Holmfirth High School is a caring, positive learning community where everyone has a passion for learning, feels safe and happy, and has a desire to grow intellectually, spiritually, physically and emotionally. We seek for every student to achieve their potential within a broad, creative, challenging, dynamic and engaging curriculum. We build on our successful partnerships within education, sport, the arts, music, business and culture to extend academic challenge, participation and opportunity for all. We value community and empower people to change their lives and that of their community for the better. Our students leave feeling equipped to contribute fully to society and have the social confidence to seize all opportunities, and truly stand as equals in any situation.
The curriculum of any school is central to achieving success. If students can access the right courses for them, then motivation, enjoyment and achievement are certain to improve. We have worked extremely hard to create a broad, balanced and exciting curriculum. Our aim is to provide as personalised a curriculum as possible; our curriculum should suit the needs of each student, not the other way around. At Holmfirth High School there is a strong focus on the core subjects; English, maths and science, subjects which we believe are central to supporting understanding, skills and success elsewhere in the curriculum. We offer a full and varied range of academic courses but also wide access to vocational options; these include land based studies as well as hairdressing and motor vehicle maintenance both of which delivered in school on-site in our specialist facilities.
We recognise the world economy today not only pays for what people know but also for what they can do with what they know. Our curriculum and lessons are designed to provide students with regular opportunities to develop a range of skills which are essential to success in the world of work. Skills such as leadership, digital literacy, communication, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, global citizenship, problem solving and team-working are taught across the curriculum. All our students follow enrichment programmes through core and discrete subjects; these include Food Hygiene, First Aid and Health and Safety at Work. We also run a full programme of work experience in year 10; we believe it is essential for students to experience the world of work from an early age. Many students also gain formal leadership qualifications during their time at Holmfirth High School including the Sports Leadership Award and Peer Mentoring Accreditation. We also have a very popular and extremely successful Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group.
At Holmfirth High School we believe very strongly in the importance of languages and of international links. As a school, we believe that it is very important for most students to learn a minimum of one language through to GCSE level in order to develop them as citizens ready for the challenges of the global economy.
The school timetable runs over a fortnightly cycle for 5 periods per day. The tables below show how many of these 1 hour periods are allocated to each different subject in the different year groups.
Key Stage 3
The key stage 3 curriculum is taught across years 7, 8 and 9. Students follow the national curriculum in all subjects across all year groups.
In year 7 students are placed in a mixed ability teaching groups with approximately equal numbers of boys and girls in each; students are taught in these groups for most subjects. After an initial ‘bridging’ unit there is some setting, by prior attainment levels, in maths. In PE and technology, students are grouped with other teaching groups to assist with the smooth delivery of these practical subjects. Most students will study two foreign languages in year 7. Religious studies and personal, social and health education are delivered by subject specialists through RPSE lessons across key stage 3. Those who require additional support with their literacy and numeracy will only study one language and will also follow an intensive programme to enable them to make accelerated progress in these areas in order that they ‘catch up’ with their peers.
In year 8 students continue to study a broad and balanced curriculum. Whilst pupils are once again placed in mixed ability teaching groups for most subjects, they have different teaching groups for different groups of subjects e.g. they are in the same teaching group for Science, Geography, History and RPSE whilst they will have a different teaching group for English, Art, Drama, Computing and Music. This allows pupils to broaden their friendship groups and learn to work with a wider range of peers. In maths, students are once again grouped according to their prior attainment scores and progress made to date. Most students continue to study two foreign languages, those who require additional numeracy and literacy support will continue to study one language only. Technology and PE are delivered in a similar way to year 7.
In year 9, students opt to study just one foreign language in preparation for their GCSE courses. The make-up of teaching groups follows the same pattern as year 8. A new subject is introduced in year 9 called work related learning (WRL). It is during these lessons that students follow a programme of study to help prepare them for the world work, they also receive significant careers input to support them with making their key stage 4 options choices.
Across all years at key stage 3, students will experience 3 ‘ACE’ (Aspire Create Educate) days per year. On these days, the school timetable will be suspended and students will spend the day completing a variety of exciting projects and problem-solving exercises. Some ACE days will be delivered by school staff however wherever possible we will look to bring in experts from industry and business to work with our students. The ACE days are designed to enable students to apply the knowledge, skills and understanding from their different subjects in real life contexts. They also provide students with the opportunity to develop not only as individuals but also as successful team members.
Key Stage 4
The curriculum model provided for year 10 and 11 students follows the national curriculum requirements for key stage 4. All students study qualifications in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. The religious education curriculum and personal, social and health education (RPSE) is delivered by a team of specialist teachers though timetabled lessons in year 10 and 2 ACE days in year 11. Students wishing to gain a GCSE qualification in religious education can choose this course as one of their option subjects. All students will study aspects of computing throughout their key stage 4 courses. At least two different computing courses are available to students through the options process for those who wish to gain formal qualifications in this subject.
Most students study 4 option subjects at key stage 4; some students may require a more personalised curriculum and will follow fewer option subjects depending on their individual needs.
Options available in 2017 were:
We pride ourselves in being a truly inclusive school. To help those who have additional learning needs we have a dedicated team of highly qualified support staff to assist students in class. We recognise all our students as individuals, respect them accordingly and are committed to developing the learning of all students regardless of ability or background. Whilst seeking to provide a world class education for our students, our curriculum has at its core the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. For those students who find the transition to high school difficult, we have a highly successful nurture group which has received national recognition for the quality of support it provides to students. We also have our own child and family specialist nurse together with an in-house counselling service.
At Holmfirth High School we see the curriculum as much more than the “taught curriculum”. We believe education is very much about the education of the “whole child” and central to this, in any school, is a rich and diverse programme of extra-curricular activities which are valued by students, staff and parents alike. We are extremely proud of the wealth of extra-curricular activities available to students: links and annual trips include Malawi, Peru, China, Paris, Spain and Berlin. There are theatre visits, sports tournaments, music festivals, art exhibitions, computer camps, shows and dance activities, and there are many groups for students to join. The offer is extensive, participation rates are high and we believe this is something which sets us apart from many other schools.
My children have achieved…and they’ve enjoyed – they are rounded people.Holmfirth High School parent