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Our curriculum ambition at Burnley High School is to make learning exciting, engaging and irresistible for all. We have designed a challenging and ambitious curriculum in order to provide the best learning opportunities for all our students to aim high and achieve the very best, both academically and pastorally.

Our core principles that drive our curriculum are:

  • Ambition for all to improve life chances for every learner
  • Fostering a Love of Learning through an ambitious knowledge and vocabulary rich curriculum for all
  • Mutual Respect through Character and personal development to equip all of our students to succeed in life

Curriculum review is done through a continuous cycle at Burnley High to ensure what is taught is coherently planned and logically sequenced to equip all of our learners to succeed in life.  Our curriculum supports learners from all backgrounds, including those who are disadvantaged, so all learners access a high quality, knowledge rich curriculum. Our school community believes strongly in providing disadvantaged learners with a curriculum that enables them to reach the same academic standards of their non-disadvantaged peers. Our goal is to bring the learners in our family into the conceptual natures of our disciplines and to bring depth and context to our curriculum, so they can understand the world around them.

Curriculum Intent

At Burnley High School, our curriculum intent is to support a happy, high achieving learning community enriched by the opportunity to discover talents and passions.

Our vision is for all learners, including those with SEND, to follow an ambitious, broad and well-balanced curriculum that matches the ambition of the National Curriculum and extends further beyond this to enhance the needs of the community we serve. We aim to make sure that no desired future career pathways are closed to learners but that all learners’ ambitions and outlooks are strengthened and broadened. Learners who arrive with us with gaps in knowledge or skills, both academically and socially are quickly supported to catch up to their peers.

The curriculum is logically sequenced so that learners acquire the key knowledge components to help access the next stage of their learning. These key concepts are consistently referred to and applied in different ways to aid retrieval and long term memory.

At KS4, all learners will study for GCSEs in Mathematics, English Language, Literature and Sciences, as well having the full catalogue of English Baccalaureate subjects to choose from. Creative and practical subjects are available to suit the learner’s talents and aspirations for future pathways. All our learners develop a respect for the needs, beliefs and choices of others through the curriculum and the wider school.

Curriculum Implementation

Our philosophy places curriculum at the heart of our pedagogical practice through rationalised and strategic opportunities to appraise the scope, breadth and depth and delivery of the curriculum; and to keep a unrelenting emphasis on the quality of education at Burnley High School to secure an ambitious, logical and knowledge based curriculum by reflecting on four fundamental strands:

  1. What content is taught
  2. How this content relates to the wider world
  3. Why the content is being taught and how our learners can apply this knowledge
  4. How the content is being taught and embedding opportunities

Every subject discipline has a number of curriculum resources, from the bigger picture of the overall curriculum from Year 7 to Year 11 with the components of learning coherently sequenced, so that learning builds on learning. Road Maps for Year 7 to Year 11 allow our learners to see the learning journey they are embarking on, and the connections between topics and subject areas. Key knowledge is shared with our learners to outline the essential knowledge and vocabulary students will learn within a component of study. Teachers create high quality, challenging, adaptive resources and design demanding learning opportunities to engage learners. We are ambitious in our level of challenge, but recognise the need to comprehensive support and guidance when implementing our curriculum.  We hold our teaching staff to very high standards and expect that they can demonstrate how students know more and rememer more as well as the impact of their teaching on our learners’ progress over time.

Curriculum Structure

At Key Stage 3 (Year 7-9), learners study a broad and balanced curriculum to ensure that all learners experience the breadth of subjects, delivered by subject specialists, before making informed choices about their Options for Key Stage 4. There are opportunities for students who need extra literacy support and numeracy support to receive this through curriculum provision, such as Numicon.  As a school, we are keen to enable all of our learners to experience many different subjects and to embed a well-rounded learning journey in both KS3 and KS4, cultivating and fostering high ambitions and achievement as well as a lifelong love of learning.

At Key Stage 3 (Year 7-9), all learners study the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, History, Geography, RE, MFL, Computer Science, Technology, Art, Music, Drama, Personal Development, and PE. We provide all of our learners with a well-rounded learning experience – intellectual challenge, the opportunity to develop physical and mental health, as well as creative, artistic and culturally rich experiences.

Key Stage 4 (Year 10-11) offers students a wide variety of option subjects alongside core subjects.  We offer GCSEs in each available subject as well as BTECs in some subjects to support academic and vocational study. We expect every young person to aim high and strive for the best they can be, and support them to choose subjects that will help them to continue to achieve in their post-16 lives. To support our learners in making their Options and further education choices, we offer sessions with  Positively You, hold Guided Options Evening, one-to-one sessions with Careers advisors, College Drop- in Days, College and University Taster Days and multiple opportunities to meet with post-16 providers.

Our Year 10 RE students on a recent visit to Edge Hill University to experience University life, lectures and to visit one of our Alumni, Mia Fort, who is reading Law at EHU.


In addition to our core curriculum offer, we provide an abundance of opportunities for our learners to develop themselves as individuals.  Through our Personal Development programme as well as extracurricular clubs and educational visits, we foster and build well-rounded moral young people, who have respectful and positive relationships with the people around them. We expect our learners to be polite members of our community who positively contribute to the world around them. We develop ambitious, kind, caring learners who embrace the similarities and celebrate the differences with their peers. Everything we do is designed to help our learners take responsibility for their growth, wellbeing and environment, resulting in them being the best version of themselves they can be.

The curriculum is organised into 25 periods per week comprising 5 x one-hour lessons each day for Years 7-10. For Year 11, there is an extra period of learning Tuesday-Friday and their timetable is 29 periods a week.

Curriculum Impact

Learners are supported to develop in-depth knowledge as well as conceptual and factual understanding across the curriculum. We expect that our learners consistently produce high quality work, foster a love of learning and progress as we support them to learn more and remember more.

For further information on our curriculum, email our Deputy Headteacher, Mrs Cooke –

“I love BHS because it really does feel like a family. All staff and students know each other, are extremely supportive of one another and show amazing levels of respect throughout the school. There really isn’t another school like it!”

Miss Yates