Ralph Allen School curriculum aims

'Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel' Socrates

Introduction

The provision of a very high quality curriculum for our students is at the very heart of everything we do at Ralph Allen School. This document sets out the aims of the curriculum at the School, how we organise the curriculum, and other important aspects of learning at Ralph Allen and how we view it. The document ends with some concluding comments.

The key aims of the Ralph Allen School curriculum

These are as follows: -

  • To meet the learning needs of all students
  • To give all students an excellent foundation for the future
  • To enable all students to achieve their personal best in their learning
  • To instil in all students a belief that they can learn new skills and abilities and develop themselves further as successful learners
  • To inspire students and enable them to love the subjects they study

How we organise student learning at Ralph Allen School

We organise student learning around Curriculum Areas – subjects - which are listed below. The links alongside each area will take you to a web-page which summarises each area, what students study in each year, and why the Curriculum Area is important.

1.    English

2.    Maths

3.    Science

4.    Art

5.    Computer Science

6.    Design Technology

7.    Drama

8.    Geography

9.    History

10.  Modern Foreign Languages

11.  Music

12.  Philosophy and Social Sciences

13.  Physical Education

The various Curriculum Areas – subjects – are taught by teachers who are grouped into Curriculum Teams.

 

Other important aspects of learning at Ralph Allen

Cross-curricular provision

Although learning is organised into separate subjects on the lesson timetable, cross-curricular learning is also a feature of the curriculum in different year groups. For example, in Year 7 all students have a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) lesson in addition to the lessons they have in these individual subjects. During this STEM lesson, students work on six projects which include Lego Robotics, Rocket Science, Bridge Building, Upcycling, and the Dyson Challenge. As they work on their projects, students draw on all the STEM subjects.

Non-traditional learning

Not all learning at Ralph Allen School takes place in a traditional way in lessons. For example, in our unique Wednesday Windows programme, students can choose from a whole host of activities which are not formally part of the School curriculum. Many of the activities have been suggested by students and they range from Archery to Zumba and from Baking to Yoga! Some of the activities are led by students.

After-school clubs and activities

At Ralph Allen School, we also have a very varied range of after-school clubs and activities. These clubs/activities include many different sports, music, drama and science activities. This year we are very excited to be offering students two new activities, Mandarin and Tae Kwon Do.

Learning by the staff at Ralph Allen School

At Ralph Allen School we are clear that all staff at the school – especially those who work directly with students – should be learners. Teachers are expected to develop the already high level of their subject knowledge and their practice as teachers. We continually work to enable all the staff to develop their own capabilities.

Concluding comments

In conclusion, Ralph Allen School is above all a ‘learning organisation’. Everyone at Ralph Allen, be they staff or student, is considered to be a learner. Very importantly, we regard learning not only as the transfer of knowledge, but as a complex process where students have to learn to learn and be inspired to learn. Teachers have a crucial role to play in inspiring learners, but we also recognise that inspiration comes also from other sources - including family and friends. Our aim is to bring about inspirational learning opportunities which meet the needs of all students to enable them to both do well in public examinations and to prepare them for the future.  

John Chantry

(Vice Principal responsible for the Ralph Allen School Curriculum)