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Curriculum intent statements - 2021-2022


The English Department at Cardinal Newman Catholic School aims to foster a love of language and literature and enable students to become reflective readers, skilled writers, confident speakers and creative thinkers.

We encourage students to become independent readers and to read for pleasure as well as developing skills in comprehension, analysis, evaluation and knowledge of a range of poetry, drama and prose texts. Furthermore, we strive to develop accomplished writers who are able to exercise a creative flare and adapt their writing for different purposes, audiences and forms. Additionally, we aim to empower students with the confidence and ability to express themselves fluently through regular opportunities for discussion, debate and speaking and listening whilst building on their own experiences and developing their cultural capital to inform their own views and ideas.

Through exposing students to a range of genres and forms as well as encountering key figures from the literary cannon, students are able to develop an awareness of our rich and diverse literary heritage, leaving CNCS with an appreciation of the power of Language and Literature and equipped with the literacy skills needed for all their future pathways.


Maths provides us with the knowledge to understand the world we live in and the skills to be able to change it. Through the leaning journey at Cardinal Newman students become numerate and creative problem solvers. Maths is ever present in life: financial wellbeing, the beauty of nature, the latest technologies, gaming, social media and science. As well as a stand alone subject, mathematic skills are fundamental to success in many other subjects. The maths department follow the national curriculum for mathematics at KS3 and the GCSE, students build on the numeracy foundation from KS2 and develop their mathematical knowledge and problem-solving skills to GCSE with the option of A Level Maths and Further Mathematics.  

Studying mathematics builds the qualities of integrity, perseverance and resilience, driving students pursuit of being “Made for greatness”. The logical thought and analytical problem solving developed when working accurately  demonstrates key employability qualities. The exponential growth of technology means that the problems our pupils will face are incomprehensible. The solutions to these problems will require more flair, abstract thinking and the ability to apply knowledge to unknown fast moving problems. Our mathematicians are a link in the chain, playing a vital role in the development of technologies and the future of our society. 


The Science Department at Cardinal Newman Catholic School aims to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that whilst covering the necessary content for public examinations also engages, enthuses, develops an enquiring mind and demonstrates that pupils are ‘made for greatness’. 

We want our pupils to have awe and wonder for the world around them and within them, for them to be scientifically literate and numerate so they can critique and evaluate science in the wider world whilst formulating their own ideas, opinions and question those around them.

This understanding of the world around and within will promote our ASPIRE values and allow pupils to be valued members of a diverse and tolerant society.


The RE Department at Cardinal Newman Catholic School aims to keep Christ at the centre of all that we do. Through our broad, ambitious and academic curriculum, we intend to support our students in knowing and understanding that they are ‘Made for Greatness’.

Our RE Department reflects the Catholic ethos of our school. Our curriculum is in line with the Bishops Conference Directory and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We also endeavour to meet our students in their life situations and teach them of their faith and its relevance to life in the 21st century. We aim to develop our students as critical thinkers, instilled with a sense of dignity and worth. We aim to not only increase their knowledge but their awareness of themselves and God. Inclusive opportunities are provided in RE lessons, where students can reflect on the role of faith in their lives and experience moments of encountering God.

As RE teachers within the department at Cardinal Newman School, we must never forget our mission which is not only to educate but to bear witness to the Gospel of Christ in both our words and actions. Christ is at the centre of all that we do for our students and school community.

Collaborative planning of the curriculum, aims to ensure that the curriculum is stimulating and engaging, with a variety of activities that enable students to investigate scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church and other faiths, as well as encourage their love of learning.  At KS3 Students will encounter the curriculum initially through thematic overview which aims to develop students understanding of RE at secondary school and the significance of our patron saint – St John Henry Newman.  Each unit of study clearly focuses on developing students’ skills in reading and writing through exploratory schemes of learning. Units at KS3 aim to develop knowledge and skills required for the GCSE curriculum and students are introduced to Judaism and other linked GCSE content. Curriculum overviews are structured and sequenced using both the National Curriculum at KS3 and GCSE specifications to plan the overall learning journey of students from Year 7-11 respectively.

The focus on the development of students' knowledge and skills is implemented through student and teacher assessment; these assessments are used to provide the students with clear targets that will allow them to progress in all aspects of their learning. At the start of each unit, students are introduced to the key terminology, knowledge and skills they will be developing and are assessed at key points (pit stops and end assessment) to establish their progress. Following pit stop and end assessments, teacher marking will inform next steps for progress, using specific knowledge/ skills-based development tasks to give students time to review and reflect on their work during dedicated improvement and reflection time. To ensure assessments are inclusive and enable all students to demonstrate their learning, pre-planned assessments are differentiated appropriately to ensure each member of the class has the opportunity to achieve.


The History curriculum inspires students to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world so students know their place in it. The curriculum equips students with the ability to ask perceptive questions, develop their own judgements using evidence, critically evaluate source material and appreciate how the diversity of the past has led to the society they live in today.

History focuses on the breadth of British History for over 2000 years, with recurring themes throughout the curriculum: migration, power, health and society. Students build upon their knowledge acquired from their primary education, giving them an inclusive and chronological perspective to the development of British and wider world societies, creating aspirational citizens.

The History department offers access to a range of educational trips and speakers aiming to further students’ interest at all ages in the subject, fostering a love of learning, curiosity and developing their cultural capital. 


The Geography curriculum intent is to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Teaching equips pupils with knowledge and opportunities to learn about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge and love of learning about the world, should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.

Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time. We aim to create aspirational geographers. We challenge students to think, act and speak like those working in the field would. We do this by quality first teaching which ensures students understand geographical principles and can apply them in a variety of familiar and unfamiliar contexts form around the world.

We teach content in its totality and constantly vary topics between human and physical geography to provide a varied and balanced appreciation of the ideas, skills and topics in this discipline, and to ensure that all students feel they are made for greatness.


The Modern Foreign Languages Department aims to promote a love of languages among all our students and maximise students’ ability to communicate effectively with people and understand their cultures, attitudes and customs. The opportunity of learning another language helps to foster essential values such as open-mindedness, acceptance and tolerance, thereby, as well as learning a language our students develop their personality as a whole, learn to embrace diversity and improve their knowledge of their own mother tongue.

We believe every student is entitled and capable of learning a foreign language. Language learning deepens the understanding of the world and helps develop many transferable and life-long learning skills which will broaden students’ prospects and options for the future, and everyone should have this chance.

Our aspirational curriculum aims to open students’ minds to different cultures, encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and to nurture a lifelong passion for language learning and respect of diversity. We want students to recognise that “made for greatness” goes beyond our borders.

Computer Science

In the words of Steve Jobs, “Everyone should learn how to program a computer; it teaches you to how to think.”

ICT and Computing knowledge and skills are in high demand within in a globally competitive world. It has become an ever-growing part of human life, affecting many aspects of a person’s day. Today a computer chip is embedded in almost every device, smart phones, washing machines, heating systems, cars and healthcare devices. Computer scientists have a significant impact on how our society advances by developing and maintaining these systems: whether it be for our home, work, learning or entertainment environments. Computer Science and ICT is an exciting and rapidly evolving subject that offers excellent employment prospects and well-paid careers.

Our intent is to equip students with the relevant skills and knowledge to be successful in the rapidly changing world of technology. Our curriculum gives students the opportunity to develop their capability, creativity, and subject knowledge. It also takes advantage of the content of other subjects such as maths, science and design and technology.


Business Studies is delivered at Key Stage 4 and 5 and offers students a detailed understanding of how businesses operate. Students will critically analyse and evaluate different aspects of the business model including business types, marketing, human resources, production, finance and the impact that the wider world has on the business community. All of the courses on offer within the department allow for inclusivity for all students, where we foster an approach to learning that enables our students to be aspirational in their expectations of how they can succeed.

We aim to enthuse students in their understanding of the wider world of business and how it impacts on their daily lives from education through to where they purchase their goods. During Key Stage 4 GCSE Business Studies, we focus on the understanding of the business basics and apply them to real world situations and business contexts, which are then further developed within Key Stage 5. We aim to provide students with the skills needed to be successful within the business world.


The ambitious curriculum in art and photography aims to encourage and develop student’s skills and creativity. We follow the national curriculum guidelines to ensure all pupils produce creative work, explore ideas and record their experiences.

We aim for all our students to become proficient in their artistic skills to be able to evaluate and analyse creative work as well as understand the historical and cultural development of art forms. We aim to ensure every student has the opportunity to explore their own creativity and abilities with a range of techniques and processes.

Our vision aims to provide every student with an opportunity to enjoy their own creativity and gain confidence through practical tasks.

To see some of the work our students produce please follow us on Twitter. @CNCSArt


At the core of the music curriculum intent is our students. We want them to develop a positive relationship with music, something they can connect with and use beyond the classroom and beyond their time at secondary school. The curriculum is designed so that all students can be aspirational and achieve excellence regardless of their background

The curriculum for music is split into three disciplines: listening, composing, and performing. These skills start at a foundational level from year 7 and then gradually get more complex throughout KS3 and KS4. At KS4, the GCSE is delivered through these same areas of discipline, and so we work backwards to ensure that students have what they need to succeed and access learning at KS4 and beyond.  

At KS3, students are given opportunities to use their voice and to learn a variety of instruments in different genres and traditions. They are taught to use the elements of music effectively through composing; to be expressive through ensemble performance; and to understand how to identify the elements of music and composition devices through critical listening.


The Drama department at Cardinal Newman aims to encourage all students to grow creatively and build on life skills that can be applied throughout school and the wider world. Through our curriculum students will work on many of these skills including: Creativity, Teamwork, Communication, Leadership, Pubic Speaking, Critical Thinking, Mutual Respect and Confidence. Our aspirational curriculum encourages all students to realise their potential to achieve regardless of their academic ability and background.

Our whole school Drama curriculum focuses on the three components taught at GCSE level; Devising Drama, Scripted Drama and the study of Theatre and Plays. Schemes of work are sequenced in a way that allows all students to build on their knowledge of Drama and Theatre, working towards the transition from KS3 to KS4 GCSE. By the end of KS3, students will have the required knowledge and skill set needed to achieve well in KS4.

Within the Drama Department, we aim to develop students’ cultural capital through memorable experiences outside of the classroom with our extra-curricular activities. Throughout the year we put on multiple events including: the ‘Winter Snowcase’ variety show, our annual whole school musical production and our summer Shakespeare performance in the park. We run a weekly drama club where students can learn about all aspects of drama and theatre.


The Physical Education Department intend to enable all pupils to have an outstanding experience of PE throughout their time at the school and therefore achieve their true potential.

We follow the national curriculum guidelines and intent, to ensure all pupils experience a range of sports and be challenged not only to improve practical abilities, but be encouraged to develop personal, social and decision-making skills.

At Cardinal Newman Catholic School, we strive to inclusively make young people healthier, encourage them to develop their self-discipline and teamwork skills, develop their leadership potential and introduce them to activities they may enjoy and derive health benefits from for a lifetime. This will then ultimately enrich their quality of life. We therefore do not merely concentrate on what we teach but also how we teach, in order that children may learn.


The Psychology department’s aim is to study human mind and behaviour through the AQA Psychology specification (linear qualification). The course itself offers an engaging and effective introduction to Psychology, so students are not expected to have any prior knowledge of the subject. Students will learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by Higher Education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.  Students are encouraged to aim high from the very beginning of the course so that they may achieve at their very best.

The content of the first year of learning is divided up into discreet learning sections with periods interwoven for reflection and consolidation. The course content is very interesting and varied and is organised around the AS level course providing the students with the most suitable content for the transition from GCSE level learning to A level learning.  The course content is organised so that knowledge and skills are gradually built upon, using a variety of learning techniques. Students will be expected to engage in discussion about often sensitive issues, with respect and integrity. Links are made both backwards and forwards on the learning journey, through a process of reviewing and revisiting linked content, as each new topic is introduced. Regular assessment is built in to the learning to encourage excellence from all students regardless of their academic starting point.

During the last half term of the first year, students will be introduced to more challenging content and assessment styles, in the preparation for year 13. The year 13 course therefore continues seamlessly from the year 12 work.  Year 13 will be more demanding both in terms of the level and depth of work, and the speed at which it is covered.  The students will also be expected to work more independently and develop more synoptic links between and within topics.  This gradual increment in academic demands will enable the students to empower themselves to be the best that they can be.  The students will continue to be formatively assessed to check understanding and to further develop their knowledge, evaluation and application skills. Summative assessments, using past A’ level exam questions, will take place at the end of each topic and or by way of a school wide PPE.  The year two option topics have been chosen as they are considered to be relatable to life (relationships) whilst engaging and challenging the students (schizophrenia) and being relatable to previous topics and the synoptic topic of issues and debates (e.g. the aggression topic which is centred on the nature nurture debate). 

Psychology students at Cardinal Newman will learn a variety of skills including analytical thinking, improved communication, problem solving and many more that will prepare them for an exciting future with the possibility of a range of fantastic careers.  These careers include marketing, business development, accountancy, human resources, forensic psychology, occupational therapy, clinical psychology, nursing and teaching, to name but a few.


The Sociology department’s aim is to study human social relationships and institutions through the AQA Sociology specification (linear qualification). The A-level specification is designed to be taken over two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course.  

Students will learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by higher education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research. The integral elements of the course includes a focus on sociological theories, perspectives and methods, the design of the research used to obtain the data under consideration, including its strengths and limitations.

Overall this course enables students to focus on contemporary society and will foster the development of critical and reflective thinking with a respect for social diversity. The course allows students to achieve an awareness of the importance of social structure and social action in explaining social issues. Throughout the course students are encouraged to develop their own sociological awareness through active engagement with the contemporary social world (real world application).



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computer science

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design & technology

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vocational education

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criminology & Law

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