Curriculum Statement

The curriculum at Brentwood Ursuline reflects our traditions and our duty to provide a broad, Catholic education that allows each student ‘to grow in personality, relationships, knowledge and skills’ (BUCHS Mission Statement). The particular strategic vision of the school, confirmed by the Governing Body in 2015, is:

Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) , complemented by an active programme of high-quality creative opportunities, some of which will be taught and some extra-curricular’.

The school operates a two week timetable, based on 60 lessons of 50 minutes each.


Key Stage 3 consists of Years 7 and 8.

In Year 7, students are taught in one of six form groups of mixed ability for all subjects except English and Maths; in those subjects the year group is split into two halves and students are grouped by ability. All students are given an experience of learning French and Spanish. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught as separate sciences by specialist teachers from the start of Year 7 onwards.
All students are screened on entry for reading ability, and academic targets are set for both the end of the year and the end of the Key Stage. These targets are challenging and based on the performance of the top 20% of schools nationally. Each target is expressed as a ‘Minimum Target Grade’, meaning that this target should be exceeded, rather than simply met.
In Year 8 the same structures apply, with the exception of Biology, Physics and Chemistry, which join English and Maths in grouping students by ability in two halves of the year group.
PE is taught to all Key Stage 3 students, as is Religious Education, Drama, Dance, Art, ICT and Music.
During Year 8, students are guided in choosing their options for Key Stage 4. An extensive programme of information and guidance is provided to ensure that this process is carried out successfully.

Key Stage 4 consists of Years 9, 10 and 11.

Minimum Target Grades are again identified for each student in each subject, based on KS2 and KS3 attainment and progress.
In Key Stage 4, students study a core curriculum of Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, RE, PE and one of either French or Spanish. In addition, they study three option subjects of their choosing.
At a point in Year 9 chosen by each Head of Department, students will begin studying their GCSE examination course.
English, Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are grouped by ability, all other subjects are mixed ability.

For KS3 and KS4 select a curriculum subject from the LHS of the screen


Key Stage 5 consists of Years 12 and 13.

The Sixth Form curriculum offers a core of high-quality academic A Levels, complemented by BTeC Level 3 qualifications in Sport and Business Studies, as well as a pre-employment qualification and retake classes for students who may not have achieved a pass level in English and/or Maths GCSE.
The usual allocation of 50 minute lessons to each subject is 12 per fortnight.
The majority of students go on to Higher Education from BUCHS, but we seek to cater for a wide range of pathways to a variety of institutions, as well as for those students who seek apprenticeships or other employment at 18.
In addition to the A Level Philosophy and Ethics offered, all students continue to study some RE as a core entitlement, but this general course is not assessed by examination.

The KS5 curriculum can be viewed in our 6th Form prospectus.


Curriculum enrichment

BUCHS has a long tradition of outstanding provision in music and the arts. All Year 7 students are part of the Choir and give two concerts in their first year. 10% of our admissions in Year 7 are Music Places, gained by audition. The best of these students are selected as Music Scholars and have their music tuition subsidised by the school. In return, they form the core of music-making throughout the school and lead music activities such as concerts and the House Music Competition.
Dance and Drama are popular extra-curricular activities, as well as being part of the formal curriculum. Various dance and drama companies exist to allow students the opportunity to develop their talent and perform for others. LAMDA exams are offered to supplement provision, particularly for those who are not taking Dance or Drama as exam subjects.
Literacy is supported by extensive use of the Library for a variety of activities and BUCHS has a strong track record in public speaking and debating (Rotary Youth Speaks National Finalists 2015).
Sports enrichment results in regular success at local, regional and national level (e.g. national schools’ athletics finalists 2014)
Enrichment in science takes place through activities such as STEM club, trips (e.g. CERN) and competitions.
Curriculum enrichment is intended for all students, not just the most able, and we aim to work in partnership with parents as they provided enrichment for their children’s learning outside school.