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Curriculum Vision & Principles

Curriculum Vision

The Avon Valley School is committed to the development of independent, confident and motivated learners, who leave us equipped with the qualifications, skills and attributes required to successfully take their place in the world. Our curriculum is at the heart of our school’s purpose and through it we aim to motivate our students to ‘Aspire, Engage and Achieve’. We recognise that improving educational outcomes is the best way we can positively impact our students’ futures. 

We take the term ‘educational outcomes’ in the broadest sense, focusing on all aspects of the development of the individual. This includes not just a student’s intellectual development, but their social and emotional development. These areas are covered by the ‘AVS Principles’ which include the development of empathy, altruism and social justice, citizenship and responsibility, sense of service and self-awareness.  This vision is embedded in the way teachers develop the curriculum and the way students experience it through academic lessons, PSHE, tutor time and extracurricular opportunities.

Curriculum Principles

Within our curriculum we aim to balance the four broad philosophies of what education is for:

To develop the potential of the child (personal empowerment)
To pass on “the best which has been thought and said” (cultural transmission)
To prepare young people for life and work (preparation for work)
To build communities and overcome social disadvantage (preparation for citizenship)

Our seven whole school principles of curriculum are that the curriculum must be: 

  • Balanced – Promotes intellectual, moral, spiritual, aesthetic, creative, emotional, and physical development.
  • Rigorous – Seeks to develop intra-disciplinary habits of mind; powerful ways of thinking that are developed through sustained engagement with the discipline.
  • Coherent – Makes explicit connections and links between the different subjects and experiences.
  • Vertically Integrated– Focuses on progression by carefully sequencing knowledge; provides clarity about what ‘getting better’ at the subject means.
  • Appropriate – Matches the level of challenge to a pupil’s current level of maturity and knowledge.
  • Focused – Seeks to keep the curriculum manageable by teaching the most important knowledge; identifies the big ideas or key concepts within a subject.
  • Relevant – Seeks to connect the valued outcomes of a curriculum to the pupils being taught it; provides opportunities for pupils to make informed choices.


How we organise our curriculum


Years 7 to 8

In Years 7 to 8, students study a broad and balanced range of subjects within the Faculties of Technology, Art, Performing Arts and Computing as well as the traditional subjects of Maths, English, Science, PE, Humanities and Modern Foreign Languages.  The school has maintained its specialism in Performing Arts and discrete lessons in Dance, Drama and Music are firmly embedded within the curriculum. Our curriculum is designed to challenge students of all abilities to achieve their academic potential and from Year 8, students with an aptitude for Modern Foreign Languages study either German or Spanish, alongside French. All subjects have a curriculum plan which is appropriately sequenced ensuring gains in students' knowledge and understanding of discrete subject disciplines as they progress through the school.

Year 9

In Year 9 students continue to follow a broad curriculum. All students study the core subjects of Maths, English, Science, PE, and PSHE/RE. They also follow the Learning for Life curriculum which includes: History, Geography, DT and IT, alongside either the Arts Award at bronze level, or the John Muir award. In Year 9, students begin studying towards their GCSE qualifications (or equivalent), to optimise academic success at the end of Year 11, and to allow for greater time for extensive teaching and learning within the subject.

National curriculum content is carefully tracked to ensure that pupils have covered all areas of non-statutory KS4 subjects by the end of Year 9. Click here for an informational video on Learning for Life.

Years 10 and 11

In Years 10 and 11, all students continue to study the core offer and their four chosen option subjects which, collectively, provide a varied and challenging curriculum designed to meet the interests and academic ability of all students. Students are offered a mixture of practical and academic subjects from all areas of the curriculum. This model ensures that students have access to a wide range of progression routes for the next step of their education, and ensures equity of delivery, with all pupils having equal access to subjects.


Alongside the traditional curriculum, the school plans many opportunities to extend the experiences and learning of students. The school launched the ‘Cultural Capital Passport’ for Years 7-9 in September 2020, (relaunched September 2021) promoting 50 activities to broaden the learning experience of students before they leave AVS. Post lockdown, there is a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities starting up again, with a mix of academic and physical activities. As a result of Covid restrictions, our residential trips within the UK and abroad are currently suspended. The school plans to return to organising day visits to museums, universities, sporting activities, and conferences, all of which add memorable experiences to support student self-development as soon as is realistically feasible.

The school continues to organise Splash days - complete days where the timetable is collapsed and students engage in a range of learning opportunities; team work; PSHE focus days; revision conferences; study skills days; leadership workshops and a variety of other activities. In June 2022 the school will perform the musical Matilda.   

Student participation is tracked for all organised opportunities, to ensure all groups of students are accessing the full range of activities available.

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