Curriculum: Our Vision

Planning the Curriculum

Our whole curriculum is made up of two overlapping elements, our Teaching Minds Curriculum and our Touching Hearts Curriculum. These are carefully and coherently planned, inter-connected and sequenced to ensure students develop and progress securely throughout their time at De La Salle.

In planning the curriculum, our staff have considered the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are required to achieve academic excellence in each subject at different stages of development from transitioning from Key Stage 2, through Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and then transitioning into post-16 education. An essential element of this, is departments identifying key ‘end points’ and subject leaders and teachers then plan backwards from these points.

This ensures that pupils receive a rigorous, coherent and intelligently sequenced curriculum, which builds on what has come before, including the work studied in our various primary schools. The curriculum at De La Salle is grounded in the strongest available evidence about how pupils learn and retain knowledge in the long term – focusing in particular on research from cognitive science.

Key to our curriculum is the concept of it being Accessible for All. This means in terms of:

  • Accessing the same subject content for all students, with high expectations for every student and appropriate levels of challenge and support.
  • Equality of access to curriculum subjects both in Key Stage 3 and in their Key Stage 4 Options.

We describe the academic curriculum, as our Teaching Minds Curriculum built upon the uniqueness of individual subjects. This is further enhanced through our Touching Hearts Curriculum which is our collective name for the high quality personal, social, careers, citizenship and economic education we offer, underpinned by our focus upon developing the resilience, confidence and self-esteem of each individual through outstanding opportunities within the main curriculum and our wider extra-curricular offer.

Teaching Minds - The Uniqueness of Subjects

Each subject is unique, and includes its own substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge. Substantive knowledge relates to the core facts, ideas and concepts which are central to a subject (for example how nations make treaties, such as the Treaty of Versailles). Disciplinary knowledge, on the other hand, relates to how scholars and academics within each subject (or discipline) arrive at this knowledge – for example, how physicists use the scientific method to arrive at general principles through observation and systematic experimentation. Our curriculum ensures that all pupils carefully build a comprehensive understanding of both.

In Key Stage 3, students follow a full three-year curriculum ensuring not only that we fully comply with the requirements of the National Curriculum but that this is supplemented by an equally broad and balanced extra-curricular offer.

How is our Teaching Minds Curriculum structured?

The Teaching Minds Curriculum (academic curriculum) is delivered through a broad and balanced three-year Key Stage 3, covering all aspects of the national curriculum, and a more specialised Key Stage 4, with students making their option choices in year 9 and studying 9 subjects (GCSE and vocational qualifications) throughout years 10 and 11.

We believe in the importance of equality of opportunity and ambition for all students and therefore all of our students have access to the EBacc should they choose it. We want this to be a positive choice and are working hard to increase our number of students positively choosing the EBacc.

Likewise, we are ambitious to support our students to follow meaningful qualifications that will support them to be successful now and in their future learning and careers. To achieve this, we have expanded the range and variety of subjects on offer to students when they complete their options, this has been driven by student demand and interest, appropriate progression and local labour market information.

In making their choices, students are supported and guided in their choices, to help them choose those most appropriate for them. We are clear, however, that all options are available for all students.

Touching Hearts - The Development of the Whole Child

Our mission statement is clear that we strive to: provide a holistic education that challenges each of us to achieve our potential and become the person God intended us to be: spiritually, morally, academically, physically and socially.

Our Touching Hearts Curriculum supports our students in all aspects of their personal development, with a strong focus upon formation. Through our dedicated form time, PSHCE programme, Lasallian Catholic life, drop down days, assemblies, collective worship, policies, leadership opportunities, extra-curricular offer and educational visits we aim to develop the character of our students to help and guide them to become responsible and independent young people of faith inspired to make a significantly positive contribution to society in the future.

Our Touching Hearts Curriculum and Teaching Minds Curriculum are not separate entities but often overlap, with departments placing great emphasis upon important attributes such as leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication whilst also ensuring our high Lasallian standards and expectations are maintained. Likewise, the Touching Hearts Curriculum contains specific programmes covering personal, social, health, economic and careers education.

We are currently looking at how we capture progress and development across the broad scope of our Touching Hearts Curriculum through the development of our Founders’ Footsteps which allows students to take ownership of their own development and celebrate their achievements.

Our Curriculum Thinking

At De La Salle, all staff think about curriculum at three levels. The first is the intended curriculum – what we intend pupils to learn. Subject specialists at De La Salle set out this detail meticulously, drawing on their academic knowledge, the national curriculum and experience of what is necessary to flourish in their discipline.

The second level is the implemented curriculum; the way the curriculum is delivered and routinely assessed to ensure that each individual can access, understand and learn, and how our skilled teachers bring all of this knowledge to life in a way that will be meaningful and exciting for the pupils that they know so well.

Finally, we consider the impact of the curriculum, through well designed, meaningful and effective formative and summative assessments, that inform us of student progress and inform our planning to ensure that student learning is secure before moving on to new content.

Further information about the curriculum is available via the learning area links below, or by contacting Mrs C Mulhall via email at or by telephone on 01744 20511.

Courses Available at Key Stage 4

The following courses are currently available at Key Stage 4:

English Language (AQA) GCSE

English Literature (AQA) GCSE

Mathematics (OCR) GCSE

Science (Combined and separate sciences) (AQA) GCSE

Religious Education (Edexcel) GCSE

Geography (AQA) GCSE

History (AQA) GCSE

Computer Science (OCR) GCSE

Spanish (AQA) GCSE


Photography (AQA) GCSE

Engineering (Pearson) BTEC Tech Award

Health and Social Care (Pearson) BTEC


Hospitality and Catering (WJEC) L1/2 Vocational Award

Drama (AQA) GCSE

Graphics (AQA) GCSE

Music (AQA/RSL) GCSE and RSL


Curriculum Details