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Curriculum Ambition

We are proud of our curriculum which:

  • Enables all students to make progress from their starting point
  • Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of our students
  • Celebrates inclusive academic achievement and promotes a love of scholarship
  • Is underpinned by knowledge whilst enabling students to develop the skills essential in each subject
  • Allows all students to experience a rich and broad range of subjects from Year 7-13
  • Helps to prepare our young people for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of a changing world
  • Supports students in their transition from primary to secondary education and to their future pathways beyond school

Key Stage 3 – Years 7-9

Three Year Key Stage 3

The three years of Key Stage 3 provides a broad introduction to the knowledge and skills that students need for success.  All students continue with the key National Curriculum subjects, and non-National Curriculum subjects such as drama and dance, for the full three years.  This ensures that our students’ pathways are kept open and students do not narrow their academic choices too early.  Many subjects make use of intelligent planning to ensure that there is a seamless pathway from Year 7 to 13 without the curriculum being narrowed too early. 

A rich range of subjects

The subjects that make up the EBacc account for over 60% of the curriculum time but we continue to recognise the importance of a wider curriculum for students’ development so all will study Music/Drama/Art/Product Design/Food and Nutrition/Textiles/PE/Computing until the end of Year 9.

Subject specialisms to enhance student learning

As a school we choose to teach students in subjects rather than in cross-curricular themes.  This is a deliberate decision as we believe that subject specialists can extend students more effectively than generalists; students will develop better as an historian for example if taught by a specialist historian. 

Students developed as learners from Year 7

All subjects will develop the learning skills crucial to success in their subject.  In addition, students in Years 7 and 8 have one period of a Library lesson to develop information literacy skills and a love of reading and Year 7 have a period of Learn to Learn where students learn metacognition skills which will then be applied in their other lessons.

Key Stage 4

An academic core

Our curriculum is planned to have a strong academic core.  All students study Mathematics, English Language, English Literature, Science and they must also select either a Humanities or a Modern Foreign language.  At least 29 out of 50 periods will be spent studying these subjects. Most students will choose additional academic subjects as part of their options.

We have made a deliberate choice not to enter students for GCSE qualifications early as we want them to have the time to engage fully in learning.  Taking a subject like English Literature early may have superficial benefits but it denies students the chance to immerse themselves in the subject throughout Key Stage 4.

Opportunities for all students to select from the full range of courses

We believe that all subjects should be open to all students so have not created pathways which can deny opportunities to some students when making their option choices.  Students are supported to make the best choices for them as learners. 

Student choice maintained

We strongly believe that for students to be successful they should have an element of choice when planning their GCSEs.  We remain committed to giving students the chance to study four additional subjects at GCSE on top of the compulsory subjects.  This enables students to specialise and maintain their interest in academic, creative and practical courses.

Students can also select more vocational courses such as Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia, Sport Studies or Enterprise and Marketing.  These are popular alternatives to the GCSEs offered in those departments and meet different learning needs for students.

Religious Studies at GCSE for all

All our students will take a GCSE in Religious Studies.  This is so important in developing their social, spiritual and moral education and in preparing them for life in modern Britain.

Sixth Form

A wide range of courses offered

We have also ensured protection of our sixth form curriculum provision, again believing that a well-developed post-16 pathway locally provided by our own expert staff is the best option for a significant number of our students.    

At Poynton High School our study programme combines qualifications with a range of other activities to meet the needs of each individual student. For the majority of our learners their core aim is academic qualifications with a small number following an applied qualifications core aim. All of our students have full time study programmes over 600 planned hours.

Students specialise for the full two years in the Sixth Form

Most students will take three A levels for the two years.  We believe that this is the best way for them to achieve their full potential at A level.  A number will combine this with either a fourth A level or with an Extended Project Qualification. 

A broadly academic curriculum

To meet the needs of our learners the curriculum is largely academic but with the option for students of studying for BTEC qualifications in Sport, Health and Social Care, IT or Business.

Preparing students for their next steps

All students follow structured careers programmes during their two years of study, with all students undertaking work experience for a full week during the summer term of Year 12.

Support for students resitting Maths or English Language GCSE

Any students who have not achieved a grade 4 grade in GCSE English and maths have timetabled lessons to support their study of these examinations until they secure this grade.  We are proud of the success rate of these students.

The Extended Curriculum (Years 7-13)

Alongside the academic curriculum there is a rich diet of enrichment in sport, performing arts and other areas.  The House system gives many opportunities for students to be involved in activities ranging from Bake Off and Dance to General Knowledge and Cross Country.  There are many clubs run by members of staff and a wide range of study sessions to support students’ learning.

There are also a wide range of educational visits organised, ranging from the RE visits to the churches in Poynton to an expedition planned to East Africa in 2021. 

We are one of the largest centres for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in the North West with students engaged in Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.  Our students are actively involved in the National Citizen Service programme after Years 11 and 12.

These wider opportunities enable students to develop skills and interests that complement their academic learning.

What has Ofsted said?

Ofsted inspected our school in June 2023.  They reported that …

‘Leaders have designed an ambitious curriculum which explicitly builds on pupils’ previous learning. They have organised the curriculum well to enable pupils to develop an increasingly broad and sophisticated body of knowledge from Year 7 to Year 13.  Teachers are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subjects that they teach. In the sixth form, teachers deliver subject curriculums that are aspirational and meet the needs of pupils well.

Staff at Poynton High School have high aspirations for the achievement of pupils and students in the sixth form. They provide effective guidance and support to help pupils to choose suitable courses that match their interests. Most pupils and students achieve highly.

Students in the sixth form enjoy acting as leaders and mentors for younger pupils. They readily take on roles as representatives of the school council, the eco club, and the pride network, which celebrates diversity and equality. There is a thriving Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, which enables pupils and students to achieve all levels of the award. Pupils enjoy participating in a wide array of clubs including sports and music, as well as book clubs and chess club. 

Pupils, including students in the sixth form, benefit from a well-considered programme to support their wider personal development. They are taught about the importance of physical and mental health, diversity and how to develop healthy relationships. Pupils’ learning is enhanced through the wide range of opportunities and experiences that are on offer to them. For example, external speakers such as the police and magistrates helped pupils to learn about personal safety.’

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum of Poynton High School is designed to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and the broader needs of all our students as they prepare for their future lives.

If you wish to find out more about the curriculum we offer there are links to the prospectus detailing the courses offered at Key Stage 4.  Further information about courses in the Sixth Form can be found on the Sixth Form page at If you require any further information about any aspects of the curriculum offered from Years 7 - 13 please contact the Director of Learning for that subject (E-mail links can be found on each of the Team pages).  To find out more about the curriculum overall please contact Mrs D Howells, Assistant Headteacher.

The school is structured around a fortnightly teaching timetable of 50 lessons. Students meet with their form tutor for registration each day. The school starts at 8.45am and finishes at 3.15pm. The usual time during which students are taught in a normal school week is 26 hours 40 minutes, including registration time.

At Key Stage 4 each option subject is taught in five periods a fortnight. 

At Key Stage 5 most subjects are taught in nine hours a fortnight.

  Number of Lessons each timetable cycle (2 weeks)
  Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4
  Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11
Maths 8 8 8 7 7
English 8 8 8 8 8
Science* 6 6 6 9 9
History 3 3 3    
Geography 3 3 3    
Technology (Art, Product Design, Food & Textiles) 5 4 6    
Modern Foreign Languages** 5 5 6    
Computing*** 2 2 2    
PE 4 4 2 2 2
Performing Arts (Music and Drama) 3 4 4    
Religious Studies 2 2 2 4 4
Learn to Learn curriculum 1        
PSHCE   1      

Key to Table:

* at GCSE students who opt for Separate Sciences will have an additional 5 hours of Science each fortnight

** Students study one language from Year 7

*** At Key Stage 4 students can opt to study GCSE Computer Science or Creative iMedia. All have the opportunity to develop their skills in this area through their other GCSEs


Poynton High School & Performing Arts College

Yew Tree Lane, Poynton, Cheshire SK12 1PU

01625 871 811