Curriculum & Pastoral Overview

Remote Education Provision: information for parents

Learning at The Forest School is broken down into three Key Stages – Key Stages 3, 4, and 5.

Our curriculum is designed to give a broad and balanced approach that promotes high levels of engagement, achievement and progression. Key Stage 3 is followed in years 7, 8 and 9 with Key Stage 4. The option programme is designed to offer a broad choice. CEIAG runs through all year groups and is designed to meet the Gatsby Benchmarks. 

A comprehensive PSHE programme is run for 20 minutes each day following a 5 minute registration.

Lessons are taught in 100 minute sessions over a two week timetable with Key Stage allocations as follows:

Subject Y7 Y8 Y9 Y10 Y11 Y12 Y13
English 4 4 5 5 6    
Maths 4 4 4 4 5    
Science 4 4 4 6 6    
Music with Drama 2 2 2        
Technology 2 2 2        
History 2 2 2        
Geography 2 2 2        
RE and PSHE /RHSE 2 2 2 2      
ICT 1 1          
Languages 2 2 2        
PE 2 2 2 1 1    
Art 2 2 2        
Option 1       3 3 5 5
Option 2       3 3 5 5
option 3       3 3 5 5
Option 4       3 3 5 5
GCSE Eng/Maths           4  


Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3

Forest School students follow a national curriculum ( that is designed to:

1. Be broad and balanced, giving students a common body of knowledge and information,whatever GCSE subjects they subsequently take

2. Maximise their learning. We want all our students to be guided in their studies by our ASPIRE ethos. Their learning help them to build an aspirational mind set, whilst in a safe environment, designed to allow them to express themselves, instil resilience and learn from their experiences. We teach our students to be prepared and independent, to be respectful and excellent.

3. Ensure students are engaged and ready for, and excited by, the challenges of GCSEs. We thus ensure that students cover a full range of subjects, including:

Core subjects  - English, Maths and Science                                                

Humanities - History, Geography, RE and PSHE                                                      

Art and Technology - Fine Art, Product Design and Food Technology            

Physical Education                                                                                            

Modern Foreign Languages – currently all students study French or Spanish in Y7

Performing Arts subjects – Music and Drama

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

Forest students start GCSE subjects, and take English Literature, English Language, Maths, two or three Science subjects and four option subjects from a broad range, including Art, Drama, Music, Business Studies, IT, Computing, French, Spanish, Physical Education and Product Design.

The KS4 curriculum is broad and balanced: details of all courses leading to GCSE or equivalent qualifications are detailed in the Options booklet.

This includes personalised learning routes for students to help them progress and achieve their best. There are four KS4 suggested pathways for students to follow to maximise engagement and progression on to the next stage of their learning, whether this be FE, HE including Oxbridge and Russell group, apprenticeships or the world of work.

Key Stage 5

Key Stage 5

Sixth Form

Our purpose built co-ed Sixth Form runs a wide variety of A Level courses, and a selection of vocational alternatives. Retention rates from GCSE students moving into Year 12 are very high. Students opt for one of three pathways, according to their GCSE results, their area of interest and what they want to study at university. Students get full support in their applications for apprenticeships or to university, including dedicated support for those applying for Oxbridge places.

Year 12 students complete a week of Work experience and take part in the National Citizen Scheme and many take part in a World Challenge Expedition.

Retakes for both maths and English GCSE are timetabled, and therefore students see the importance in these subjects.

Personal, Social, Health, Education (PSHE)

Personal, Social, Health and EDUCATION (PSHE)

The PSHE is a programme of study designed to help students to develop their knowledge and understanding of skills which will support them through all areas of their future lives. PSHE is currently taught to Year 7 and 8 through a 100 minute lesson bi-weekly. Year 9, 10 and 11 have dedicated PSHE time during 3 Tutor periods per week. The RSHE curriculum is taught within Jigsaw PSHE, please refer to the RSHE drop down to find further detail of how RSHE is implemented across a wider curriculum. 

The JIGSAW PSHE Structure has 6 Puzzles. There are 6 half-term units (Puzzles) in each year group from ages 11-15 (Years 7-10), and 4 units (Puzzles) in ages 15-16 (Year 11) (to allow for the reduced teaching time because of examination season).
The Puzzles are sequenced and developmental from the beginning to the end of the school year:                                   

Autumn 1: Being Me in My World            
Autumn 2: Celebrating Difference
Spring 1: Dreams and Goals
Spring 2: Healthy Me
Summer 1: Relationships
Summer 2: Changing Me

Ages 15-16, the 4 Puzzles:
Being Me in My World
Dreams and Goals
Healthy Me
Each Puzzle has a Big Question, encouraging a philosophical approach as well as providing a focus to be reflected upon as the Puzzle progresses, another way to assess learning progress and become aware of how opinions may be changing with added learning.
All the statutory requirements for RSHE are met across the ages 11-16 programme,                                                                        The PSHE programme encompasses SMSC development, Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG). Daily PHSE sessions cover:

  • Health: healthy lifestyles; healthy eating and exercise; mental and emotional health; sex and relationship education; drug, alcohol and tobacco education.
  • Risk: financial and career choices; personal safety and internet safety.
  • Relationships: developing and maintaining positive relationships; dealing with negative relationships which may include bullying.
  • Loss: bereavement, separation and divorce.
  • Change: managing transition; adversity and developing resilience.
  • Career choices: enterprise, business and finance.
  • Personal finance: savings, debt and finance.

School Assemblies mirror and enhance The Forest School core ethos of Aspire and are planned throughout the year to follow a programme that includes e-safety, British Values, national observance weeks and all of the above.  

To view the schedule for school assemblies click here

Assembly Infographic 2020 2021Students are served well outside the timetabled curriculum because there is wealth of well attended extra curriculum activities from homework club to a DT club, as well as community volunteering in the 6th Form. The school has a strong heritage in sports and successful extra curricular fixture programme, and therefore helping students' well being.

Please find a number of relevant PHSE presentations, relating to First Aid, are available to download:

  1. First Aid - Allergies 
  2. Head Injuries
  3. First Aid - Choking
  4. First Aid - Bleeding

Relationship, Sex, and Health Education (RSHE)

The Forest School RHSE programme is designed to equip students with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships as well as preparing them for successful adult life.   We want ensure that our students are happy, healthy and safe and able to manage the opportunities and challenges of life in modern Britain.  

The following grid (see below) demonstrates how we as a school embed the following strands of RHSE within our curriculum.

PHSE overview sheet

To read the latest government RHSE guidance click here

British Values

The Forest School is committed to serving its community. It recognises the multi-cultural, multi faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom.  It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.

The Forest School is dedicated to preparing students for their adult life and ensuring that it promotes and reinforces British values to all its students.

The Government emphasises that schools are required to ensure that key ‘British Values’ are taught in all UK schools.The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. Information from Department for Education can be found here

British Values are taught in each year group, the image below gives a snapshot of how we implement British Values across each year group

British Values Year Group Overview 2021

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development is the over-arching umbrella that encompasses personal development across the whole curriculum.The following graphic shows an overview of how we implement SMSC within PSHE within each year group. 


SMSC Map Overview 2021

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