Learning at Newlands
Our curriculum is designed to give all students a broad and varied learning experience that sets no limits on what students can achieve.
Students study a wide range of subjects which are rich in knowledge, skills, enrichment and personal development. Using the National Curriculum as a starting point, our subject specialist teachers expertly plan our curriculum to stretch and excite students and to be responsive to their needs, regardless of their background or individual starting points including SEND and disadvantaged students. This allows everyone to make the strongest academic progress while developing into rounded, courageous, committed and compassionate young people.
Key stage 3 – Building the foundations
The curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9 is designed to take the knowledge students have developed at their previous schools and build a firm foundation that prepares them for their future studies. Students will discover new passions in subjects that they have not previously studied as well as discovering new areas where they excel.
Subjects studied at Key Stage 3 are English; Maths; Science (comprising Biology, Chemistry and Physics); Modern Foreign languages (French, German and Spanish in Year 7, of which students then choose 2 to take through into Year 8); History; Geography; Fine Art; Design and Technology (Food; Graphics; Resistant Materials, Textiles); Drama; Computing; Music; PSHE; Physical Education and Religious Studies.
Years 7 to 9 are not just about getting ready for studying GCSE exams in the future. The carefully crafted pastoral and PSHE programmes develops students’ character, allowing them the opportunity to be courageous, committed and compassionate young people, and preparing them for the next steps in their journey.
Students are able to take part in a vast range of enrichment and extra-curricular activities which take their learning beyond the core classroom curriculum. Year 7s visit the Clubs Fair at the start of their Newlands experience, and we encourage everyone to sign up to something - thus broadening and enriching their education.
Key Stage 4 – Developing knowledge, passions and expertise
Key Stage 4 gives students an opportunity to focus their studies on disciplines in which they are passionate and strive to be experts in, while continuing to build their knowledge in core academic areas.
In Years 10 and 11, the core curriculum consists of English Language, English Literature and Maths, all of which are essential for future progress. In addition, students study Science, which leads to either a combined or a separate science pathway; both of which cover Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Students then opt for an additional 4 subjects, chosen from 15 different GCSE subjects: Geography; History; French; German; Spanish; Art; Business Studies; Food and Nutrition; Design and Technology; Drama; Music; Physical Education and Religious Studies. To ensure we maintain a broad and balanced curriculum, most are required to choose a Modern Foreign Language and a Humanity subject.
As well as subjects which are examined at the end of Year 11, core PE, RS and PSHE lessons form an important and enriching element of the programme.
In addition to their academic studies, students have the opportunity to take part in numerous extra-curricular activities and trips that enhance their learning.
Key stage 5 – Future aspirations and specialisms
Our thriving Sixth Form is an important feature of Newlands and one we are very proud of. The Sixth Form curriculum emphasises depth of study and rewarding content that goes far beyond the syllabus. The courses we offer allow specialisation for those who know exactly where they want to go, but preserve diversity of choice and the opportunity for breadth for all students. Most girls study three subjects in depth, and have the opportunity to complement these with an Extended Research Project which is highly regarded by universities and employers. Teaching takes place in small groups affording great opportunities for high-quality teaching and learning in university-like seminar and research environments.
While academic achievement is only one facet of Newland’s life, we are nevertheless extremely proud of our students’ exam results and university destinations. This year, 83% of our students went on to university, with 31% accepting places from the Russell Group institutions.
Greater responsibility, independence and freedom are given in these final two years of school as students make their transition to adulthood. We aim to enable the young people in our care to move confidently and happily from school to university and beyond. There is also expert guidance and support provided to help them prepare for exams and university entry. Our experienced Careers Leader offers students specialist advice, support and a full programme of events introducing them to the very broad range of higher education opportunities and career pathways that lie ahead of them.
Beyond the classroom, societies, clubs and extra-curricular activities flourish. Many students assume significant roles in the school leadership including: Head Girls, Deputy Head Girls, Prefects and Subject Leaders. All students are supported by the dedicated Sixth Form Team, as well as by all other staff in the school and a comprehensive pastoral programme ensures that equal emphasis is given to student wellbeing.
Enrichment - BROADENING HORIZONS
There are more than 70 different clubs and societies throughout the school ranging from Chess Club to Competition Gym, the Biomedical Society to Swing Band. These popular activities allow students to broaden their school experience even further and experience new and exciting sports, creative and performing arts as well as academic disciplines and support groups.
This academic year there are over 25 trips taking place across the school giving students fantastic opportunities outside the classroom. This will enrich their subject knowledge and is wonderful for personal development.
Each year over 100 students take part in the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s award. The award teaches students skills such as team building, commitment, confidence and resilience and culminates with overnight expeditions.
These fantastic opportunities allow our students to be more than simply young people with outstanding examination results They ensure that students leave Newlands with a wide skill set and that they are prepared with confidence and enthusiasm for the next steps in their journey.
British values statement
British Values at Newlands Girls’ School
The Department for Education requires all schools "to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs".
At Newlands, we believe that British Values are important in helping us prepare our girls for life in the twenty-first century, fulfilling our aim for pupils to become confident, adaptable young women who can work co-operatively but who are also capable of thinking for themselves.
British Values are intrinsically linked with Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC) and our programme of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE).
Our students have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. Our Student Council is made up of students from all year groups, who are elected democratically every autumn. The Student Council meets regularly to discuss issues and ideas raised by the student body and is able to effect change within the school, including on matters such as feedback, marking and homework.
Democracy is also taught explicitly through our PSHE programme, where students learn about what happens in a general election and who can and cannot vote. As well as being able to identify the leaders of the main political parties, classes learn the importance of registering to vote and voting. They read anonymised manifestos and conduct a mock election to decide who they support both as individuals and as a form group.
The Rule of Law
We continually emphasise the importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when promoting good behaviour and through school assemblies.
Students are taught the value and reasons behind laws, their responsibilities in upholding them and the possible consequences if laws are broken. We regularly welcome visitors from organisations and authorities such as the Police, to speak on relevant issues.
Students are actively encouraged to think about and make good choices in their daily lives; Newlands provides them with a safe and secure environment in which to do this. The school establishes clear boundaries alongside a broad and balanced curriculum and an excellent range of extra-curricular activities.
Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms, whilst being advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety, PSHE lessons and Pastoral Programme.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Students learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Newlands places a great emphasis on promoting diversity. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this.
Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Students visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
At Newlands Girls’ School we will actively challenge students, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.
HM government has published guidance for authorities, including schools, on their responsibilities under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act. Under the Act, schools have a duty to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
The guidance outlines activities schools will be expected to demonstrate, including:
- Assessing the risk of pupils being drawn into terrorism, and having robust safeguarding polices in place to identify pupils at risk and refer them to relevant authorities;
- Setting out protocols for ensuring that visiting speakers are suitable and appropriately supervised;
- Working in partnership with other local bodies and following local authority inter-agency procedures;
- Ensuring staff are trained to identify pupils at risk of being drawn into terrorism;
- Ensuring the school has Internet filters in place to block terrorist and extremist material.
The PREVENT strategy is part of our Safeguarding Policy. Newlands Girls’ School works in association with PREVENT.