At Rainhill High School our curriculum is designed to promote our ethos of high expectations, development of character and social responsibility through the knowledge and skills developed in and around lessons.

We believe a broad and balanced curriculum is essential and includes linguistic, mathematical, technological, human, social, physical, aesthetic and creative development alongside the spiritual moral, social and cultural development of young people.

We aim to create a curriculum that gives children essential and useful knowledge as a future citizen and adult and that fosters a sense of curiosity about the world around us, promotes enjoyment and achievement of students of all ages, ability and need.


1. Development of character, encouraging resilience, optimism and perseverance in school related activities & beyond into the community.

This includes enhancing an understanding of fundamental British values, including democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

Develop a sense of social responsibility.

This includes being mindful of our role in our communities towards each other, our role in society and the global environment, encouraging a consideration, mindfulness and respect.

2. Develop greater independence.

This includes taking responsibility for our own growth and development which in turn enables us to use initiative, take ownership and full satisfaction from what is achieved. The nature of planned lesson activities, reflective responses to feedback and marking by students are to encourage students to take responsibility for their own progress. Students are to take advantage of the resources available to them beyond the classroom to extend their knowledge and experiences beyond the classroom.

3. Excellence

This includes the pursuit of excellence, aspiring to do everything as well as it can be done and to develop a sense of pride and ambition. The planned content, sequencing, interleaving of knowledge and skills is to enable a greater depth of learning thereby making new learning transferable and increasingly ‘sticky’. This is to be done taking account of the age, abilities and needs of individuals so that they thrive and make progress. The most able are to be encouraged to broaden their learning whilst those needing additional support have it built into their programme, enabling all to be the best that they can be academically and pastorally.

4. Adventure

To develop a sense of confidence fostering courage, curiosity, enterprise and originality through enjoyable learning and its enthusiastic delivery. Pupils are to be encouraged and enabled to explore links with the wider world through the enrichment opportunities afforded to them.


We believe that the experience of being in school is the curriculum. The way students learn, the wider school environment, behaviour and values all make up the whole experience of being in school. Together, they build to an end point where all students have the essential knowledge, skills and attributes they need to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life beyond school.

Formal Curriculum

Key (essential concepts) are identified with an end point in mind on a subject or developmental basis. Inherent to this is that ‘we teach to the top’, to challenge all whilst equipping students with the skills to make sense of and think through unfamiliar content and problems along the journey.

The subject curriculum is to be planned and sequenced so that knowledge and skills build on what has been learned before but also prepares learners for what is to come next. Learners are to clearly understand why they are learning a topic and the wider context of how it may be important to them.


Education relies on communication and relationships between teacher & learner and learner & learner. The teacher is the main catalyst in creating dialogue and a relationship with what is being taught. Their pedagogical approaches are critical in promoting engagement, understanding and fluency within a subject. Learning is to be deep, structured and profound to enable retention.

Teachers must use their professional judgement in teaching, assessing and responding to learning. They should be clear about the milestones required to reach ambitious end points and must ensure feedback mechanisms are successful in continuously improving learning and developing expertise.

The language of learning must be consistent across subject areas and widely understood by all learners and teachers. Subjects should use language structures and vocabulary that promote scholastic excellence and this should be understood and employed well by students.

It is critical to work with primary partners to ensure there is a clear understanding, appreciation of what has been taught at KS2 and what needs consolidating rather than re-teaching in early KS3 learning.

Curriculum Instruments, including questioning, mastery, intellectual architecture, stimulus, knowledge organisers and rich vocabulary are all critical in effective learning that lasts and can be reused in time and at will.

There should be an understanding and familiarity of content, expectations and language across curriculum subjects that encourage learners to transfer their learning to other areas of the curriculum. ‘Powerful knowledge’ should be mapped across the curriculum.

Activities, including visits to or out of school should be an integral part of the planned sequences of learning. They should be planned in a way that enhance and enrich the formal curriculum and the development of young people.

Rainhill Curriculum

The curriculum at Rainhill spans experiences both inside and out of the classroom. There is a clear focus on building key knowledge and skills, within and beyond subjects, pupil personal development and cultural capital over time within our own context.

Years 7 & 8

Year 7 Students are set for Mathematics and English based on their KS2 exam performance in these subjects. All literacy heavy subjects are grouped by English set i.e. History, Geography, RE, French and Citizenship. Science, Art, Music, Technology and Drama are grouped by Mathematics set. PE is based on half-year groups and split into gender-specific classes. Any student who arrives in Year 7 below the expected level of literacy will receive help and support through our literacy intervention programme on either a one-to-one or small group basis. Y8 students are grouped as above based on their English or Mathematics set. For our most able students a second language is studied, for others there is either additional English or literacy support lessons.

Years 9, 10 & 11

The Core Curriculum comprises of GCSEs in English Language, English Literature, Maths, Combined Science – Trilogy, Core PE/Recreation, RE, Citizenship, Health Education and Careers as well as an arts options and three further options subjects that include:-

  • GCSE Art Graphics
  • GCSE Art Textiles
  • GCSE Trilogy Science
  • GCSE Computer Science
  • GCSE Drama
  • GCSE DT Resistant Materials
  • GCSE Fine Art
  • GCSE Food and Nutrition (Year 10 and 11)
  • GCSE French
  • GCSE Geography
  • GCSE German
  • GCSE History
  • GCSE Music
  • GCSE Photography
  • GCSE Spanish
  • GSCE Separate Science – Biology, Chemistry and Physics
  • L2 Technical Award in Constructing the Built Environment
  • L2 Technical Award in Business Enterprise
  • L2 Technical Award in Digital Media
  • L2 Technical Award in Performing Arts (Dance)
  • L2 Technical Award in ICT

Learning Ladders

These have been devised to aid assessment and are used for all subjects between Years 8 and 11 during 2019/2020.

It is intended that from 2020 onwards the current assessment model in Year 7 will be ‘rolled up’ the school into Y9 so the learning ladders will only be used for Year 10 and Year 11 assessments from 2021 onwards.

The learning ladders provide guidance around the assessment objectives which are used for substantive pieces of work or LP exams.

Learning Ladders

Whole School Curriculum

Rainhill Pathways (Road Maps)

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