Curriculum Information

Beliefs and Values

The Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School is a Catholic learning community with a strong family ethos and Jesus Christ at its centre. We seek to ensure that all may have life, life to the full.

“Ut Vitam Habeant”

We believe in high standards and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of school life. We do not view the curriculum as the teaching of a syllabus or academic programme but as something that includes all aspects of a child’s learning experience, allowing them to develop into the best version of themselves – the people God created them to be. We place a high value on spiritual and moral values as well as on courtesy and consideration for others. We help the girls to develop self-discipline, a sense of self-worth, independence of thought, and confidence in expressing themselves. It is our hope that every pupil will enjoy learning and thrive on the experience of being a member of our school community. We encourage respect for others and an understanding and tolerance towards all races, religions and cultures.

In the words of Pope St John Paul:

“Catholic schools must aim at bringing their students to that Human and Christian maturity which will enable them to fulfil their calling in the Church and contribute to the common good of society”.

Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School Curriculum Intent

At Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School, we intend to provide an ambitious curriculum designed to give all pupils access to the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life whatever their starting point.

We aim to provide a warm and caring environment with a distinctive Catholic identity and a curriculum that:

  • helps pupils to develop their faith and themselves;
  • ensures pupils experience wonder at their world;
  • encourages pupils to see learning as a lifelong endeavour;
  • shows the opportunities available to pupils and help them make wise choices;
  • fosters a desire in pupils to participate fully in society;
  • helps pupils to understand how to lead a healthy life;

These objectives are supported by development of a curriculum that:

  • is broad and balanced so as to enable students to develop to their full potential.
  • meets the requirements of the National Curriculum through a 3-year Key Stage 3 where students are given time to develop a life-long love of learning in a range of subjects.
  • enables the pursuit of academic excellence where students are able to progress to the next stage in their education or employment. Thus, affording our learners enhanced life chances and opportunities through both academic progress and moral, ethical, social and spiritual growth.
  • helps develop relationships where students know they are loved and feel valued as members of our community and of the wider local, national and global communities.
  • is complemented by a rich array of extracurricular opportunities in sport; music; STEM; subject enrichment activities; a variety of educational trips overseas; recreational visits; spiritual retreats and faith formation; participation in charity work; involvement in a range of local community initiatives: and many more experiences that holds learning as a lifelong pursuit greater than the achievements students secure in public examinations.

Quality of Education Policy

The Curriculum

Our curriculum provision enables pupils to study a balanced challenging programme of studying which ensures they achieve their full potential. We believe that our curriculum significantly enhances the learning experiences of our girls and the community and gives them the best possible chance of progression and success in their lives. We were recognised as Outstanding in our last three OFSTED inspections and continually strive to improve our service to the girls through regular self-evaluation.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

On admission to the school, the girls are arranged into four mixed ability Form Groups. The forms are based on the House system, in which the four Houses (Lindisfarne, Rievaulx, Thanet and Whitby) are used for social and competitive purposes. A pupil stays in the same tutor group until she reaches the Sixth Form. Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education is delivered implicitly across the curriculum and explicitly in a weekly period delivered primarily by Year Teams.

Girls study a broad curriculum in a 30-period week. Opportunities for extended learning and cross curricular work occur throughout the academic year.

Science is taught as an integrated subject in years 7 and 8, but as three separate subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) in year 9.

Technology incorporates Food & Nutrition and Design Technology. Design and Technology develops pupils’ creativity, problem solving, planning and evaluation skills through a range of different materials, including Timbers, Metals, Polymers and Card. Pupils have access to CAD/CAM and programming technologies. Art incorporates design, and pottery.

There are timetabled classes for Computing in years 7 – 9. ICT is also used in other curriculum areas.

In year 7, the majority of teaching takes place within the form groups, although groups are subdivided for practical subjects. Pupils are grouped into five ability sets for the teaching of Mathematics and Science in years 7, 8 and 9. English is taught in five ability sets from Year 8.

From the outset emphasis is placed on high academic standards.

Summary of Curriculum Arrangements for Years 7-9

The school timetable cycle consists of 60 periods per fortnight. Each period lasts 50 minutes.

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
English 7 English 7 English 8
Mathematics 8 Mathematics 8 Mathematics 8
Science 7 Science 7 Science 8
RE 5 RE 5 RE 4
PE 4 PE 4 PE 4
History 4 History 4 History 4
Geography 4 Geography 4 Geography 4
Music 3 Music 3 Music 2
Art 3 Art 3 Art 2
Drama 1 Drama 1 Drama 2
Languages 6 Languages 6 Languages 6
Technology 4 Technology 4 Technology 4
Computing 2 Computing 2 Computing 2
Citizenship &


2 Citizenship &


2 Citizenship &


TOTAL 60 60 60

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 – 11)

At Key Stage 4 (years 10 and 11) all girls follow a common GCSE course in Religious Studies, English (Language and Literature), Mathematics and Science (double certification), as well as non-examination courses in Physical Education, and Careers. Citizenship and Personal, Health, Relationships and Sex Education (PHRSE) are taught once a week.

There is also the opportunity to study Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate sciences.

In addition, four subjects are chosen from the following list of options:

Art French
Business Studies Geography
Child Development History
Computer Science Italian
Design & Technology Music
Drama Physical Education
Food Preparation & Nutrition

Pupils must choose at least one Modern Foreign Language as one of their options.


The Sixth Form is open to all pupils likely to benefit from what it has to offer and the majority of our Year 11 girls stay to pursue their Post-16 education with us. Girls who enter it receive a general education in addition to their specialist studies and are encouraged to acquire new skills and undertake wider reading. They play a full and leading part in school activities and undertake responsibilities as Prefects, Mentors, Senior Prefects and House Officials, enabling them to develop maturity of judgement and qualities of leadership.

The school currently offers the following range of subjects:

A-Levels in:

Art History
Biology Italian
Business Studies Mathematics
Chemistry Further Mathematics
Economics Music
English Physical Education
Extended Project Qualification Physics
Film Studies Psychology
Food Technology Religious Studies
French Theatre Studies

Vocational courses in:

  • BTEC Extended Certificate and National Diploma in Business BTEC
  • Extended Certificate in Health and Social Care
  • Diploma and Certificate in Financial Services (LIBF)
  • Level 3 Extended Certificate in Applied Science

Sixth Form pupils follow a course in general Religious Education. The option to re-take GCSE in English and Mathematics is also available along with a range of enrichment courses. The sixth form continues to offer pupils the opportunity to participate in school sports competitions and make educational visits including visits overseas.

Citizenship and PSHE is delivered by the form tutor in a weekly period.