Vision and Rationale

Dormers Wells High School’s ethos “opening the door to success” and four core values embedded in our name DWHS (determination; wisdom; honesty and service) together drive our intent and vision for curriculum provision and delivery. 

We have a diverse curriculum which ensures that all our students receive a high quality learning experience at all times. In confirming our commitment to the broad and balanced principles of our curriculum we celebrate our expertise in mathematics and computing to drive excellence and innovation. 

Our curriculum is the vehicle to allow our students to become: 

  • confident, resilient individuals, who aspire to excellence and whilst enjoying their learning, make outstanding progress leading to high quality qualifications. 
  • responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society including their local community and the wider international world in which they exist thereby embedding our core values of respect and co-operation. 

Curriculum Intent

The curriculum should inspire and challenge all learners and prepare them for the future. The school’s aim is to develop a coherent and challenging knowledge rich curriculum that builds on students’ experiences in the primary phase and that helps all students to become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. The curriculum aims to give students an ambitious, broad and balanced learning experience, through the development of linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human and social, physical and creative skills. Wherever possible, the curriculum aims to support the teaching of the British values of democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect, tolerance, and individual liberty. 

At Dormers Wells High School, it is expected that the curriculum will:  

  • lead to qualifications that are of worth for employers and for entry to Higher Education. 
  • fulfil statutory requirements. 
  • provide challenge for all. 
  • enable students to fulfil their potential. 
  • meet the needs of students of all abilities. 
  • provide equal access for all students to a full range of learning experiences beyond statutory guidelines. 
  • prepare students to make informed and appropriate choices at the end of Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, and beyond. 
  • ensure continuity and progression within the school and between phases of education. 
  • ensure parity in the achievement and progress of disadvantaged students when compared to their peers. 
  • provide teaching and learning opportunities relating to careers and labour markets in subjects across the curriculum (Gatsby Benchmarks 2 and 4) 

Curriculum Implementation

The whole school curriculum encompasses a wide range of subjects including English, mathematics, science, computing and technology, religious education, citizenship, at least two foreign languages, geography and history, the arts, drama, music, and physical education. Each student is taught for 25 hours during a normal school week. Students are taught in set or mixed ability groups. Extra help is given where appropriate to those who need it, to those whose first language is other than English and to those with learning difficulties. Some students are withdrawn for additional tuition from some subjects. 

Personalised attention is also given to those students assessed as more able. Those students whose abilities develop at a later stage are also given personalised attention. To continue to encourage high achievement and a rigorous programme of challenging work, the school runs a system of accelerated groups in core subjects. These are designed for those who have already demonstrated the ability to work faster or the need to work at a higher level earlier in their school career. 

  • The curriculum is delivered in well planned and engaging lessons which challenge all students whatever their starting point. 
  • Assessment is integrally linked to our curriculum planning and is both formative and summative recognising pupil progress is not always linear. 
  • Mastery and metacognition are both fundamental to our curriculum planning preventing “cognitive overload” and developing strategies for breaking down and recalling prior learning. 

Curriculum Impact

The impact of the curriculum is reviewed on an ongoing basis and includes the analysis of GCSE, A Level and BTEC results. A termly analysis of in-school data also takes place in each year group to support in reviewing the impact of the school curriculum. 

It is important to recognise that the impact of the curriculum is wider than just academic results. The impact of the curriculum can also be seen through participation in extra-curricular activities and events.   Through a wider contribution to the school and to the community, and through success in non-examined opportunities such as the DofE scheme, residential trips, house activities, and a range of extra-curricular activities that develop students’ cultural capital. Integral to our development of cultural capital is our House System. We will use the analysis of students’ successes in these areas to further review the impact of the curriculum. 

Governors monitor the appropriateness and success of the curriculum, measuring the impact, taking into account the levels of achievement; engagement and pupil destinations at KS4 and KS5, both overall and breaking down into groups. 



All students have access to a similar course of study. The hours per subject per fortnight are as follows:

English  8
Mathematics 7
Science  7
Modern Foreign Languages (French or Spanish) 4
Physical Education    4
Geography 3
History 3
Music 2
Art  2*
Drama  2*
Design and Technology   2*
Religious Education 2
Computing 2

Year 7 Art, Drama and Design and Technology are taught on a rotation in for one term at a time for 6 lessons a fortnight. This equates to 2 lessons a fortnight over a whole year.

A literacy based curriculum is also offered for targeted students in year 7. These students study a core of English, mathematics, science, games, the arts and technology. In addition they follow an enhanced literacy course through the medium of foundation subjects.

KEY STAGE 4 - YEARS 9, 10 AND 11

During the spring term of years 8 and 9, students in those year groups are given careful guidance in helping them decide which subjects they wish to study for the next year. Students in year 9 receive similar guidance to decide their courses for years 10 and 11. The guidance students receive on their choice of courses involves parents, teaching staff, tutors and careers advisers. Most subjects lead to the GCSE examination, but there are some vocational courses at a comparable level.

Year 9 students study the core subjects of English language and literature, mathematics, science, computing, PE, RE and CPSHE.

In addition, students choose two from the following option subjects:

Art and Design Computer Science Design and Technology
Food Preparation and Nutrition Geography History
Academic Physical Education Performing Arts (Drama and Music) Photography

Years 10 and 11 students study the core subjects of English language and literature, mathematics, science, PE, RE and CPSHE.

In addition, students choose three from the following option subjects:

Art and Design Business Studies Citizenship Studies
Computer Science Design and Technology Digital Information Technology (BTEC)
Drama Food and Nutrition French
Geography Health and Social Care (BTEC) History
Media Studies Music Photography
PE Religious Studies Sociology
Spanish Separate Sciences Sport (BTEC)

If you wish to find out more about the curriculum that the school is following then please contact Mr Fenlon, Deputy Headteacher, at

The school’s philosophy as outlined in Section 1.1 of the SEND SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS AND DISABILITY POLICY (March 2020) stipulates that all…

teachers are teachers of Special Educational Needs. Every teacher at [Dormers Wells High school] is responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all students in their class even where students access support from learning support assistants or specialist staff. Central to the work of every teacher and subject is a continuous cycle of planning, teaching, assessment and evaluation that takes into account the wide range of abilities, aptitudes and interests of the students. Teaching and supporting students with SEN/D is therefore a whole school responsibility requiring a whole school response. Meeting the needs of students with SEN/D requires partnership working between all those involved – Local Authority (LA), school, parents/carers, students, children’s services and all other agencies.

All members of staff in conjunction with the authorities (Governing Body and Local Authority) have a responsibility to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to reach their potential in all aspects of the curriculum. Students are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum, including the National Curriculum (incorporating personalised provision), and their relative progress will be recorded, valued and reviewed. Special Educational Provision may be triggered when students fail to achieve adequate progress in the classroom, despite having had access to differentiation in the classroom. Parents and staff therefore work collaboratively in ensuring that the appropriate provision is identified to meet the student’s individual need(s). The SEN Code of Practice (2014) highlights the following good practices, which are evident across the curriculum at Dormer Wells High School;

  • appropriate curriculum provision and delivery clearly stated in all schemes of work.
  • devising strategies and identifying appropriate differentiated methods of access to the curriculum.
  • planning, teaching, assessing and evaluating that takes account of the wide range of abilities, aptitudes and interests of the students in class.
  • setting clear progress targets for all students with SEN/D that focus on their potential to achieve at or above expectation.
  • monitoring progress of students with SEN/D
  • be fully aware of the school’s procedures for SEN/D.