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Core subjects

The maths department at Holy Family strives for excellence in all areas. We aim to build confident and resilient mathematicians.

We follow the White Rose Maths secondary scheme of learning, whose mantra is

"Everyone can do maths: Everyone can"

Together, with the White Rose Maths team, we aim to develop independent, reflective learners who have both a passion for, and relish the challenge of, maths.

Pupils in Y7 are taught in mixed ability groups for 6 one-hour lessons per fortnight. All other pupils are taught in groups appropriate to their ability. Y8 has 6 one-hour lessons and Y9, Y10 and Y11 have 7 one-hour lessons, per fortnight.

In Year 11, pupils are entered for the 9-1 Edexcel maths GCSE examinations (course code - 1MA1), which covers all aspects of number, algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, ratio, proportion and rates of change.

Pupils will take either the higher or foundation tier of entry. Grades 1-5 are available on the foundation tier entry and 4-9 on the higher tier. The decision for GCSE tier entry is made on an individual basis after careful monitoring and discussions between each class teacher and each pupil. Classwork, homework, assessment and mock examination results are all considered.

Depending upon the ability of pupils in each cohort, we can offer other qualifications to individuals such as 'Entry Level Certificate' maths qualification, for those pupils working towards GCSE level and 'Level 3 additional maths' for those pupils predicted the top grades in GCSE and who intend to study maths at a higher level.

In English at Holy Family we believe that every child should have access to a deep and knowledge rich curriculum. We believe that our students should encounter the best of what has been thought and written, and this begins on day one of Year 7 when they delve into Gothic Literature.

At Holy Family we endeavour to challenge our students to think deeply about the topics they are reading about and develop a wider cultural awareness through what they read. We believe that the challenge that they encounter not only serves to prepare students for the rigors of the GCSE curriculum, but also serves to develop them holistically.

Do you like animals, how the body works, investigating chemical reactions or do you see yourself as a future Nuclear Physicist? If the answer to these questions is “yes” then Science is for you. If the answer is “no” then there will still be many parts of your Science work that you enjoy. In short, Science is such a diverse subject that there is something for everyone! 


Key Stage 3: 

In Key Stage 3, students develop new practical skills and scientific techniques, linking ideas to the world around them and developing their understanding of working scientifically. Students follow a two year key stage 3 science course based upon the National Curriculum. They study a wide range of topics across the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics in their science lessons. This course prepares students for continuing their scientific study at GCSE from year 9. 


Key Stage 4: 

Science is compulsory at Key Stage 4. Students can opt to follow GCSE courses in the three separate Science disciplines (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) by choosing Triple Science as an option. Those who do not make this choice follow a Double Science course leading to two GCSEs. Below is a list of the key topics covered for each of the courses (most are common to both Triple and Double Science routes). Terminal assessment via exams takes place at the end of Year 11. 

Biology: cell biology; organisation; infection and response; bioenergetics; homeostasis and response; inheritance, variation and evolution; ecology 

Chemistry: Atomic structure and the periodic table; bonding, structure, and the properties of matter; quantitative chemistry; chemical changes; energy changes; the rate and extent of chemical; organic chemistry; chemical analysis; chemistry of the atmosphere; using resources. 

Physics: Energy; electricity; particle model of matter; atomic structure; forces; waves; magnetism and electromagnetism; space 



Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. It explores both the physical properties of Earth's surface and the human societies spread across it.  Geography plays a crucial role in understanding our world. It makes a vital contribution to our knowledge of the rapidly changing environmental and social challenges facing us and how we should tackle them.  It is a strong, traditional subject that can be of use to students when taking up a variety of further educational courses, as well as in the world of work. It also gives students an excellent platform and skills base to move on to A level studies and beyond in a wide range of subject areas.

Geography informs us about:

  • The places and communities in which we live and work
  • Our natural environments and the pressures they face
  • The interconnectedness of the world and our communities within it
  • How and why the world is changing, both globally and locally
  • How our individual and societal actions contribute to those changes
  • The choices that exist in managing our world for the future
  • The importance of location in business and decision-making

Students will explore case studies in the United Kingdom (UK), higher income countries (HICs), newly emerging economies (NEEs) and lower income countries (LICs). Topics of study include climate change, poverty, deprivation, global shifts in economic power and the challenge of sustainable resource use. Students are also encouraged to understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes. Students will develop and demonstrate a range of geographical skills, including cartographic, graphical, numerical and statistical skills, throughout their study of the subject.

In History we always aim to deliver thought provoking and relevant lessons that challenge and encourage all students to discuss, their ideas and opinions in a safe and positive environment. We have created an interesting and varied curriculum that aims to inspire and excite students as to the role, purpose and significance of History within today’s society. We teach through a combination of overview, thematic and depth studies. In doing so, we also aim to enable students to develop skills beyond the classroom such as team work, forming and supporting an argument, and becoming independent learners.

History appeals to anyone keen to learn more about the world we live in today and how events in the past have influenced this. The course focusses on how our history has shaped the modern world and encourages debates and independent research. In History there is rarely ever simply one right answer and so we encourage students to use sources, DVD, cartoons and artefacts to help answer some of the big questions.


Why choose hospitality and catering– how about the excitement, the income, the lifestyle and getting to know new and diverse people?

‘Hospitality’ is the friendly reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers. Whereas ‘catering’ is to provide people with food or drink at a particular event. So, why not combined the two? Use transferable skills to develop knowledge and understanding of this popular industry. You will also further develop your practical food preparation and cooking skills and be able to make a range of advanced skill dishes.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider a career in hospitality and catering. * The industry has diverse careers * The industry attracts a high income * Employees get to do new and exciting things

* Employees can work all around the world * Employees get to travel * Employees can invent new and exciting dishes * Employees earn good money

* The industry uses new technologies

* The industry is practical based


Why choose engineering –its diversity, provides a good income, you get to travel, and working in engineering enables you to achieve great things?

To ‘engineer’ literally means to “make things happen”. Engineering is about the design and production of useful products and services. Engineering know-how converts scientific knowledge into technology and then technology into successful innovation. Many seemingly simple aspects of our daily lives have been conceptualised, designed and developed by an engineer.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider a career in engineering. * Engineers have diverse careers * Engineers are in demand * Engineers get to do cool stuff

* Engineers work all around the world * Engineers get to travel * Engineers work on amazing projects * Engineers have a good work/life balance * Engineers earn good money * Engineers have a great lifestyle

The aim of the ICT department at Carlton Holy Family is to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to make the most of new technologies across all aspects of their learning.

We have identified three key areas and have designed a curriculum which offers our students the opportunity to experience each;

* ICT - Equipping students with skills in using software productively.

* Digital literacy - Application of skills in a range of real-world contexts.

* Computing - The ability to design algorithms and computing code to provide solutions.

At Key Stage 4 students have the opportunity to study Information Technologies. This course builds on the skills learnt in KS3 and improves students’ knowledge of the digital environment and their confidence with IT. They learn about data management issues and develop practical skills by planning and creating an integrated technological solution to communicate information

As a school, Christ is at the centre of all that we do and teach, guided by the schools commitment to the fundamental principles of Catholic education. We endorse the belief that every individual is unique and loved by God and that human love is ultimately to be valued and treasured.

We work with young people in a way that always enhances self-esteem and self-worth and which encourages the dignity of every individual. We use a variety of learning experiences to enable students to enquire into matters of faith, belief, truth, justice, respect, freedom and religious commitment. Religious Education has a key role in pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural education and impacts on learning in other subjects. We work with the chaplaincy, pastoral teams, and other organisations (e.g., CAFOD, Missio) to promote the development of the whole person. We recognise the diversity of the students in our school community in background, experience, ability and religious faith and promote a culture of respect through our work and studies. Students say they enjoy RE at Holy Family because “You get to discuss difficult questions”, “there are lots of debates and people can express their opinions and beliefs” and “no one judges”. Students say “As well as being a Catholic school, RE helps us to grow in faith, it opens our minds and gives us morals to live by.”

No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive."  Ghandi 

Learning a foreign language helps to embed key literacy, communicative, auditory and aural skills as well as promoting tolerance and providing an opening to other cultures.   

High quality teaching enables students to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It also provides opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great in French. In addition, it provides the foundation for learning further languages, equipping students to study and work in other countries. MFL serves a cultural and linguistic purpose in that it exposes students to foreign language and culture, therefore promoting global citizenship. 

The curriculum at Holy Family builds on prior learning at KS2 by reinforcing vocabulary, basic grammar and transactional language. The KS3 curriculum allows students to explore diverse topics and more complex grammar, allowing them to express themselves in a foreign language. 

The KS4 curriculum sequences knowledge and skills, builds on prior learning and enables students to widen their understanding of the world around them, along with variety of linguistic competencies. It also serves to enrich students’ use of their mother tongue through comparison of the language and culture of another country. Students will revisit the very important points (VIPs) from all topics studied throughout KS3 and KS4 through two-weekly VIP tests and termly Key Piece assessments, resulting in a comprehensive, interleaved

At Holy Family, we take a fun, practical and hands-on approach to developing music knowledge and skills throughout KS3. Pupils start to read, rehearse and perform from their very first lesson in Year 7. This helps develop a strong teamwork ethic and leadership skills but also a sense of achievement and pride when performing/mastering new instruments & music - all of which come together to build resilience and confidence.

At KS4, learners work towards the RSL Level 2 Certificate in Music Performance. Three main units cover Instrumental Skills, Live Music Performance and Music Knowledge Development. 

Students choose their own music genres to study and work collaboratively to meet chosen objectives. Final submissions are entered digitally as written work, blogs or vlogs. A forward thinking & real-world approach to learning and assessment which is popular with learners and well-suited to the working landscape of the 21st Century.

Weekly extra-curricular music clubs and a range peripatetic music lesson options enrich the standard curriculum; providing opportunities for pupils to engage with visiting music specialists and to have fun making music with friends and staff. 

Why study Art?

Engaging in Art allows students to; have a more positive view of themselves; demonstrate improved achievement, engagement, collaboration and motivation; develop their personality, expression, critical thinking, their creativity and imagination.  Taking part in Art also helps students develop confidence and motivation, problem solving skills and communication skills.  These are all important transferable and life skills.

On the practical side, studying Art allows students to gain hands-on experience with a range of materials, and techniques, and it challenges them to find practical, visual solutions and outcomes to set tasks.  Often, these outcomes can be both exciting and surprising.  This can lead to inspiration for further creative work on chosen themes.

At Carlton Holy Family, the PE Department believe that a high quality PE curriculum will develop physical literacy and will allow pupils to learn about themselves, the importance of a healthy lifestyle and concepts such as fair play and respect. It also contributes to the development of a range of important cognitive skills such as decision making and analysis, and social skills such as teamwork and communication. Pupils in Year 9 have a chance to develop these skills further as a Sports Leader.

Our PE curriculum is inclusive and ensures that pupils of all abilities can access the range of activities we offer and that they are physically active for sustained periods of time in order to encourage them to lead healthy, active lives.

We are improving our programme of intra and inter school competitions which will provide opportunities for pupils to participate in competitive sports and activities both in and beyond the curriculum.

Do you want to make a difference to people’s lives? 

Do you want to work in a health, social care or early years setting? 

Do you enjoy coursework, not just exams? 

Are you interested in how people develop during their life? 

If you have answered yes to any of the above, Health and Social Care could be the perfect course for you! 

Cambridge National in Health and Social Care introduces students to the specialist knowledge and skills needed to work in various care settings. Underpinning the qualification is a focus on core values and communicating with individuals so as to maintain their dignity and sense of being valued. 

The course is made up of four separate units, three of which are assessed through assignment tasks completed in class and the fourth unit by written examination. The units cover topics such as; first aid and body systems, nutrition and health, child development, communication methods and human rights and care values.  

Through the course you will be working in different ways – personal research, independent work, group work, discussion groups and mini projects based on class input, visits and visiting speakers. You will present your work in lots of varied ways – reports, presentations, role plays, practical assessments and more. 

Students studying this course have progressed into the following careers: 

  • Nursing 
  • Medical degrees 
  • Social work 
  • Caring for older people 
  • Nursery managers 
  • Teachers 
  • Paramedic 
  • Health care assistant

Business is all around us and touches our lives in so many different ways. At the Carlton Holy Family we provide learners with the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of the subjects that will empower them to make informed choices in the future, as well as the practical skills to succeed if they choose to pursue either Business as a career.

If students opt to study Enterprise & Marketing in Key Stage 4 then the OCR Level 2 course gives students the practical skills and applied knowledge they’ll need in business. Practical elements build on theoretical knowledge so that students can put their learning into practice while also developing valuable transferable skills.

PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic) and RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) are part of the school curriculum through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and prepared for life and work.

PSHCE and RSE are delivered as discreet subjects within the timetable and as part of the wider curriculum through subjects such as Science, RE, History and IT.

Students study PSHCE once a fortnight on a rolling programme which covers Careers, Healthy Lifestyles, Citizenship, Finance and Mental Health. RSE is delivered through Science and RE lessons in conjunction with the Ten Ten theatre company, which has been commissioned by the Department of Education to support schools in delivering the compulsory RSE aspect of PSHCE from 2020.
PSHCE is given a high profile at the Holy Family Catholic High School, with specialist teams delivering each aspect of the curriculum across the school. Staff development and training is given a high priority.
If you would like any more details, please contact Mrs Selway, Head of RE.