Key Stage 3 and 4 Curriculum

Key Stage 3 & 4

Our Curriculum Intent

Writhlington School is an average sized mixed 11-18 comprehensive school serving the rural communities of Radstock, Peasdown and Midsomer Norton as well as the wider surrounding towns and villages such as Frome and Bath. As students come from a wide range of primary schools with a variety of educational experiences, our curriculum is designed to ensure that all students can quickly achieve their personal best. Most of our students arrive having achieved inline with National Expectations at KS2, but there are a significant number of students who do need further support to quickly develop the literacy skills needed to succeed at KS4 and our phonics programme supports them to make rapid progress.

The school has a higher than average number of students in receipt of the Pupil Premium and those requiring extra support as they have special educational needs. Hence, it is important that Writhlington is an ambitious school so that we can change life outcomes for our students. Ultimately, we aim to exceed the National Curriculum requirements at Key Stage 3 and provide our students with a rich and varied diet of academic and vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4. Our school values of Respect, Resilience, Ambition, Kindness, Confidence and Success ensure that our students have the attitudes as well as the qualifications needed for educational success and the best life chances/ opportunities.

Our school values of Respect, Resilience, Ambition, Kindness, Confidence and Success ensure that our students have the attitudes as well as the qualifications needed for educational success and the best life chances/ opportunities.

“Leaders have put in place clear ambition for high quality education”

Ofsted 2023

Our curriculum has a strong focus on developing knowledge.

Acquisition of knowledge allows our students to develop the:

  • communication and language skills needed to have successful interactions with others
  • listening skills required to respond fully, knowing the meanings of words and social cues
  • deeper understanding of subjects being taught by freeing more mental space to think about what they are encountering
  • vocabulary of words that will enable them to express themselves effectively

As literacy is at the centre of all that we do, we aim to foster a love of reading with our students at our school, which also allows them to develop empathy towards others whose lives are very different from their own socio-economic background and culture. Ultimately, we want our students to become well-rounded members of society and have the skills and attitude needed to lead a happy and healthy life. Hence our focus on careers education and social, moral, spiritual and cultural development through our wider curriculum offer ensures that our students have a much wider understanding of the world around them, which is much more diverse than our school in Writhlington, which is ultimately predominantly white British.

Our PSHRE programme is fully compliant with the most recent RSE and health education statutory guidance. It ensures that our students are kept safe online and tackles contemporary issues such as identifying and tackling harmful sexualised behaviour, prejudicial attitudes and peer-on-peer abuse.


> View our curriculum intent for Key Stage 3 (years 7 - 9)

> View our curriculum intent for Key Stage 4 (years 10 - 11)

Our Curriculum Implementation

Students make progress by learning and remembering in a more complex way as they journey through the curriculum. Thus, at Writhlington we have ensured that each key stage not only builds on the former but also allows our students to build knowledge needed for their future learning, too.

Our teachers have thought carefully about the order that learning should follow by looking at the national curriculum and Ofsted’s subject research and review series as well as consulting with their professional organisations. Our subject leaders regularly meet in teams across the Trust to work together to plan sensible sequencing of learning so that students can fully grasp subject concepts by placing components of topics in a logical order. In this way, students can build secure foundations of knowledge and use these to further place new pieces of knowledge on top of another, enabling them to learn more and remember more.

We ensure that we teach our students how to recall information through a range of reinforcement techniques that help pupils retain knowledge they are taught and unpackage learning so that all pupils can achieve the learning goal set.

Assessment is through low-stakes quizzes or tests to help teachers understand how much our students have learnt and retained. Our formal assessments then help teachers to determine how well students can use their knowledge in different situations. At Writhlington we do not teach students to test but test what we have taught. We help them to prepare for the demands of examinations by ensuring they know and can remember more by regularly revisiting topics throughout their time in school.

The curriculum is delivered through a two week 60 period timetable and is divided into three broad stages:

  • Key Stage 3: Year 7 to Year 9
  • Key Stage 4: Year 10 and Year 11
  • Key Stage 5: Year 12 and Year 13


> View our curriculum implementation for Key Stage 3 (years 7 - 9)

> View our curriculum implementation for Key Stage 4 (years 10 - 11)

"The school has designed a curriculum across the range of subjects that builds pupils’ knowledge and skills from key stage 3 to key stage 5."

Ofsted 2021

Key Stage 3 Assessments and Flight Paths

What are ‘flight paths’?

A ‘flight path’ is an estimation of the progress students should be making across Key Stage 3, leading to successful outcomes at Key Stage 4.

Every student will be placed on a flightpath when they join the school, based on the following information:

  • Key Stage 2 SAT scores
  • Primary school transition information
  • Observation and assessment by teachers at Writhlington school in their first term

Students are expected to work at the level of their flight path, as a minimum.

Staying on the same flight path means that students are showing very good progress in their work. Therefore, if students are to stay on their flight path through years 7, 8 and 9, the knowledge and skills that students are expected to attain will need to increase. Simply put, the work becomes more challenging as students progress - so staying on their flight path shows that they are managing this extra challenge, and should be celebrated for it.

How are students assessed?

Students will experience a range of assessments during each term. These include:

  • Knowledge tests - these are low stakes tests, usually out of 10, or as a percentage
  • Formal assessments - these use a range of questions and test the knowledge students have learnt over the term. Practical assessments will also be taken into consideration for some subjects

Students will receive a grade in the form of the ‘Flight path’ language, shown below. This will clearly show students if they are making the expected progress, at any point in the term. This will be recorded on a sticker on the front of their exercise book.

What does the ‘flight path’ language mean?

The language used above is an abbreviation. It shows where they are in achieving the knowledge, understanding and skills expected for this stage of their year.

We have established what we expect to be an Age Related Expectation, or standard for each Year group, based on linking the expected standard from KS2 of around a 100 on the scaled scores, to the expected standard at GCSE of a strong pass, of a Grade 5.


A student enters Writhlington School in Year 7 with clear evidence from their Primary school that they are ‘meeting’ Age Related Expectations, based on achieving around a 100 in English and Maths.

They are placed on the ‘Meeting’ flight path.

A Target for the End Of Year 9 is created for them: Meeting Most Of the knowledge and skills expected for Year 9.

In their assessments throughout Years 7, 8 and 9, it will be expected that their results stay within the ‘Meeting’ flightpath, as a minimum, and that their grades are at least ‘Meeting most of’.

If they continue to achieve grades of at least ‘Meeting most of’, then they are making very good progress.

Students who are below 94 as a KS2 scaled score are likely to be placed on the ‘Developing towards’ flight path.

Students who are above 105 as a KS2 scaled score are likely to be placed on the ‘Exceeding’ flight path.

For further information about our curriculum offer, contact Mark Bridges (Senior Assistant Headteacher) via our contact form.