Teaching & Learning at RSD
Learning is the primary objective of the school, and teaching is the principal means of securing that goal.
The focus at RSD is on learning. We value knowledge and help all pupils to have a sound understanding of the subjects they study. From this starting point pupils develop the skills and habits necessary to be successful in their studies and examinations and in their life beyond RSD.
Strong teacher and pupil relationships are a feature at RSD. The teachers are all subject specialists and there is an emphasis on making subjects come alive and sparking pupils’ curiosity. We want to tap into pupils’ natural interests in particular areas and help them to develop a real interest in their favourite subjects.
Learning extends therefore to outside the classroom. There are a large number of trips for all year groups and across a broad range of subjects. Many of these are local but there are also a number each year to Britain and continental Europe. In addition, pupils enjoy visits to RSD by guest speakers and organisations, attend conferences and enter competitions. New technologies and the School’s Virtual Learning Environment provide further opportunities for pupils to explore and learn.
The overall aim at RSD is to inculcate a love of learning and the good habits which enable pupils to take forward their learning both during their time at school and thereafter. There is a focus upon understanding how learning takes place. For teachers, this provides a structure for planning schemes of work and lessons. For pupils, it provides a rationale for how best to approach their studies. A shared understanding helps pupils and teachers to share the responsibility for ensuring that effective learning takes place.
There is a commitment at RSD to:
- Creating positive pupil/teacher relationships.
- Providing a good learning environment where pupils feel comfortable contributing and are stimulated by the resources on offer.
- Encouraging positive pupil behaviours and correcting disruptive behaviours.
- Providing clear and precise knowledge in a sensible sequence so that pupils’ understanding can develop over time.
- Providing opportunities to practise key skills within and across subjects.
- Building pupil engagement by requiring pupils to think about the precise issues which need to be understood, linked together and remembered.
- Creating high expectations by stretching and challenging pupils in their thinking and understanding.
- Encouraging pupils to accept that mistakes and faulty thinking are a natural part of learning and that taking risks in their thinking is worthwhile.
- Encouraging pupils to take responsibility for improving their understanding by working hard and using teacher feedback.
- Helping pupils to develop effective study skills and the capacity to learn independently.
The curriculum at RSD is challenging and deliberately so. Pupils are taught that achievement comes through effort and hard work. There are no shortcuts and along the way there are bound to be setbacks. Success comes to those who develop a sense of resilience, those who can bounce back. Teachers provide feedback for pupils and indicate how they can improve. There is a sense of teachers and pupils working together, sharing responsibility for the learning which takes place.
The school week is divided into 50 periods, each 30 or 35 minutes long. The general curriculum structure for Years 8 to 14 is set out below. The Cross-Curricular Skills and Thinking Skills & Personal Capabilities are infused throughout the subjects.
|Area of Study||Subjects||Year 8|
|Modern Languages (9.33%)||French|
|The Arts (10.66%)||Art & Design|
Technology & Design
|Learning for Life|
and Work (9.33%)
|Physical Education (8%)||PE & Games||4||4||4||12|
|Religious Education (5.33%)||Religious Education||3||4||2||8|
|Other (2.66%)||Information Technology|
All pupils will study one of the following Science options:
- Three sciences (pupils study Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate sciences, also known as Triple Award Science),
- Two sciences (pupils study two of Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate sciences),
- Double Award science (pupils study reduced content in Biology, Chemistry and Physics with the examinations resulting in two GCSEs graded as A*A*, A*A, AA, AB, BB, etc.)
Depending on their Science choice, pupils select either three or four optional subjects (5 periods) from the following list:
|Art & Design||Digital Technology||Geography||Physical Education|
|Business Studies||Food Technology||History||Religious Studies|
|Design & Technology|
Pupils who do not study English Literature study a Short Course (½ a GCSE) in Religious Studies (2 periods).
Non-examination subjects taken by all pupils include: Religious Education (1 period); Careers Education (1 period in Year 12 only); Learning for Life and Work (1 period); and Physical Education & Games (2 to 4 periods depending on subject choices).
|Art & Design||Economics||Life & Health Science||Politics#|
|Business Studies||Food Technology||Media Studies#||Religious Studies|
|Computer Science||Further Mathematics*||Geography||Drama & Theatre Studies#|
|Design & Technology||Health & Social Care||Health & Social Care||Spanish|
|Digital Technology||History||Physics||Engineering BTEC|
* Depending on interest and teaching resources and only available as an AS in Year 14.
# These subjects are taught in St Patrick’s Academy through our partnership with them.
Non-examination subjects taken by pupils include: Religious Education, Careers Education, Physical Education and Games.
At Key Stages 4 & 5, it may be possible to arrange other educational pathways to meet the specific needs of a small number of individual pupils through collaboration with other local education establishments.