Our curriculum, like everything at Bedford Free School, is guided by our values of respect, honesty and high expectations. This means we hold dear the belief that every single child and young person at our school is capable of achieving something great. By providing a rigorous, academic curriculum that is rich in carefully sequenced knowledge, our goal is enable pupils to take their place in the community of educated citizens.
We deliver a broad and balanced curriculum at BFS. Our extended school day allows us to ensure that all pupils have mastered the basics, and hence we give extra time to English and mathematics.
All pupils study the following lessons in Years 7-9 per week:
Maths, English, science, Spanish, PE, religious education, history, geography, art, music, graphics, drama, computing and two electives. Many pupils go on to take French as well.
In music, all pupils learn how to play at least one musical instrument and there are opportunities to play in the school orchestra or sing in the choir.
In Key Stage 4, all pupils continue to study a broad and balanced academic curriculum to GCSE, but are able to opt into additional subjects. All pupils study maths, English literature and English language, Spanish or French, biology, chemistry, physics, PE, history or geography, two other options and two electives. We enter pupils for rigorous GCSE examinations at the end of year 11 and support this with independent careers advice for all.
We work very hard on the content of our curriculum in each subject across all of their five years at BFS to ensure that pupils gain the necessary knowledge to play a full part in shaping the world as young adults.
The curriculum is supported by high-quality electives/enrichment activities for all years.
Alongside English, maths and science, all our pupils study geography, history, religious education, art, design and technology, computing, modern foreign languages (Spanish and French), drama, music and PE. Our music for all programme ensures all children have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument at Key Stage Three.
Year 9 (Preference subjects)
In Y9 pupils, alongside the other aspects of the core KS3 curriculum, elect to study three preference subjects. Preference subjects include art, computing, design technology, drama and music. Although pupils study fewer subjects overall it means that they can study their preference subjects in much greater depth and rigour.
It is important to note that these preferences are not GCSE Options. Pupils do not have to do the GCSE in the preferences they choose, though they will be better prepared for those GCSE choices at the end of Year 9 than is currently the case.
At Bedford Free School we believe that all pupils can achieve extraordinary things, including having the option to attend university. Meeting these aspirations requires hard work, focus, and dedication throughout their five years at BFS. It also requires that pupils keep their options open so that they can change their mind in the future.
We have a strong academic curriculum at KS3 which prepares pupils effectively for their GCSEs and beyond. We believe it’s important pupils have a balanced curriculum – having balance ensures that they do not close doors too early, that’s why pupils at BFS complete a three year key stage three and study a range of different subjects before they make their GCSE options choices in Y9.
We believe that an academic, knowledge-rich curriculum is an entitlement for all our pupils. We have allocated considerable time and resources to ensure pupils achieve well across the core and options subjects. Additional time has also been allocate to PE and the electives. We know pupils and families value these important enrichment opportunities. The table below outlines allocations of each subject
|Subject||Number of periods per two week cycle|
9 + Wednesday elective slot
|All options subjects||6|
Core subjects at KS4
These subjects are compulsory and are studied by all pupils.
Options subjects at KS4
In addition to the core subjects all pupils choose four options subjects. This includes a humanities either geography or history and a language either French or Spanish.
Options subjects offered at BFS include:
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a performance measure for schools, which helps to provide a snapshot of how well the school is doing. It is not a qualification for pupils, but a measure of their success across a core of academic subjects.
The following subjects make up the EBacc:
These subjects are those most regularly asked for by colleges and universities. Although pupils do not need to have studied all of these to go on to higher education, having a mix of subjects geared towards the EBacc will help keep their options open.
The Russell Group of Universities (a collaboration of 20 leading UK universities) are not only interested in the results that pupils achieve at GCSE and A Level, they are increasingly expecting pupils to have breadth of study as well as rigour in what they study. This generally means they consider the traditional academic subjects such as those included in the EBacc as more appropriate for entry to their universities. The EBacc subjects keep the Russell Group ‘facilitating subjects’ open. Facilitating subjects (English literature, History, Languages, Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Geography) and are helpful for access to the most selective courses and universities at 18.
The government wants 90% of pupils to take the EBacc. This means that an increasing number of pupils, against whom BFS pupils will be competing in future, will be taking this selection of subjects.
Allocated lessons per fortnight