Our Curriculum

Our curriculum promotes aspiration, inclusion and excellence. We are in the enviable position of having brand new, specialist facilities for all curriculum areas. Teaching responds to the latest research so that your child is immersed in innovative practice underpinned by traditional values and expectations.­­­­­­

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

Students will study the full range of National Curriculum subjects. This builds a strong foundation for their transfer to the English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications. This is complemented by access to an enriched provision for the performing arts and citizenship education.

At Key Stage 3, all pupils will study a broad and balanced curriculum consisting of:

English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Religious Studies, Computing (inc. Broadcast), Physical Education, Design Technology, Food Preparation & Nutrition, Visual Arts (Art/Photography/Graphics), Performing Arts (Acting/Dance/Music), and PHRSE (inc. Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Independence and Communication (LORIC) and Citizenship).


Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)

A rich choice will offered, which includes the core academic (English Baccalaureate) qualifications you would expect, but also a range of applied, employer-focused qualifications, including digital broadcast and new media, for those students who wish to take a route that links to our site’s heritage as an international communications hub. The National Curriculum underpins all subject study.

Our full Curriculum Policy can be viewed on our Policies Page.

Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13)

As our Sixth Form offer will not begin until academic year 2026-27; a finalised curriculum will be confirmed closer to the time in response to national qualification reform currently taking place, including the introduction of T-Levels.  When our pupils’ transition to Sixth Form ‘students’ our expectations of excellence will continue and our Sixth Form will act as role models to younger pupils in the school.  The Vice Principal for Behaviour, Personal Development and Safety will have strategic overview of the Post 16 provision, beginning the initial launch at the start of the academic year 2024/25.  This will be our September 2021 cohort’s first Sixth Form entry and we aim to inspire as many pupils to ‘stay on’ and complete their seven year (7-13) journey with us.  We will operate a consortium arrangement both within the Trust and with other schools to ensure our curriculum offer is broad and balanced and to ensure that pupils are not ever precluded from their preferred options because of timetable clashing.

Houlton School Sixth Form will offer and diverse range of subjects, including traditional A Levels options, BTEC and T Level vocational options as well as a wide-ranging enrichment programme.  The introduction of T Levels will enable us to cater for all progress routes and to retain pupils who prefer a work based or vocational pathway.  In collaboration with TLET and other Trust schools our broad offer will allow us to offer wider and more diverse access routes into traditional higher education, further education, employment and vocational training.  Houlton School will work closely with local apprenticeship providers and employers to ensure pupils are exposed to industry opportunities and are well informed regards their options.  Pupils in Year 11 will be given personalised CIAG to support their options choices and this tailored approach will dovetail with our lower school careers and personal development programme.  Pupils wishing to apply for competitive courses and higher-level apprenticeships will be well equipped with the LORIC skills needed to make such applications and will be supported not only academically but also in their wider development thought initiatives such as the Medical Society, Law Society and Houlton HE+ Programme.  Our Oxbridge applications focus groups will start in Year 9 with ‘Focus 9’ and continue through into Post 16, tailored to develop the pupils interested in this academic route at an early stage in the skills and experience they will need to make successful applications.

Sixth Form students will continue their LORIC education through a bespoke Post 16 PHSRE package and EPQ.  Assemblies and the Personal Development Programme will cover the statutory RSE and PSHE requirements. Students in the Sixth Form will be expected to contribute to the wider community through a Community Service Unit and will be given the option to continue their Pupil Leadership Accreditation and Duke of Edinburgh Award to Graduate and Gold standard respectively.  Our Houlton Family culture and Pupil Leadership programmes will continue through into Post 16 with students having the opportunity to become Senior Pupil Leaders, College Leaders, Mentors and Prefects.  It is recognised that students in the Sixth Form will be under additional pressure and there will be a strong focus on well-being both physically and mentally.  All students will take part in enrichment focused on Healthy Lifestyles which will include several units on combatting stress as well as compulsory PE/Leisure activities where we will look to create competitive opportunities with other post-16 providers across the Trust and the Borough.

Co-curricular Offer

Our co-curricular offer will an integral part of our personal development and LORIC programmes and will support our development of each and every individual.  As part of tending our Houlton family, we believe it is important that all pupils’ skills and interests are nurtured and developed.

As such,

  • every pupil in Year 7 will be expected to commit to one enrichment option as a minimum per week;
  • enrichment options will be varied to cater for all pupils;
  • pupil fora will be used to regularly audit that the provision is fit for purpose;
  • where appropriate, the enrichment offer will be collaborative with Ashlawn School and other local secondary academies as they join our Trust;
  • the co-curricular programme will run both during lunchtimes and after school to ensure our wider curriculum is fully inclusive; and
  • pupils who commit to and engage well with their enrichment option will be rewarded with R points.
  • each member of staff will offer at least one enrichment, and this will be dependent on the skills of the staff recruited.  All enrichment opportunities will be open to both genders.
  • as the school grows some enrichments will be offered vertically, horizontally or by key stage as appropriate.  In addition to our wider curriculum pupils will have several Pupil Leadership opportunities which they can be involved in.  Pupils will undertake a week of work shadowing in Year 10 and 12.
  • all pupils will take part in PiXLEdge in KS3 and this programme will be integrated into tutor Time.  From KS4 onwards PiXLEdge will become an optional enrichment.
  • focus groups for pupils considering competitive Post 16 applications will begin in Year 9.


Specialist facilities

Established schools are often fortunate to be awarded additional funding for improved facilities in a particular area, for example, that may lead to a school specialising in STEM, Performing Arts or Sports. At Houlton School, we’re in the enviable position of having had our facilities supported by the Houlton developers, Urban & Civic, so we will have brand new, state-of-the-art facilities to support all curriculum areas; our facilities include:

Within our architect-designed, outstanding Grade II listed buildings:

– Performing Arts pupils enjoy fully equipped Acting and Dance Studios, as well as a suite of rooms for our musicians

– Numerous visual arts and photography studios, including kiln and darkroom

– A dedicated Sixth Form Centre and Learning Resource Centre

– An impressive, building-height assembly and performance auditorium

– Our Refectory, which retains many of the Power Hall’s original decorative tiles, will be serving a wide range of enticing food and drinks

– Our very own professional radio technology, honouring our site’s heritage and providing opportunities to study qualifications in broadcast

Purpose-built, state-of-the-art accommodation:

– A large, Sports England compliant Sports Centre, 20 acre site and all-weather outdoor facilities

– Purpose-built Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) building: laboratories, workshops, food and nutrition hub, graphics-studio and more

– a suite of the computer laboratories across the site with brand new computers

– Humanities building housing subjects such as English, History, geography, modern languages and the social sciences

The school day will begin at 8.45am each day, and finish at 3.20pm. There will be five, one hour lessons per day, arranged over a two-week timetable rotation.