Key Stage 4 Curriculum Offer

At The Dearne ALC we have embraced the Every Child Matters agenda and we work hard to ensure that the needs of the children are being met through our curriculum offer.

The curriculum offer is reviewed annually and curriculum design and evaluation has a major role to play in ensuring children achieve the best possible outcomes for their future. 

A broad and balanced curriculum and student progression are key elements of our curriculum offer.  

Every Child Matters | The Dearne ALC
We see the curriculum as the building blocks on which good teaching and learning can take place.

We firmly believe that students should leave The Dearne ALC and be able to thrive in a modern day Britain, having the skills to allow them to be successful in the workplace.  For this to happen, students need to leave school being able to speak, read and write in fluent English and be numerate in financial literacy and able to use functional maths in most forms of employment.  

In our curriculum, both at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, English and Maths underpin all the other subjects.  

This has led to English and Maths having a significant amount of curriculum time. Alongside English and maths lessons, high priority is given to the development of Literacy and Numeracy skills across all subject areas as the ethos of school is that developing these skills in students is the job of every adult at The Dearne ALC.

We operate a 2 week timetable that covers 50 teaching periods within this time.  All year groups are split into two half year blocks, both of which study exactly the same curriculum.  

Over a fortnight, students study a core curriculum of Core Physical Education and Preparation for Adult Life, which covers Post -16 education, Religious Education, Sex and Relationship Education and Citizenship topics.  These make up three lessons.

All students study English Literature, English Language, Maths, Dual Science, and a Humanities subject of their choice. 

This takes up 37 lessons out of the fortnight.

Post 16 | The Dearne ALC

Students then study another 2 subjects which they choose based on their interests.  Options subjects include: ICT, computing, Triple Science, Psychology, Health and Social Care, Art (3D, Graphics and Fine), Leisure and Tourism, French, Business, Child care, Photography, Drama, Music, Dance, GCSE Physical Education and Food.

Every year, the option choices and curriculum are reviewed to ensure that the needs of each cohort are being met.

Please see the GCSE options booklet for further details (links at the bottom of the page).

CIAG and Employability

Part of the ethos of the school is that we develop students fully so that they not only have the qualifications but also the wider interpersonal skills that will support them in Post-16 education and the workplace.  All students will participate in CIAG meetings with our dedicated careers team to help provide advice and focus each student around the options process in KS4.  Alongside this there are dedicated units of work that students follow in preparation for work experience and making informed choices after school. 

CIAG and Employability | The Dearne ALC

Students also access a wide range of information outside of lessons such as:

  • AIG evening for students and their parents;
  • attending careers fairs throughout KS4 and college taster days
  • IKIC bus and HEPP bus to help students discover a wide range of career options
  • Individual AIG meetings
  • Leaflets advertising local college open days
  • Presentations from  local college advisors

Students also access a range of enterprise activities to develop their resilience, and team work skills alongside a whole host of other interpersonal skills.  These activities also promote the wider SMSC agenda.  Enterprise units of work are delivered through the Preparation for Adult Life lessons that every student accesses fortnightly.  Other activities include;

  • Preparation of materials for the Christmas fair
  • The Big Challenge afterschool club that looks at students setting up and running their own business
  • Student cohorts through the Made in Barnsley and Raising Aspirations
  • Student participation through House challenges
  • STEM challenge days


The Rich Curriculum

In order to fully embed SMSC and wider skills into each and every student, we feel strongly that the extra-curricular programme will allow students the chance to develop these skills further.  There is a range of extra-curricular activities that run afterschool and at lunchtime that promotes the physical wellbeing of the students as well as an opportunity to develop inter and intra personal skills further.  Please see attached programme for details of activities.

The Rich Curriculum | The Dearne ALC

Provision for E&E 

We have a small group of students who access the Ethos and Engagement suite.  For these students studying their courses outside the mainstream classroom setting is more suitable for them.  All students in this group access the mainstream curriculum and where appropriate will access some mainstream lessons.  However staff from all curriculum areas will deliver lessons to children in the E&E suite where, with the support of staff, will teach the children their subjects.

Provision for the LA

For some of our most vulnerable students, there is extra support available to ensure the students thrive in the mainstream setting. This is in the form of additional teaching assistant support that is available in lessons. These members of staff offer one to one support and group support to children in lessons.

At KS4, some students take level 1 courses that help develop their social and domestic skills, which will be more supportive of vocational post-16 courses they may embark upon at college.

Provision for the LA | The Dearne ALC.

GCSE Subject Booklet

Picking GCSE subjects can be a hard decision - with a range of subjects, how should a student decide which GCSE subjects are the best for them and how will these choices affect their futures? The Dearne ALC has put together a GCSE Information Booklet to guide you through the difficult decision. 

The booklet covers subjects from Art & Design to Triple Science.
GCSE | The Dearne ALC.





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    “Pupils are helpful, polite and courteous to staff, visitors and to each other. The atmosphere in school is positive, supportive and caring.” Ofsted 2016

    Ofsted 2016

    “The teaching of mathematics is effective. Most pupils make good progress in this subject.”


    68% of students make expected progress or better

    More able

    “They are given a significant range of extra opportunities which prepare them well for life beyond the school. These pupils speak with passion and confidence about their ambitious aspirations for the future.” Ofsted 2016


    of more able students achieved an A or A*

    Students leaving with 5 A*-C grades, including English and maths

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