The Curriculum

The curriculum at Ferndale Community School is designed to provide all pupils with a high quality education appropriate to their needs in order to prepare them academically, socially and personally for the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of further or higher education, employment and adult life.

The curriculum therefore aims to help pupils to:

  • Develop lively enquiring minds, the ability to question and argue rationally and to apply themselves to mental and physical tasks.
  •  Acquire knowledge, skills and practical abilities that are relevant to adult life, employment and leisure in a rapidly changing world.
  • Develop the effective use of language, number and ICT skills.
  • Understand the world in which they live and to recognise the interdependence of individuals, groups and nations.
  • Develop respect for spiritual and moral values and tolerance towards other races, religions and ways of life.
  • Appreciate human achievements and aspirations.
  • Develop skills and understanding to take their place in a democratic society as responsible citizens able to exercise their rights and duties.

Throughout the school, the curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils will have access to a broad, balanced, relevant learning experience which facilitates continuity and progression.

The following areas of experience will be addressed in a balanced way – aesthetic and creative, human and social, linguistic and literary, mathematical, moral, physical, scientific, spiritual and technological.

The school is required, by law, to provide a basic curriculum for all pupils up to the age of sixteen.

The National Curriculum is divided into four key stages:

Key Stages 1 and 2, delivered in the primary sector.

Key Stages 3 and 4, delivered in the secondary sector on pupils’ transfer from the primary sector.

A overview of the curriculum

Key Stage 3 (Year 7 – Year 9)

All pupils are taught:

  • National Curriculum Core subjects – English, Mathematics and Science.
  • National Curriculum Foundation subjects – Art, Design and Technology, French, Geography, History, Information Technology, Music, Physical Education and Welsh.
  • Religious Education (according to SACRE guidelines).
  • Performing Arts

Pupils are placed in mixed ability tutor groups. At Key Stage 3 setting occurs in English, Mathematics and Science. All other subject areas are taught within a mixed ability structure. However, in each year group there is a designated Special Education Needs class  for pupils with learning difficulties.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11)

At KS4 all pupils will study/follow:

  • The core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science to full GCSE level.
  • GCSE short or full course in Religious Studies, Welsh and PE.
  • The Welsh Baccalaureate.

Subjects/courses offered in our option structure. These subjects account for fifteen hours of learning per fortnight.

At Key Stage 4 mixed ability tutor groups are retained. Setting continues in English, Mathematics and Science. The option groups are generally mixed ability.

Teaching and learning is the core purpose of all schools and Ferndale Community School devotes a considerable amount of its professional development resources on promoting  personalised learning, independent learning, key skills and basic skills. Pupils are actively encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. Our ICT facilities which include a wireless infrastructure, interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, banks of laptops in teaching areas

In line with the National Curriculum requirements, all pupils follow a Welsh language course throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. The school holds an annual Eisteddfod.

All signage throughout the school is bi-lingual and although English is the day-to-day language of communication in the school pupils and staff are encouraged to use incidental Welsh in a variety of contexts.Callers using the school’s telephone system may access a variety of menus through the medium of Welsh.

Religious Education and Collective Worship

Religious Education is provided in school under guidelines set out in the 1988 Education Reform Act and in accordance with statutory requirements. The approach used is multicultural and multi-faith with a emphasis on Christianity. The school has no affiliation to any religious denomination and follows programmes of study approved locally by the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE). All pupils follow these programmes of study throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. At Key Stage 4 all pupils complete a short or full course GCSE in Religious Studies.

There is a programme of regular whole-school and year group assemblies, supplemented by form tutor periods which constitute the daily act of collective worship. There is a “Thought for the Week“ which acts as a catalyst for thought and reflection.

Any parent who wishes to exercise their rights under the 1998 Act to withdraw their child from Religious Education lessons or the daily act of collective worship is asked to contact the Headteacher in writing.

Physical Education, Sport and Health-Related Activities

Ferndale Community School has an excellent tradition of sporting achievement and participation. In recent years the school has provided athletes who have represented at a high level in football, rugby, netball, table tennis, judo, swimming, athletics and Tae Kwondo.

Several  pupils have also achieved honours at district and county level.
As well as encouraging excellence in sport, the school aims to promote enjoyment of sport by all pupils through active participation. This is encouraged through well structured programmes of study and a varied programme of extracurricular sporting activities delivered by an enthusiastic and experienced PE Department.

Through Physical Education we promote not only participation and competition, but also an active interest in a healthy way of life. Pupils have the opportunity of following the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and the school’s traditional provision of extra-curricular activities is
now supplemented by support from the 5×60 officer who has created further opportunities for fitness.

The school has excellent sporting and health-related facilities that include a sports hall, a Heated Barn, grass football/rugby fields, a Performing Arts studio and a Swimming pool which includes a health and fitness suite.

Physical Education is not only a statutory requirement at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, it is also the foundation for a healthy life style.

PSE and Sex Education

The school’s Personal and Social Education (PSE) programme is now delivered though special PSE days in Year 7&8 along with lessons in Year 9. At Key Stage 4/5 there are timetabled lessons andsupports Welsh Baccalaureate programme. The PSE programme covers a wide range of issues to prepare pupils for adult life. Outside agencies are also used to support and enhance the programme.

The PSE programme includes Sex Education in line with National Curriculum guidelines. Appropriate teaching materials are selected to match the needs and ages of the pupils. Sex Education is treated sensitively and pupils are encouraged to have due regard for moral considerations and the value of family life.

Any parent who wishes to exercise their rights to withdraw their child from Sex Education lessons should contact the Headteacher in writing.

The school works closely with Careers Wales in order to develop successful partnerships with employers. Employers from a broad spectrum of industry and commerce regularly visit the school to deliver presentations.

All students in KS4/5 participate in a one week work experience. This plays an important role in preparing young people for the world of work. The experience forms a central element in the learning experience and is the basis for much evaluative, formative and reflective follow up work in KS4. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for arranging self-placements for work experience. This requires them to demonstrate organisational, administrative and communicational skills as well as helping them to develop confidence and self reliance. The continued support of chosen work experience providers is evidence of a strong working relationship through the work experience programme.

Careers Wales is a key partner in the provision of careers education and guidance at KS3 and KS4/5. At KS3 students receive careers advice and guidance in preparation for KS4 option choices. At KS4, pupils receive general careers advice through classroom delivery, the Careers Library, Careers Wales on-line, the Careers Adviser, the 14-19 Pathways team and local post-16 education providers. Most pupils have a one-to-one careers consultation interview.

In 2015 Ferndale Community School became re-accredited the Careers Quality Mark in recognition of its quality provision of careers education and guidance.