Students study a wide range of core and foundation subjects during their time at the school. Details of individual subject areas can be found under the ‘Subjects’ tab where you will find Curriculum on a Page documents and subject videos for each of the Key stages.



Key Stage 3

Students at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) take the following subjects across a two-week timetable:

English: all students have 7 hours of English teaching across the fortnight in Years 7 and 8.  They will have 6 hours in Year 9.

Maths: all students receive 7 hours across the fortnight in years 7 to 9.

English and Maths take the greatest share of time across Years 7 to 9 and this reflects the school’s belief that a child’s confidence and competence in these areas will impact on their performance across all other subjects. It also reflects the importance of these subjects as students transition to education and training post 16.

Science: this core subject has the next highest allocation of time with 6 hours a fortnight for Years 7, 8, and 9. Students will cover key topics in Physics, Biology and Chemistry to prepare them for the rigours of GCSE study.

Physical Education: all students will have 4 hours of compulsory physical activity across the two week timetable, focusing on fitness and competitive sporting activities.

Religious Studies: students receive 1 hour a fortnight of RE teaching in Year 7 and 8 before starting the RE GCSE in Year 9 with 2 hours a fortnight. Under Section 71 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 parents have the right to withdraw their children from RE lessons.  If you do not want your child to study RE, please send a request in writing FOA Deputy Headteacher Mr Haigh at [email protected]

Citizenship is delivered in 1 hour per fortnight in years 7-9.  In addition to its taught hours, the whole school follows a Citizenship programme that takes key themes in each half term and is developed through tutor time, assemblies and timetable drop down events. The majority of the schools work on Relationship and Sex education is also completed within Citizenship lessons, with Science, Religious Studies and ICT also contributing to this.

Modern Foreign Languages.  We aim for all students to study a foreign language and most will study this through to GCSE level. This is something that the school views as central to being a citizen in today’s world. MFL is allocated 5 hours a fortnight in Years 7-9.  In Years 7 and 8 students are allocated to study either French or Spanish. The most able linguists are given the opportunity to select an additional language to study in KS4.

History and Geography both have 4 hours a fortnight each.  These will be studied by all students in Years 7 to 9.

The Art and Design faculty includes Design Technology, Graphics, Textiles, Art and Food Technology (including nutrition and healthy eating). Students spend 5 hours a fortnight in the faculty.

Information Technology is delivered across 2 hours a fortnight from Years 7 to 9 and includes Computer Science units in which students learn programming skills.

The Performing Arts faculty includes Drama and Music, both of which have a 2 hour allocation per fortnight across years 7-9.


Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, all students follow a core curriculum that makes up 60% of their timetable. The remaining GCSE subjects are chosen through the Guided options process.

All KS4 students follow a Core Curriculum which, over a two-week timetable which includes:

7 hours of English in Year 10 and 9 hours in Year 11, leading to one GCSE in English Language and for most another in English Literature. 

8 hours of Maths, leading to the GCSE.

9 hours of Science in Year 10 and 10 hours in Year 11, leading to the dual award GCSE (students can opt to take Triple Science through the guided options process which results in additional time to study a total of 3 GCSE’s).

3 hours a fortnight of Physical Education – dropping to 2 hours in Year 11. This is statutory for all learners but doesn’t lead to a qualification – students may however opt to take additional PE/Sport lessons through the guided options process which would lead to a qualification.

2 hours a fortnight of Religious Studies in Year 10 in which they will complete the second year of the GCSE.

Citizenship is delivered in 1 hour per fortnight in years 10 and 11, with students following a ‘curriculum for life’ that includes a unit on teenage mental health, work on careers and destinations post-16, Sex education as well as money management. Students will also follow the whole school Citizenship programme through tutor time, assemblies and curriculum drop down events. The majority of the schools work on Relationship and Sex education is also completed within Citizenship lessons, with Science, Religious Studies and ICT also contributing to this. 


KS4 Option Subjects: 

In addition to the core curriculum, The Joseph Rowntree School offers a wide range of GCSE and BTEC Options to students. The courses currently offered to students can be viewed on each subject page – however classes can only run if there is sufficient student uptake.

Students select options to take in addition to the core curriculum. Each option is taught across 5 lessons a fortnight.  

We run a Guided Options Process with pupils placed onto one of three pathways. Within each of these pathways, students are offered some free choice of options. All pathways are designed to ensure that students maintain breadth and variety across their choices.

If you would like more clarity on any of these subject areas, please browse through our subject information pages under the curriculum tab on our website.