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Our Curriculum

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At THS, every student has the opportunity to flourish and be the ‘best that they can be’, both personally and academically. It is our ambition that every student, irrespective of starting point, background or gender, is prepared for life beyond Tanbridge House School as informed and positively active global citizens.

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. 

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 the curriculum 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.  

At Tanbridge House School we are proud of our curriculum in so many ways:

  • Excellent relationships with our feeder schools ensures continued progress at the point of transition from KS2 to KS3
  • Links with post-16 providers ensures that the 5-year learning journey equips our students with the skills and knowledge needed to be global citizens: In 2021, 99.4% of our Year 11 students progressed to further education, employment or training.
  • Our increasingly diverse and inclusive curriculum challenges stereotypes and promotes equality and inclusivity. Extra-curricular themes enhance cultural capital through enrichment activities, assemblies and tutor activities.
  • Learning is tailored to the needs of the individual. Bespoke programmes of study through Inclusion and our behaviour unit ‘The Bridge’, ensures that the curriculum for all students, including those who may find the ‘traditional’ pathway a challenge, opens doorways for the future.
  • High quality CPD, based on educational research evidence and tailored to the needs of individuals, develops our staff so that there is a high level of consistency across the school and within subjects. Ensuring every teacher is supported in delivering high-quality teaching is essential to achieving the best outcomes for all pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged.
  • Work is accessible for students but stretch and challenge is at the heart of all we do, be it through expert questioning and feedback, choice of task, or modelling and exemplars. Learning is never ‘done’, it is simply the start of a journey.
  • Our curriculum develops the whole child; our students embody the school's core values of care and kindness.

Please contact the school if you would like to find out more about the Curriculum at Tanbridge House School.

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)

At Tanbridge House School, high quality and engaging teaching across all year groups ensures exceptional implementation of the KS3 curriculum. We deliver a rich, ambitious and well sequenced two-year Key Stage 3, covering National Curriculum content and more besides.

Excellent Primary school links ensures that KS3 builds on prior knowledge, skills and understanding so that students are stretched and challenged from day one of transition. Robust and effective assessment systems throughout KS3 ensures secure learning of knowledge and skills that are fundamental to lifelong learning.

Finance and Careers are taught throughout both years 7 and 8, enabling students to explore potential careers and understand the relevance of all subjects in relation to these. Our exceptional KS3 builds the confidence and foundations for superb outcomes at KS4 across all subjects, with 99.4% of Year 11 students in 2021 progressing to further education, employment or training.


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 for those students who would benefit from this learning atmosphere.


Key Stage 4 (Year 9, 10 and 11)

At Tanbridge House School, we know that the best curricular offer is guided by a vital set of core principles and values.

  • Equality – everyone has the opportunity to study subjects that they wish to.
  • Accessibility – all subjects and their teachers will ensure that learning content is appropriately challenging and scaffolded to maximise progress and the learning potential of every student.
  • Variety – there must be a balance between core subjects such as English, Maths and Science which blend well with other subject choices.
  • Knowledge and skills – it is important that you learn the key components of any course undertaken. This knowledge can then be blended with skills such as analysis, research and evaluation so that you can apply information to relevant challenging tasks.
  • Being successful – it is positive to pursue subjects that you are good at and that allow you to be successful in examinations and with future career choices.

The importance of maintaining a broad and balanced curricular offer cannot be underestimated. Considering this, we ensure that ‘core subjects’ such as English, Maths, Science and IT are complemented by a wide range of Option Choices ranging from MFL, Geography, History, Performing Arts, Philosophy and Ethics, PE, and a variety of Design Technologies.

Within Key Stage 4 students follow a core curriculum as below:

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) to enable the reintroduction of PSHE lessons in year 11.  IT will have 5 hours per fortnight in Y10 in September 2022 

In addition, 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.

The Department for Education recommends that students should study a suite of subjects at GCSE, known as the EBacc, that keeps young people’s options open for further study and future careers.

The EBacc is:

  • English language and literature
  • maths
  • the sciences
  • geography or history
  • a language

The importance of studying EBacc subjects is explained and promoted to students at the beginning of the Option process, and we positively encourage and affirm our ambition for students to select a language; engagement and enjoyment of the subject is, however, important. All students can opt to study EBacc subjects at KS4 and every student selects at least one EBacc subject. Whilst THS is in line with the national average of uptake of EBacc choices, our outcomes are significantly higher due to the high-quality teaching across all five years.

It is, however, our ambition that 65% of our students study a language at KS4 and we continue to actively promote and encourage study at KS4, working towards the government target of 75% studying the EBacc combination of subjects.

Option subjects are:

Art & Design

Computer Science

Dance (BTEC Preparation)

Design & Technology


Food & Nutrition






Media Studies


Music BTEC Technical Award

Performing Arts BTEC

Philosophy & Ethics

Physical Education



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*

Child Development BTEC

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.

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 thrive 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.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Curriculum

Inclusivity: “the ways in which pedagogy, curricula and assessment are designed and delivered to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. It embraces a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others.” (Hockings 2010)

At Tanbridge House School, embedding equality and diversity in our curriculum is the creating of teaching and learning environments and experiences that proactively:

  • Promotes equality of opportunity for all, regardless of their age, gender, cultural and religious background, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Every person in our school is given a fair and equal opportunity to develop their full potential.
  • Creates a safe and inclusive environment for all to succeed and thrive
  • Eliminates discrimination, through training and education.
  • Celebrates differences, both individually eg personality, learning styles or life experiences, but also group or social differences such as race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin.
  • Ensures that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
  • Promotes and fosters positive attitudes and commitment to an education for equality.

We do this by:

  • treating all those within the school community (pupils, staff, governors and parents/carers) as individuals with their own abilities, beliefs, challenges, attitudes, background and experience.
  • challenging stereotypical views and learning to value each other’s differences through assemblies, tutor activities and PSHE (including Relationships and Sex Education).
  • creating and maintaining a school ethos which promotes equality, develops understanding, and challenges myths, stereotypes, misconceptions, and prejudices.
  • encouraging everyone in our school community to gain a positive self-image and high self-esteem.
  • having high expectations of everyone involved with the whole school community.
  • promoting mutual respect and valuing each other’s similarities and differences and facing equality issues openly and honestly.


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Curriculum Implementation

High quality, consistent teaching is the single most important strategy to improve pupil attainment effective teaching is directly linked to effective learning. Ensuring every teacher is supported in delivering high-quality teaching is essential to achieving the best outcomes for all pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged.

Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all’, teachers at THS are guided by the practices identified in educational research as being instrumental in supporting student progress. Lessons must have a clear structure and would largely draw on the following features:

  1. All lessons are placed in context and / or begin with a short review of previous learning
  2. Student friendly learning objectives introduce new learning and success criteria
  3. New subject content is broken down into small steps to avoid cognitive overload
  4. Models, exemplars and appropriate scaffolding enable students to independently apply the knowledge and skills learned and evaluate their own progress within a lesson.
  5. Independent (Take10) and guided student practice is required after each step
  6. Open questions consolidate and extend student understanding
  7. Key terminology is explicitly taught and modelled
  8. Scaffolding/differentiation allows all students to access the learning at a level that is appropriate and challenging to their natural ability.
  9. Learning objectives are returned to and students demonstrate clear progress towards these. Regular opportunities must be taken to assess the progress and learning taking place during the lesson and must inform the direction of the remainder of the lesson and inform subsequent lesson planning