The aim of the curriculum of School 21 is to develop students who ‘create beautiful work which makes a difference to the world’. We want students to leave with all of the knowledge and skills to not only enter the world of work or academia, but also to be equipped to deal with a rapidly changing world. We want them to be ready and able to face the challenges of the world and contribute to making their communities a better place to live. We do this by focussing on the ‘head’, ‘heart’ and ‘hand’.
We want our students to develop an understanding of the big ideas which shape the world through the subject curricula. Each subject domain has a carefully planned out and structured method of ensuring students develop the knowledge they need to understand the world - but also develop skills which enables students to use this knowledge to make a positive difference. All of our subject areas have been developing their 4-18 curriculum journeys, so that our curriculum is coherent and sequenced from Reception all the way through to Year 13. All subject base their learning around the ‘big ideas’ of each subject, which are then built on through learning the ‘factual knowledge’. Students will also develop a range of domain specific skills in their subject lessons. At the start of Y10, all students start the GCSE programme to ensure they leave School 21 with the grades they need to take them to the next level of study.
We believe that student wellbeing is vitally important. Not only is it the base of good learning, but we want our students to develop resilience which will enable them to deal with the unexpected challenges of life. Each student belongs to a ‘Coaching Group’ of between 11-15 students with one teacher.
They meet four times a week. This is partly about developing professional attitudes in students, but mostly about developing wellbeing (often through a text). In addition, all students have the opportunity to take part in a plethora of extracurricular activities to develop their passions.
We believe that craftsmanship and creativity are vital skills needed for the future. We also believe that students have the ability to make a positive difference in their community through carrying out real world, authentic projects. In Y8, students complete two projects which marry an ‘academic subject domain’ with a more ‘creative subject’. They take part in an interdisciplinary History and Drama project and also a project combining Science and Design Technology. We have had students campaign against building a concrete factory in Stratford, we have had shows in Stratford Theatre Royal and numerous books published - all before students are 14 years old! In Y10, we send students out on two ‘Real World Learning Placements’. These are twelve week placements in which students spend their Wednesday afternoon outside of school working on a real project with a partner organisation. Examples include working the Department for Education to improve the presentation skills of Civil Servants to working with a local hotel chain to improve their food menu!