Ralph Allen School curriculum aims

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

Ralph Allen School curriculum intent statement

At Ralph Allen School we aim to have a curriculum which…

  1. Is rich, varied & deep as well as being relevant to young people; the curriculum will be made up of both substantive (the content of a subject) as well as the disciplinary (the analysis, evaluation) elements
  2. Promotes independence: it produces students who take responsibility for their own learning, understand the ways in which they learn best and the importance of attending to their own wellbeing, as well as that of others; it will develop the desire to keep learning after leaving school
  3. Meets the needs of all learners with a suitable degree of challenge for all and without labelling learners
  4. Develops the following characteristics – ambition (to achieve a personal best), responsibility (for own actions), respect (of other people), the ability to question (not take things at face value), determination (in the face of apparent failure), resilience (to keep going in the face of challenges)
  5. Creates exciting opportunities/pathways for students by giving them the knowledge and understanding they need to be global citizens and by preparing them for living in a fast changing (digital) world – giving them transferrable skills such as problem solving, team working, organisational and communication skills etc.

How we organise student learning

We organise student learning around Curriculum Areas – subjects - which are listed below. 

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 are taught by teachers who are grouped into Curriculum Teams.

For an overview and details of what is studied in Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, see the Ralph Allen School Prospectus by clicking here.  For the Sixth Form curriculum details in the Sixth Form Prospectus click here.


Other important aspects of learning at Ralph Allen School

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, Virtual 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

We have a very varied range of after-school clubs and activities. These include many different sports, music, drama and science activities. This year we are very excited to be offering students two new activities, Latin and Creative Writing.

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, Deputy Headteacher