Curriculum Structure

Key Stage 3

At Thirsk, we run a three-year Key Stage 3 (KS3) with a focus on breadth, balance and challenge. At KS3, students study: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography and Modern Languages (German or French, though the most able linguists may take both languages forward from Yr8), Performing Arts (including Drama and Music); Design Technology (Food Technology Textiles, Technology); Art; ICT; Religious Education; Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) and PE.

A great deal of work supports the transition from Primary school into Secondary school and for those students who require support to make up ground on their peers are given this support.  Both Maths and English have smaller classes for students who require additional literacy and numeracy support during Year 7 and 8.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, students select four options that they choose to specialise in at greater depth. These options are undertaken alongside the core provision of GCSE English, GCSE English Literature, GCSE Maths and GCSE Combined Science and GCSE Religious Studies.  All students benefit from Core Physical Education too. All of our GCSE courses are two year courses.

Options are chosen at the mid- point of Year 9. Our model is designed to offer students opportunities to expand the subjects they can study so they can gain access to subjects such as Health and Social Care, Business Studies, Engineering or Catering. We also provide an option for all students to deepen their science studies, should they wish to do so, by selecting triple science (separate GCSE’s in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics).  Our options process strongly advises students to consider the value of studying a modern foreign language; we strongly steer all students, across the ability range, who would enjoy a GCSE in French or German to take it further.

Key Stage 5:

At Key Stage 5 students can select from a good range of Advanced Level courses, at A Level, or Applied General Qualifications.  Whilst many of these build on the options available within the main school curriculum some options are introduced for the first time, such as Psychology and Further Maths.   The possibility of retaking Maths and English GCSE is available to all students who require this. We also have a popular and successful ‘Bridge’ course for students who might benefit from a one year course designed to boost their academic confidence, broaden their knowledge whilst introducing them to work through work experience, and offering a route to qualifications that could lead to Level 3 study or apprenticeships.  All students in the Sixth Form College study a programme of taught skills in the Extended Project Qualification leading to the project itself.  They also benefit from a comprehensive tutorial programme designed to tackle issues germane to young adults as well as preparing for progression into further study or training for employment.  There is a core games lesson each week which is usually co-designed with the students to encourage their participation. Leadership is a feature of the learning in College – a tradition of student leadership is fulfilled in a number of ways with the Sixth Form Council being prominent in many whole school events.