Through high quality teaching and resources, we aim to provide an inspiring experience to our students and to encourage in them a love of life-long independent learning. Cultural activity, which includes sport, music, art and drama is an important part of the curriculum and all students have extensive opportunities to participate to a high level.
It is natural that the study of Christian Theology is central to the curriculum of a Catholic Benedictine school. Respecting the beliefs of non-Catholic boys and girls and the consciences of all, we hope to communicate and share a lively, articulate and critically aware Christian faith. To this end, all students take public examination courses in the subject and a knowledge and understanding of Catholic belief is supported by all aspects of the curriculum. Moreover, recognising the need for boys and girls personally to appropriate and live out their faith we offer, as a complement to the work of housemasters, housemistresses and the chaplaincy team, a comprehensive Christian Living programme (our version of PSHME) which covers a wide variety of moral and social issues and aims to support our students long after they have left the College.
Subject heads ensure that subject matter and teaching styles are adjusted appropriately in accordance with St Benedict's teaching that we should ask much from the students' strengths and support them in their weaknesses. Departmental schemes of work provide for this differentiation. Through regular reporting, teaching and learning are monitored and evaluated. Students' progress is recorded through the school grading and assessment procedures which also include individual targets in each subject.
In Years 9 to 11, all students follow a core curriculum in Christian Theology, Christian Living, English, Mathematics, Science and PE. A wide range of languages is offered, both modern and classical, and students are expected to take at least one to GCSE. In addition, History, Geography, Art, Music, Design and Technology, Drama and ICT are offered as compulsory subjects in Year 9 and many of them as options in Years 10 and 11.
In Years 12 and 13 we offer a programme of A levels in the belief that such a curriculum will best serve the interests of the whole student body, bearing in mind the ability range of our students. A broad range of options is available from which students choose to specialise in up to four subjects in Year 12, normally reducing to three in Year 13. This allows students to develop a depth of knowledge which, combined with a wide ranging programme of cultural and academic enrichment, provides a good preparation for university study. Christian Theology is expected as one option but not necessarily as an A level subject. All students continue to follow a Christian Living course throughout the Sixth Form.
We expect that at least 90% of our A level students will progress to higher education and we aim to prepare them for this progression, as well as to assist them as far as we can to achieve the grades necessary to gain entry to their chosen institutions. Advice is also offered to those who choose not to follow this path.
Where students with particular educational needs are identified they are offered support as necessary. All will have an IEP which will be reviewed at least annually.
In all years the curriculum followed will depend on the ability of the student. On entry or, if there is insufficient academic information available, at the end of the term after entry, students are allocated to a Form: A to E. This form is determined from previous academic results and serves as a snapshot of their general academic progress. Form A is the top 20% of the year group, Form B is the next 25%, Form C the next 30%, Form D the next 15% and Form E the next 10%. However all subjects are setted independently and so the Form into which a student is placed does not necessarily affect subject setting. The Form is reviewed periodically.
On entry, all students are given a MidYIS baseline test. The results of these are used to ensure that appropriate targets are set for individual students.
Ampleforth operates a two-week timetable cycle in order to maintain a balanced curriculum. Lessons are 50 min in duration and there are 78 periods in each two week cycle. Of these, 12 are for sports and games and 2 (one per week) is for Chaplaincy and Year Group assemblies. This means that there are 64 periods per two week cycle for the academic curriculum. In addition there is a tutorial period each week. Any numbers of lessons given on the pages giving curriculum details refer to the number per two-week cycle. Students will have a slightly different timetable depending on their particular strengths, for example, in Year 9 some will have additional Mathematics and English lessons rather than Latin and/or Greek.
Currently about 70% of students have their own laptops which can be connected to the school network. We encourage parents to provide a laptop for their son or daughter on entry into the school and information on specifications can be found on the College website. Recent developments in the intranet and virtual learning environment (VLE) resources are such that it is our expectation that all students will find it a considerable advantage to have their own laptop, netbook or equivalent.