an aspirational curriculum

we aim to provide an ambitious curriculum which is carefully crafted by our subject experts to ensure all students secure high levels of subject specific knowledge and expertise within an exciting and broad curriculum experience, complemented by a uniquely diverse and extensive extra-curricular and enrichment programme of the highest quality.

by engaging with this curriculum experience toot hill students develop into well informed, responsible, determined, and kind young people who are intellectually curious and creative in their thinking and leave us to become highly successful and happy young adults who take pride in their ability to contribute significantly to our local community and global society.

our curriculum design does not view students’ gcse examinations as the end point; each subject area curates their curricula to prepare students authentically for the next stage in the subject’s journey, buildings students’ schema sequentially to lead them on their journey from novice to expert. we are ambitious for every student in our care and, to that end, our curriculum design facilitates the expectation that students work towards targets that put them in the top 5% nationally. these targets are derived from fischer family trust aspire estimates that consider a pupil’s prior attainment, gender and month of birth.

our ks3 curriculum encompasses year 7, 8 and 9. students study a broad and balanced curriculum throughout ks3 and are provided with the opportunity to personalise their diet in year 9 by choosing to study two additional subjects from our broad range of gcse options alongside their national curriculum entitlement. these optional subjects include: business studies, computing, citizenship studies, economics, fashion and textiles, food preparation and nutrition, media studies, philosophy and ethics, engineering, hospitality and catering, child development, enterprise and marketing, art, drama, music and technology. we continually review this offer to look for additional courses that we can provide. the online ks4 options brochure can be viewed here:

in year 10 students focus their studies on the options studied in year 9 as well as the english baccalaureate. a small number of pupils do not continue a modern foreign language to gcse where it is determined that additional english and mathematics time would be beneficial for the student.

students receive three reports over the year that detail their progress towards their fft5 targets and scores for attitude to learning and homework. at ks3 student work and summative assessments are used to determine an indicative grade for each student, which is then compared to their ‘banded’ target. at ks4 indicative grades become more accurate and, as such, they are then compared to an integer target.

smsc in the curriculum

all schools are charged with developing students’ knowledge and understanding of spiritual, moral and cultural issues and themes. subject leaders complete an smsc audit of their taught curriculum and identify opportunities for teachers to engage students in wider debate. our staff promote a sense of social conscience, empathy and appreciation of the diverse nature of modern britain.

this subject provision backs up our comprehensive personal development curriculum, which is delivered during tutor time and via pshe periods, as well as through extra-curricular opportunities, themed days, assemblies and charity events. these activities provide students with opportunities to learn about their rights and responsibilities in society, based upon the qualities we value at toot hill school: purpose, responsibility, integrity, determination and empathy, as well as working hard and being kind.

school day

our school day starts at 8.30am, with a 15 minute tutor period, and finishes at 3.00pm (2.10pm on fridays). students have a 15 minute break in the morning and a 45 minute lunch break (currently 35 minutes under our covid-19 health and safety plans). in years 7 to 11, students are taught six 45 to 55 minute lessons a day. in addition, the school offers a wide variety of enrichment opportunities after school as part of ‘extended study’ to all of our students. these operate from 3.10pm to 4.10pm on tuesday to thursday.

key stage 3 curriculum

in years 7 , 8 and 9 pupils follow a varied curriculum that is prescribed for them and largely the same for all pupils:

lessons per week
subject year 7 year 8 year 9
english 4 4 5
maths 4 4 4/5
science 4 4 6
geography 2 2 2
history 2 2
french or spanish 3 3 3/2
art 2 2 2 as part of
termly rotation
drama 1 1
music 2 1 n/a
technology 2 2 n/a
Philosophy & Ethics 1 1 1
pe and games 3 3 2
pshce 1 1 part of rotation above
specialization 1 n/a n/a 2
specialization 2 n/a n/a 2
total 29 29 29

note that a relatively small number of pupils in year 7 and 8 have a reduced modern foreign language period allocation to allow them to access extra lessons in english.

key stage 4 curriculum

core curriculum

all pupils continue to study english (gcse english language and gcse english literature), maths and science through key stage 4. in science pupils follow either separate gcses in biology, chemistry and physics or gcse combined science which is two gcse qualifications.

every student has to study gcse geography or history although students can elect to study both of these courses.

all pupils continue to have ‘core’ pe lessons every week.


in the spring term of year 8 pupils are offered an open choice of subjects to specialise in in year 9 and then continue to gcse at key stage 4. we ensure that pupils make informed choices through the structured use of assemblies, tutor set activities, parents’ evenings, open evenings and one-to-one interviews. pupils are asked to choose options from the following list:

  • gcse french
  • gcse german
  • gcse spanish
  • gcse geography
  • gcse history
  • GCSE art & Design
  • gcse business studies
  • gcse computing
  • gcse citizenship studies
  • gcse drama
  • gcse economics
  • GCSE Fashion & Textiles
  • gcse food preparation and nutrition
  • gcse media studies
  • gcse music
  • gcse pe
  • GCSE Philosophy & Ethics
  • gcse technology
  • btec ict
  • btec engineering
  • btec performing arts (drama or dance)
  • btec sport
  • cambridge national child development
  • wjec hospitality and catering

note that students are assigned a differing number of option subjects dependent upon the ability band that they are taught in. for example, in the current year 9 students study the following number of option subjects:

teaching band years 10 and 11
t and h 4 including one modern foreign language and majority following gcse separate sciences
S 3

note that the number of options for each band is reviewed every academic year for the new year 9 cohort. students then adhere to this option structure throughout ks4.

key stage 5 curriculum

toot hill college has general entry requirements which all students must meet in order to study here. for the academic year commencing in 2020, these are at least a grade 4 in gcse english language and a grade 4 in gcse mathematics.

there are also subject-specific entry requirements which students must meet in order to study particular courses; these are outlined in the college prospectus which can be found on the toot hill school website. the courses offered by the college are listed below.

a level courses

  • art and design
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • computing
  • drama and theatre
  • economics
  • english combined
  • english language
  • english literature
  • geography
  • government and politics
  • history
  • law
  • mathematics
  • further mathematics
  • media studies
  • french
  • german
  • spanish
  • music
  • philosophy and ethics
  • photography
  • physical education
  • physics
  • product design
  • psychology
  • sociology

vocational courses

  • cambridge technical business (single award)
  • cambridge technical business (double award)
  • cambridge technical health and social care
  • btec information technology (single award)
  • btec applied science (double award)
  • btec sport (single award)
  • btec sport (double award)
  • BTEC Travel & Tourism
  • btec engineering
  • wjec diploma food science and nutrition

in addition to the courses presented here, students are presented with a wealth of enrichment opportunities including:

  • extended project qualification
    well-respected and recommended by top universities, college students at toot hill college are offered the opportunity to research and write a 5,000 word project on a topic of their choice.
  • silver and gold duke of edinburgh’s award (d of e)
  • toot hill college passport
    a unique toot hill college programme that accredits students for 100 hours of volunteering in the school and local community
  • students’ union (senior prefects)
    an active students’ union enables greater autonomy for students in the creation of a ‘higher education’ ethos and provides opportunities for consultation regarding key college decisions.
  • world challenge
    students complete a two week expedition abroad as a team, including a community project, a challenging trek and a sight-seeing element.

december 2020


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