The Highcrest Academy

Curriculum Overview

Our Curriculum Vision and Values

Our vision is to build an outstanding educational organisation that makes the greatest possible difference to the lives of our students and that is highly respected in our local community and beyond.

We aim to achieve this through:

  • Our 21st century curriculum that is regularly adapted to reflect the aspirations of our students
  • Our personalised approaches to teaching and learning
  • Our innovative approach to our own continuous professional development
  • Our wider curriculum, including our careers and enterprise provision, that prepares our students for life in modern Britain and our global society
  • Our care, support and commitment we show to students to ensure they are safe
  • Our contribution to the development of learning beyond our own school
  • Our ethical values and working practice
  • Our parental support.

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum provision is central to achieving the Academy’s vision and mission statement.

It enables all students to experience self-worth, success and achieve their full potential, in becoming thoughtful, confident and responsible citizens that make a valuable contribution to society.

The Highcrest Academy is fully comprehensive in every sense of its meaning. We pride ourselves on our diverse intake and we are unique in welcoming a balanced range of pupils from all abilities which is representative of the community. This allows us to provide a true service to the local community, offering progression to both academic and vocational routes, truly serving the needs of our students.

Indeed, to recognise our work in this area, we were reaccredited for the fifth consecutive year, with the Flagship Inclusion Quality Mark in March 2019. This award is only achieved if all pupils of all abilities are stretched to perform to their maximum. Furthermore, In 2017 we were awarded the NACE Challenge Award for our commitment to challenging our most able learners. Our excellent inclusive practice was also identified in Ofsted’s Annual Report 2016.


Our curriculum is central to our students achieving success.

We are fully aware of the impact of our ‘all ability’ intake and have a setting arrangement to challenge the most able whilst maintaining our outstanding support to narrow the gap for those who may find school challenging.

We analyse a wide variety of information that enables us to identify any potential barriers to learning within each key stage and through every transition, including those encountered during the primary transition process. We then build a deep and rich curriculum, including personalised pathways, that enable our students to overcome such barriers. If our students are able to access courses, then it will help them to work with enjoyment, resilience, persevere and give them the belief that they can achieve their future ambitions.

Our Strategic Intent

To develop a curriculum which:

  • Has a culture of high achievement for all
  • Takes into account individual needs and learning styles
  • Ensures deep learning and understanding of curriculum subject knowledge
  • Allows all learners to develop skills of research, independence, creativity, enquiry and reflection
  • Ensures there are rich and memorable learning experiences for all students
  • Ensures all learners can progress regardless of their background and prior attainment
  • Continually teaches and reinforces Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education and prepares our young people for life in modern Britain
  • Ensures our students have an appreciation of diversity; celebrating what we have in common and promoting respect for the different protected characteristics as defined in law.
  • Is developed in consultation with, and embodies the aspirations and expectations of all stakeholders
  • Gives our students access to a range of opportunities and support that facilitates their development towards becoming responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society
  • Enables our students to make practical and effective use of our virtues, helping them to refine and develop their character.

Our Overarching Intentions

Our intention is to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life.

At The Highcrest Academy, we aim to adapt the curriculum to suit the needs of every student, not the other way round. We aim to provide a program of education that ensures that pupils develop an understanding of knowledge at each Key stage of their learning journey. We aim to provide all of our students with exciting opportunities which build confidence, develop their character, build a range of skills and promote academic excellence and a love of learning. We offer a broad range of courses at all levels preparing students for further education and future careers.

We also value learning beyond that which is recognised within National Curriculum statements and seek to provide a rich, broad and balanced diet, which offers our students the opportunity for enrichment and deeper learning. We aim to develop confident young people with enquiring minds and a range of attributes that prepare them to be responsible citizens throughout their lives.

We understand the taught curriculum is the core of provision but not the totality and we provide rich opportunities for high quality learning both within and outside the classroom.

We recognise that students require a broad and balanced education, enjoying the artistic, cultural and practical opportunities that lead to a fulfilling life.

The Implementation Of Our Curriculum

Core subjects including English and Maths are given prominence as these provide the essential skills for future progress.  However, the range of other subjects is suitably wide.  We offer experiences in four technologies: Resistant Materials; Graphics; Food and Fashion as well as Art; Music and Drama.  French and Spanish are the main foreign languages but some groups will also be introduced to new languages as part of their wider personal development. We use Year 9 as a bridge to close gaps in learning and develop core GCSE skills.  This is then refined to GCSE content in Years 10 and 11.

At Key Stage 4 we encourage students to study GCSE option routes with the EBACC the
preferred suite of subjects to be studied. A small number of vocational courses are offered to ensure sufficient breadth in the curriculum for all learners is maintained. In our lessons you will typically see all pupils grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for pupils who need it. Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers will study that content in more depth, and are expected to produce work linked to it of greater depth and flair.

In our growing Sixth Form, the Academy offers a wide range of A Level courses and Level 3 (A Level equivalent) BTEC courses.  We also offer Level 2 BTEC courses and GCSE retakes.

Our aim is to support all of our students as they progress to apprenticeships, colleges or to the most prestigious universities.  Full details of the Sixth Form curriculum are found in the Sixth Form information booklet updated each year.

At Highcrest there is a strong focus on the core subjects: English, Maths and Science which we believe are the pillars that support understanding, skills and success elsewhere in the curriculum.

We also continue to provide enhanced provision for language learning, believing that the
study of languages is extremely important in developing our students as citizens ready for the challenges of the global economy.

The creative subjects continue to thrive. Students can make genuine choices as they enter Year 9, for their GCSE programmes of study. Art, Business, Computing, Construction, Design, Drama, Food, Music and PE continue to be popular choices and are well catered for.

The curriculum in each subject is set out on the 5-year curriculum maps that can be accessed and viewed on the subject links below.

Our Spiritual, Moral, Social And Cultural Curriculum

We aim for all of our students to be safe, happy, healthy and confident adults and to appreciate the spiritual and moral aspects of life including an appreciation of the values of democracy, the rule of law, respect and equality for all - whatever their background or beliefs.

This will be achieved through an innovative, engaging and purposeful whole school Religious Education and a personal, social, health ‘Life Lesson’ programme, which combines elements of PSHE, Citizenship and Careers.

In addition, our academy ‘Practical Transition Values’ help us support and guide our younger students through the complex and sometimes challenging transition journey, whilst our ‘Personal Virtues’ help our students to refine and develop their character, whilst ensuring they are physically and mentally healthy, and become successful members of our community and indeed society. Both our values and virtues help us build bridges to overcome any potential barriers the students may face. We use every suitable opportunity to explore our values and reinforce them during pastoral time, lesson time and assemblies at the academy.

In addition, there are guest speakers and a wide range of extra-curricular events, including sporting activities, entrepreneurship programmes, digital after-school activities as well as opportunities for public speaking and debating.

The Impact

The impact of the school’s curriculum is measured through several means:

  • Outcomes for students at GCSE in Year 11
  • Progress and attainment data for current year groups
  • Destinations data
  • Attendance data
  • Behaviour logs
  • Engagement in enrichment activities
  • Student voice
  • Progress towards the Gatsby benchmarks

This document explains the principles that inform our curriculum at The Highcrest Academy.

It sits alongside our Curriculum Overview document which outlines subjects studied at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, and our 5-year curriculum maps which specify the intent, implementation and impact of each individual.


This is not based on banding results but is calculated on pupils’ KS2 results as well as our own internal English, Maths and Science tests that take place during the first two weeks of Year 7.  After initial setting, there is continuous monitoring of student progress that ensures students are always in the appropriate set in each subject, ensuring the correct level of challenge.

Foundation Curriculum Lesson Allocation 2019/2020 

Years 7 and 8 (2 Week Timetable)



IT Literacy








Life Lessons













6 1 7 7 8 5 5 4 5 2

GCSE Curriculum Lesson Allocation 2019/2020

Years 9, 10 and 11 (2 Week Timetable)





Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Life Lessons










Within the core subjects, there is flexibility in our provision that will help challenge and support every student. 

The GCSEs/equivalent Level 2 qualifications available are: English Language and English Literature, Maths and Additional Maths, Core, Additional and Further Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Other subjects include: Art, Business, Business and Economics, Computer Science, Construction, Creative Technology, Child Development, French, Drama, Engineering, Food and Cookery, Food Technology, Geography, Graphics, Health and Fitness, History, ICT, Music, PE, Photography, Psychology, RE, Resistant Materials, Spanish, Sociology and Textiles. These are updated every year.

Curriculum Extension and Alternative Provision

Individual timetables are sometimes created. 

As an outward facing school we have worked with many different agencies and alternative provision providers.  We continue to explore and work alongside providers to enhance the opportunities for our pupils such as Aylesbury Motor Project, Tool Shed and the Wycombe Skills Centre.  However, we are continuing to develop internal alternative provision that gives pupils the opportunity to study vocational practical subjects within our school curriculum.  These include Construction, Rocket Science, Horticulture and in future Hair & Beauty and working with Formula E.

There are many extensions of the standard curriculum. The school excels at ‘Young Enterprise’ and groups have reached national and European finals in several events over recent years. We won Young Enterprise Europe’s Entrepreneurial School Award in 2016. We also operate an extensive mentoring and activity programme with the multi-national Johnson & Johnson Group.

In addition to the above, many clubs and activities run every week including sports teams, Drama productions, Music tuition and working towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Sixth Form

The Sixth Form curriculum caters for a wide range of learners and includes courses at A Level, BTEC Level 3, BTEC Level 2 and GCSE. 

The specific subjects on offer are decided following a survey of the current Year 11 cohort.  This is completed to ensure our curriculum is tailored to both their needs and their requirements. Examples of subjects on offer include: A Level Maths, English, History, Biology, Psychology and at BTEC L3 Health & Social Care, Business and PE.  We are constantly tailoring and expanding our Sixth Form curriculum to meet the needs of our students with A Levels in Spanish, Politics and Geography all added over the past two years.

Students who have failed to achieve a grade 4 at English or Maths at GCSE level will have the opportunity to re-take their exam during Year 12.

Our retention rates in the Sixth Form continue to grow year on year with the 2018-2019 cohort being the largest cohort we have ever had at Highcrest, with over 160 enrolling in September.  Whilst this is down to many factors, we feel our continued strong results and broad curriculum offer are key to this.

For more details, please contact Mr Neil Stocking, Vice Principal