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Our Curriculum

Our curriculum is composed of the taught knowledge and development of skills that support the acquisition of excellent exam results and the rich extra-curricular provision, coupled to an over-arching ethos of ‘care, kindness and achievement’. It is crucial to developing a holistic and personalised learning experience for every student.  Our founding principles of challenge and ambition, accessibility and achievement, underpinned by our core values of acceptance, diversity, inclusivity and resilience are interwoven across the formal and informal curriculum offer.  This enables us to prepare students for life beyond Tanbridge House School as informed and positively active global citizens.     

Our curriculum provides a secure foundation for deep learning for future life. Our curriculum policy reflects the aims and values of the school and is based on a set of principles that lie at the heart of a learning centred school:  

Our intent is that the curriculum at Tanbridge House School: 

  • Provides a broad, ambitious, balanced, relevant and personalised curriculum which meets the individual needs of our students and provides them with appropriate qualifications and skills for the future.  
  • Is coherent, planned and sequenced so that that each element is linked, making the learning experience more meaningful and thus improving the retention of knowledge and transferable skills. 
  • Is inclusive and encourages high expectations and aspirations for all, irrespective of gender, SEND, ethnicity, academic ability, social or cultural background. All students can be successful by ensuring how it is taught is matched to students’ needs, abilities and achievements. 
  • Provides opportunities for students to acquire and develop essential skills such as literacy and numeracy, to not only underpin students’ academic achievement, but also fosters a strength of character and resilience which will help students cope with and overcome the challenges they will encounter throughout life.  
  • Stimulates curiosity and develops lively, imaginative and enquiring minds with a questioning approach, expanding students’ perspectives so that they can challenge prejudice and recognise and appreciate the benefits of diversity.  
  • Ensures that all students are given the opportunity to be creative and take managed risks with their learning, in a safe, supportive yet challenging environment.  

Click here for further information on the National Curriculum 


Key Policies

A copy of our Curriculum Policy, Marking and Assessment Policy and Teaching and Learning Policy can be found on our Policies webpage.

Key Stage 3 (Year 7 and 8)

 Within the two year Key Stage 3, students follow a broad and balanced curriculum based on the National Curriculum for England. The fortnightly teaching hours and groupings for each subject (2019-2020) is summarised in the table below.


Year 7

Hours per fortnight and groupings

Year 8

Hours per fortnight and groupings

English 7 – Taught in mixed ability tutor groups 7– Mixed ability
Maths 6 – Set initially in September using KS2 data, reviewed termly 6– Set and reviewed termly
Science 6 -Taught in mixed ability tutor groups term 1, set thereafter 6 - Set groups
Art  2 – mixed ability 2 – mixed ability
Drama 2 – mixed ability 2 – mixed ability
Faith, Philosophy & Thinking 2 – mixed ability 2 – mixed ability
Geography 3 – Set against Science. Led by Science but with Geography/IT input 3 – Set against Science. Led by Science but with Geography/IT input
History 3 - Taught in mixed ability tutor groups. Set against English 3 – Mixed ability. Set against English
Computing 1 – set against Science 2 – Set against science


For a small group of students, additional literacy and numeracy lessons will be taught from after the October half term instead of either German or Spanish (Confidence Group)

6 – Taught in mixed ability tutor groups for first half term, thereafter set by ability. Students will start with two languages from the start. All will do French and then either German or Spanish according to band. 6– Set by ability and second language
Music 2 – Mixed ability 2 – Mixed ability
PE 4 – By tutor group term 1, then by learning route thereafter 4 – by ability/ activities
PSHE 2 – Mixed ability 1 – Mixed ability
Technology 4 – Mixed ability 4 – Mixed ability

Good literacy is key to raising student attainment in all subjects; pupils need vocabulary, expression and organisational control to cope with the cognitive demands of all subjects and to sustain and order thought. This in turn leads to improved self-esteem, motivation and behaviour. Students receive seven lessons of English a fortnight to give an enhanced focus on literacy and we have introduced extra classes in all three teaching bands to enable smaller, more focused classes.


Key Stage 4 (Year 9, 10 and 11)

Within Key Stage 4 students follow a core curriculum (below). There are a range of optional subjects available to students, which are accredited through either GCSE or BTEC Technical Awards. Each optional subject is studied for five hours per fortnight:

Art & Design Computer Science Dance (BTEC Preparation)
Design & Technology Drama Food & Nutrition
French Futures* German
Geography History Media Studies
Music Music BTEC Technical Award Performing Arts BTEC
Philosophy & Ethics Physical Education Psychology
Spanish Cambridge National Sports Studies Travel & Tourism BTEC
Triple Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) Business (Yr10/11 only) Film Studies**
FSMQ and Statistics*** Skills for Life*

Directed Studies is used to support students who would benefit by not selecting their full allocation of option subjects. Futures* and Skills for Life* are not examined subjects but are delivered to invited students focusing on life skills and basic literacy. Film Studies** is new to 2021. FSMQ & Statistics*** are by invite only.

Subject Hours per Fortnight
Year 9 Year 10 Year 11
English – set by ability in sets 1 and 2, mixed ability for the remaining groups 7 7 8
Maths – set by ability 7 8 8
Combined Science – set by ability 6 8 9
Digital IT* – set by ability 5 4 3
Core PE – Yr9 select their route whilst Yrs 10 and 11 select their activity every 4 weeks 4 2 2
PSHE 1 1 0
Optional Subjects – mixed ability unless multiple classes for a subject within the same block allow for setting by ability. 5 5 5

*From September 2021, IT will be taught over two years (Year 9 & 10)

Helping students to access the curriculum and be successful

In some individual cases, student, parents and teachers agree that a student needs a different curriculum in order to enjoy and achieve. This is organised on an individual basis according to the needs of the student. Support can continue throughout years 7 to 11 according to need and is reviewed regularly.

Interventions are based on KS2 scores, reading ages and CATs and may include: extra support within lessons, a blended curriculum offered through mainstream lessons and small group work in The Bridge, Confidence, Lexonik training and Reading Catch Up lessons. In addition, for some students it may be agreed that they opt for one less subject and instead receive supported study time (Directed Studies) or follow the Futures and Skills for Life curriculum which helps students develop life skills and basic literacy.