality ACT 2010 as detailed in our Equality Policy and Public Sector Equality Statement, which can be found in the Policies section of this website.

Knowledge and skills have been sequenced across the Key Stages. Skills provide the foundation to academic excellence.