Part of castle school education trust

"Castle School Education Trust is committed to high quality education across the primary, secondary and sixth form key stages. Our schools cover the South Gloucestershire area. We encourage independence within each school within a strong framework of values."

Visit Website

Marlwood School


Marlwood Curriculum Intent

Student Experience

We believe in breadth of curriculum: students learning a broad range of subjects for as long as possible. As of September 2019 our students will receive a traditional curriculum, which is broad and balanced. The curriculum is designed to enable all students to flourish academically and acquire the knowledge, skills, employability competencies, cultural capital and character development required for a successful and fulfilled life.

We want all of our students to:

  • Lead a life that is personally flourishing
  • To help others to do so, too

Student Progress

Progress is not simply what we use to measure with levels, but rather it comprises knowledge that has been learned and then retained in long-term memory. It is vital that our students make at least expected progress. It is our goal for our students to strive for excellence and outperform their peers nationally. However, progress goes beyond a collection of marks in a tracking document; it is much more complex than that.

Progress depends on learners having a network of inter-related ideas and values that they skilfully draw on to make sense of what they are doing and experiencing.  Progress indicators differ depending on the subject discipline or spiritual, moral, social and cultural goals of the learning experience.  It requires us to go back and think in detail about what it means to ‘get better’ in terms of behaviours, cognition or appreciation. It is about creativity, connections and schematics, not isolated information. It is about the development of the whole person.

Each faculty and subject at Marlwood School plays a significant and deliberate role in implementing the intent of the whole school curriculum through the distinctiveness nature of their disciplinary content, skills and approach.

Each faculty and subject at Marlwood School plays a significant and deliberate role in implementing the intent of the whole school curriculum.



The English department endeavours to build on the prior learning of students, with a focus on developing students’ reading, writing, verbal and collaborative skills. This approach is founded on a positive reading ethos and the development of literacy. Through a rich and varied curriculum, that encourages students to explore the history of literature, the English department develops students’ transferable skills, equipping them with analytical and evaluative skills that are valuable for future employment. There are eight components that are vital to the English curriculum experience at Marlwood:

  • Increased cultural capital
  • High-level vocabulary
  • The ability to connect key themes and ideas over time
  • Valuing the link between reading and writing
  • Application of skills supported in the context of sound knowledge
  • Recalling prior learning
  • Talk and oracy
  • Challenge

SMSC is highly valued and the curriculum covers a range of moral and ethical topics, evolving students understanding of themselves and the world around them. Through this, the English department aims to build resilience and encourage learners to be ambitious and aspirational in all that they do.

Cultural Capital.  We never assume that a student has the same cultural capital as we do.  Before we teach any unit or part of unit, we fill in the gaps in vocabulary and knowledge. We will spend time doing this in the knowledge that this will allow all students to better understand the texts we study. Classrooms will be safe learning environments where a lack of knowledge is never judged by teacher or peers.

High-Level Vocabulary.  We will introduce high-level, low-frequency vocabulary as much a possible using a common structure so that students become familiar with it and confident in their use of more complex words.

Themes and Ideas.  We will introduce key themes and ideas in Year 7 which connect right the way through the curriculum. We take this approach because it allows students to develop their understanding over time, and therefore they will be able to take a more nuanced and conceptualised approach to their study of the subject. We also do this rather than teaching the exam skills first to keep the enjoyment of English alive. We want all students to engage with our subject on a deep and insightful level.

Linking Reading to Writing. We will give students the opportunity to write creatively when reading a literary text because we know that the two modes are not disconnected and teaching them in isolation is not helpful or engaging.  We will also give students frequent opportunity to practise writing in short timed bursts to develop resilience with some and overcome over-perfectionism with others.

Knowledge and Skills. We understand that it is important to build knowledge and skills and will not disconnect them when we teach.  However, the focus will always be on knowledge first and then building the skills.

Recalling Prior Learning.  We know from research and experience that knowledge and skills that are not revisited are rarely remembered. We will revisit learning from previous days, weeks, months and years as a matter of routine to further embed and develop students’ understanding. Learning for us is not about cramming for an exam and then forgetting all that has been studied; we want our students to be learning for life.

Talk.  Underpinning all units will be a focus in learning through talk and there is a strand dedicated to this skill. We understand that learning through talk is vital for any subject but especially a discursive and subjective subject such as English.  Also, learning to be confident when expressing ideas will prepare our young people for the demands of the adult world. We know that children who are talked to and given the opportunity to talk and share ideas are better able to access an academic curriculum.

Challenge. We will build challenge into all our lessons. We understand that this does not mean the same challenge for every student, but that learning is not learning if it is not demanding.

Our Curriculum intent is realised through the skilful implementation of the English Curriculum Map supported by the Marlwood 8 Essentials.

Exposure to real life literary experiences and professionals are a vital component of the English curriculum experience at Marlwood School.

Show list Show Grid