Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide opportunities for guided and prolonged independent practice. Our curriculum aims are to develop strong academic outcomes through an evidence-based pedagogical approach. Teachers use our KNBS Gold Standard model to plan quality first lessons matched to all our students’ needs. Central to this is a range of research-based strategies, all of which are designed to maximise students’ progress. These comprise three key areas of learning: Cognitive Load and Memory Acquisition, Assessment for Learning and Scaffolding.
At KNBS we are proud that our curriculum is taught by specialist teachers with a deep knowledge and passion for their subject. We want our students to be ambitious and resilient so that they know how to learn for themselves. While teachers encourage, support and guide students, we also expect them to take responsibility for their own learning and to be able to work both independently and collaboratively, to relish challenges and to persevere when they find things hard.
Homework is an integral part of effective assessment and it is very important learning experience for all students. Good practice is promoted through homework which is set regularly across all departments according to the needs of all the students and within the context of agreed whole school and departmental strategies and timetables.
Our homework strategy acknowledges the importance of learning beyond the classroom and it recognises that homework must consolidate, reinforce, and extend the learning that takes place in the classroom to enable our students to be successful. It encourages independent learning, self-discipline, personal organisation and responsibility and home/school partnership.
As a school we use regular and robust triangulated monitoring to evaluate the impact of our curriculum design. Leaders at all levels, regularly review long term plans, learning, talk with students and provide feedback to move practice forward and ensure students are sufficiently stretched and challenged.
Our feedback and assessment practices monitor when the intended learning has not been fully secured by students and our teachers effectively intervene, adjusting their teaching to identify and dispel misconceptions. Diagnostic, formative and summative assessments have been carefully planned alongside curriculum long term plans to secure students long term progress.
Assessment is mapped to National Curriculum age related expectation and progression across each subject pathway is expertly planned so that learning in any one year builds effectively to the next. Feedback is regular and timely and occurs both during the lesson and through written feedback. Students are encouraged to engage with all feedback in dedicated Student Target Response (STR) activities.
Recent examination results demonstrate the high standards of academic excellence for which we continue to strive. In addition, we encourage boys to develop their talents in outdoor education, sports and the expressive arts.
The culmination of our curriculum is that students leave our school with the confidence and academic excellence to thrive. We want them to have personal, social and global awareness; an understanding of both the opportunities and challenges presented by the world, and the tools and confidence to embrace both as they encounter them.
We know our students as individuals which enables us to provide personalised curriculum and careers guidance throughout their time with us. We expect all our students to leave KNBS with the grades required to progress to their desired destination but also the character and interpersonal skills required to flourish once they get there.
Our inclusive curriculum celebrates diversity and promotes tolerance and mutual respect of others. We have carefully mapped how our curriculum provision supports our students’ personal growth and promotes fundamental British Values and the 9 Protected Characteristics; social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness; personal, social and health education and relationship and sex education. To complement our students’ academic study, PD provides a wealth of opportunities to develop our students' personal growth and understanding of their wider world and future lives.
Our Personal Education programme includes careers education and a variety of important issues relevant to students at different stages of their development. The promotion of human values such as democracy, rule of law and mutual respect, is at the core of our PD and Assembly programmes.
At KNBS we firmly believe that the expressive arts are an entitlement that all students should study have at Key Stage 3; the arts are not only important disciplines in themselves, they enable students to develop confidence, collaborative skills and imagination. The expressive arts are very strong at KNBS with both Art and Music offering extra curricular clubs after school. A significant proportion of boys have instrumental lessons, and the school is well supported both by Birmingham Music Service and by staff expertise within the school. There are various school bands and orchestras and we celebrate our musical talent twice a year with a whole school concert.
We now offer drama to all students at KS3 and at GCSE Level. The school has collaborative links with King’s Norton Girls’ School. One of these involves an annual drama production, with which many of our boys enjoy being involved. There are also opportunities to support in the technical side of these productions, where sound and lighting are critical to the success of a concert or show.
The school values the importance of students developing their confidence in sport and physical activity, promoting the enjoyment of exercise as essential for a healthy life-style. KNBS has an enthusiastic and dedicated PE department, and students in all year groups have the opportunity to represent their school in many sports. We field teams in football, rugby, basketball, cricket and cross country. Lunchtime and after school clubs also provide for fitness training and badminton. Several of our students have recently progressed to club, county or national representation in athletics, football, rugby, swimming and basketball. Through sport, students develop their practical skills and learn the important values of teamwork, leadership and mutual respect.
We are proud of the variety of opportunities available to students at KNBS and we provide a variety of extra-curricular activities for students that enhance their learning experience. The activities range from after-school clubs, Outdoor Pursuits opportunities and educational trips and visits.Extra-curricular activities are designed to enhance students’ learning experience, form personal connections between students and their peers, and teach skills essential for life after school.
Extra curricular opportunities encourage our students to become actively involved in our wider school community and to realise that their experiences whilst at school stretch further than the classroom. By promoting independence and teamwork, students can apply new skills and improved confidence to all aspects of their lives.
We promote equal opportunities to all of our students in line with the Equality Act 2010 throughout our practices.
King’s Norton Boys’ School has a long history of outdoor education, which to this day is still a popular addition to the students’ school lives. We are amongst a small minority of state funded schools that employs a specialist fully qualified instructor in outdoor education. Boys have the opportunity in year 7 to attend an outdoor activity residential trip. For the past few years this has been in Wales. At other times throughout their five years with us, boys have the opportunity to try sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, orienteering as well as making the most of our inhouse climbing wall. Residential trips are run in many of these areas and at other times local facilities such as Bartley Green Reservoir, Creation Climbing and the Tamworth Snowdome are used.
Outdoor education is exceptionally popular, and helps to develop the wider skills of self-reliance, confidence, resilience and leadership. While the wide range of activities on offer continues to grow, the impact remains the same, enriching students’ lives and inspiring young people to achieve at the very highest level. Engaging in the wide spectrum of experiences available provides opportunities for students to participate in new and exciting activities and to develop skills imperative for adulthood.
Our school values the input of its students, parents and the local community with regards to the planning and delivery of the curriculum. We believe students get a well-rounded education if everyone is involved in shaping it. This is why we conduct student voice activities and request that parent complete questionnaires. These questionnaires ask questions about factors such as what students enjoy about learning and lessons, what they find challenging and if homework set supports their sons’ learning at home.
Opportunities for students to experience achievement are maximised and promoted across our five year secondary curriculum. Effort and success are recognised and encouraged through our pastoral system including the use of commendations and Elite Gold 20 system that recognises those students who demonstrated exemplary behaviour throughout the year. Students become motivated and engaged by their improving subject fluency and achievement and their right to choose how to deepen their studies as they progress across key stages. Advice and guidance underpin our curriculum modelling ensuring our students have regular points of discussion with senior leaders and parents/ carers about their current and future study choices, changing interests and developing aspirations.
We provide points of flexibility and personalisation within our broad and balanced offer to enhance student engagement and success. There are no pathways that prevent students from studying certain subject combinations. Wherever possible, we build our timetables around our students’ choices removing the restriction of option blocks to create greater freedom for students to deepen their selected study.
An Inclusive Curriculum
Care and guidance underpin all aspects of our inclusive provision assisting our students to enjoy their education, feel valued and develop both academically and personally. All students are supported in their learning and encouraged to engage in every aspect of school life.
Should students experience barriers to their learning be they academic, physical, emotional or social we promptly intervene to support their access to the curriculum and enjoyment of school. Our school operate strong inclusion practices led by our Learning Support Department.
For those students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who require reasonable adjustments to support their needs we ensure access arrangements are in place to support their normal way of working and where required deploy Teaching Assistant support.
There is a strong focus on students’ literacy and numeracy skills and where appropriate we facilitate increased access to English and maths. Small group intervention is used to target gaps in understanding in core subjects. For students who miss aspects of their learning or require extra help catch up activities and targeted support are available.
Literacy and Numeracy
There is a strong focus on students’ literacy and numeracy skills within our curriculum. Our Literacy and a Numeracy Coordinators promote the focus of these skills across the curriculum and we are working towards developing a consistent approach to developing students’ skills in both areas. There is a wide range of literacy activities, including Word of the Week, that support students in developing their literacy skills across the curriculum. Common structures, such as PEA, are promoted to help students to develop excellence in using them and to understand their transferability from lesson to lesson. In numeracy consistent approaches are promoted across subjects and programmes such as Numeracy Ninjas support this.
At KNBS, we want to foster a culture of reading and make sure that in time, every student becomes a confident reader. We want to nurture a love of literature and for students to develop a life-long love of reading for pleasure. We want to ensure that teachers understand the importance of reading as a vehicle for all students to fully access the curriculum, and that they place value on the support that is put in place to enable progression in reading for all.
We are committed to working with stakeholders, including staff, students, parents, feeder schools and external SEND agencies, to ensure that we accurately identify students who are in need of intervention and that any interventions are conducted in a timely manner. We will deliver bespoke reading interventions to take account of students’ entry points and work forensically to develop all areas of phonics and comprehension so that students can narrow the gap in their reading skills over time, and be able to fully access the whole of secondary curriculum, be able to perform in line with or above expectations, and to ensure that they are fully equipped for the rigour of post-16 education and beyond.
We want to ensure that leaders and teachers respond appropriately to diagnostic evaluations of students’ reading capabilities and are equipped to be able to and committed to, in addition to bespoke intervention strategies, supporting students across the curriculum to develop their reading to be in line with age-related expectations and beyond.
We want to identify students’ barriers to reading and we will endeavour to overcome them. In support of this, we are committed to investing the time, energy and resources that are required to embed deliberate reading practice across the curriculum and ensuring that all teachers are fully equipped to be able to do so.
We want to raise the profile of disciplinary literacy across the curriculum. Literacy and reading skills are both general and subject specific. We want all teachers to understand the important role that they play in developing students’ abilities to become, for example, geographers or linguists or artists or historians, and how they can support students in learning how to read, write and communicate in their subjects. We want all teachers to be fully supported in teaching students the nuances of their disciplinary literacy.
We want to, over time, create a library space that is fully equipped to develop students’ love of reading and support the reading of students of all abilities. We hope this space will become an integral part of the school curriculum and a valuable resource that can be used by teachers and students alike.
We have created a Reading Action Plan for 2021-22/2022-23 that outlines in more detail, how we will continue to develop students’ reading across the curriculum.
KNBS students are given the opportunity to lead on many areas within our school community including the Student Council, Eco Reps and Sports reps are democratically chosen from each tutor group to represent students’ ideas and thoughts on KNBS. Students meet every half term to discuss and action ways to make the day to day life of a KNBS student as enjoyable and productive as possible.
Our Head Boy Team is made up of Yr11 students who are outstanding role models and want to contribute to the life of King’s Norton Boys’ School. The Head Boy Team is made up of a Head Boy, alongside deputies and assistants. Each Assistant Head Boy is responsible for a specific area: Eco Travel, Sports, Mental Health and Welfare and Mentoring.
By experiencing leading certain projects and working as part of specific teams, students will be well equipped to take on and flourish leadership roles once they leave KNBS. The creation of different leadership pathways also contributes to the successful school environment at KNBS, as students can play a direct role in the decision making on issues around the school. The KNBS 'STRIVE' values of Self-discipline, Teamwork, Resilience, Initiative, Vision and Endeavour underpin all the efforts and projects undertaken by the different student leadership pathways throughout the year. Students will often be asked to relate and reflect on these values throughout their tasks.
We ensure a positive learning environment for our students, where we develop emotional resilience and to maintain good emotional health. Our aim is to ensure that our students enjoy their time at school and are happy. Within our curriculum we foster positive relationships, self-worth and acceptance teaching our students to recognise risk, accountability and positive choices.
Our school is committed to the principles of securing good emotional wellbeing, to allow every young person to have the best possible experience and outcomes throughout their school journey.
Links to careers is increasingly embedded into the taught curriculum. Our school has links with local Universities, businesses and colleges and provides personal independent age appropriate guidance and support for students. Our careers education and guidance programme seeks to positively support our students to acquire the educational, social and employability skills necessary for lifelong success in a diverse and changing world of work.
At KNBS, we enrich our curriculum provision with a comprehensive and appropriate assembly programme to support our students’ personal development and raise their awareness and appreciation of key issues, faiths, events and practices. Assemblies occur in tutor time in same age year groups to support age appropriate guidance and content.
Assemblies can be extended to create time to allow guest speakers and deliver external programmes for example Drug Awareness, Road Safety, E-safety etc.. Our assembly programme is an important part of our curriculum provision promoting the culture and ethos of our school, supporting our students and fostering fundamental British Values, raise social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness; promote personal, social, health, relationship and sex education.
Equality & Diversity
We embed equality and diversity in our curriculum provision and implementation by ensuring our climate for learning, curriculum planning and delivery, learning experiences and assessment practices proactively eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity, and foster good relations in a manner that values, preserves and responds to diversity.
Our inclusive practice ensures teaching methods and assessments do not place students at a disadvantage. We ensure students are exposed to and are given the opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of many different cultures and identities in a manner appropriate to the subject being taught. Our curriculum planning provides content that covers multiple perspectives integrating themes of equality and diversity into our subject and wider delivery. We enable learning experiences in which students are able to reflect on their own identities, biases, and backgrounds and how these impact on their learning and life experiences.
When planning our curriculum and teaching experiences we evaluate our delivery to be mindful of unconscious bias in content, delivery or assessment practices reflecting upon how this may influence learning and teaching.
Our inclusive culture promotes belonging and engagement establishing a learning environment in which all students can feel like they belong to our whole school learning community.