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Walney School

Curriculum Intent

We provide a knowledge rich curriculum, with knowledge and vocabulary at the heart of student progress. 

The acquisition of core knowledge and key vocabulary is a priority for all students in each subject. From this foundation students can then develop skills, such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, debate, etc. which will enable them to not only reach their full potential in their academic studies, but also to move on to successful further studies, employment, or training.

Each subject curriculum is planned and sequenced to build on students’ prior learning, so that new knowledge and skills connect to what has previously been learned and build towards clearly defined end points.

Research has shown that the difference between good readers and poor readers is background knowledge.  Students who are good readers will achieve higher success in life than poor readers. We also know from research that the size of a student’s vocabulary is a good indication of how successful they will be in life. We believe that by focussing on core knowledge and key vocabulary we will support our students to become better readers and better learners, which will enable them to become successful adults.

Principles of our subject curriculum design

  • The National Curriculum is the starting point for the content of each subject curriculum. Our ambition is to go beyond the National Curriculum, preparing students for KS4, life beyond school, and for their role in our community.
  • All students are entitled to learn the most challenging of concepts in each of the subjects they study. There should be no alternative core of knowledge for less able or disadvantaged students.
  • Our subject curriculum stretch and challenge all students, not just the more able.
  • Subject curriculums start with what students already know and will support students to make connections with prior and future learning.
  • Subject curriculums have defined end points with clarity over what students will be able to understand and do by the end of each key stage.
  • Subject curriculums specify exactly what students need to know and remember.
  • Curriculum development is an ongoing process. We will adapt and develop the curriculum as our own knowledge is developed and as required by students.
  • Subject curriculums enable students to commit the knowledge to long-term memory, by providing multiple opportunities to do so.
  • Acquisition of knowledge does not mean simply memorising facts. Students are given opportunities to apply their knowledge in a variety of contexts, thus developing their skills of analysis, debate, evaluation, synthesis, etc.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum


Number of 50 minute periods per week


4 periods (Y7), 5 periods (Y8 & Y9)


4 periods (Y7), 5 periods (Y8 & Y9)


4 periods


2 periods


2 periods


2 periods

Computer science

2 periods


1 period

Food/Design Technology (DT)

2 periods (1 week food, 1 week DT)


1 period


2 periods

Beliefs, philosophies & ethics (BPE)

1 period

Personal development (PD)

1 period

Outdoor learning

2 periods (Y7 only)

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

Subject Number of 50 minute periods per week
English 6 periods
Mathematics 5 periods
Science (biology, chemistry, physics) 6 periods (2 per subject)
PE 2 periods
Personal development (PD) 1 period
Beliefs, philosophies & ethics (BPE)

1 period

3 option subjects

3 periods per subject

Option subjects:

Students must choose at least one from the following subjects:

  • French
  • History
  • Geography

Students choose two more subjects from the following:

  • Art
  • Drama
  • 3D design (DT)
  • Enterprise
  • Food
  • French
  • Health & Social Care
  • History
  • Geography
  • Photography
  • RE
  • Sport

If you need any additional information about the curriculum we are following, please contact the school using the 'Contact' page on this website.