Curriculum Aims

St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive

Quality of Education Summary



The curriculum is at the heart of a school’s purpose and our curriculum reflects our core values.

  • Resilience
  • Faith
  • Inclusion 
  • Aspiration 
  • Respect

The curriculum is designed to inspire students to develop enquiring minds and become lifelong learners. It supports our Catholic ethos, where every student, irrespective of their ability, is supported and challenged to achieve their full God given potential. 

We are very proud that we have a curriculum which allows all our students to flourish and study a broad and balanced curriculum across both KS3 and KS4 which gives them a brilliant foundation to move onto the next stage of education/employment.  At the same time, we ensure that a student’s personal development is prioritised through the extensive PSHE/RSE curriculum to ensure students leave the school prepared for the demands of modern life

The curriculum actively supports learning beyond the classroom. All subjects have a minimum expectation to run two trips a year. This array of subject educational visits is in addition to the whole year trips, religious retreats, visiting speakers and conferences, which are all designed to make the learning experience at St Thomas More even more enjoyable and memorable.       

Introduction to the Curriculum

The curriculum and our mission statement      

Our curriculum takes pupils from primary school to GCSE study in the arts, humanities, modern languages and the sciences. It prepares all pupils to take up an academic or vocational pathway with confidence. Our curriculum design is an important ingredient in our achieving the school aims of: ‘the all-inclusive development of each individual within a loving community which is welcoming, safe, forgiving, positive; challenging each to follow Christ in serving others.’       

Curriculum structure

Key Stage 3

Year 7 and Year 8

Key Stage 4

Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11

Key Stage 3:Years 7 and 8

In Years 7 and 8 our pupils benefit from a broad combination of traditional subjects. Pupils study English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education, Art, Computer Science, Design Technology, Drama, Food and Nutrition, French, Geography, History, Music, Personal development, Physical Education and Spanish. 

Pupils can choose whether to study French, Spanish or both. Pupils are set by ability in most areas of the curriculum. Students can opt at the start of Year 7 to study French, Spanish or both subjects. 

Due to well-planned sequencing of lessons and excellent behaviour for learning, our intent for Year 7 and 8 is that the vast majority of the KS3 curriculum is completed in the first 2 years of secondary This is possible at STM because the students make excellent progress in lessons; have highly positive learning behaviours and have high standards of homework. 

From September 2021 Year 7 pupils have received additional support in Maths or English to enable them to catch up some of the skills that where under-developed due to Covid-19, this continues into the academic year 2022-2023. 

From September 2021 Year 8 have smaller classes for Geography, History and MFL in order to support their progress and enable more targeted support (especially in MFL), this continues into the academic year 2022-2023 and has been extended into Year 7.

Year 9:Key Stage 3 and 4

In Years 9 our pupils continue to enjoy a broad core curriculum. All pupils study English, English Literature, Mathematics, Science and Religious Studies to GCSE. Approximately half of the students will learn triple Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics separate GCSEs) while the other half will learn double Science GCSE (A double award GCSE which combines Biology, Chemistry and Physics to give a combined grade). Pupils are set by ability in each of these subjects. 

We are aspirational for our young people and have changed our KS4 options process to significantly increase the number of students studying the EBacc subjects.  In addition to the core curriculum, pupils have up to four option subject choices. From September 2022, nearly all our students (95%) will use one of these options to continue studying one of the languages that they have been studying since Year 7 (or prepare to take a GCSE in a Home Language). The second option will be either Geography or History. The final two options will be picked from a broad selection of GCSE subjects including: Art, Computer Science, Design Technology, Drama, Food and Nutrition, French, Geography, History, Music, Physical Education and Spanish. Digital Information Technology (BTEC) is also offered. Option subjects are largely in mixed-ability classes. There is no restriction for option choices for any learners, a student’s academic ability does not prohibit them from taking options of their choice.

GCSE courses begin in Year 9. The key rationale for this is to ensure that students have a wide choice of subjects to study at GCSE, with 97% of our students leaving with 10 or 11 GCSEs, which is above the national average number.  This ensures a rich learning experience across the five years of leaning at St Thomas More and opens additional pathways at Post16 which would otherwise be less accessible.  Full explanation of the rationale can be seen below.        

Students continue to study the broad range of subject in the KS3 curriculum in Year 9 by participating in Curriculum Development Days which focus on option subjects. These days allow all students to continue with a broad curriculum, developing cultural capital and providing in-depth experiences which promote a deeper understanding of the subjects.


Key Content

Key Content


Climate Change & Glaciation

Natural History Museum: Natural Hazards & Geology*


Holocaust Memorial Day

Local Study: Eltham Palace*


Coding Language

Bletchley Park*


Composition & Careers in Music

World Music


Mural Painting*

Street Art Tour*

Design & Technology

Design Museum*

Dragons Den

Food & Nutrition

Cooking outside the classroom

Ultra-processed foods & cooking independently

*Indicates an off school site learning experience

In Year 9 we devote curriculum time to develop many of the ‘soft’ relational skills that are key to success in the modern world. For example, all students work towards the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, PHSE/RSE, which is collectively called ‘personal development’, and Physical Education is also part of our core Curriculum, with pupils enjoying a range of exciting and challenging opportunities.

Certain students in Years 9-11 benefit from additional support. These pupils take 3 Option subjects rather than 4. In the 3 periods (when Option 4 is taking place) they receive support from the SEND department to enable them to make good progress in their 9 GCSEs.

We have also allowed some students to change from 10 to 9 GCSEs and access Curriculum support time where they are struggling with health/wellbeing issues. These students would have a workload which they find more manageable and use these 3 periods to complete classwork, homework and revise for their remaining subjects. 

Extended - Curricular Programme 

We ensure that every pupil grows in their Catholic faith, developing British Values and the five key attributes of leadership, communication, resilience, organisation and determination in order that they flourish in the remaining stages of their education and ultimately in their future vocations. To meet this aim, we offer a rich variety of educational trips and activities during curriculum time. Several trips are specifically designed to deepen the Catholic faith of the pupils and broaden knowledge of the world they live in.

Throughout Year 9 and 10 all students participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. The uptake and pass rate for students at the school are now equal across all groups and no child is disadvantaged due to their background. Pass rates at the school are so high that we now have one of the highest pass rates for all state schools in London and our co-ordinator has been recognised by Prince Edward for excellent practice. Participating in the scheme significantly improves understanding and allows real life application to the curriculum in subjects such as Geography, PE, Maths and the arts.  The extended and extracurricular offer at St Thomas More is one of the many ways school life is enriched.  It widens our young people’s experiences and contributes to our exemplary attendance and punctuality.

It is our intention that our young people are well prepared for the world beyond school and we empower them by giving them an active voice in all areas of the school.  Students in each year are democratically elected in the following committees – Chaplaincy, School council, House system, Equality and equity, Learning leaders, Wellbeing and Eco teams. They meet weekly, share student ideas and enact change as a direct result of student voice.

Key Stage 4:Year 9-11

Students continue to study the GCSE courses from Year 9. We do not allow students to complete any of their option courses a year early as we believe that this would hinder them if they chose to undertake further learning in that subject Post16.       

We aim to complete these courses by Easter of Year 11 allowing for a thorough recapitulation of key topics and examination techniques before the summer exams begin.

Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum aims to: Provide a broad and balanced education for all pupils; Enable pupils to develop knowledge, understand concepts and acquire skills, and be able to choose and apply these in relevant situations; Support pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development; Support pupils’ physical development and responsibility for their own health, and enable them to be active; Promote a positive attitude towards learning; Ensure equal access to learning, with high expectations for every pupil and appropriate levels of challenge and support; Provide subject choices that support pupils’ learning and progression, and enable them to work towards achieving their goals; Develop pupils’ independent learning skills and resilience, to equip them for further/higher education and employment.

Certain students in Years 9-11 benefit from additional support. These pupils take 3 Option subjects rather than 4. In the 3 periods (when Option 4 is taking place) they receive support from the SEND department to enable them to make good progress in their 9 GCSEs.

It is our intention that every pupil fulfils the aims of the National Curriculum when in Key Stage 3 (KS3) and of their GCSE or BTEC course when in Key Stage 4 (KS4). We want pupils to be clear what they need ‘to know and be able to do’ (Speilman, 2018). It is vital that our curriculum is ambitious in providing challenge but also allows students to be able to take a range of creative subjects.

Curriculum Implementation

We are committed to providing outstanding teaching and supporting students to demonstrate positive behaviour for learning attributes including: commitment, resilience, diligence, motivation and understanding the importance/value of education.  The curriculum at St Thomas More is designed to inspire students to develop enquiring minds and become lifelong learners; successful implementation of the curriculum is the key to its success.

We are dedicated to ensuring all students are challenged through our ambitious curriculum and are supported as they learn across KS3 and KS4 so they are prepared for Post16 education and life beyond school. We recognise that all students have individual learning capabilities and we use a range of pedagogy to secure excellent learning outcomes for all.  We believe that pupils can improve through engaging with feedback from their teacher.

Whilst we do not specifically prescribe to any one teaching method, there are a number of strategies we expect teachers to use and students to engage with consistently in all lessons e.g., retrieval practice, every question is for every child and a no hands-up culture.  We encourage teachers to be innovative and adapt their practice to meet the needs of all learners in their classroom.  Whilst schemes of work provide guidelines for teachers to follow when delivering the curriculum, the subject matter needs however to be brought to life by the teacher, interpreted creatively to inspire and challenge students.

There is a secure shared understanding across the school that no student has the right to disrupt the learning of others.  We expect students to learn together with congeniality and respect for everyone in our school community, thus ensuring everyone feels safe to make mistakes, comfortable to ask questions and endeavours to try hard.

Curriculum Outcomes

As a school we are proud of the achievements of all our pupils. Wherever you look at St.  Thomas More you will find pupils trying to ‘do their best’. This mindset has enabled pupils to: develop character; grown in their faith; learn well; enjoy attending school clubs; participate in school trips; gain a Bronze or even Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award; achieve significantly above national standard and be prepared for the next stage in their education.   All of these  elements mean our young people are prepared and ready for adult life as citizens who add more to their communities than they take.  


Our aim is to ensure that all students have the support that they need to do their very best, while recognising individual needs and celebrating our differences. We are proud that we have been awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM) showing our commitment to provide the best possible education for all students. We are now in the process of achieving IQM Centre of Excellence status which is enabling further evaluation of our curriculum from which we will take action to broaden alternative provisions. There is a shared expectation that all, regardless of their specific needs, should be offered inclusive, quality teaching which will enable them to make the best possible progress.

We aim to ensure all students have the opportunity to develop their abilities and to fulfil their potential, both academically and socially, in order to live in the world as independent adults. To achieve this, we work with students, staff, parents and external agencies to better understand individual student needs and to tailor our provision to meet them.

The school offers a range of provision to support students with communication and interaction, cognition and learning difficulties, social, mental and health problems or sensory and physical needs.

For more information, please see the SEND Information Report and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Policy. Click here to be redirected.

Rationale for a 2-Year KS3

Our curriculum

  • Is highly ambitious for all of our students across KS3 and 4 thus ensuring wide choices Post16
  • Aims to maximise life chances for all young people regardless of their background    
  • Is a five-year journey that builds on primary learning and prepares students for Post16 learning
  • Is underpinned by the whole school "Do Your Best” ethos
  • Is designed in the best interests of our students in our context

Curriculum Reviews

  • KS3 and Year 9 curriculum reviewed in 2017-18 (with the 9-1 GCSEs rolling out to all subjects) to determine if 2-year KS3 was right for our students. Staff, students and parents were consulted. Decision confirmed to begin with 2-year KS3.       
  • Sept 2021 - KS3 National Curriculum coverage reviewed - minor changes made to ensure full coverage in Years 7, 8 and 9 by use of planned Curriculum Development Days to ensure deep coverage and include opportunities for Cultural Capital. 
  • From September 2021 percentage of students studying Triple Science has increased to approximately 50%
  • From September 2022, amendments to MFL to strengthen EBacc at GCSE and to enable the EBacc to be at the heart of the KS4 Curriculum. 
  • Enrichment activities e.g. Duke of Edinburgh award, analysed to highlight key learning opportunities to provide opportunities to learn above and beyond the national curriculum.         
  • KS3 and KS4 Curricula are reviewed annually by leaders and in Autumn 2021 there was an external curriculum review.
  • Option subjects offered are reviewed annually as to their suitability for students.

2-year KS3 curriculum

  • National Curriculum covered in Years 7 and 8.       
  • Ambitious, comprehensive and broad curriculum - 15 subjects.       
  • Extensive extra-curricular/enrichment programme to enable broader, wider curriculum opportunities.       
  • Comprehensive options programme to support students with decision-making.

Year 9

  • Start of GCSE courses  
  • 14 Curriculum Development Days to complete KS3 National Curriculum and to develop  

Cultural Capital.       

  • High levels of student motivation and focus (no Year 9 “dip").        
  • Extensive extra-curricular/enrichment programme to enable broader wider curriculum opportunities.

3-year KS4

  • With a 3-year KS4 more subjects can be studied at GCSE (4 options maintained). This would be very difficult in 2 years due to increased content in 9-1 GCSEs. With focus on EBacc, if only 3 options are available, it is highly likely to result in a lower uptake of creative subjects.

The Curriculum in KS4 would therefore be narrower. Careful examination of data from previous year groups suggest that the school could not offer DT, Drama and Music if a 2-year KS4 curriculum was followed. This would result in the number of students taking creative subjects would be estimated to be as low as 40, which does not deliver the vision that the school has for its curriculum.

  • EBacc take-up from Sept 2022 will be 95%.    
  • As a Catholic school all students study GCSE RE, this impact the number of available choices for KS4   
  • Due to extensive programme of trips/visits (in non-Covid year) there are 93 hours of curriculum time available in Year 10 and Year 11. By beginning in Year 9 we have 130-140 hours available if we finish teaching a few weeks before the GCSEs. This is in line with the 120-140 hours recommended for GCSEs.        
  • Broad choice of options subjects, including Art, Dance, DT, Food and Nutrition and Music will be available.       
  • 3-year KS4 enables the curriculum to be extended and deepened to prepare students for Post16 study.       
  • Extensive extra-curricular/enrichment programme to enable broader wider curriculum opportunities.

For all enquiries about our curriculum please contact the Deputy Headteacher