Curriculum and Assessment

Hackney New School’s curriculum aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  1. The best GCSE grades possible for students, given their starting points in Year 7
  2. Resilient, confident and responsible citizens
  3. A supportive and inclusive environment
  4. Positive destinations for our students beyond school
  5. Rich learning experiences centred on mastery of knowledge and skills

What are the main principles behind our
curriculum?

  1. To identify core knowledge and skills to be learnt, retained and recalled over time
  2. To facilitate opportunities for ‘mastery learning’ and encourage depth before breadth
  3. To create independent learners who can self-regulate
  4. To help students be able to retrieve critical learning information by deploying the process of diagnosis, therapy and testing (DTT) in our teaching
  5. To help students connect different strands of learning together
  6. To develop ‘examination literacy’ and the ‘application’ of knowledge
  7. To develop behaviour and attitude reflective of responsible citizens, able to read, write and communicate  well, to allow them to play a positive role in British life

How much progress do we expect from our students?

  • We provide judgements for all students against key learning objectives. These objectives are designed to be challenging and they reflect the knowledge and skills required for each student to make progress.
  • Our reports are both meaningful and helpful to the parents and students because they clearly demonstrate how much progress the students are making and what else they need to do in order to improve. 
  • Students are allocated a pathway dependent on their starting point at the school. This is usually determined by the KS2 attainment.
  • If students demonstrate secure understanding of all of their key learning objectives before the end of the academic year, they will be allocated a new, more challenging target so that they achieve their very best.

What do students learn at HNS?

  • We offer a broad and balanced curriculum given the constraints of our school site. All of our students take GCSE English Language, GCSE English Literature, GCSE RE  and GCSE Mathematics. Additionally, all of our students will be doing GCSEs in either single or combined Sciences.
  • We allow our students three option choices in their GCSEs in year 9, with the exception of a few students who have two choices as they require more support in English and/or Mathematics.
  • The vast majority of our students will choose highly academic subjects which will qualify them to meet the standard required for the English baccalaureate (EBacc), a measure that has been identified to ensure students are prepared for academic careers. We do not believe that this route is suitable for all our students. Some students will choose two options only and they are given additional time to improve their literacy and/or numeracy skills which will help them to access the full curriculum.
  • These are the following subjects we offer as an additional option choice in year 9: GCSEs in History, Geography, French, Spanish, Computer Science, Art, Drama, Music and BTEC Music.
  • The ability to use a computer effectively is an essential life skill. Almost every career in today’s world requires computer skills and Internet skills. Therefore we introduced Computer Science to our curriculum in 2019-20.  We also introduced Drama as a subject in 2019-20.  We are constantly looking at ways to broaden our curriculum offer further, given the constraints of our school site.
  • In year 11, we expect all our students to practise examination skills after school for their different subjects.
  • Our PHSCE periods are 50 minutes long and we have a clear agenda which takes the Citizenship (Cz) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Programme of Study (PoS) into consideration.
  • We develop our students’ cultural capital and resilience through our excellent Master Mission programme incorporating our HNS Value of the Week assembly schedule.

How do we assess and report what our students learn?

  • Our curriculum sets out a clear, differentiated learning journey for students with different starting points at KS2. For each subject and for each year group, we have carefully identified approximately 10 key learning objectives, which are carefully linked to the national curriculum for GCSE grades 1-9.
  • Students are expected to demonstrate a ‘secured’ understanding in these areas within the course of a year.
  • All teachers are required to report three times a year
  • Students and parents receive real time judgements on the extent of student learning through our bespoke Dynamic Progress Reporting online application, after each interim assessment.
  • For all students we record and report a judgement on the key learning objectives which we colour code to mean the following:  

E

EMERGING: This means the student has not yet shown understanding of the learning objective

D

DEVELOPING: This means  the student has shown some understanding of the learning objective

C

CONSOLIDATING: This means  the student has shown good understanding of the learning objective, but they need to practise more to secure their understanding

S

SECURED: This means the student has shown excellent understanding of the learning objective