Overview of the Curriculum

The curriculum at Lady Manners School provides a rich, enjoyable, broad and balanced education. It incorporates increasing opportunities for flexibility and diversity – thereby meeting the interests, needs and aspirations of all students, and preparing them for adult life in a rapidly changing world.

Our curriculum is based on a set of principles agreed by all staff, which can be downloaded here.

We aim to offer a curriculum which inspires all students to be confident, aspirational learners who intrinsically enjoy and appreciate the value of learning.

Our curriculum is ambitious and inclusive. It is based on a set of whole-school principles that have been agreed by staff and governors. Breadth of provision, choice and opportunity are distinctive features of our curriculum.

We aim to develop embedded knowledge and skills across a range of subjects through our knowledge-engaged curriculum. All departments have created ‘knowledge builders’ which identify essential knowledge within each curriculum area, and clearly define end points in learning. Topics are organised in a progressive sequence aiming to connect previous, current and future learning. Strategies such as interleaving and retrieval practice are regularly used to ensure key information is permanently retained in memory.

The personal development of our students is a key priority. Our extensive curriculum, including a diverse wider curriculum, delivers meaningful experiences both inside and outside the classroom. By acquiring cultural capital, we believe students can develop the social mobility needed to succeed in life.

We seek to develop young people who are equipped to live happy and fulfilling lives in a rapidly changing world. We work to ensure that students are adaptable and fully prepared for the next stage in their education, ready to make positive contributions as responsible citizens within our society.

Our curriculum is varied and balanced, remaining as broad as possible for as long as possible. We offer an appropriate balance of academic and vocational subjects. Our curriculum is designed to meet the interests, needs and aspirations of all, including disadvantaged students and students with special educational needs, and is constructed to reflect the school’s local context. We are an outward-looking school and collaborate with local partners (eg Peak 11 schools) to provide an engaging and relevant curriculum for all.

At the heart of our curriculum is a strong focus on core subjects that provide a foundation for success in all learning. As students progress through school, there are increasing opportunities for flexibility and choice. Departments often work collaboratively to enhance the curriculum experience for students (eg history and languages).

All students follow a common curriculum in Years 7 to 9, providing full coverage of the National Curriculum. Students have lessons in maths, English, science, design technology, computing, history, geography, music, art, drama, physical education, a modern foreign language and religious education. A second modern foreign language can be taken from Year 9.

We retain a strong commitment to our creative subjects. Drama, art and music lessons provide students with a range of experiences that extend their knowledge, develop understanding and build self–esteem. We are locally renowned for the quality of our musicals, dramatic productions and concerts.

Literacy and numeracy are promoted across the curriculum to enable students to communicate fluently and be able to apply lifelong, transferable skills across all areas of learning. Peer mentoring schemes are used frequently to support students with their reading to enable them to fully access the school curriculum.

In Years 10 and 11, the number of compulsory courses is reduced and choice is expanded with a wide range of options. In addition to a common core of academic subjects, we offer a number of vocational qualifications, including courses in business and construction.

Many of our students stay on at Lady Manners School in the Sixth Form and choose from a wide programme of ‘A’ level and vocational courses. Our post-16 retention rates are high. Our students consistently complete their programmes of study, make good progress and achieve excellent outcomes. Wider curriculum opportunities are extensively available, supported by access to high quality careers advice and work experience placements, aligned with the Gatsby benchmarks.

Students follow a programme of personal, social and health education (PSHE) through form time and ‘extraction’ lessons. Units of work focus on areas including relationships and sex education, careers and healthy lifestyles. Teaching towards accredited GCSE courses begins in science and maths in Year 9, but these are not examined until the end of Year 11.

We view students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural education as essential to their development as young people. A range of curriculum areas contribute to this programme, alongside specialist provision within citizenship and Religious Education lessons, as well as through PSHE.

British values are promoted across our school, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We provide a dedicated programme of specialised events and opportunities across all year groups. Across the whole school, our tutor periods and assemblies provide time for independent reading and discussion of topical issues.

Our curriculum includes a full and varied programme of activities outside the classroom. We encourage all of our students to explore and develop their interests and individual talents, and a wide range of different clubs are available. Our music, drama and art clubs are extremely popular, and students enjoy entering competitions in reading, debating and lego building.

We have a strong tradition of team sports and competitive inter-school and international fixtures provide opportunities for many of our students to excel. We celebrate students who participate in minority sports and are proud of our students who have achieved international success in sports such as swimming. We are particularly proud of our successful equestrian team. We run an exciting programme of trips and visits, including international visits, such as Canada, alongside visits within the UK, eg an ocean sailing trip to Scotland. Lady Manners also hosts international visitors, eg from Argentina (rugby and hockey), Slovenia (creative writing) and Japan (teaching strategies).

A distinctive element of our curriculum is promoting student independence, resilience and leadership. We offer all levels of the Duke of Edinburgh award (Gold, Silver, Bronze awards) and provide extensive opportunities for students to become involved in sport as coaches and officials, including a sports leadership programme in Year 12.

Within school, students have varied opportunities to develop as active citizens and leaders, for example by becoming involved in charity projects, helping at school events and acting as peer mentors to younger students. Our team of House Officers are highly effective in leading student groups and committees.

We have an active school council which has been instrumental in providing curriculum experiences in school. Our most recently formed group, the Environment Committee, has played an influential role in shaping school practice.

The curriculum experiences offered by Lady Manners School are intended to instil a passion for lifelong learning and provide opportunities for progression that will ensure students of all abilities acquire the cultural capital required to succeed in life.

Further details of the curriculum

Details of each subject available throughout the school are available, grouped by Key Stage, by clicking the links on this page. It is worth noting that, given the evolving nature of the curriculum, the details available on this website are pertinent to the current school year.

Details of our approaches to equalities and accessibility are available on our Policies page.  Further information on the curriculum is available by contacting the school on 01629 812671.