The school’s curriculum has been developed to both help the students overcome the challenges they have experienced in the past and also to focus on their educational, social and personal development.

The aim is to equip them so that when they leave school, either to return to mainstream education or to take up employment, training or further education, they are able to function independently, happily and successfully.

As a school we offer the full range of National Curriculum subjects, taught at the appropriate levels and with regard for the needs of each student. The curriculum of the school encompasses all the opportunities for learning whether these are formal or informal, timetabled or not.

In planning the curriculum the following factors have been taken into consideration:

  1. The needs of students who may return to mainstream school as well as those who will stay until they leave at 16 or even 18.
  2. The need to cater for a group of students who have a wide range of ability and attainment.
  3. The need for students to learn through the experience of doing and being thoroughly involved in the activities of the school.
  4. To ensure that the requirements and guidelines set down by the National Curriculum documents are adhered to and presented in a meaningful way to all the students what-ever their ability or aptitude.

British values – where are they in our school?

Schools have a duty to teach British values including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of other faiths and beliefs. Teachers are required, in Conduct section of their Standards, to uphold public trust in the profession by not undermining fundamental British values. The Gateway School expects all staff to model and teach these values. If students believe that anyone at the school is undermining these values, they are to report this to the Headteacher.

Please see how we promote British Values across the curriculum.

Equal Opportunities in the Curriculum

The school aims to promote racial harmony and to provide equal opportunity for all regardless of race, gender, religion, social or economic standing.

Elements of the Curriculum

National Curriculum Subjects:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Information and Communication Technology (Computing)
  • Art and Design
  • Craft, Design and Technology
  • Food Technology
  • Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship
  • Personal Development
  • Global Studies – History, Geography, Religious Education and Modern Foreign Languages
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Motor Vehicle Studies
  • Construction
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Engineering

All of these are enhanced by a range of additional activities/subjects both in and out of the classroom and often outside of the school, these include:

  • Computing
  • Cookery
  • Links with and placements at F E Colleges
  • Drama
  • Community Project Placements
  • Personal and Social Education
  • Residential Activities
  • Social Sporting Links
  • Work Experience


We endeavour to give all our pupils the necessary skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing, within the requirements of the National Curriculum. Over the past six years we have developed a bespoke curriculum that is tailored to the individual needs of our students. Our unique curriculum uses no text books, only resources designed by us based on ‘vehicles of learning’ – the concept that separates objectives and outcomes from the ‘vehicle’ used to stimulate interest. This process has taught creative writing techniques using computer games; narrative perspectives via car chases and adjectives via The A-Team.

For those whose reading causes them (or us) concern, we provide extra help on a one-to-one basis. This Reading Intervention Programme has developed over the years into a three tier system that ensures pupils move forward with reading. All pupils are tested annually (and students receiving Intervention twice a year) as this allows us to check the effectiveness of our programme as well as to monitor all our pupils’ progress in this vital area of the curriculum. In addition, the school has an embedded literacy system and all subject teachers are trained in using active reading methods to help our pupils break down texts into sizeable ‘chunks’. An invaluable skill for exams.

In Key Stage 3 (years 7-9) pupils experience a range of literature and writing styles. We study extended class readers (at least one every year) as well as encountering Shakespeare, Chaucer, various short stories, films, adverts and a range of non-fiction. Everything we do centres on three things: reading, writing and thinking. By year 9 students will encounter external accreditations via Entry Level English and, for some pupils, Functional Skills English Level 1. Pupils will also have an introductory course on Expressive Arts at Key Stage 3 to help them acquire some of the skills needed for them to be successful at GCSE level.

At Key Stage 4 pupils continue taking Functional Skills (some pupils will take it 4 times during years 10 and 11). The main focus of KS4 is, of course, GCSE English and GCSE Expressive Arts. Both courses have a real focus on our three areas: reading, writing and thinking (Expressive Arts has specific marks for written expression) and both courses promote communication. Expressive Arts requires the completion of three projects (one of them an exam piece that is assessed externally).

For GCSE English pupils spend year 10 (and some of year 11) writing coursework: 2 pieces of creative writing as well as responses to William Blake’s poetry, Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’. We encourage pupils to use ‘micro-structures’ (for example ‘PEE’ – Point, Evidence, Explain) to help them focus on details in both coursework and exams. We want to encourage pupils to use their working memory on thinking about language, imagery and writing techniques rather than worrying about structuring the whole response. Such methods will be vital when we start teaching the new GCSE syllabus that is assessed via exam only.

The Gateway School has updated its key stage 3 and 4 mathematics curriculums to come in line with the Governments recently published GCSE learning aims and outcomes.

To achieve this the schools endeavours to make transition from key stage 3 to 4 as seamless as possible.

The new GCSE specifications in mathematics should enable students to:

1. Develop fluent knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts.

2. Acquire, select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems.

3. Reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences and draw conclusions.

4. Comprehend, interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context.

KS 3 is taught by Mrs Elder and Mr Mills and they lay the foundations for KS 4 by ensuring pupils are secure in fundamental mathematical operations and encourage pupils to start exploring how to apply them in everyday situations. Pupils in year 7 complete the Entry Level Maths qualification at either level 1,2 or 3, as appropriate.

In key stage 4, taught by Mr Avil, as well as completing the GCSE curriculum, all pupils have the opportunity to obtain awards and certificates in functional maths with help secure entry onto post 16 college course and apprenticeships. Cross curriculum links to literacy, global and computing are used to make maths relevant and interesting for pupils.

For those pupils who are gifted and talented in maths they are given the opportunity to develop their ability through additional maths lessons which are designed to stretch them.

Should pupils struggle with maths then targeted intervention is provided by the teaching team to ensure students develop key numeracy skills.

In Science at Key stage 3 pupils are provided with a balanced curriculum in line with the National Curriculum in:

  • Life Processes and Living Things
  • Materials and their Properties
  • Physical Processes

Pupils study these aspects through “Science at Work” which provides practical activities that develop skills and understanding of experimental and investigative science. The pupils are taught through a more practical, “hands on” experience, understanding the responsibility this requires and having respect for health and safety guidelines. They are encouraged to develop their self-confidence and self-discipline.

Pupils are given the opportunity to extend their knowledge and enthusiasm for Science by working in different group sizes for discussion and development of ideas, investigations, projects and computer based activities.

Progress is monitored by series of SAT style tests and pupil evaluation sheets with the aim of directing each pupil towards personal targets for self-improvement.

In Key Stage 4, pupils are offered the opportunity to gain accreditation at GCSE. We currently follow the Gateway Science B for OCR.

At Key stage 4 we are continually striving to give our pupils the best chance of success.

In the autumn of 2012 the British Computer Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering coordinated the development of a draft ICT Programme of Study at the invitation of the Department for Education (DfE). BCS and CAS submitted their joint response to the DfE’s draft national curriculum consultation.

The government has confirmed that it intends to proceed to replace the existing ICT curriculum with a new computing curriculum beginning in September 2014. In order to comply with the new DfE policy on computing, students are taught basic coding skills, using Scratch and Python,  in Key Stage 3. In addition, Students in year 9 will be given the opportunity to complete a vocational qualification taster course – BTEC Entry Level 3 in ITQ.

In Key Stage 4, Students complete a vocational computing qualification, BTEC Certificate in ITQ, in order to gain maximum employability skills.

Areas covered are Microsoft Office, various design software and Internet Safety.

This is an integral part of the curriculum at The Gateway School developing life skills, social skills and promoting independence. In KS3 we follow programmes such as Licence to cook and ‘Active Kids Get Cooking’.

We also explore and make a wide range of dishes following cross curricular links with the Humanities department in our historical and cultural cooking which is proving very popular with our students.

In KS4 we offer BTEC qualifications (Home Cooking Skills Level 1 and Level 2). They are hands-on courses that help our students develop the essential skills they need to cook simple, nutritious, affordable food.

The Level 1 qualification focuses on giving our students the skills to prepare delicious and nutritious home-cooked food, using fresh ingredients as well as an understanding of where the ingredients they use comes from and the value of passing on cooking knowledge.

The level 2 qualification expands on this and develops our students’ ability to plan and prepare a series of nutritious home cooked meals for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner and helps them understand how to cook economically.

We also do Friday projects which we link in to our termly themes such as enterprise projects in which we have made a considerable contribution to charity events with our cake sales. The students have also used the skills they have learnt to plan, prepare and make the food for parent events which has been a credit to them and a real success.

Sculpture Class

It is established that through engaging in Art lessons, pupils benefit and develop in a whole range of academic and personal development areas. At The Gateway School pupils are able to enjoy a broad range of activities and topics using a range of technical equipment. The National Curriculum is used as a basis for the development of programmes of study and assessment with pupils achieving a BTEC in Art and Design within Key Stage 4.

In Key Stage 3, pupils work on teacher directed projects within the first half of each term to specifically build and develop independent working skills along with confidence and ability. This is designed to prepare and enable pupils to successfully participate in the BTEC qualification.

Units of work are specifically designed to engage, enthuse and inspire pupils, with individual schemes of work being tailored around pupils’ personal interests. For example, the Art department has recently purchased a number of airbrushing sets to allow pupils to develop real life skills in vehicle redesign and modification.

In addition to the individualised curriculum on offer pupils take part in competitions to raise awareness of particular personal issues such as the ‘Anti-Bullying’ and ‘One Punch’ campaigns.

Pupils are also engaged in BTEC units to organise fundraising events for particular charities, such as the British Heart Foundation and ‘’Jeans for Genes’ to name but a few. In the past year pupils have successfully raise approximately £200 through the sale of their hand made products.

The Art department is a vibrant energetic environment valuing and celebrating all pupils‘ successes through displays and awards, whilst welcoming and developing pupils’ project ideas to enable all to achieve and enjoy within the subject.

Helping our learners to prepare for life in the working world is important. Therefore we have built a scheme of work for our Key Stage 4 learners in the BTEC Work Skills qualification.We currently offer our learners BTEC Award and Certificate level qualifications from an expanding suite of assignments.

Work Skills helps our learners gain essential skills to function in employment and in life. Providing recognition for our learners’ abilities and evidence of the skills required for success in the workplace. 


This subject involves pupils working on a variety of practical projects: They are exposed to working with different types of resistant materials such as wood, metals and acrylic and pupils are taught to use a number of tools and machines in order to develop their skills while carrying out practical tasks.

Pupils are afforded the opportunity to carry out research using various means to design a product in line with a given brief. Some excellent ideas have been produced. Year 7 pupils have been introduced to CAD designs while the rest of the year groups use this programme on a regular basis.

At the end of a completed project pupils are encouraged to take their work home in order that parents and carers can appreciate the kind of work being produced.
Students show great pride and joy and a sense of achievement at the end of a completed project.

Year 11 pupils engage in designing and making a pendulum clock while year 10 pupils have worked on a bedside table or garden bench made from pine. Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils engage in making a variety of smaller projects such as clocks, toys, money boxes, hand held games, coat hangers and cup holders. The enthusiasm shown during these lessons is very encouraging.

Pupils in Year 10 and 11 also participate in the Level 1 BTEC Award/Certificate in construction. Pupils have shown a keen interest in using this programme and some excellent work has been produced thus far.


As a school which actively promotes working for the maximum success of each of our individuals, we greatly value the importance and relevance of our CPPD curriculum. Our pupils often join us having had a negative experience of education and/or having difficulties in learning ways to strategize and cope with the rigours of school life.

Many do not see the relevance of being good citizens and by ‘good’ I mean playing an active role in the national as well as the local communities which make up our country, our continent and the World in general.

The Citizenship curriculum at The Gateway School includes all planned learning experiences in the school and the learning outside of the classroom. Every opportunity is taken to gain knowledge and understanding about becoming informed citizens, develop skills of enquiry and communication and develop skills of participation and responsible action.

We reflect the three principles of citizenship education by helping learners:

  • to develop social and moral responsibility
  • to have opportunities for involvement in community activities
  • to develop political literacy

Our PSHEE and Personal Development curricula dovetail with these principles by focusing on personal wellbeing, economic wellbeing and financial capability. Within the Personal Development curriculum we run a ‘Key Steps’ programme in which our pupils are accredited for considering and completing challenges linked to a whole range of interpersonal and pastoral aspects.

We want all of our pupils to leave The Gateway School and Technology College with knowledge of the curriculum, the World and an emotional literacy which optimises their chance of success in their work and personal lives.

With our outstanding facilities we provide access to the full breadth of activities outlined in the National Curriculum. The ‘whole-part-whole’ method of teaching is used to initially engage the pupils because they thrive on the competitiveness offered by the game scenario. Once engagement is achieved, skill development is introduced.

The pupils are offered accreditation through Entry Level Physical Education. The primary focus here is on the practical aspects of Physical Education, but there is an element whereby the pupils are assessed on their ability evaluate their own and others‘ performance and suggest ways in which the performance can be improved.

The pupils are taught swimming in Years 7&8 at the school’s own pool.

We also have a weights room on site where the pupils learn how to develop their technique safely and develop an understanding of how to work out in a gym.

Inter-school sporting events are organised through the School Sports Partnership and the Project Ability Scheme. They offer a wide range of opportunities through leagues in football and basketball, mini tournaments plus a variety of coaching sessions in a variety of new and different sports, for example, Goal Ball.

We have good links with Northampton Town Football Club through their Football in the Community programme and we have coaching sessions delivered by Northampton Saints Rugby Club.

We are at present in the initial stages of developing a working relationship with the MK Dons Sport and Education Trust.

Outdoor Education experiences continue to be organised through the annual trip to the coast in conjunction with Fairfields School. In addition, we take groups each year to the Northamptonshire Water Sports Centre at Pitsford Water where groups attend a 4 week course as an introduction to dinghy sailing.

We also have good links with the Marines who invite us on days out to put the pupils through their paces.

‘Global’ is the name given to the group of subjects found within the humanities curriculum at the Gateway school. It encompasses History, Geography, Religious Education and Modern Foreign Languages.


In order to harness the depth of the topics and ideas explored within the humanities, we have decided to structure the curriculum in 2 week blocks twice every term, providing plenty of time to allow our pupils to independently explore the ideas and skills throughout a variety of programs (see table below for details). The ethos that we are trying to create in Global is to analyse information, knowledge and our environments by constantly asking questions. We differentiate for our pupils by following the notion of ‘low access, high challenge’. For example a source in history will be accessible to all pupils, regardless of ability.

The key is to encourage pupils to explore and use information in a way that pushes the boundaries of their skills and understanding. We believe that learning does not need to take place only in the classroom, therefore trips are organised so that every year group has a trip at least every term, ranging from the imperial war museum to Orienteering in Salsey forest.


43 AD. The Romans: Who were the Romans?

– Roman influence on Northampton/Britain

– What are the basic skills needed in for historical enquiry?

*Trip to Roman museum – Towcester

What is Geography?

– A broad overview of the skills and content covered in Geography.

– Includes Baseline assessment, atlas work and a look at Geography in the media.

Where the Wild Things are:

– Introduction to philosophy & Ethics

– Creative writing

– How do we create rules? What is right and wrong?

– Desert island – Authority.

Once pupils reach Year 10 we continue the historical narrative, now we introduce entry level GCSE in order to provide an accreditation. As well as this added value, pupils have the opportunity to explore and harness the skills and knowledge learnt throughout KS3. The year is broken down as follows:

Topic 8: Britain at war: World War II, 1940–1945


Topic 13: The USA: civil rights, 1955–1968


Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Christopher Columbus

Year 11 global at present is an entirely different entity to lower year groups; religious education is the sole subject and therefore lends itself to in depth analysis and coverage of distinct themes. For example we work alongside English in order to build strong cross-curricular links, where ideas and skills are taught in order to enhance both value and embed knowledge. E.g. ‘Of mice and men’ is read in English, whilst key themes of the novel such as racism, sexism and ageism are investigated and analysed in Global.