Curriculum Aims

Curriculum Aims

Our context:

PACA is a truly comprehensive and inclusive school serving students from across Brighton and Hove and West Sussex.  Our students go on to a full range of post-16 opportunities both at college and in apprenticeships.  From there, we know they go on to higher education and careers, locally, nationally and internationally. Looking into the future, we know many of our young people will go to jobs that have not even been invented yet, which is why our goal is to achieve three key aims.

First, to give students a broad education that gives them great depth of knowledge, a wide range of experiences and leaves them with the cultural capital and self-belief to go out into the world and take any opportunity that comes along.

Second, to give students maximum choice for their next stage in education or employment by achieving the best academic qualifications and through conquering challenges to develop their character strengths. 

Lastly, we aim to ensure that our students’ time in school is engaging and enjoyable, that they work well together, that they lead their own learning, and that they develop their interests and passions while at PACA.

We believe in:

  • Positive conduct
  • Entrepreneurialism
  • A Love of learning
  • Social Action
  • Personal responsibility
  • Enthusiasm 


Our curriculum aims for our students

  • Responsible and entrepreneurial citizens who have self-belief and the personal attributes and motivation to make a positive contribution to society (Character)
  • Confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives (Conduct)
  • Successful learners who enjoy and appreciate their own learning; make good progress and achieve excellence (Learning)

Our curriculum aims for our school are:

  • To create an aspirational, entrepreneurial and enterprising school culture.
  • To appreciate individual needs and styles and ensure our community is inclusive.
  • To allow everyone to experience success (a broad curriculum)
  • To have a collective focus on learning to raise attainment.

Our Curriculum is

Founded on the idea of students leading their own learning: At the centre of our curriculum planning is the objective to promote students ability to guide their own learning by ensuring that they know what they need to do to improve, by helping them to understand how they learn best, and by being really clear about what excellence in their subjects looks like.  Our aim is to put control for learning in the hands of our students.

Broad and balanced: In Year 7 and 8 students study 16 subjects: English, maths, the three sciences, computer science, history, geography, religious studies, a modern language (either French or Spanish), art, music, performing arts, food technology, dance and physical education. A greater proportion of time is spent on English and maths to ensure that all students have the core skills to allow them to access the wider curriculum

Gradually narrowed: Year 9 offers a chance to reduce the range of subjects by selecting two creative subjects to continue while maintaining their work on an essential group of academic subjects. At the end of Year 9, students select four subjects, in addition to the core subjects of English, maths and science, to take in years 10 and 11 to study to GCSE level. One of these subjects must be history or geography. Students are not required, but they are encouraged to select the modern language they have studied to Year 9.  Other subjects include: Computing, IT, media, Food technology, art, photography, textiles, music, performing arts, dance, GCSE PE and BTEC sport science. As the school grows in size we are considering adding other subjects including business and ethics to supplement the subjects we already offer.

Firm foundations: For those who arrive needing extra support in maths and English, modern languages are not taken and the time is devoted to additional literacy and numeracy.

Personal Development: A programme for Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE), Careers Education and Enterprise and Entrepreneurship education is run through a 30 minute tutor time programme. The programme develops: (i) students’ awareness of their character strengths and presses them to take on challenges, (ii) their aspirations and what it takes to turn them into reality, and (iii) their ability to navigate personal and social choices as they mature as well as understanding the value of positive conduct.

Mainstreamed literacy: A focus on literacy permeates the curriculum. As a school we encourage reading in every subject, along with an explicit understanding of the characteristic literacy styles of different subjects.  The development of tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary is made explicit. Talk for writing, oracy, disciplinary literacy and extended writing are common features of every PACA classroom. 

A shared understanding of learning and common structures for thinking: At the heart of our curriculum is a shared fascination in human learning. Our teaching and learning policy is for both staff and students. Our tutor time programme includes explicit teaching of core ideas about learning. Every classroom uses a set of common structures to support active thinking.  These structures are the PACA Thinking Tools.