Curriculum Overview


The school’s key curriculum intention is to ensure that all students have a broad and balanced curriculum which enables them to access the next stage of their lives and to live a full and meaningful life as global citizens. We recognise and cater for a full range of abilities and seek to challenge students’ self-imposed barriers through offering a rich and challenging curriculum.

This focuses around three areas:

Accelerated Progress

We are ambitious for our students whatever their starting points and circumstances and refuse to accept that a student’s starting point defines what they can and will achieve. Our intention is to accelerate progress for all students. We do, however, recognise that some students will require additional time and support and that a ‘one size fits all’ curriculum fails students.

Our curriculum gives students the opportunity to achieve the English Baccalaureate but recognises this is not appropriate for many of our students.


Ready for next stage

The intention of this strand is to ensure that all students have the requisite skills, knowledge and character to access the next part of the curriculum or the wider world. It includes ensuring that students develop fundamental British values, that students have high quality ‘Sex and Relationships’ Education and that they develop their character and resilience. At Hartsdown this Character Education is addressed through STRIVE, which is threaded through all areas of the school.

STRIVE – Climbing the mountain to an amazing life

Strive (verb): to make great efforts to achieve something, to struggle or fight vigorously:

  • Scholarship – We value high attainment and aim for mastery for all students
  • Teamwork – We are one community, one team working to the same end
  • Resilience – Whatever it takes, we don’t give up
  • Integrity – We show character: respect, honesty, kindness
  • Vision – Seeing ourselves as part of something bigger; a belief that our life has meaning and value. Asking the question where am I heading and what difference do I want to make
  • Excellence – We aim for excellence in everything we do. No excuses!

Literacy and Oracy

Hartsdown seeks to ensure that all students leave us with an extended vocabulary and a high degree of literacy and numeracy. This is to ensure that they have a voice and are able to thrive throughout their lives. For some students this will include teaching decoding and for some EAL students this will involve support in acquiring English. For others this will entail challenging and supporting them to master the highest levels of English and Mathematics so that they can achieve top grades in both GCSE and 6th form.