Notre Dame Catholic College
and Sixth Form

A Curriculum
to Open Hearts,
Minds and Doors

The Notre Dame Catholic College curriculum provides students with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces students to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

Our curriculum is the vehicle through which we profess and articulate our catholic ethos, the vision of our patron St. Julie Billiart ‘to teach them everything that is necessary to equip them for life’ and the college vision statement ‘to open hearts, minds and doors’ for every student regardless of background or starting point.

All at Notre Dame Catholic College are committed to providing a curriculum that:

  • Is underpinned by our Catholic ethos and the values of our foundress, St. Julie Billiart, and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
  • Meets the needs of all students so that they are able to realise their full potential
  • Develops the whole child by promoting students’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development.
  • Prepares all students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences presented by life in 21stCentury Britain.

By doing so, all students will become:

  • Confident and optimistic individuals who take full advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
  • Responsible, virtuous and active citizens who conduct themselves in a way that benefits others.
  • Academically passionate and emotionally resilient.
  • Successful learners who develop an ever-increasing web of knowledge and autonomously seek and learn from feedback.

Implementing our curriculum aims


Our curriculum is planned and structured on the following fundamental principles:

  • All students have an entitlement to the whole curriculum provision; irrespective of their ability, gender, ethnicity, culture or social or economic background.
  • The curriculum is broad, balanced and contributes to the education of the whole child.
  • The curriculum is filled with rich first-hand experiences and is flexible and responsive to individual needs and interests.
  • Our catholic ethos is implicit within the culture of the college and it is driven by our curriculum.
  • The curriculum actively promotes the fundamental values of British citizenship; democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.
  • The college focuses on ensuring that all students make progress in reading, writing and mathematics.
  • The curriculum encourages all students to be responsible for their own learning and to engage in a variety of learning experiences.
  • The curriculum promotes the open and equal access to the curriculum through the setting and grouping of students according to ability and prior attainment.
  • Teachers have high expectations of all students and plan lessons to support yet challenge all learners. Appropriately ambitious targets are set which task all students to achieve.

Curriculum Structure

The Notre Dame curriculum is structure in a way that equally values all subjects in providing our young people with an enjoyable and diverse learning experience. This is enabled through:

  • A 2-week timetable that allows for careful allocation of time to each subject and experience
  • a 3-year Key Stage 3 that ensures students have sufficient knowledge from a broad and balanced curriculum before personalising their pathway.
  • A full 2-year Key Stage 4 in which all students are given the full two years to complete all programmes of study without early entry for final examinations in any qualification or subject.
  • A comprehensive extra-curricular offer during lunch times, after school and in a range of ‘Deep Learning Days’ that cover a range of personal development themes, topics and experiences.
  • A comprehensive offer of local, national and international travel to students of all backgrounds.
  • Equal and open course choice for students of all abilities and backgrounds.
  • A first-class Character Education programme that promotes the college’s Catholic values, fundamental British Values and SMSC development.
  • Student leadership opportunities and a Careers Education programme that meets the expectations set by the Gatsby benchmarks.

The Key Stages are as follows:

  • Key Stage 3 includes Years 7, 8 and 9
  • Key Stage 4 includes Years 10 and 11
  • Key Stage 5 includes Years 12 and 13

Timings of the day, 2021-22

Form Time and Reading08:45 - 09:15
Period 109:15 - 10:15
Y7/8 Break10:15 - 10:30
Y7/8 Period 210:30 - 11:30
Y9/13 Period 210:15 - 11:15
Y9/13 Break11:15 - 11:30
Period 311:30 - 12:30
Y7/8 Lunch12:30 - 13:00
Y7/8 Period 413:00 - 14:00
Y9/13 Period 412:30 - 13:30
Y9/13 Lunch13:30 - 14:00
Period 514:00 - 15:00

The organisation of students in Key Stage 3:

  • In Key Stage 3, each year group is split into two, roughly equal, populations, N and D. Years 7 and 8 also include a ‘nurture group’ and a ‘Sunflower Group’ comprising of a small number of our most vulnerable students.
  • In Years 7, 8 and 9 English, Geography, History, Languages and Religious Education are ‘set’ together. Maths, Science and ICT are set together and Art, Music, Performing Arts, Technology and PE are set together.
  • The primary modern foreign language is Spanish. The department are committed to introducing and second foreign language in the future.

The following tables shows the time allocation for each subject at Key Stage 3 (based on a 50 lesson 2-week cycle):

Years 7, 8 and 9

SubjectYear 7/8 (all classes)Y9 (N1-3, D1-3)Y9 (N4 & D4)
ICT & Computing222
Design Technology222
Drama and Dance212

In order to work towards, and eventually match, the government’s ambition for the uptake of the full English Baccalaureate, adjustments have been made to the allocation in Year 9. This is designed to support students’ transition into Key Stage 4 and to inform option choices.

The following table shows the time allocation for each subject at Key Stage 4 (based on a 50 hour 2-week cycle)

Year 10 and 11

SubjectHours per Fortnight
Core PE2
Option A5
Option B5
Option C5

The following table shows the time allocation for each option block at Key Stage 5 (based on a 50 hour 2-week cycle)

Year 12 and 13

Level 3 Option BlockLessons
Option A10
Option B10
Option C10
Option D10
GCSE English5
GCSE Maths5

For a fully detailed overview of our curriculum statement please click the link below to download the full statement.

Download Full Curriculum Statement

Subjects of Study