“The curriculum is outstanding in both the main school and sixth form because it fully meets the future needs and current interests of students (Ofsted)”
There is an emphasis in our curriculum on academic excellence and the need to prepare students for nationally recognised academic qualifications. There is also a commitment to providing a wide range of opportunities for students to enrich their learning through educational visits and a timetabled enrichment programme, including options such as Photography, History, Music Technology, Relaxation and Meditation. These, amongst many others, provide students with time and space to pursue courses and areas of interest outside of the main curriculum.
Key Stage 3
All students in year 7 to 9 study Art, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Design Technology, English, French, German, Geography, History, Maths, Music, Physical Education and Games, and Religious Education. At Aston, the Religious Education scheme of work is broad and balanced, promoting the spiritual and moral development of students, emphasising the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance for those who adhere to different faiths or non. There is also a strong emphasis on considering philosophical and ethical issues and questions. Collective worship is organised daily although not always on a whole school basis. Parents are reminded of their right to withdraw students from Religious Education and collective worship, either in whole or part.
Key Stage 4
Options choices are made in the spring term of year 9, with an Information Evening for parents and students taking place in January each year. Students are provided with support and guidance to make their options choices. In years 10 and 11, all students study the core subjects of English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Religious Education, Physical Education and Games. They will choose one language from either French or German and one humanity from either Geography or History. They are able to pursue their interests by choosing two options from Art, Music, Information Technology, Computer Studies and Design Technology. Students also participate in an enrichment programme which supports our aim and ethos of encouraging students to maintain breadth and balance within their studies.
The Sixth Form
Most students stay on at Aston to continue their studies to A level. The options system is flexible to allow students to combine study of arts and sciences. In addition to subjects offered at GCSE, Economics, Further Mathematics, Psychology and Philosophy can be studied to A level. Art, Music, French, German and Government and Politics are all taught collaboratively with Handsworth Grammar School. All students also follow a wide and varied enrichment programme including PE and Games, as well as extracurricular opportunities in teambuilding, industry, finance, music and drama. Many students choose to take an Extended Project Qualification allowing them to pursue an area of individual interest, and through tutorial supervision, study this to the highest level and achieve a significant national qualification.
PSHEE and Sex Education
Three periods a fortnight are set aside for PSHEE in years 7 and 10 with two periods during years 8, 9 and 11. Topics covered include Study Skills, Health Education, Environmental Issues, Esafety, Careers Education, Financial and Political Awareness, often using external speakers and agencies. Our approach to Sex and Relationship education recognises that parents are the key figures in helping their children to cope with the emotional and physical aspects of growing up. The delivery of the sex education policy is through the programmes of study for Biology and PSHEE. The policy is available on the school website.