Blog: 8th October 2021

There’s always an air of mystery surrounding Professional Development Days when staff are in school without students. These days were introduced in 1988 by the then Education Secretary, Kenneth Baker, and were therefore often called Baker days with more recent terms including INSET days and Training Days. But what actually happens on these days? Let the demystification begin! Here at BHS, we use these days, to work together as a staff team to drive forward our strategic priorities which run through everything that we do. For this academic year (2021-2022) we have four overarching priorities,

Attendance, Building Resilience, Climate for Learning and Developing the Curriculum.

The main focus of our Professional Development Day today is Developing the Curriculum with all subject areas having an opportunity to reflect deeply on our current curriculum identifying strengths and evaluating the impact on students. The curriculum, is defined by Ofsted as

‘The substance of what is taught. It is the specific plan of what learners need to know and should be able to do. The curriculum shapes and determines what learners of all ages will get out of their educational experience.’

As you’ll be aware our overarching aim is at BHS to ensure that all students leave our school, not only with the qualifications they need to access the next stage of their education or career of choice, but with the skills and confidence to make an active contribution to the communities to which they belong. Our ‘above average’ results and wide range of destinations evidences that our curriculum enables students to do this but we are always looking for ways to improve and we’re also very aware that our recovery curriculum, following the pandemic, must ensure that students continue to make excellent progress to secure future success.

Our approach to curriculum planning has always been to expose students to a wide range of subjects ensuring breadth and depth. We have a three-year Key Stage 3 but, at the end of Year 8, students do have the opportunity to personalise their curriculum before making their Option choices at the end of Year 9. Then, at Key Stage 4, we operate a Stage not Age curriculum for Option subjects meaning that students in Years 10 and 11 are taught together and complete two of their Options at the end of Year 10 with the following two at the end of Year 11 when they also take their Core subjects. There are many benefits to this, including the fact that we can offer a wider range of subjects, students develop and deepen exam technique and revision is made more manageable.

Alongside this, students also have woven throughout their time, core Physical Education and the PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education) curriculum which supports students in developing the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives now and in the future. It also helps students to stay healthy, safe and prepared for life and work in modern Britain. Needless to say, it also supports students in achieving their academic potential. This is an area that is constantly developed as outside factors and pressures on our young people change.

So as the Professional Development Day draws to a close this afternoon, the thinking, discussion and planning that will have taken place will ensure that our students continue to access an ever evolving curriculum securing an experience at Boroughbridge High School where they are safe, happy and successful.

Have a lovely weekend!