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"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."

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Marlwood School

Marlwood Curriculum Implementation

Our pedagogical approach…

Our pedagogical approach ensures that the delivery of knowledge and the instruction of skills heightens curiosity and excites the imagination of our children. Teachers promote enquiry and facilitate discussion and questioning. We all learn by making mistakes and our children should understand that. Teachers realise that task completion is not a proxy for understanding and plan backwards, thinking about what children need to learn before deciding on the activity to deliver that learning. They use a framework of knowledge and skills to deliver learning. Teachers design learning so that it is sometimes blocked together in ‘Depth studies’, sometimes linked to other concepts and sometimes drip fed in a ‘little and often’ way.

Curriculum Structure

From September 2019, we will offer a three-year Key Stage 3 curriculum, through which students in years 7, 8 and 9 have the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects.  Maths, English and Science in particular have continuity from Y7-11 making the KS3/4 transition flexible in those areas.

Our two-year Key Stage 4 then allows students  to continue to study a broad range of subjects in depth, with time to extend learning beyond the confines of the examination syllabi, working towards high quality qualifications that will enable students to progress to their next stage of education or training.

We currently follow a 50-hour two-week cycle model because of the flexibility this offers.  This model is likely to be reviewed at CSET level during the next academic year as Marlwood School and The Castle School begin to work more closely together.

The five year experience at Marlwood is underpinned by the Marlwood Passport to Success which enables students to fully embrace the ‘Marlwood Way’ and ensure all students appreciate the excitement of learning, the rewards of personal challenge and the importance of helping others.


From Year 7 we implement a combination mixed prior attainment groups and prior attainment setting to enable students to be fully supported by teaching staff and peers to make good progress. The groupings are regularly reviewed following data captures and consequently are responsive to student need.

Maths is taught in prior attainment sets from Year 7 to 11.

English, Science and Languages are taught in mixed prior attainment groups in Year 7 and 8 and in prior attainment sets from Year 9 onwards.

All other subjects are taught in in mixed prior attainment groups.

Link to KS3 Curriculum

Link to KS4 Curriculum

Faculty Leaders

The Faculty Leaders consistently lead their teams to provide inspirational and engaging learning experiences with students at the heart of their planning and delivery. Marlwood School fosters a collaborative approach to teaching and learning that draws on best practice from both within and outside the School ensuring that lessons are fully inclusive and based on current academic research. This in turn creates an enterprising learning environment for all and supports students towards making exceptional progress.

Teaching and Learning 

Our aim is that Teaching and Learning at Marlwood School is inspirational and underpinned by our mission statement of ‘working together for excellence’. This means that all staff involved in teaching and learning constantly strive to maximise learning time to ensure that all students can make outstanding progress. We have eight essentials, which underpin daily teaching.

Please refer to our Feedback Policy:-

Link to Feedback Policy

Personalised learning (Marlwood Essential #5)

Knowing every child and their needs is at the core of our philosophy. We work on the principle that every child can be successful, and look to create opportunities for every student to maintain a sense of achievement and excel in their studies. Differentiated teaching and personalised learning provides for each individual helping them to be the very best they can.

Knowledge Organisers

 Knowledge organisers will be produced and made available to students throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.  By September 2020 there will be set of high quality knowledge organisers in the following subjects:

  • English
  • MFL
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religion and World Views
  • PSHE

Purpose and benefits for students:

  • Students will have access to the foundation of factual knowledge they need in a context that is organised to facilitate retrieval and application.
  • We can free up working memory by storing more in our long term memory
  • With careful design and use of knowledge organisers, we can help construct schemas in long-term memory, with a view to automating their use.

Full implementation September 2020

Home Learning 

 Link to Home Learning


Link to Assessment

Literacy, Vocabulary, Oracy and Numeracy

Teachers develop Students’ reading, writing and oracy, and where appropriate numeracy, well across the curriculum.

As of June 2019 several new roles have been created and existing roles restructured further embed a research informed and whole school approach to the development of reading, oracy, numeracy and Tier 2/3 vocabulary. These strategies will be fully active as of September 2019.

Numeracy and Reading Lead – Miss Staley

  • Remodelled and relaunched school library
  • Accelerated Reader programme (Years 7 to 9)
  • Introduction of Times Table Rock Stars (Year 7) and Numeracy Ninjas (Year 8 and 9)
  • Weekly Tutor Time reading session

Vocabulary and Oracy Lead – Mr Merchant

There is significant variation in the size and level of vocabulary between groups of students and their peers. These differences have a significant impact on our students’ access to the curriculum. To address this we have introduced/further developed specific whole school strategies.

  • Introduction of whole school ‘word of the week’ linked to a pre-fix of the term
  • Whole school focus on developing Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary
  • Mapped Oracy development experiences

Sports Literacy Lead – Mr Richards

  • Introduction of a targeted Sports Literacy intervention programme in conjunction with the National Literacy Trust based on excellent practice from Bradley Stoke Community School.

Please refer to the following documents:

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar: SPAG (Marlwood Essential #8)

From September 2019 we will be introducing an updated literacy marking code.

Gifted and Talented

Link to Gifted and Talented

Year 11 Enrichment 

Our Year 11 students have access to a study centre and a fortnightly timetabled enrichment session focused on developing:

  • Well-being and mental health
  • Physical activity
  • Creativity
  • Additional exam preparation time as required

Please refer to the Gifted and Talented Curriculum Map to see our current provision

Career Education, Advice, Information and Guidance (CEAIG) (SEm)

Students are encouraged to study a broad and balanced curriculum that will support them in the development of both academic qualifications and the essential skills and attributes to support their future studies and career of choice. We are committed to providing exceptionally high quality careers information and guidance and driving our students to challenge themselves to reach their potential throughout their time at the Academy.

Together with Career Pilot, Grofar and our external Careers Service provider, we support students with their subject choices at both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. The School provides a fully comprehensive 14-19 Guided Pathways Programme ensuring Year 9 students receive the very best careers education, advice, information and guidance over subject choices for Key Stage 4 courses.

Please  follow this link for more information on our CEIAG provision

Link to Careers-CEIAG

Personal Development and Enrichment

We place great emphasis on students’ personal development throughout the curriculum, fostering in them a lifelong love for learning and enabling them to become curious, resilient, reflective and independent learners. This is further enriched by our PSHE programme and our commitment to enrichment activities both in and out of the classroom, which encourage all students to be active and responsible citizens in the school and the wider community.

Please refer to the Enrichment Curriculum Map

Marlwood and St Helen’s Forest School

History of Forest Schools

‘Forest schools’ originates from Scandinavia as an approach to early year’s education. Following the positive impact identified on self-esteem, confidence and the ability to work in groups, the concept has been developed worldwide as a tool for working with people of all ages and abilities.

What are ‘Forest Schools?’

The philosophy of ‘Forest Schools’ is to engage participants through positive experiences and achievable tasks to develop personal, social and emotional development.

‘Forest Schools’ activities have proved to be particularly effective at working with young people with emotional and behavioural challenges. Learning outcomes from these activities include:

  • Developing communication skills
  • Developing trust and empathy
  • Working with others positively
  • Increased self- confidence and self esteem
  • Fostering a sense of achievement and success.

Our Forest School  provision is for Year 7 students and will take place on-site at St helen’s Primary School (one of our local partner primary schools). In Forest School students develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment.

During the Forest School, students develop skills and attributes that contribute towards their Marlwood Passport to Success.

Full implementation from March 2020

Promoting British Values

Link to Promoting British Values

Sex and Relationship Education

Link to Sex and Relationship Education (SRE)

Student Leadership 

Link to Student Leadership