Curriculum Intent

  • Ensure that every pupil is able to make outstanding progress in every subject
  • Ensure that every pupil has high expectations and aspirations for their future
  • Ensure that pupils are given the skills and confidence to remain safe at all times
  • Ensure that every pupil enjoys a broad and balanced curriculum so that they have the opportunity to discover and develop all their talents and abilities
  • Ensure that all pupils have the key employability skills needed for the 21st Century

Our Vision

Holmfirth High School has a five-year curriculum. Each year should build on the previous one so that by Year 11 pupils are able to maximise their potential at GCSE and beyond. In every year pupils will build their skills and knowledge so that it has a direct impact on their GCSEs and beyond. Each year is of equal importance. We recognise the great significance of Year 7 and the need for every pupil to make rapid progress when they first arrive at school so that they develop the mind set of hard work and progress that they will require throughout their school careers if they are to be successful.

To enable this to happen we have developed a knowledge- enhanced approach. This means that in each subject, every year there will be clearly identified elements of knowledge that pupils will be exposed to and be expected to learn. These identified elements of knowledge will be interwoven with the skills that pupils will be required to demonstrate in their GCSE exams.

We expect all pupils to make outstanding progress in all subjects and in every year group. We believe that to be successful every pupil needs to be challenged and stretched at all times and in all subjects. Our curriculum plan in all subject areas and year groups aims to reflect our belief that there is no limit to what a child can achieve. As a school we will set targets which are used as a guide towards progress over time. We fully expect pupils to do better than their initial targets and the curriculum in each subject is flexible enough to cope when this happens.

Our curriculum as a school and within in each subject area reflects our belief in academic rigour as well as engagement and enjoyment. As such we place emphasis on learning inside and outside the classroom. The school offers an extensive range of extra- curricular activities that play a crucial part in our plan to help pupils to be happy and well-rounded.

We believe that Assessment plays a crucial role in progress. Rigorous assessment helps pupils, parents/ carers and staff to understand the progress a child is making and what needs to happen next. Assessment should reflect the challenges that pupils will face when they complete their GCSEs. We believe that there must be a sound balance between formative and summative assessment and that each plays an important role in a child’s learning. Assessment is crucial in informing planning, helping to understand what has been learnt and where improvements can be made.

Curriculum Structure

The school timetable runs over a fortnightly cycle with 5 periods per day. The tables below show how many of these 1 hour periods are allocated to each subject in the different year groups.

Year 7

In year 7, pupils are placed in a mixed ability tutor groups with approximately equal numbers of boys and girls in each; pupils are taught in their form groups for most subjects. After an initial ‘bridging’ unit there is some setting in English and maths. In PE and technology pupils are grouped with other tutor groups to assist with the smooth delivery of these practical subjects. All pupils study French as their modern foreign language. Religious studies and personal, social and health education are delivered by subject specialists through RPSE lessons across key stage 3.

Year 8

In year 8, pupils 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 Art, Drama, Computing, Music and Reading. This allows pupils to broaden their friendship groups and learn to work with a wider range of peers. In English and maths, pupils are once again grouped according to their prior attainment scores and progress made to date. All pupils study two foreign languages in year 8 and they will be given the opportunity to choose their second language at the end of year 7. Technology and PE are delivered in a similar way to year 7.

Year 9

In year 9, pupils 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.

Key Stage 4

The curriculum model provided for year 10 and 11 pupils follows the national curriculum requirements for key stage 4. All pupils 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 through a combination of timetabled lessons and additional extended ‘drop down’ periods. Pupils wishing to gain a GCSE qualification in religious education can choose this course as one of their option subjects. All pupils will study aspects of computing throughout their key stage 4 courses, in line with the requirements of the National Curriculum. GCSE Computing is also available to pupils through the options process for those who wish to gain formal qualifications in this subject area.

Most pupils study 4 option subjects at key stage 4; some pupils may require a more personalised curriculum and will follow fewer option subjects depending on their individual needs.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Option Choices

2020/22 Options Blocks:

Options Booklet


On the final week of summer term each year, students will be off timetable to take part in Activities Week. As part of Activities Week, pupils will have a choice of a range of trips or activities designed to enhance their learning and experience of school. Each pupil will select a trip or activity package from a range of varied opportunities. Each package lasts all four days with some being school-based workshops, day trips or overnight residential stays. The week is designed to enable all students to take part in an extra curricular activity be that to pursue an interest or passion or try something new.


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 pupils in class. We recognise all our pupils as individuals, respect them accordingly and are committed to developing the learning of all pupils regardless of ability or background.  Whilst seeking to provide a world class education for our pupils, 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 pupils 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 pupils. We also have an in-house counselling service to provide additional support to pupils wherever needed.

School Curriculum Lead

Mrs K Logan

Deputy Headteacher