The Key Stage 3 curriculum will build extensively on a thematic model created in-house at John Taylor High School (‘STRIPE’ – Self Manager, Team Worker, Reflective, Innovate and Create, Participate, Enquirer).  It will enable our pupils to be fully GCSE ready by the start of Year 10 and proficient in a suite of skills that will support their development into pupils that are able to make significant contribution to the world around them – commensurate with our vision.  The STRIPE programme achieves the following outcomes:

  • significant impact on student ‘readiness’ for the secondary curriculum
  • more cohesive student interactions as they integrate from up to twenty different local primary schools
  • enables students to focus on skills development as much as knowledge and understanding
  • heightens appreciation of the links between subject areas across the curriculum
  • raises levels of participation, via the ‘passport’ of competencies that compels all to engage
  • improves levels of enjoyment in learning
  • provides stretch and challenge for students of all abilities and aptitudes

STRIPE works by delivering content in several subject areas around a central theme. These themes provide the opportunity to deliver the subject content within a real-world context. Subjects are linked within a theme and each subject has a programme of study that allows pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of the Key Stage Three curriculum. In order to develop the six STRIPE areas, each theme provides explicit opportunities to develop a particular skill.

At John Taylor Free School, STRIPE forms one half of the curriculum in Year 7 (with dedicated English and Maths time, Science, Physical Education, Music, and Modern Foreign Languages remaining discrete).  In Year 8, STRIPE will be reduced to one quarter of curriculum time (with more subject-specific content being delivered outside the programme).  In Year 9, there will be a move towards a more traditional curriculum offer, whilst retaining a ‘STRIPE’ element (for example, students will retain their STRIPE passport) to embed skills development, in readiness for Key Stage 4. This is articulated in the tables above.

In the context of a new school, serving a new community, the STRIPE themes would look to develop a sense of community cohesion, involvement and pride.  This will include work with housing developers in the early years of the school, who have committed to supporting student learning in a number of ways – from careers advice and guidance, environmental impact awareness, consultation with student voice over facilities for the area, and health and safety sessions.

Opportunities to dovetail the STRIPE programme with existing organisations in the area – local primary schools, John Taylor High School, Rolls Royce, Toyota, local parish and district councils – will also help young people feel ‘grounded’ in their new community. Enrichment activities, clubs and educational visits will all dovetail into the STRIPE programme via the passport.  The message to students, consistent with our aim and ethos, will be that they have “choice over how they participate beyond lessons, but not a choice of whether they do or don’t.”

Unlike some ‘blended’ learning/topic-based study, STRIPE achieves the above without compromising the academic and assessment rigour of a traditional subject-by-subject offer.  The programme has been refined by a key group of committed staff year-on-year since its inception in 2011, based at least in part on student voice outcomes.