top of page

Upper School Curriculum


The teaching of Mathematics at Ripplevale is aimed at pupils having an enjoyment of the subject, whilst also learning the skills necessary for suitable accreditation and life beyond the educational setting.

In Key Stage 3, there is a focus on the acquisition of number and the basic calculations for the 4 operations. Many of our pupils will have had a chequered journey in terms of learning, so it is vital that both confidence and competence is shaped and rebuilt.​

In Key Stage 4 pupils will be identified as having particular attributes for particular pathways of accreditation. Broadly this involves two routes.

One pathway will be to lead to the formal qualification of a pass at GCSE. The second pathway will be to build accreditation through Entry Level, Number and Measure Awards and Functional skills.

English Language

English is studied in Key Stage 3 and 4 and depending on ability, can either lead to an accreditation at GCSE level or Functional Skills. At Key stage 3, a huge emphasis is placed on re-visiting literacy skills that may have been missed earlier in their education and then moving towards Key Stage 4 students have the opportunity to sit formal qualifications in Functional Skills or GCSE level or both if desired.

English Literature

Alongside the GCSE Language qualification, students can also, where appropriate, study for a Literature qualification too. This can be done in Key stage 4 or even in Key stage 5 and students cover a Shakespeare play, a poetry anthology, a Nineteenth century novel and a play according to the AQA specification.


Computing is a subject embedded across the curriculum here at Ripplevale, as an essential part of modern life, so we build on the foundations laid in the primary years, and at Key Stage 3 all students study a range of topics within Information Technology, Computer Science and Online Safety. Emphasis is placed on staying safe online, making good choices and being an effective user of IT, along with basic elements of computer science such as coding and computer hardware.

Design Technology

Design Technology is delivered from year 7 to year 10 working on a skills based programme developing fine and gross motor skills in conjunction with our in house Occupational Therapist. Students start with basic projects such as totem poles and marble runs so they can be introduced to hand tools and basic power tools before moving on to such projects as passive speakers and steady hand games where students will learn about acoustic chambers and non-solder electrical circuits.​

When pupils reach year 11, we start an enterprise-based course where students are responsible for sourcing, refurbishing and selling various items of furniture learning skills that will allow them to transition into post 16 and undertake the Gateway qualification in construction as a vocational subject. Students take ownership of the course budget and purchase materials required to complete the refurbishment.

Physical Education

At Ripplevale School, we know that P.E. is an integral part of our curriculum. We believe that the subject inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in physically-demanding activities and helps them to become confident in a way which supports their health and fitness throughout their lives. Therefore, we believe that our children should be physically active every day, whether through Daily Physical Activity, Interventions, P.E. lessons, Breaktime/Lunchtime clubs. We also believe that children should have the opportunity to compete in sport and other activities that build character and help to embed values such as team-work, fairness and respect.

In Key Stage 3, students will apply and develop their fundamental skills linking them together to make actions and sequences of movement. They will use this to help them play a range of competitive games such as Football and Basketball, applying basic principles of attacking and defending. In P.E. lessons children will communicate, collaborate and compete with each other and they will be given the opportunity to evaluate their performances, recognising how they can improve their performance and celebrating their own success.​

In Key Stage 4, students will have the opportunity to combine all skills learnt during their previous years into game-play situations on a weekly basis. They will continue to develop fundamental skills as well as improve on physical strength, stability and co-ordination. There will be an emphasis on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and teach all our students how to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.

We also deliver a Sports Leaders course to our Secondary and Post 16 students. This qualification teaches generic leadership skills and teamwork through the medium of sport. It is a fun and practical qualification with no entrance requirements or final examinations to sit. Work will be logged and assessed throughout the course through observations and written tasks. Obtaining this qualification will enable the boys to gain UCAS points and is highly thought of on a personal statement for further education, as well as personal CVs.

Food Technology, Hospitality & Catering          

Food Technology lessons are offered to all of our students across Key stages 3 and 4. Whilst we place emphasis on students acquiring key skills and preparing them for their Gateway qualification in Post 16, we also know the value of students learning about healthy eating and so the vast majority of the time is spent preparing and cooking dishes which will be invaluable in later life.

Gateway Qualifications in hospitality and catering give students the opportunity to gain skills in the industry. Different units that are covered also allow the students freedom to choose which area of the industry they would most like to work.

A broad range of skills are taught that enable students to experience a realistic working environment and gain the necessary social skills to serve customers.

There are different levels of success, ranging from Entry level 3, Award, Certificate and Diploma to Level 1 Diploma.

Trade Skills

Post 16 students follow Gateway in Construction. This is a very ‘hands on’ approach to the subject and allows students the flexibility of being creative in an environment completely different to a classroom. We have a fully functioning workshop where students actively seek furniture in the local community to up-cycle and improve.

They source the materials needed, price the job and then carry out the improvements needed. Once completed, these pieces of furniture are then sold on allowing students to choose how to collectively spend the profit they make. Important skills in maths are clearly and practically being learnt alongside their choice of vocation too in order to prepare them for the outside world.

Art & Design

Trinity College London Silver Arts Award
The Silver Arts Award is run as part of our Year 10 options and is a Level 2 qualification. This means that it is equivalent to a grade 4-9 GCSE (C-A* in the previous system). The Silver Award encourages students to create their own art, appreciate the art of others and art in general and to learn leadership and teamworking skills in completing and evaluating arts projects. This course does not have an end of course examination, it is based on modular coursework.


Religious education is taught throughout Key Stages 3 & 4 and is offered at GCSE. The programme of study aims to:

  • Have an influence on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.

  • Teach pupils the knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principle religions represented in Great Britain and throughout the wider world.

  • Develop the pupil’s knowledge and understanding of the nature of beliefs, religion and ethical issues.

  • To appreciate the diversity of religious beliefs and practices and respect the right of others to hold differing beliefs than those held by themselves.

  • To understand how individuals are continuously influenced by religious beliefs, values and traditions.

  • To evaluate different responses to religious and moral issues, to form their own reasoned and informed judgements about these issues.

  • To inform, clarify and develop their own beliefs and values by responding to that which they have learnt.

  • To develop their own sense of identity and belonging, in order to prepare them for their adult life as a responsible citizen.


PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education)/RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) is taught to all students. Students engage in conversations ranging from on-line safety and relationships to cultural diversity. The emphasis is for students to feel comfortable in discussing these subjects without the pressure of recording everything that is discussed.  From these discussions students develop a strong sense of spiritual, moral and cultural values that will be invaluable when entering adult life. RSE is a statutory component of the curriculum but parents/carers have the right to request that their child(ren) opt out of this subject. Any parent/carer who wishes to opt their child out of RSE should contact the Headteacher to discuss the process.


Gateway Creative Industries Level 2 Certificate
This is a music award run as part of our year 10 options – again at equivalent to grade 4-9 GCSE (C-A* in the previous system). The course is modular and students can find a pathway through the course to build on their interests and skills, whether these are performance based, technical (recording, for example) or a mixture of musical and music-industry-based skills. This course does not have an end of course examination, it is based on modular coursework.

Business Studies
Part of the year 10 options offer. The Business Studies GCSE looks at business in the real world, finance, marketing and human resourcing. This is a “standard” two-year GCSE course that is assessed with an end of course examination at the end of year 11.


French (MFL)
We are pleased to announce the introduction of French at year 7 and year 8 this year. Emma Sworder has joined our teaching team to provide these lessons. Emma is bilingual: she is half-French and half-English and has also lived and gone to school in both countries. She is trained as a teacher of English as a foreign language, a skill which transfers perfectly to teaching French as a foreign language. We feel very lucky to have someone with this particular skillset to teach the year 7s and 8s have to communicate in French.


In Key Stage 4, a combination of OCR Entry Level and AQA GCSE History is offered. If students have not chosen this option in key stage 4, they have they opportunity to opt for it in Key Stage 5 too. The unit options for OCR are: The Norman Conquest, The People’s Health and a local history site study and for GCSE: Germany: Democracy and dictatorship, Conflict and tension: The First World War, Britain: Health and the People (1000-present day) and Norman England (c1066-1100).


Key Stage 3 Humanities lessons include integrated programmes of study in both History and Geography and learners will study aspects of both subjects areas that affect our lives and the world we live in today. In Years 7 & 8, this includes the exploration of the United Kingdom; the elements that physically make up our land today and historically how it was created through the Middle Ages. In Year 9 students learn of our geographic place in the world, continents and oceans. Then in History we look at major events such as the Battle of Hastings, the Reformation and World War II focusing on the impact of outside forces on our kingdom.


Science is presented in topic chunks which change every 3-4 weeks, so that a full variety of subjects are covered. The daily task may involve pair work; discussing the pupils’ own ideas, or practical work on experiments and finding out about materials, magnets motors and lots of other important things we all use in our everyday life.

As pupils move through the year groups they become familiar with safety requirements and good work habits, as well as useful skills such as measuring volumes, masses, temperature, time and so on. 

In KS4 all students study the Entry Level Certificate from Edexcel, which is 6 units in Yr10 and a further 6 in Yr11. Pupils who show an interest and aptitude for the subject can be prepared for the GCSE in Combined Science, again from Edexcel.

bottom of page