“Inspiring ambition and excellence, guided by Christ”
Our mission at Saint John Houghton CVA is to enable all our students to have the ambition needed to achieve excellence whilst having Christ at the centre of our school community. As a school, we strive to prepare all the students in our care to take their place in the wider world. As such, all teaching practitioners endeavour to demonstrate and promote our core values – “Aspiration, respect and determination” across the whole of our learning environment.
In Key Stage 3, our taught curriculum provides a broad and balanced education for all. Students at Saint John Houghton are able to build on their core knowledge from Primary school which helps to promote further student progress. Our Key Stage 3 curriculum is designed to offer all students in our care the opportunity to develop their talents and abilities, along with building character and resilience. We endeavour to support all students throughout the Key Stage, enabling each to realise their potential and prepare a solid foundation for GCSE.
At Key Stage 4 all students at Saint John Houghton follow the core subjects of RE, English, Maths and Science – either Trilogy or combined. In addition, students also have the opportunity to choose from a range of academic GCSE subjects and vocational subjects. In Year 9 all students are guided throughout the options process and consideration is given over their personal aspirations and assessment preferences. We aim to promote ambition by encouraging the Ebacc pathway and students can choose to follow this route in full.
Throughout Key Stage 3 and 4, students are supported in their academic studies through our strong pastoral system; Tutors, House Leaders and school chaplain. The catholicity of Saint john Houghton permeates all aspects of student learning and our care and compassion is supported where needed, by Learning Support Department.
The purpose of Religious Education in a Catholic school is to form religiously literate and engaged young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills – appropriate to their age and capacity – to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life (Religious Education Curriculum Directory p6). Religious Education includes knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith, understanding of its social and moral teaching in order to respond to issues in our society and awareness of the beliefs and practices of other religious traditions in order to respect and understand them. Students learn about religion and the impact of religious beliefs on the lives of believers.
At Key Stage 3, students study Foundational Catholic Theology which focuses on core Christian beliefs about God, Jesus, the Trinity, scripture and the sacraments. They follow this with Applied Catholic Theology wherethey further explore the impact of such beliefs on moral issues such as abortion, contraception, creation, conflict mand relationships. In each year, they also study one world religion.
GCSE Religious Studies is a core subject and students follow Eduqas Route B Catholic Christianity and Judaism. During this course, students study Foundational Catholic Theology, Applied Catholic Theology and Judaism. This allows them to engage with elements of Theology, Philosophy and Ethics, deepening their core knowledge and preparing them for Religious Studies/Philosophy and Ethics at KS5.
English is an integral part of life and developing a student’s communication skills so that they can think and articulate ideas at a high level. We have three clear focuses for English: fluency, currency and accuracy. We want our students to be fluent readers, writers, speakers and listeners. We want our students to have the currency and knowledge to understand complex and demanding reading materials, relationships and situations. We want our students to be accurate in all their reading and writing so that they can succeed and understand things correctly. To ensure this, we study a wide breadth of literature with the idea of fostering a love for reading and a love for English literature.
At Saint John Houghton CVA all students in Year 7 to 9 will study several threads over their time with us. We explore a thread around the works of William Shakespeare and study several of his plays. We explore the novel and how it changes depending on genre. We explore the works of several seminal authors as we explore literature of the past and present. Whilst students study these threads, we regularly practise writing and work on learning new vocabulary to support and supplement their knowledge and understanding.
At GCSE we follow the AQA English Literature and AQA English Language Specification. This allows those students who continue to study English, the opportunity to develop their core knowledge of the subject and acquire a greater depth of English Language and Literature. This includes developing the higher order of analysis, contextual and thematic understanding, preparing our students for KS5 English Literature and English Language.
Mathematics is a creative, complex and continually evolving discipline providing the solution to some of history’s most fascinating problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering and vital for financial literacy.
At Saint John Houghton CVA we aim to develop in students an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. In Years 7, 8 and 9 students study a variety of different areas of mathematics including integers and roots, forming and solving equations, angles and shapes, data and interpreting results and ratio and proportion. Students become fluent in the fundamentals before applying their skills and knowledge to increasingly complex and non-routine problems. They develop the skills needed to be able to move fluently between different mathematical ideas and apply their mathematical knowledge in science, geography, computing and other subjects.
At GCSE we follow the AQA mathematics specification. Students are able to build upon the knowledge and skills acquired during Key Stage 3 to continue to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. We also offer an additional Further Maths GCSE qualification to stretch and challenge our highest attaining students where they are introduced to topics such as calculus and matrices and further develop their skills in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions and graphs.
Here at St John Houghton, the Science department will provide the opportunity for every child to maximise their potential. Throughout the science curriculum our students will be encouraged to engage in reasoned scientific discussions around relevant issues. They will be taught not only how to investigate scientifically, but also how to interpret and use the data collected during their investigations in order to make reasoned judgements or solve problems.
The students will learn how to safely conduct increasingly challenging experiments, evaluate and use the data, in order to both learn that scientific evidence has a value and also to develop a passion and understanding for, and of, the world around them. This all happens in a safe and nurturing learning environment that enables the students to confidently participate in lessons and grow as students and individuals.
In key Stage 3 the work completed is intended to develop knowledge and confidence using a variety of different materials and concepts. During Year 7 students are taught basic skills in a series of mini projects. These projects are based around the visual elements, focusing on line, tone, form and composition. Students then move onto looking at colour and pattern and create a series of work which will give them experience and confidence with materials.
Year 8 will start to challenge their deeper thinking within art and how to develop and build on their skills. The students explore a variety of artists and create 3D sculptures showing clear influence. This year includes a lot more reflection on a variety of art styles and techniques to build confidence, independent learning and the use of constructive criticism to enable self-progression.
Year 9 is much more independent; students will direct a lot of their own learning and work confidently with different materials. Students complete three projects throughout this year, they will build upon their critical skills unpicking different pieces of art work to develop their understanding and continually develop their own skills and techniques.
The AQA GCSE Art, Craft and Design is a broad course exploring practical and critical/contextual work through a range of 2D and/or 3D processes and new media. Students will develop appropriate use of colour, line, tone, texture, shape and form using different approaches to recording images, such as observation, analysis, expression and imagination to produce their own portfolios of work.
Computing is the process of using computer technology to complete a given goal-oriented task. Computing may encompass: the design and development of software and hardware systems; structuring, processing and managing information; and creating and using different media for entertainment and communication.
Computing in Saint John Houghton School is a broad and rich discipline that has something for everyone; beyond its core concepts and ideas it connects with many other subjects. It is a discipline which promotes maths, logical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
All our learners have the opportunity to create, invent, explore and simulate the world around them. The role of computing is inescapable within society and the workplace; the workforce of tomorrow will need a solid level of computing literacy and through our curriculum we aim to prepare them for this, enabling them to understand and harness the power of technology to make good decisions and solve new problems.
In key stage 3 all students will have the opportunity to learn about the fundamental principles within computing. We are guided by the national curriculum which aims to ensure that learners:
- Can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- Can analyse problems in computational terms and have repeated practical experiences of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- Can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- Are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
In key stage 4 we offer two options allowing students to follow pathways in either Computer Science or ICT (creating and using media). Both enable students to build on and acquire a greater depth of knowledge and skills in preparation for their next life stage.
Design and Technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.
At Saint John Houghton CVA all students in KS3 will be taught how to cook, how to use workshop tools and equipment, the design process and how to evaluate their work and of others.
In Year 7 to 9 students will be taught how to apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Students will learn the importance of creating healthy and nutritious savoury dishes, and will be taught how to be become competent in a range of cooking techniques. Students will also understand the importance of local produce, dishes and where they are sourced.
All students will also have the opportunity to gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. This will include a range of domestic, local and industrial contexts. This will lead to a number of practical products been produced through using a variety of tools, equipment and techniques. Practical elements will include the use of CAD/CAM Designing featuring the Laser Cutter and 3D Printers, soldering circuit boards, brazing and turning metal, the assembly of components and woodworking techniques. Students will also have opportunity to use materials that they are unfamiliar with such as textiles and also programming.
At GCSE students will have the opportunity to further enhance their skills that they have acquired in KS3 by studying either, WJEC Food Preparation and Nutrition, WJEC Engineering Level 1/Level 2 and AQA Design and Technology.
Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. Never has there been a time where the study of Geography is more relevant than today.
At Saint John Houghton CVA all students in Year 7 to 9 will have the opportunity to explore the central themes of Geography that will help them to take their place in 21st Century as both UK, European and Global citizens. Physical Geography topics such as mapping, rivers and the role of flood management, weather, coastal processes and tectonics allow students to confidently explore how the world works. Human Geography themes such as population, migration, urbanisation and sustainability also engage students in learning about how people shape both society and the physical world in which we live.
At GCSE we follow the Eduqas Geography B Specification. This allows those students who continue to study Geography, the opportunity to develop their core knowledge of the subject and acquire a greater depth of Geographical skills. This includes developing the higher order of analysis, synthesis and fieldwork skills, preparing our students for KS5 Geography.
In today’s world, where people often cherry pick facts about the past to prove points, History can give our students the skills to be able to formulate their own opinions. History helps to place current events into context and allows for discussion and debate of contentious issues that will help develop higher order thinking.
In Saint John Houghton CVA the History curriculum allows our students to know and understand our past, which in turn allows them to understand our present and predict their potential future. If we want our children to know how and why our world is the way it is today, they will have to look to history for answers. History teaches skills of analysis and communication which are invaluable in many other disciplines. Historians have the ability to evaluate and then prioritise information which is vital in decision making.
At Saint John Houghton CVA all students in Year 7 to 9 will study history in chronological order beginning with the Norman Conquest and the Medieval in year 7 to the Enlightenment and Industrial periods of social change in year 8, to the modern historical period in year 9. We teach history through the use of the second order concepts that includes “cause and consequence” (causation), “change and continuity”, “similarity and difference”, and “historical significance”.
In Key Stage 4 students have the option to extend their historical studies by completing the AQA GCSE History 1-9 which has two exams, Paper 1: Understanding the modern world and Paper 2: Shaping the nation. The content topics like the subject has been chosen by the students as being of the greatest interest to them. The following elements are studied over two years. A period study of Germany, Democracy and dictatorship, 1890-1945. A thematic study of Power and the People c1170 to today. A wider world depth study of conflict and tension in the Gulf and Afghanistan, 1990- 2009. A British depth study of Elizabethan England c1568-1603 which includes the historic environment.
Music is an important part of our Curriculum at Saint John Houghton is compulsory in Key Stage 3. All students will Perform, Compose and Appraise different genres of music as well as work towards a greater understanding of music theory.
All Students will have to opportunity to experience Music from all around the world and compare styles, themes and different elements. From Bhangra Music from the Punjab to Reggae Music from Jamaica – students will be able to learn about common rhythmic patterns, features specific to the genre and have a hands on experience with many different musical instruments.
At Saint John Houghton students will also study topics such as film music and song writing to really explore individual creativity. Composition projects allow students to understand emotion and how different music can impact our thoughts and feelings. Song writing and Composition is also a very lucrative areas of the music industry.
Performing opportunities take place both inside and outside the classroom. Compulsory performance are required throughout Key Stage 3 on a range of musical instruments as well as Liturgies and musical shows that all students are encouraged to take part in. There are also extra-curricular groups such as the choir that offer a range of performing opportunities.
At GCSE we follow the OCR specification which continues from the core projects of the Key Stage 3 content. Keywords are developed as well as musical ability to hone in on learnt skills to create two practical portfolios which include Performing and Compositions. There is also a summative exam which brings together the key listening and appraising skills developed over five years.
All students at Saint John Houghton CVA will have the opportunity to study a Modern Foreign Language in Year 7 to 9. Studying a Modern Foreign Language gives pupils a greater understanding of other cultures and deepens their appreciation of the multicultural world that we live in. The ability to communicate in another language is a lifelong skill that gives pupils a wider range of possibilities for their future employment, leisure and education.
Students will spend Years 7 to 9 developing their linguistic competence and knowledge of vocabulary and grammatical structures in French or Spanish. Through learning French or Spanish, students will have the opportunity to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and to express themselves with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity. Learning a Modern Foreign Language further supports students with the development of their literacy skills in English.
French – At GCSE we follow the AQA French Specification. This allows those students who continue to study a language, the opportunity to develop their core knowledge of vocabulary and grammatical structures and acquire a greater depth of language skills and cultural awareness.
Spanish – At GCSE we follow the AQA Spanish Specification. This allows those students who continue to study a language, the opportunity to develop their core knowledge of vocabulary and grammatical structures and acquire a greater depth of language skills and cultural awareness.
At Saint John Houghton Catholic Academy we strive to develop the physical, social and emotional well-being of our students. We teach our students to be physically active whilst enabling them to develop knowledge and understanding of a range of activities and to use this in order to develop technique and improve performance.
We aim to provide an engaging curriculum that allows all our students the opportunity to experience a range of activities to develop tactics and strategies as well as compositional ideas. We also strive to deliver an understanding of the importance of an active healthy lifestyle and the importance that this plays in everyday life.
In addition the PE Department encourages students to develop leadership skills as well as an appreciation of others strengths and weaknesses. Students are taught the importance of rules and the part they play in the delivery of safe and fair physical activity. At Saint john Houghton CVA we provide opportunities for students to take part in competitive sport both at intra- school and interschool level, as well as providing the opportunity for students to engage in many extra-curricular school activities.
At Saint John Houghton the Learning for Life curriculum enables our students to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society. As well as tackle many of the moral, social and cultural issues that our students face growing up. We encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community.
We believe the purpose of the Learning for Life curriculum is to build where appropriate on the statutory content outlined in the PSHE National Curriculum i.e. sex and relationship education. We also tailor our topics to reflect the needs of our students in our school setting. At Saint John Houghton all students in Year 7 to 9 will study several PSHE and Safeguarding topics during their time with us. The topics will be stand -alone topics such as Radicalisation and extremism but also build on the knowledge they learn in other subject areas i.e. topics on drugs, relationships and internet safety.
Through our PSHE and SMSC curriculum at Saint John Houghton we recognise our duty to ‘actively promote’ and provide opportunity for our students to understand the fundamental British Values (Democracy, The Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance) first set out by the Government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2014, for those with different faiths and beliefs in order for them to become fair, tolerant and confident adults in a forever challenging world. We strive to deliver our Learning for Life curriculum, within the Catholic ethos of the school and aim to reflect our mission – “Inspiring ambition and excellence, guided by Christ”, in all that we do to serve the young people in our care.