In English at Thornhill, we aim to inspire creative and enquiring minds through exposure to a wealth of high-quality literary text from a variety of cultures. We also aim to develop confident and passionate speakers, readers, and writers who can go on to make valuable contributions to society.
Studying English gives pupils an appreciation of the world through an understanding of how language works. The English team at Thornhill aims to support students in developing their skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening so they can engage with, and appreciate, the diversity of language they are surrounded by in daily life. English present the opportunity to be expressive and creative as well as be appreciative of the values of others.
Each member of the English department at Thornhill has a real passion for literature. Great writers help us to make sense of the world around us. We can lose ourselves in the life of a character which increases our power of empathy. Overall, we aim to develop the skills required to ensure that pupils can confidently write in a range of different styles, access a rich variety of literature, and draw on prior knowledge including understanding of a variety of different contexts.
Our three-year KS3 programme provides an engaging learning journey, focusing on building upon and consolidating skills introduced in KS2 to ensure GCSE readiness by the end of year 9. Pupils will be supported throughout their time at Thornhill to clearly articulate their thoughts and ideas to their peers as well as in their writing. We aim to cover popular literary canon texts, as well as a vast range of poetry, both contemporary and historic fiction and non-fiction texts, ensuring full coverage of the National Curriculum. There is a strong emphasis on planning as well as recalling previous learning, ensuring essential knowledge and ideas are retained.
Throughout KS3, we focus heavily on developing the reading expertise of all pupils, at all stages of their curriculum journey. In addition to this, we facilitate a culture of reading for pleasure with wider reading and discussions with peers. We also encourage independent reading and use of a ‘Reading Passport’.
Our celebrations of National Poetry Day and World Book Day provide pupils with a variety of activities including poetry recitals, sharing of favourite texts, quizzes, competitions, and other creative activities.
Extra-curricular activities and opportunities to broaden pupils’ minds and build confidence through enrichment activities are also frequently offered to pupils.
Mathematics is taught as a specialist subject at Thornhill Academy.
The KS3 curriculum has been designed to consolidate and build upon prior learning from KS2. At KS3 we aim to ensure all students:
- Have access to a high-quality curriculum that is both challenging and enjoyable to learn.
- Are provided with a variety of mathematical opportunities, which will enable them to make the connections in learning needed to enjoy a greater depth in learning.
- Develop the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so pupils develop the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of context with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
- Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, identifying relationships and generalisations, and develop an argument, justification, or proof using mathematical language.
- Ensure children are confident mathematicians who are not afraid to take risks.
The curriculum across Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 follows a learning journey based around the National Curriculum. It is designed and organised into six domains: Algebra, Geometry & Measures, Number, Probability, Ratio & Proportion and Statistics. The content is sequenced as such that pupils can make and develop connections across mathematical ideas to increase their mathematical fluency, reasoning and competence in solving problems.
The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the learning pathways at broadly the same pace. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly will be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding through additional practice before moving on.
The Key Stage 3 schemes are set up to follow the same subject areas throughout the year to ensure with any movement a pupil will not miss out or repeat any part of the subject. The Key Stage 4 learning pathway consolidates and builds upon the prior learning from Key Stage 3 while following the Foundation or Higher subject-specific content. Currently, the department enters Foundation Tier candidates for the Edexcel 1MA1 GCSE, and Higher Tier candidates for the AQA 8300 GCSE.
Skills and stamina-building will be addressed through the use of retrieval starter activities to ensure ‘sticky knowledge’ and each scheme is accompanied by homework which is collected on a minimum of once every two weeks, usually online via Mathswatch - an online learning platform which all pupils at Thornhill have access to.
There is a responsive and reflective assessment style approach across the curriculum to ensure pupils are taught to their individual needs.
The Science Department believes the subject is a fundamental part of everyday life essential to our understanding of the world. The overarching intention of Science is to provide students with a rewarding and productive learning experience that leaves them with a lasting positive view of Science and its contribution to society.
The Science Learning Pathway consolidates and builds on prior learning from Key Stage 2. The Key Stage 3 programme of study focuses on developing essential content and skills, introducing and revisiting topics across 3 years to help to create engaging lessons and prepare learners for the demands of GCSE Science.
‘Big Ideas’ interlink topics with Key Stage 3 and 4 programmes of study. This Learning Pathway aims to support the development of transferrable life and employability skills.
The aims of the department are to help pupils;
- Appreciate and understand some of the phenomena they see around them
- Develop detailed scientific skills, knowledge, and understanding that students can transfer to other walks of life and future employment
- Be provided with the scientific literacy they require to engage in informed debates about issues that impact their daily lives and wider society
The Science curriculum is enriched through a range of activities each year including;
- National British Science week
- Visits from local universities
- Yr 7 & 8 Science club
- Yr 7 & 8 Green club
- Yr 9 & 10 STEM club
- STEM visits – Port of Blyth, Bring it On event at Beacon of Light
- Trips to the Centre for Life
- Visits to Discover Museum
- Educational visits to Flamingo Land
- Yr 8, 9, & 10 - Bronze CREST Award
- Yr 11 - Gold CREST Award
Art and Design
Examples of Art, Design, and Graphic Communication are all around us, enriching our lives and the environment we live in. Pupils at Thornhill Academy are given the opportunity to appreciate the work of a variety of artists, photographers, and designers. They are taught a wide range of media and drawing skills which they build upon project by project, gradually becoming more independent so they are prepared for the challenges of GCSE.
Key Stage 3
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum aims to engage, inspire, and challenge pupils in a rich and diverse range of Art and Design processes and practices. Pupils will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to purposefully experiment, develop, and create their own personalised artwork with increasing proficiency and resilience.
Pupils will enquire and think critically about Art and Design to inform their own ideas and thoughtful reflections. Pupils will develop an understanding and appreciation of how Art and Design both shapes and reflects our history, culture, and creativity.
In year 7, pupils learn essential drawing and painting skills to enable them to observe and record with increasing fluency. They build upon the foundations at KS2 to develop their knowledge and skilful use of formal elements such as colour, pattern, texture, and tone before combining all of these in an extended cultural project.
In year 8, pupils explore the Pop Art movement, its influences and how it influences art today. Through experimenting with media and analysing the work of others, pupils produce both 2D and 3D outcomes. Pupils develop their ability to respond imaginatively to the work of others in a creative landscapes project to round the year off.
In year 9, pupils explore meaning and messages in artwork through a Street Art project. Here pupils begin to express their own views and ideas with greater independence and conviction, while learning new printing and painting techniques. Pupils also revisit drawing skills through the theme of portraiture before developing their own personalised response to this theme
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4, pupils can opt for one of three GCSE specifications: Art & Design, Photography, or Graphic Communication. These are all two-year AQA courses and are based on 60 per cent coursework and 40 per cent externally set assignment. The coursework consists of students producing a portfolio of work which includes a minimum of two projects.
Pupils build upon their knowledge and experience to analyse and evaluate the work of others as a source of inspiration. They purposefully experiment and develop their ideas using a wide range of traditional and digital media, often combined together. Pupils work with increasing levels of independence to explore and steer their own ideas. They then use this development to lead them to a personalised final piece.
The externally set assignment preparation is completed in lesson time over a period of several weeks before students have an un-aided, ten-hour period of time to create their final piece.
IT and Computing
At Thornhill Academy, we want pupils to THINK BIG. We learn computing, ICT, and Enterprise at Key Stage 3 to equip our pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand the digital world and to build entrepreneurial spirit and skills to prepare them for modern life.
Through a series of projects, based on real and fictitious business scenarios, pupils are taught the principles of information technology and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Pupils are equipped to use ICT to create programs, to apply their knowledge to business situations, to become digitally literate and to be able to use information and communication technology to express themselves and develop their ideas, at a level suitable for their future workplaces, and as safe and active participants in a digital world.
The department currently delivers ICT and Computing to all pupils in Key Stage 3 which follows the National Curriculum.
In Year 7 pupils complete three units of work:
Generation Game – This unit gives pupils the opportunity to demonstrate the basic software skills required for word processing, presentations, and desktop publishing, while learning the theory of digital communication, hardware and software, and online safety.
History of Computing – In this unit, pupils learn how computers have developed from their invention to the range of devices we use today. They also learn the fundamentals behind how a computer works and operates, some of the basic algorithms computers use, and how computers support us in our everyday lives.
Programming using Scratch – In this final unit, Year 7 pupils learn to write programs using blocks in Scratch. This unit culminates in them designing and writing a computer game for Generation Game. They also have the chance to play each other’s games and evaluate their effectiveness.
In Year 8 pupils develop this knowledge in three further units:
Marketing Project – This unit is designed to allow pupils to apply their ICT skills to a business scenario. Pupils will design a new product for a chosen target market and then use ICT to market the product. As part of the unit, they design marketing materials, write and record a podcast, and use Excel and Access to make business decisions and carry out business tasks. They finally produce an ICT-based marketing pitch to showcase their marketing campaign.
Computing and ICT Today – This unit builds on the History of Computing unit in Year 7. The pupils learn how numbers and letter are represented using binary and how to carry simple binary operations. They learn how data is represented using binary digits and demonstrate an understanding of the input-process-output model.
Programming in Small Basic – In the final Year 8 unit, pupils learn to code in a textual language using Small Basic. They learn basic programming constructs, including sequential instructions, declaring and using variables (using industry-standard naming conventions), and selection (if, then else), black box and white box testing.
In Year 9, the curriculum is structured so pupils have the chance to develop skills necessary for a range of courses at Key Stage 4:
Business Start-Ups – In this unit pupils about why business start-ups and how ICT is used in businesses. They learn how to use spreadsheets to display business information, use databases to communicate with customers, use the internet to research business location, and finally use word processing software to present a formal business plan.
Influence of ICT in Business – In this creative unit, pupils learn the importance of eCommerce and ICT to businesses. They learn how businesses communicate with customers via the internet and finally, design and create a fully functional website for a business using a given scenario.
Programming in Python – The final unit in Key Stage 3 prepares those pupils who want to choose a computing course. Pupils develop their programming knowledge from Year 8 using a second text-based language, Python, recapping the skills they developed in Year 8 but also including iteration and developing standalone procedures.
Using creativity and inspiration within the subject of Design and Technology, pupils create products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing, and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising, and capable citizens. They develop a critical understanding of how design and technology impacts our daily life and the wider world.
At Thornhill, we aim to ensure all pupils develop the creative, technical, and practical expertise needed to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. We also want pupils to build a repertoire of knowledge, understanding, and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users. Pupils will learn to be critical thinkers by constantly evaluating and testing products both independently and with others. They will also consider the principles of nutrition while learning how to prepare dishes using a variety of commodities demonstrating various preparation and cooking techniques.
Key Stage 3 Design and Technology
In year 7, pupils start their learning journey investigating different materials such as paper, boards, systems, and control. Additionally, students start to understand the design process such as specifications, research methods, initial ideas, and evaluation. Built within the design process, students also learn the different ways to illustrate these ideas through various graphic communications, such as hand drawing styles and CAD/CAM.
In year 8, we build upon the knowledge of the design process by starting to get pupils to engage in writing specifications to further develop their initial ideas. This is achieved by looking at further materials – such as textiles and polymers – their origins and uses in everyday life. In addition, students will develop their practical skills of cutting, shaping, joining, and applying finishes, while looking at different hand tools and machines, which can be used for different processes to achieve various outcomes. This enables students to build their knowledge and confidence in the workshops.
In year 9, students experience more autonomy applying skills gained in year 7 and 8, into the design process to improve problem-solving, and provide real-world scenarios. Further materials are introduced such as natural timbers and manufactured boards, increasing knowledge. The aim is to provide a holistic overview of design and technology while providing an insight into KS4.
Key stage 4 GCSE Design and Technology.
GCSE Design and Technology at Thornhill builds upon knowledge and skills from KS3 and prepares students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will learn from a wide range of influences including historical, social, cultural, environmental, and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing, making, and apply technical and practical expertise.
They will also have the opportunity to study specialist technical principles in greater depth. We work towards a grade of 1-9 in Design Technology which consists of two mandatory units of work. Unit 1 is studying the core technical, designing, and making principles, including a broad range of design processes, materials techniques, and equipment which equates to 50 per cent of the mark with a final 2 hour written exam taken at the end of year 11.
The second unit is a Non-Exam Assessment (NEA), or coursework, which is externally set and begins in the summer of year 10. This adds up to the final 50 per cent of the final grade. Part of the assessment changes each year and is set by the exam board, the task consists of an everyday problem in society where pupils work on a viable solution and prototype model. The qualification supports the progression to study in further education, apprenticeships, or employment in the industry.
Key Stage 3 Food Technology
As part of their work within food technology, pupils will be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. They will learn how to prepare predominantly savoury dishes so they are able to feed themselves and others a healthy and varied diet. Pupils will become competent in a range of cooking techniques and will learn food provenance, seasonality, and characteristics of a broad range of ingredients to allow them to make informed decisions when planning a menu.
In year 7, pupils learn basic nutrition linked to ‘The Eatwell Guide’ and specific government guidelines to ensure an understanding of a healthy diet and lifestyle. They build on this knowledge to design dishes that cater to specific needs. They also link provenance knowledge to environmental issues and how this can affect moral consideration when buying food.
Practically, pupils learn basic knife skills, heat control, how to use a food processor, and portion control by producing dishes.
In year 8, pupils build on nutritional knowledge by looking at the effects of malnutrition on the body and energy balance linked to energy drinks. They also look further into food provenance by learning about food from different countries, cultures, and religions allowing them to make informed decisions when catering for individual needs.
Practically, pupils further advance by using more technical skills such as yeast dough production, the rubbing-in method, melting and creaming method of cake production, an electric whisk, sauce skills including a roux sauce demonstrating reduction to thicken and presentation techniques.
In year 9, pupils further develop nutritional knowledge by identifying dietary needs at different life stages and why certain nutrients are needed. Pupils will independently research, design, and make a practical product which includes the commodity cereal. They will compete against their class and sell the most popular design within the school during a planned event. The product that makes the most money wins a prize.
Practically, pupils focus on products that contain the commodity cereal by making bread shapes, savoury shortcrust pastry pie, and cupcakes piped with buttercream icing. They will then gain independence during the practical competition by taking risks to create an innovative product and demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit.
Key Stage 4 Level 1/2 Award in Hospitality and Catering
Hospitality and catering is Britain’s fourth-largest industry, accounting for around 10 per cent of the total workforce. With this in mind, it is an important subject to study at Thornhill.
We work towards a level 1/2 Award in Hospitality and Catering which consists of two mandatory units of work. ‘The Hospitality and Catering Industry’ (Unit 1) is an externally assessed written exam paper which lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 40 per cent of the final overall grade.
‘Hospitality and Catering in Action’ (Unit 2) is an internally assessed nine-hour controlled assessment which is one-third practical. Pupils are required to research, plan, and make two nutritional dishes in a limited amount of time. This unit is worth 60 per cent of the final course grade. This qualification supports learners who want to progress in this vocational sector and develop a career or go onto further study.
Modern Foreign Languages courses at Thornhill Academy aim to equip students with the necessary practical communication skills required for work and leisure. The course also intends to provide students with the linguistic foundation for further study.
Learning a Modern Foreign Language will help to open the doors to more jobs due to the fact that the ability to speak and understand a foreign language remains a specialist skill. It also provides a cultural awareness for all students that study it. Many UK exports go to Europe despite the fact that many companies still lack the specialist staff to conduct business in a foreign language.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, French is taught as a specialist subject and follows the National Curriculum. Students are offered the opportunity to learn, improve, and develop their knowledge, skills, and understanding to make progress in this subject.
In year 7, students acquire the basic understanding of the linguistic structures and patterns while learning how to describe themselves, talk about their families and interests, as well as discover more about the diverse French culture and traditions.
In year 8, students build upon their knowledge and learn how to describe holidays using different tenses, talk about festivals and celebrations, as well as develop more understanding of leisure time activities.
In year 9, students work to develop and understand more complex grammar structures including continued use of three tenses. They use these skills to discuss healthy living and illness, sport and fitness, and family relationships.
Some students also begin to study Bengali in year 9.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, students have the opportunity to study French as one of their pathways and embark on a two-year GCSE course. The department currently follows the AQA GCSE course which assesses the four language skills.
Students build upon KS3 knowledge and begin to learn more about the language. Topics such as home and local environment, holidays, social awareness, school, future plans, and the environment are studied. At the end of the course, students will complete four examinations in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
At KS4 some students are selected to study Bengali up to GCSE level.
The Geography department aims to inspire pupils with a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Teaching will equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources, and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected, and change over time.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 the curriculum for geography aims to ensure all pupils:
- develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places, including their defining physical and human characteristics
- understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world and the impact these processes can have on people and places
We also aim to ensure all pupils are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
- collect, analyse, and communicate with a range of data gathered, through experiences of fieldwork that deepen understanding of geographical processes
- interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
- communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills, and writing at length
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, the curriculum follows the GCSE AQA 8035. The course content builds and develops upon the knowledge, understanding, and skills developed at Key Stage 3.
The course is comprised of three examination papers. Units 1 and 2 are assessed in examinations of 1 hour and 30 minutes; each worth 35 per cent of the final mark. Unit 3 is assessed with a 1 hour and 15-minute examination and is 30 per cent of the final mark.
Unit 1 is the Physical Environment, this includes the topics of Natural Hazards, The Living World, and Physical Landscapes within the United Kingdom.
Unit 2 is the Human Environment, this includes the topics of Urban Issues and Challenges, The Changing Economic World, and The Challenge of Resource Management.
Unit 3 is Geographical Applications and includes the topics of Issue Evaluation and Fieldwork.
Pupils will develop their understanding of physical processes and factors that produce diverse and dynamic landscapes that change over time. They will learn to appreciate the differences and similarities between people, places, and cultures leading to an improved understanding of societies and economies.
Enquiry projects will develop questioning, investigation, and critical thinking about issues affecting the world and people’s lives. Students will use varied resources including maps and visual media as well as complex technologies such as GIS and remote sensing, to obtain, analyse, and present information.
Students will develop essential skills such as problem-solving, decision making, synthesising ideas, identifying issues, and communicating findings through the undertaking of a fieldwork investigation, individually and as part of a team.
History has an important role to play in developing pupils' understanding of the world they live in. At Thornhill Academy, pupils are given the opportunity to learn about, and appreciate, how past events have shaped the present with emphasis upon the development of the United Kingdom. Pupils are given opportunities to develop their skills through independent learning, teamwork, presentations, and research.
By the end of Key Stage 3, pupils will have developed the necessary skills to succeed at GCSE.
Key Stage 3
History is taught as a discreet subject and follows the National Curriculum. In year 7, The History of Migration in Britain, the Norman Conquest, The Middle Ages, and the Tudors are studied. In year 8, the Stuarts, Cromwell, the Industrial Revolution, and the First World War are studied. In year 9, the Inter-war Years, Second World War, and Cold War are studied. It is not simply the acquisition of knowledge that is encouraged but the development of the skills that will allow pupils to become critical and analytical learners.
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4, many pupils opt to continue with their History studies, following the department EDEXCEL specification. Topics covered in year 10 are the History of Medicine, from 1250 to the present, and Germany 1918 - 1939. In year 11 pupils study Henry VIII and his Ministers 1509 - 1540 and the Cold War 1941 - 1991.
At Thornhill, we have a strong focus on the development of an effective literacy skillset because we recognise its importance to academic success and achievement. Across the curriculum, we support and challenge pupils to develop their skills in Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening.
Each term, we have a whole school focus on one key aspect from each of the skills above to ensure pupils have the best possible chance to develop these vital abilities that underpin their learning.
Reading is the key to unlocking success in all subjects. With this in mind, our ongoing aim is to develop independent, committed readers and to foster a love of reading.
One way in which we do this is through the Accelerated Reading Programme, which every Key Stage 3 pupil is involved in. Each pupil is expected to choose a reading book from our extensive Learning Resource Centre and to keep it with them in order to read every day. In this way, a book is an essential part of the school uniform along with a bag, pen, pencil, ruler, and homework planner.
The Accelerated Reading Programme is individually tailored to each pupil’s reading ability, ensuring the books they choose are not too easy or too challenging, giving them the best chance of progress and success. Pupils’ efforts and progress are rewarded with an end of year celebration at which prizes are awarded for the number of words read and quizzes passed.
We would ask parents and carers to help us to make this programme a success by:
- Encouraging your child to read at home
- Asking them about their reading
- Reading with your child
- Reminding them to put their book into their bag each morning
Another programme enjoyed by our pupils is Reading Plus which is an engaging, interactive reading intervention which all pupils will access during years 8, 9, or beyond. Activities encourage pupils to improve their vocabulary and reading speed as well as develop comprehension and inference skills. Instant feedback, 'unlocking' of new features and the game-like format allows pupils to make progress in an enjoyable and rewarding manner. Pupils are issued with an account in year 8 which allows them access from home or from a personal device which allows Reading Plus activities to be issued as part of the English homework policy.
Key Stage 3
KS3 Music at Thornhill is a creative subject that allows pupils to learn new skills and enjoy making music with other people. KS3 units are designed progressively to build upon prior learning while helping to prepare pupils for their next steps. Pupils have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of a range of genres and traditions through active listening, performing, and composing.
From Y7, pupils are exposed to a wide range of music and guided listening activities, allow them to develop the ability to talk critically about what they can hear using appropriate musical terminology. Pupils spend much of their time performing on a range of instruments, both solo and in ensembles, exploring increasingly complex music as they develop their practical skills. Pupils will learn the foundations of composing and improvising, beginning with creating melodies and rhythms and as they progress through KS3, they are given the opportunity to develop extended compositional ideas.
Building confidence and resilience are essential skills that are developed through our curricular and extra-curricular activities. In addition to peripatetic drum, guitar, keyboard, and vocal lessons. Pupils have access to enrichment opportunities including ukulele club, rock band rehearsals, composing with New Writing North, and choir. They also benefit from performance opportunities, both in school with our ‘doorstep gigs’ and in the wider community. We actively seek opportunities to encourage pupils to participate in public events such as ‘Search for a Star’ and ‘City Sings’.
Key Stage 4
Pupils will continue on their musical journey as they follow the AQA GCSE Syllabus. Allowing growth in performing, listening skills, and compositions. Composing skills will be progressed as students work on producing one composition during each academic year this will represent 30 per cent of their final grade. Working closely with our excellent peripatetic teachers, pupils will continue to improve their instrumental skills and will produce a solo and ensemble performance that will count for 30 per cent of their examination. Listening skills will account for the final 40 per cent of the final grade as students study set works and increase their aural aptitude and knowledge of musical devices. Pupils will develop leadership skills as they become Music Ambassadors, playing an active part in the music department helping and supporting all extra-curriculum activities and participating in a planning role in all future musical visits.
Music can be studied at AS and A level and degree level. A wide range of post-16 courses exists at Sixth Form and performing arts colleges. We are very proud of our former pupils and have a strong relationship with them. Many have graced professional theatres around the world we utilise this bond for pupils to see the clear progression from school pupil to Professional Musician. Former pupils include: Ben Forster, Michael Pickering, Beruce Khan, David and Barry Hyde (The Futureheads), and Gary Watson.
Physical Education is an essential part of leading a fulfilling life, therefore it is a compulsory subject. All pupils will have at least two lessons per week.
Pupils will participate in a variety of sports including football, rugby, netball, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, health-related fitness, tennis, badminton, athletics, rounders, and cricket. The focus of core PE lessons is participation, enjoyment, and improved fitness levels.
Lessons will often be delivered using the ‘Sport Education’ model, which allows pupils to fulfil numerous roles other than that of the performer. Students drive these lessons and the teacher acts as a facilitator to support the development of their ideas. An atmosphere of ‘by you, for you’, is very much prevalent.
At KS4 (Year 10-11), pupils will have the opportunity to extend their understanding of sport and the benefits of participating in physical activity. Students will study BTEC Sport (Level 2), a GCSE equivalent course. This would be in addition to their core PE entitlement.
The course has both practical and theoretical components, spanning four units. For greater detail on the course content, download the BTEC Sport document on this page.
BTEC sport is graded from Pass to Distinction, with the final grade being a combination of outcomes from the four units. Unit 1 is an externally assessed online exam, while the remaining three units are internally assessed.
Students will be considered for BTEC Sport based on their practical performance in earlier years, their English and Math grades, and finally, their contribution to sport both in and outside of school.
At Thornhill, the aim of the religious studies curriculum is to help our pupils gain an understanding of the varied beliefs in our school, local, national, and global communities. By understanding these beliefs and views, and how they can influence believers and affect their lives, we are all better placed to show tolerance and ultimately coexist. The curriculum also allows and encourages pupils to form their own informed views on many of the big questions in life, as well as a wide range of ethical issues.
Key Stage 3
At key stage 3, pupils study a variety of religions, beliefs, and contemporary ethical issues. We start year 7 with our bridging module which acts as the foundation to their further studies. We start with a strong focus on the core beliefs of world religions and the various ways in which symbolism is used in different religions.
Moving on, pupils then answer the question “who is Jesus?” as they study the life and impact of Jesus on Christians as The Son of God and on Muslims as a prophet.
Finally, year 7 pupils answer the question, “who are Muslims?” as they study the core beliefs of Islam and how these beliefs influence the lives of Muslims.
In year 8, pupils answer the question, “who are Christians?” as they study the core beliefs of Christianity and how these beliefs influence Christians today.
Pupils then begin to learn about the wide variety of religious and non-religious beliefs around the ultimate questions, “Is there evidence for God?” and “how did we get here?”.
Year 8 pupils end the year by answering the question, “how do religions respond to wealth and poverty?” as they gain an understanding of religious beliefs and responses to poverty and exploitation in the UK and in Low-Income Countries.
In year 9, pupils begin the year by learning about religious and non-religious beliefs about and responses to justice and reconciliation. Moving on, they learn about religious and non-religious views on and responses to prejudice and discrimination. Finally, year 9 ends with a study into religious and non-religious beliefs about and responses to war and peace.
Key Stage 4
In year 10 and 11, pupils studying religious studies study AQA GCSE Religious Studies Syllabus A.
The course is split into two main parts, each with an examination lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes to be sat at the end of year 11. By the end of year 11 pupils will have studied the following units of study:
Exam 1- Beliefs and Practices
- Christianity Beliefs
- Christianity Practices
- Islam Beliefs
- Islam Practices
Exam 2- Thematic Studies (non-textual)
Pupils will study similar and contrasting Christian and Muslim beliefs about and responses to the following contemporary themes:
- Religion and Life
- Religion, Crime and Punishment
- Religion, Peace and Conflict
- Religion, Human Rights and Social Justice
The full syllabus in detail can be found at: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-a-8062
At Thornhill Academy we want our pupils to THINK BIG. All pupils are given the opportunity to study a business-related subject through to the end of Key Stage 4. We currently offer GCSE Business and BTEC Tech Award in Travel and Tourism.
Following the AQA GCSE Business course, pupils develop key business knowledge to help them understand the purpose of business activity, the role of business enterprise and entrepreneurship, and the dynamic nature of business today.
Pupils then go on to study the impact business in the real world has on the four functional areas of business:
- Business operations
- Human resources
We do this through a range of activities including real-life business case studies, visits, guest speakers, and research activities, as well as traditional teaching methods.
The assessment of this course is completed through two written examinations, each lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes and contributing 50 per cent to the final grade. These examinations are both taken in the summer term in Year 11.
The course is an excellent introduction to business for pupils who wish to follow a number of courses at post-16 level including Law, Business, Accounting, and Economics. However, it is also a good course for those who wish to study a broad curriculum as the content of the course draws on a wide range of skills and concepts studied in other areas, for example, Maths, English, Geography, and Technology.
BTEC Tech Award in Travel and Tourism
The BTEC Tech Award is a course designed for pupils who have an interest in the travel industry and might go on to further study at post-16 level.
The course is broken down into three components:
- Component 1 – Travel and Tourism Destinations
- Component 2 – Influences on Global Travel and Tourism
- Component 3 – Customer Needs in Travel and Tourism
Components 1 and 3 are assessed through assignments set, completed, and marked internally and moderated externally. Component 2 is assessed through a written examination that can be taken twice during the course.
This is an excellent course for pupils who wish to gain both knowledge and practical vocational skills that can be used both in the travel industry and other customer service roles.
We teach the units using a range of resources such as videos, case studies, newspaper articles, and travel documents as well as more practical resources including call centre training equipment and real industry-standard simulators at our local college.