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Curriculum Intent and Vision

At the heart of our curriculum is our school vision. We strive to provide a curriculum which is broad and balanced, meeting the varied needs of our learners. When students leave Testbourne, we believe that our curriculum prepares them for the next chapter in their education, having received high-quality teaching that appropriately challenged them and enabled them to develop a sound skills set.

Students act with integrity; achieve excellence together; enjoy and value their education; feel and demonstrate respect for themselves and others; become highly skilled learners prepared for a successful future.

Our curriculum is intended to:

  • Ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to truly achieve excellence. 
  • Enable our students to develop deep knowledge and understanding of their subjects.
  • Equip students for a more competitive and demanding future.
  • Cater for all students, whatever their starting point.
  • Raise standards of attainment and progress.

Curriculum Implementation

At Testbourne, we understand that students needs are varied and we endeavour to cater for the needs of each and every one of our students. We tailor support for our students to allow them to achieve success, whether they have Special Educational Needs, or have been identified through our More Able Student programme.

Our curriculum is delivered in 50 one-hour lessons across a two week timetable, with students also participating in an extensive tutorial programme, which is delivered daily by our experienced team of tutors. Lessons are taught in set or mixed ability classes, allowing for teaching to appropriately match the needs of students in each subject area. Further information on the use of set and mixed-ability teaching in specific subjects can be requested from our Heads of Department.

Heads of Department direct the subject-specific provision within our curriculum; from continual monitoring and evaluation of their department, to development and implementation of the latest innovations in their subject, they ensure that students are given the best opportunities to achieve success. Many of our experienced Heads of Department work with GCSE examination boards or collaborate with other leading teachers across Hampshire. When students are identified who are in need of additional support or challenge, it is our Heads of Department who direct targeted interventions and support to enable these students to progress, working closely with our Learning Support department and More Able Student co-ordinator.

In addition to our broad and balanced school curriculum, a fantastic array of extra-curricular activities are on offer at TCS as we believe that providing and encouraging these are essential to developing the skills we want to see in our learners: resilience, inquisitive minds, dedication, commitment, team work and a growth mindset to enable them to grow as young people. Students are also able to access a whole host of Performing Arts activities and events including peripatetic music lessons, a biennial music tour abroad, whole school musical productions, Theatre trips, Arts Evening, TestFest, involvement in Competitions and Festivals as well as a huge range of music ensembles to join and Dance and Drama groups.

To recognise and celebrate students' achievement within our curriculum provision, students are awarded House Points which contribute towards the overall points tally for our Houses; Ash, Beech, Oak, and Willow. Students can be awarded one, two, or three House Points when they demonstrate one of the following qualities:

  • Respect
  • Acting with Integrity
  • Courage in learning
  • Ambition
  • Responsibility
  • Diligence
  • Leadership

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-8)

The Key Stage 3 (Years 7-8) curriculum includes:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Geography
  • History
  • Information Technology
  • Modern Foreign Languages (French or Spanish, with the addition of German in Year 8)
  • Music
  • Personal, social, health, citizenship and economic education (PSHCE)
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education
  • Technology (incorporating Design Technology, Food Technology, and Textiles)
  • Tutorial programme

Further personalisation of the curriculum is possible for those who require more support with literacy or numeracy.

Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11)

During Year 8, students begin the GCSE Options process, selecting four options subjects to study during Key Stage 4 alongside the compulsory GCSEs. 

Our Key Stage 4 curriculum has been designed to maximise the amount of time students spend studying their Core and Option GCSE subjects, enabling them to develop a deeper level of understanding. Students are guided to follow either the 'Russell' options pathway, where they will choose a humanity, modern foreign language and two other option subjects, or the 'Open' pathway, where they can choose either a humanity or a modern foreign language subject, and three other option subjects. Students are guided to our options pathways based upon their progress and achievement at Key Stage 2 and 3. Many students on the 'Open' pathway go on to choose to study a suite of 'Russell' pathway subjects, opting for both a humanity and a modern foreign language subject alongside two other option subjects, which we fully support them to do. More information on the GCSE Options process is available here.

Compulsory subjects

  • English Literature and Language
  • Mathematics
  • Science - Combined Science (a select number of students will be invited to study Separate Sciences)
  • Physical Education - no external examination
  • Religious Studies - no external examination for current Years 9 and 10
  • PSHCE (personal, social, health, citizenship, and economic education) - no external examination
  • Tutorial programme

Option subjects

Students are able to choose four of the following option subjects to study at Key Stage 4, dependent upon their options pathway. Whilst we have a high success rate in allocating students to their first choice of options subjects, timetabling and staffing constraints inevitably mean that a small number of students are allocated a reserve option choice during the GCSE options process.

  • Art
  • Art Photography
  • Computer Science
  • Dance
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • Food Preparation and Nutrition
  • Geography
  • Health and Social Care (BTEC Tech)
  • History
  • Modern Foreign Languages (French, Spanish)
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Studies

Option subjects are subject to demand and may not run if the minimum threshold number of students is not met.

Further personalisation of the curriculum is possible for those who require more support with literacy or numeracy.

Tutorial Programme (Years 7-11)

All students have a daily 25 minute tutorial which marks the start of the school day at Testbourne. The tutorial programme covers a variety of key themes including SMSC (spiritual, moral, social, and cultural), British values, literacy and numeracy. Tutorial sessions ensure that students receive a high-quality start to the school day, preparing them for the day's studies. As part of the tutorial programme, students will meet with their Head of Year for a weekly assembly.

Typical Tutorial Programme

Week 1
Year Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
7 Silent reading Literacy SMSC The Day Assembly
8 Silent reading Literacy SMSC Assembly The Day
9 Silent reading Literacy Assembly SMSC The Day
10 Silent reading Assembly Literacy SMSC The Day
11 Assembly Silent reading Literacy SMSC The Day


Week 2
Year Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
7 Silent reading Numeracy SMSC In the News Assembly
8 Silent reading Numeracy SMSC Assembly In the News
9 Silent reading Numeracy Assembly SMSC In the News
10 Silent reading Assembly Numeracy SMSC In the News
11 Assembly Silent reading Numeracy SMSC In the News


For further information on the subjects within our curriculum, please click here.

Please contact us if you require more information.