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Curriculum Intent – Physical Education GCSE

“It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver”

Mahatma Ghandi

Physical Education offers more than an academic qualification here at REACH. The National Curriculum for Physical Education aims to ensure that all students develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities; are physically active for sustained periods of time; engage in competitive sports and activities and lead health active lifestyles. We believe that Physical Education equips students with the knowledge they need to make informed choices for a healthy lifestyle and for their mental health as sport is a therapeutic outlet and encourages participation in sport beyond the domain of education.

Young people experiencing emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression) has increased by 48% (, 2019). Mental health problems are common and account for the largest single source of disability (23%) in the UK. With more children being prescribed medication for disorders such as ADHD, Depression and Anxiety, physical activity is important. It can improve cognitive performance, self-esteem, reduce anxiety and symptoms related to mental health problems and improve the quality of life of those experiencing them.

In Physical Education we teach different ways to overcome obstacles that may hinder progress socially, emotionally, mentally and physically. Physical Education at REACH teaches students the importance of exercise and how to exercise, giving them improved self-management skills to put themselves in a better place to learn now and succeed in later life. It provides children and young people with the opportunity to express themselves physically, challenge themselves and others, experience different environments and activities, work together and release energy which helps de-stress and lowers anxiety levels.

“Understanding is more than memorising”

Students of this generation face many obstacles including; body image, weight management, sedentary lifestyles, poor motivation, low confidence and even skill level when comparing themselves to others. Through a learner centred approach we work with each student instilling a positive growth mind-set, improved self-esteem and encouraging a high level of self-efficacy, developing our students beyond academic progress and preparing them for their future socially and physically through a range of visible learning and setting challenging learning intentions. We use Physical Education to instil fundamental British values whilst challenging our students through a wide variety of sports and outdoor physical activities from British classics such as Golf, Badminton, Football, Basketball, Rugby, Boxing and Gymnastics to more adventurous activities including Rock Climbing, Skiing, Water Sports and High Ropes. Our school is built around Challenge Day and with the addition of PE as an option, we present an array of physical and intellectual challenges, encouraging all pupils to be physically active and to work as a team, build on trust and develop skills to solve problems either individually or as a group and throughout their life.

Physical Education at REACH enables our young people to develop character, build on their culture capital and therefore increasing their habitus to succeed through setting high expectations, differentiated lesson and using the kudos of sport, we aim to inspire all of our students in PE and in their future chosen destinations after REACH.

Through experience we increase our Habitus and through education we build our Cultural Capital giving us a better position on any Field.

Curriculum Intent – Combined Science GCSE

‘Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge’

A basic human motivator is to try to understand WHY. Why did something happen? How does something work? Curiosity about the world around us, about what makes it and us TICK is at the foundation of invention, of creativity. Teaching science well can nurture that curiosity, can satisfy some of that yearning to understand WHY. Understanding why a year is what it is for us on planet Earth feels good. Understanding how organisms are all connected by the long thin thread of evolutionary change gives depth to our sense of stewardship of the Earth.

There is also a very real effect on the brain and mind that comes from studying science. Developing a scientific approach to questioning and determining answers is an important skill for life in general, and science can dramatically increase a child’s capacity for reasoning and logical thought. This can help to alleviate some of the difficulties that sometimes arise with students — especially those with troubled backgrounds, like our students, that stem from a lack of understanding of the environment and themselves, and the inability to think rationally.

A lot of the time, what we’re learning about and discovering in science at REACH is not good news. It’s a bummer to learn about climate change. It’s a bummer to think about cancer. Ongoing human-caused mass extinctions are kind of depressing to think about, let alone acknowledge. In science lessons we teach our students that using critical thinking and evidence to create solutions might be the key to help solve some of the world problems.

Many students come to us from families and neighbourhoods where science is definitely not in the forefront, nor is it integrated into the social fabric of their communities. At reach we demonstrate that Science offers an opportunity to work on their own at home or with other people performing an experiment, that Science allows learning, organising information, making links between ideas and understanding the big picture that is the world past, present and future.

Curriculum Intent – GCSE Religious Studies

“Enabling young people growing up in a diverse society to understand the views and opinions of people whose beliefs and values differ from their own.”

The main objective of Religious Studies at REACH school is to provide varied and enriching lessons that effectively prepare our students for life in a culturally diverse modern world. We aim to promote an awareness of the usefulness of Religious Studies to everyday living, to encourage enthusiasm for interest in the study of other people’s beliefs and to promote mutual respect, tolerance and understanding across different cultures and communities.

Britain is now a very diverse society; finding out about the beliefs and lifestyles of all people makes us think about what we believe and reflect on our own choices. This helps us to develop our own ideas and opinions, and ultimately shapes who we are. Learning to express our own beliefs and to listen to the views of others is an important life skill and this is something that Religious Studies staff have a passion for.

Religious Studies is an important subject at Reach because:

  • Issues of religion and belief frequently top the news agenda and Religious Studies helps make sense of them.
  • Religious Studies allows young people growing up in a diverse society to understand the views and opinions of people whose beliefs and values differ from their own.
  • Religious Studies provides space for young people to reflect on their own ideas and develop their thoughts about questions of meaning and ethics.

Religious Studies develops students’ ability to express themselves, ready for the world of work and higher education. Aspirational career pathways that link well with this subject are lawyers, paramedics, nurses, teachers and social workers.

At REACH we strive for young people to have a sense of community and belonging in the areas of South Birmingham. Religious Studies gives opportunity to study in depth the two most prominent religions in their own communities: Islam and Christianity.

“The world respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.” Barack Obama

Reaching all Educating to Achieve through Challenge with High expectations

Curriculum Intent – Life Skills

Through ‘Life Skills’ we offer each student a hand in being a happy, healthy and skilled individual to approach life effectively.

At REACH school we aim to create a happy, purposeful and supportive environment where students are enabled to become successful learners, develop their full potential and achieve the highest educational standards they can. We believe a collaborative culture is fundamental in enabling children to develop personally and emotionally, and as young citizens. Children grow up in a complex and ever changing world and are exposed to an increasing range of influences. As a school we aim to build on and complement the learning that has already started at home to provide the knowledge, understanding and skills that children need to lead healthy, fulfilling and meaningful lives, both now and in the future.

Life Skills is central to our school ethos, supporting children in their development, and underpinning learning in the classroom, school, and in the wider community. Values are fundamental expressions of what we think and believe. As a school we encourage children to think about personal and social values, to become aware of, and involved in the life and concerns of their community and society, and so develop their capacity to be active and effective future citizens.

Life Skills equips children with the knowledge, understanding, skills and strategies required to live healthy, safe, productive, capable, responsible and balanced lives. It encourages them to be enterprising and supports them in making effective transitions, positive learning and career choices, and in achieving economic wellbeing. A critical component of Life Skills is providing opportunities for children to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes, and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future.

Life Skills contributes to personal development by helping students to build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem, and to identify and manage risk, make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions. It enables them to recognise, accept and shape their identities, to understand and accommodate difference and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings. Developing an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help students to form and maintain good relationships, develop the essential skills for future employability and better enjoy and manage their lives.

“Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you respond to it.”

Curriculum Intent – BTEC Health and Social Care

‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’

Modern society is ever evolving in terms of ‘societal norms’ however human development and how we treat and care for one another continues to be at its core.

Health and Social Care equips our students to discover the impact of positive and negative human development and how to critically analyse how these factors affect our day to day lives. Health and Social Care enables students to explore academically and practically areas that influence how we develop throughout life stages and in turn raise expectations of how we can live successful and healthy lives now and in our future.

Health and Social Care promotes opportunities for students to draw from real life experiences, case studies and opportunities to undertake research to compliment learning and create skills that will be used throughout their lives. These skills encourage students to think outside typical teenage ego-centrism and begin to challenge the way they perceive the world we live in. Furthermore, highlighting how a human relationships, physical environments and socioeconomic status may influence how they develop.

Through investigation of health and well-being and how our lifestyle choices effect how healthy we are, students access different resources and external agency advice and guidance that encourages them to talk about areas and raise awareness of signs and symptoms of: abuse, addiction, illness and mental health.

Our diverse range of students supplements learning by allowing group discussions to be engaging, promoting time for powerful knowledge and cultural capital to be explored and teenage mindsets to be broadened.

‘It is health that is the real wealth.’

As UK Citizens we are privileged to have access to the National Health Service and other supporting services that allow us ensure we live healthy lives. It is imperative students are aware of how the 7 Care Values are transferable skills that they will adhere to throughout their working lives and when working alongside others and within their families. Through reflective practice of their own actions and performance we intend to instil values in students that will encourage them to be well rounded individuals in society with the confidence and buoyancy to empower them to chase their career aspirations and to create, thoughtful and caring individuals who will in turn, pass these values on in the future.

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Curriculum Intent – Challenge Days

The vision for Challenge Day at REACH School is based on the concept that the outdoors is an essential part of life as well as being integral to the development of the whole student. Challenge Day not only focuses on subject knowledge but ties learning together through ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, cooperation and confidence. Our Outdoor Learning curriculum aims to develop self-esteem, cooperation and creativity as well as inspire students to achieve their full potential to provide them with the skills for life-long enjoyment of the outside world around us.

Challenge Day maximises the positive impact that outdoor experiences have upon children and young people; they should have access to frequent, continual and progressive experiences of outdoor learning within a range of environments and weathers. Outdoor Learning sessions are regularly planned so that they can be taken outside.

To further enhance this element we have Challenge Days every week, which gives students the opportunity to embark on a journey to different places around the West Midland’s area and further a field. In addition, we strive to educate students to appreciate and understand the world around us. The world is rapidly changing (uses of plastic, digital networking) and it has never been more important than now that we engage our students in the outside world around them.

Reach School is committed to providing an enriching and creative education for all students where Outdoor Learning is embedded in daily learning, so that our children learn how to look after and enjoy our world.

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one“

Curriculum Intent – English

Reading expands minds, knowledge and opportunities

The English language is an ever evolving piece of art that can open doors.

Our intentions:

  • Our aim is to ensure that all learners have experienced a wide range of high quality reading material
  • To promote reading, writing and high-quality literature
  • To derive an English curriculum which is sequences to develop the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

At Reach the aim is to enrich students through a range of fiction and non-fiction texts which inspire learners and enable them to learn about the world around us. We aim to meet the needs of a rapidly-changing world through personalised learning.

Image result for alice in wonderland opening doorStudents receive 4 lessons a week; two language lessons and two for literature. More time is given to English on the timetable as it supports and underpins the curriculum as a whole.

Fiction unlocks student creativity and they are introduced to worlds and characters that are new and intriguing. Sometimes they read about scenarios that they can identify with and realise that they aren’t alone.

Non-fiction opens their minds to current affairs and helps discuss any issues that concern them. Learners are able to question and debate their ideas on topics.

They will develop a rich vocabulary which will deepen their understanding of the power of speech and language making them better equipped to articulate what they truly want to say.

Literature helps students learn about historical events and life for those from different eras, societies and religions. Thusly, students are able to understand the impact that history has had on the society today and help broaden their understanding of the world today and how things have developed over time.

The skills they learn in English will help develop their reading and writing skills, but more importantly, make them better communicators – a skill for life!

Curriculum Intent – Mathematics GCSE

At REACH we believe that Maths should be taught not just as an independent academic subject, but as a life skill and as a gateway to achievement in all subjects.

The study of Numeracy and Mathematics empowers students to become active members of society. It gives them the tools and the skills to navigate not only the world of work but also their worlds outside work. Looking after family life, their social life, understanding the numbers when it comes to the environment and the statistics that affect them from the political world.

At work, they will need Maths when giving or checking correct change, weighing and measuring, using spreadsheets and understanding data. In practical everyday activities at home and beyond like working out how many minutes until the next train or increasing a recipe to serve extra guests.

As consumers they will need to understand how to work out things like percentage discounts, checking they have received the right change or working out how much to tip in a restaurant.

Maths will help them in managing their finances by setting and keeping to a budget, understanding what interest is and understanding the financial implications of borrowing money.

Maths is in everything including health. Managing diets and calorie intake, knowing how to tell the time to aid making and keeping medical appointments or measuring medicine doses in different units.

Maths and Numeracy skills will help our students become active members of society. Understanding the world about us by making sense of statistics and graphs in the news, understanding information about government spending and thus allowing them to make truly informed choices in our democracy.

In our digital age of information Numeracy is equally as important as Literacy when preparing students for the world beyond school. In saying that, at REACH we also strive to ensure that our students are pushed towards a Maths qualification truly reflective of their ability that will give employers and colleges a glimpse at our students’ true potential.

Curriculum Intent – Work Related Learning

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“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present.” (Elenor Roosevelt)

At REACH school Work Related Learning is the present and this is the gift that keeps on giving. As you cannot put a tag on the wealth of knowledge each student gains from experiencing a day in world of work.

Adulthood is hard and to maintain work/life balance is a real skill, but when you are able to work in a field you truly enjoy the experience of adulthood becomes a lot easier. We give our students the opportunity to get a taste of something they are passionate about whether it is learning how to fix a car, taking care of children, looking after animals, learning about computers or becoming the next successful make-up artist.

I can vouch from personal experience as to the impact that work experience can have as I met what would become my future employer at a career’s fair which I helped organise through the company I was volunteering with.

Through Work Related Learning, REACH enable students to develop their understanding of working life: – the routine of being punctual to their placement, to learning effective communication skills and also learning to be part of a team. This culminates in them leaving with an accredited and recognised qualification in their desired post – 16 options.

“Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs”:

  1. The future can be better than the present
  2. And I have the power to do it.

Planned career activities and taster days are embedded in the curriculum to support post-16 options in order to ensure students are presented with a variety of opportunities to fully understand their chosen pathway and make informed decisions about their future.

The intent of work related learning is to further develop our students’ passion for their desired career path, as REACH school always try to match our student’s post-16 choices to their work placement. Student’s knowledge, behaviour and skills are brought to life through their chosen work experience which leads to them being competent, qualified and ready for the real world.

Curriculum Intent – Food Technology / Catering

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Food is a vital part of our daily lives and is essential for life. As our students become adults and have busy lives, it is easy to choose food which has been ready prepared. However, it is more nutritious and often cheaper to cook simple, delicious food.

At REACH School, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of nutrition, healthy eating, food preparation, hygiene, cooking techniques, and sensory characteristics.

We aim to deliver lessons that are REAL: (Relevant, Engaging, Active, Learning)

Give our students vital life skills that enable them to feed themselves and others affordably and nutritiously, now and later in life. (Relevant)

Encourage the development of high skills and resilience in a safe environment, allowing students to demonstrate commitment and act on feedback. (Engaging)

Empower students to enable them to follow a recipe and substitute ingredients and cooking methods as appropriate, demonstrating an understanding of food choices e.g. veganism, allergies and healthy eating. (Relevant and Learning)

Develop understanding that will allow students to become discriminating consumers of food products, enabling them to participate in society in an active and informed manner. (Active)

Engage with students to encourage them to understand the environmental factors which affect the inequalities in food distribution on a global scale and give them an understanding of the need to minimise ‘food waste’ starting with their own practise. (Engaging)

Allow students to explore a number of multicultural perspectives concerning food. Students will enhance their understanding, appreciation and acceptance of people from a variety of cultural backgrounds through the preparation of food from different countries and religious beliefs, with Kosher and Halal and other dishes prepared. (Active)

Encourage our students to develop an awareness and acceptance of diversity within our community. (Relevant, Engaging, Active, Learning)

Our hope is that through Food Technology, students are provided with a context through which to explore the richness, pleasure and variety that food adds to life. The Hospitality and Catering Industry is the largest employer in the UK and here in Birmingham. Jobs in this sector are very real possibilities for our students. As such they will also develop an understanding of the practical and personal skills needed to succeed in the industry.