Werneth School Curriculum Overview, 2023-2024 Academic Year

This explains the curriculum model in place at Werneth School. This new model was  updated in the summer of 2020, and represents a two tiered approach to the curriculum. A three year “Breadth, Depth and Ambition” model at Key Stage 3, and then a two year “Achieve” model based on academic principles with an element of choice at Key Stage 4.
We offer a broad and varied curriculum at Werneth School, reflecting the diverse needs of our students. We ensure all students have access to a curriculum which is balanced between academic, practical, technical and creative subjects. Werneth School is a truly comprehensive school with a wide range of students in terms of starting ability, aspiration and character. Because our students’ individual needs through their curriculum are so broad, they will often lean towards one or more of strands of the curriculum as their interests develop.
Every student will be challenged to develop new knowledge, skills and interests as they move through their five years with us. Whilst maintaining a broad curriculum of academic subjects, students have an element of choice in their strands in Year 9. They then choose their options for Year 10 from the full range of subjects. In this way, they significantly deepen their knowledge and understanding in their chosen subjects from Year 9 onwards.

Features of our five year curriculum

In English Maths, Science, Life Learning, RE and PE the school’s curriculum methodology is based on a five year approach. English, Maths and Science account for over 40% of curriculum time in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9. This increases to well over 50% in Year 10 and 11. This time allowance recognises the significance of the three core subjects for future pathways and the fact that students will sit between five and seven GCSEs in these subjects.

In Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 the core subjects are supported by a broad underpinning curriculum that provides a broad education as students move through their five years. Students study Humanities (History, Geography and RE), Creative subjects (Dance, Drama, Music and Art), Technology (Food Technology, Textiles, Product Design and Resistant Materials), MFL (French), and PE.

Subjects follow the National Curriculum. Subject Leaders are responsible for selection and sequencing of learning, to maximise breadth, depth and knowledge acquisition. Development of knowledge is carefully sequenced and linked to assessments throughout the programme. Detailed programmes of work identify opportunities to revisit topics in order to consolidate learning, and identify and address gaps in knowledge. Teachers have worked collaboratively in their departments to plan meaningful formative assessment that allows students to demonstrate the acquisition and application of knowledge.

Our curriculum places high importance on the development of literacy and oracy skills for all students, with intervention and support for those who require it. There is a dedicated transition group in Year 7 to help identified students move successfully into Key Stage 3, and then thrive in the secondary setting. A number of students also receive additional support for Literacy and Numeracy.

English and Maths are taught in sets from Year 7. Science and MFL are taught in sets from Year 8. The school aims to provide smaller than national average class sizes across every subject where possible, and greater support is provided as applicable in terms of class size.

At the end of Year 9 students will  access some new courses to help them choose an appropriate pathway in Years 10 and 11. 

  • All students will continue to be prepared for GCSEs in English Language, English Literature, and Mathematics. All students will continue to be prepared for at least two Science GCSEs. 

  • Non examination courses will be followed in PE, Life Learning and RE by all students.

Students choose to follow one of three pathways:

  1. The Ebacc pathway – students will select at least one of History and Geography, and also select a MFL subject (French or Spanish) as another option. The third and fourth option subjects are a free choice.

  2. The Open pathway – students will select at least one option from the Ebacc list of subjects [ Computer Science, History, Geography, French and Spanish], and have three additional subject choices from a range of GCSE and vocational subjects.

Extension and enrichment opportunities are also available for some students to study additional GCSEs.

These include: 

  • Further Maths 

  • a number of other wider qualifications in Leadership and Enterprise; 

  • individual students completing additional qualifications in Performing Arts subjects. 


These opportunities may vary from year to year depending on the needs of the cohort and the availability of staff.

At the start of Year 10, additional vocational options (Construction, Child Care, Health & Beauty, Engineering, Catering and MPT) are also available for some students, offering further breadth and personalisation to the curriculum. The school recognises that a small number of our students struggle with the demands of a full secondary curriculum. The school offers in-house programmes in Years 10 and 11 to support a bespoke curriculum for these students. This bespoke curriculum is delivered by Werneth teachers but can also include additional opportunities, including work experience, college placements, social, health and community work.

Although the curriculum has been designed to meet the P8 requirements, our curriculum is principled with the primary needs of our students in mind. The overriding goal has been to create a flexible model that would be motivational and well matched to the needs of our students, whatever their starting point, interest and background. Therefore a small number of students follow a highly personalised programme, including courses that are not included in the P8 measure. This has led to a significant number of increased opportunities for these students post-16 ( eg apprenticeships ).

In all years, students follow a Life Learning programme delivered via lessons, assemblies, form time and collapsed days. Content includes Character, Culture, Mental Wellbeing, Sex and Relationships, Healthy relationships, Careers and Work Related Learning. Provision is enhanced through our partnership with The Manchester United Foundation and also the extensive range of extra-curricular opportunities. 




Lesson Times

There will be four lessons before lunch and one after. The new lesson times are shown below.

Start Finish Timetable
8.45 9.10 Registration / Assembly / Form Period
9.10 10.10 Period 1
10.10 11.10 Period 2
11.10 11.30 Break
11.30 12.30 Period 3
12.30 13.30 Period 4
13.30 14.10 Lunch Time
14.10 15.10 Period 5

Two-Week Timetable

To give us enough flexibility , we  operate a two-week timetable, made up of a Red Week and a Blue Week. The two weeks will have identical lesson times, but the balance of lessons may vary slightly from one week to the other.

Curriculum Model showing the number of period per fortnight 2023 / 2024 Academic Year



Assessing Progress

The progress made by students will be assessed in a variety of ways.
Feedback (verbal and written) will be focused on developing and applying the knowledge of each unit and ensuring that effective learning has taken place. This may take the form of:

  • identifying which aspects of a student’s work went well ( www ) and which aspects could they improve ( ebi – even better if );
  • Providing questions for students to answer and develop, based on the work that they produce
  • Providing dedicated improvement and reflection time in lessons to read teachers’ comments on their work, and respond to the questions that their teachers ask;
  • Providing other forms of assessment to consolidate knowledge ( eg involving each other in assessing work and looking at exemplar models of excellent work ).

Teachers have revised units of work in Years 7 and 8, in line with the new National Curriculum.  This is to ensure that key concepts are fully developed, and teachers choose the units of work that will best prepare students for learning at Key Stage 4 and beyond.

Reporting Progress

The progress of students is tracked every term.  Student trackers are sent home every term for Years 7 to 10, and four times a year in  Year 11.

Reports for Year7 and Year 8

Students are given a target grade from the CATS/SATS Test. These are shown on the report.

Students are then told if they are above / On Track / Below to achieve their target grades.

We also report on Attitude to Learning (ATL) 



Attitude to learning This is only given when students work above and beyond what we expect


Attitude to learning This is what we expect


Attitude to learning This indicates there is minor issues with the student’s attitude for one or a number of reasons


Attitude to learning

This indicates there is major issues with the student’s attitude for one or a num


  • Area Affecting Progress - Attendance - Homework -Engagement-Response to Feedback

Reports for Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11

Students will be given a target grade at the start of the course which will be shown on the report.

The report will also show:

An ATL grade

  • a predicted grade (the grade they are expected to achieve at the end of the course)
  • a current grade the grade (the are currently working at).

The grade will be a number on the new 1-9 scale for most courses or Pass (P), Merit (M), Distinction (D) for some vocational courses. The new courses have more content, are more demanding and in many cases require more extended writing. There is also a greater emphasis on literacy and numeracy, with a higher percentages of marks being awarded for spelling and grammar.
Grading of new GCSEs

  • 9 (highest) to 1 (lowest) will replace current grades A* to G in the new courses only from 2017 onwards;
  • 4 will be roughly equivalent to an old  grade C in terms of difficulty
  • The top three grades (7, 8 and 9) will replace the current old top two (A* and A);
  • Grade of 9 will be the ‘super-grade’, which some are referring to as the equivalent of an A** .
  • Students taking Level 2 vocational courses such as Hair and Beauty will be graded P, M  D or D*
    • P is equivalent to a grade 4 at GCSE
    • M is equivalent to a grade 5/6 at GCSE
    • D is equivalent to a grade 7 at GCSE
    • D* is equivalent to a grade 8 at GCSE