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One of the things that makes Baysgarth unique and special is our determination to give our students a broad, balanced and varied curriculum which gives opportunities over and above those students will receive in other schools. Because our teachers are so effective and our students well-motivated, we can cover the elements of the compulsory Key Stage 3 National Curriculum in Years 7 and 8.

We allow two years for our students to cover their GCSE courses from Easter of Year 9 to Easter of Year 11, with time to revise and prepare for their exams in the summer term of Year 11. This allows us two terms in Year 9 where we do not have to follow the compulsory elements of the school curriculum and can deliver an exciting and innovative programme that is both unique and enriching. We call this curriculum Gateway and it is based on the belief that our teachers can deliver outstanding lessons in areas of their specialisms, skills and interests, and our students get to learn the critical employability skills that will support them to be successful later in life.

To support this curriculum, our students decide on their Option subjects in Year 8. We have a comprehensive and immersive options process that allows students plenty of time to make the right choices for them, and gives plenty of opportunities for parents and carers to be involved in the process as well. We link reports and a Parents’ Evening to the Options process so that everyone has the latest information on their child’s progress before making key decisions. Then we have an Options Fair, taster sessions and key assemblies to support our students. SEND students and their parents/carers have an extra layer of support from our SEND team to ensure they are making the best choices for them.

Our curriculum is centred around student choice and we are very proud that we offer our students more options choices than virtually any other school. In this way we ensure all students follow a varied, wide-ranging and balanced curriculum for the whole of their time at Baysgarth. We also keep the number of compulsory subjects to a minimum to give our students as much choice as possible (an extra Option subject to virtually every other school) and this is why we have such high student engagement and outcomes at Key Stage 4.

The number of Option subjects our students choose from is very large, ensuring we cater for the needs and interests of our students as well as the needs of the local labour market. This combination of the number and breadth of our Option subjects is massively appreciated by our students as they move up the school - they love what they are studying! And if they start to study one of their option subjects in Year 9 and find it’s not the right fit for them, they have the choice to pick another option. As we don’t start GCSE content until after Easter in Year 9, these changes can happen without students falling behind on their GCSE courses, another strength of our curriculum offer.

Details of the process for 2023/24 will be shared later in the Autumn Term.

If you have any questions about the Options process, please contact Mr Cuthbert at the school.