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Curriculum Arcs


When asked to sum up the remarkable achievements of his lifetime, the father of modern science and mathematics, Sir Isaac Newton, uttered these words.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” - Isaac Newton

For him, all his discoveries and achievements could not have been achieved without the hard work and knowledge of those who went before him from antiquity, through the Renaissance up to the Enlightenment.  For the students taught within Great Schools Trust we share this philosophy, for them to become successful citizens in tomorrow’s world they must have a firm grasp of a broad range of knowledge. The education we offer to all our students stems from this belief.

It is our ambition at Great Schools Trust to match the unrivalled success of the 1 in 15 young people presently educated in the fee-paying sector. We believe ‘Credimus’ that every child, regardless of background or starting point must become a successful citizen ready for tomorrow’s world. This is why our ethos is built around a ‘free independent school in the state sector’.

To support our mission of creating successful citizens and realising our vision of providing every student with choice over their university and career path, our education model is both aspirational and inclusive, with a broad provision balanced between the academic, creative and leadership arcs.

The Curriculum in each of our academies is rigorous and has been designed to follow a vocabulary-rich, knowledge-based approach. It is hypothesis led and embeds opportunity for intellectual habits and independent thought throughout. Our high expectations approach ensures that students are stretched academically across the three arcs in a way that leads to deeper cognitive processing. The trust has a strong commitment to equality of access and to ensure that the provision remains high quality for all learners. 


Academic Arc

The Academic Arc is a core academic curriculum based on the emerging English Baccalaureate and consists of English language and literature, mathematics, science, history, geography, a modern foreign language and digital creative media.

The Academic Arc provides students with an inspiring academic experience which is student-centred and stimulating. We have adopted a pioneering, global and independent approach to how we teach. The issue is not so much what is taught, but how it is taught and our excellent staff are recruited for their passion, enthusiasm and their imagination in communicating with children to ensure that every single child in their class is engaged, excited and challenged by the learning experience at all times.

Amongst the many pedagogical approaches, independent study, group work, problem solving and research are all key learning strategies. To achieve mastery in all of our students we believe in offering depth through our Academic Arc provision.  

Creative Arc

Creativity through Performing Arts, Physical Education and cultural and professional enrichments stimulate and broadens students’ minds at Great Schools Trust.  The creative arc has two components, creativity and activities.

The creative component consists of art, music, physical education, technology, digital creative media, personal development, enterprise and public speaking. Whilst being compulsory in Years 7 and 8, this arc will become an ‘elective’ in later years. The creative arc is taught mainly by leading professionals in that field of expertise.

All students will be expected to participate in a minimum of two school activities per year (sports teams, clubs, enrichment studies, Duke of Edinburgh Award, the Combined Cadet Force etc.).

Sport & Physical Education

Our approach to sport is in line with the Trust’s central belief that education is concerned with the whole human being and that every student can achieve something worthwhile. The main objective of the games programme is to identify and develop skills in every student because achievement in one area so often proves to be the key to the will to succeed in school life as a whole.  Outstanding performers in any sport are given every help and encouragement. 

Performing Arts

Performing Arts is at the very heart of the Trust community and all students follow courses in music, art and drama. Drama and music also enable students to work with the very best practitioners in modern theatre and peripatetic teaching. We endeavour to produce creative and innovative theatre which is exciting, powerful and dynamic. Indeed, the annual school productions are highlights of the Trust calendar.

Personalised Enrichment

Our academies also offer a substantial academic, cultural and after-school enrichment programme. In weekly PPE lessons (public speaking, philosophy and ethics), leaders in the fields of literacy are used to help students develop both confidence and presentational skills in their weekly lessons. Our strong partnerships with various universities enable all students to experience life at a top-class university first-hand. All of this is delivered wherever possible through the assistance of Digital Media, with every student issued with a digital device.

Character & Leadership Arc

It is a fundamental aim of the Trust that we place as much emphasis on both leadership and character development as we do on academic success. Good leaders are people who have a good vision of where they are going in life, are articulate in that they can communicate and align people with that vision and have the confidence to take people with them. They also display both integrity and humility.

At the heart of the academy therefore it is the firm belief that we must aim to create moments when our students can see and believe in themselves as never before and to translate such moments into lessons for everyday life. To unlock leadership potential in our young people, leadership is delivered through five components: theoretical leadership, practical leadership, enterprise, service and professionalism.

Foundation Programme

Leadership is delivered as part of all students’ core curriculum. Leadership theory is delivered by King’s Academic Tutors through the novel and exciting leadership packages written by subject matter experts within Great Schools Trust. This bespoke Leadership allows students to learn and develop a deeper understanding of the basics of leadership and becoming a leader. Furthermore, how to become a better follower and team member. The practical application of leadership is delivered through several school-based activities through enrichment and Super Learning Afternoons/Days, discovery and adventure on the Character Residentials in Years 7 and 8 to North Wales and the Lake District and wider school life through leadership opportunities and positions. 

Senior Programme

From Year 9 all students begin their Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award. Students continue to study Leadership theory as part of their core curriculum through the Great Schools Trust leadership curriculum. This provides our students with a leadership trajectory from Years 7 through 11. They link their Character lessons to leadership and develop concrete connections to both subjects. 

For practical leadership development, students will continue to undertake their DofE to complete their silver by the end of Year 11. Those in the Combined Cadet Force also have leadership opportunities by becoming Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs).  They form part of the leadership structure, are role models to the junior cadets and inform training and delivery across the Trust. 

Personal Development Team